Sunday, October 02, 2022

Artnotes: A Month in Florence

 


Berlino September 2022  Laurie Pessemier  Acrylic/crayon/newspaper  24 x 18"  60 x 45cm  290.00
Have I told you how much I love having a BIG dog?  This week was the anniversary of our last dog, Harika’s passing.  It was, in some ways, the saddest day of my life, but I think I was sadder when it became clear she was sick and not going to get better.  I had a month to say goodbye, which was sad, but sufficient. 
Meanwhile, we are raising this large Italian hunting dog.  Berlino is likely 60 pounds now, nearly twice what we had expected.  He’s not fat at all: a muscle-man.   I couldn’t let all that dog culture Harika taught us go to waste.  I mean, we KNOW what dogs like:  food, love, being with us.  On Tuesday we all went to Florence. 
 
Harika on the Grass   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  14 x 18"   35 x 45cm  600.00
I am always surprised how our dogs seem to love the city.  We went to visit friends from Los Angeles, who rented an apartment in Florence for a month; bring Berlino they encouraged.  I broke into a sweat as we wended through the streets looking for our parking garage.   We pre-booked a garage that allowed us to drive on those little stone streets – we really didn’t know how Berlino would walk in the city and didn’t want to chance a drag on a busy thoroughfare.  In fact, he was great – taking care of his business in the footsteps of Dante. 
 
Paul    Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  20 x 16"  55 x 40cm  600.00
He loved meeting our friends, who made us lunch.  He snacked on crackers, making forays to the balcony.  We ate the perfect little Italian lunch: preserved meats, cheeses, vegies in olive oil; olives and fruit.  Our friends had rented a little apartment near the Palazzo Strozzi.  In fact, it seemed like they really LIVED there.   I wished they did.   It was a cool spot:  originally a doctor and his family lived there, now treatment rooms were made into little apartments, centered around a big waiting room.
Untitled    Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  22 x 15"  55 x 38cm   550.00..
I love tootling off to Firenze for lunch, looking in store windows, admiring all of that Renaissance architecture.  We are seriously considering selling our flat in Stimigliano, with its sweeping view of the Tiber and my art studio.   Then we can spend a month in Florence, too.
Berlino's friend, Bella   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/crayon/newspaper  18 x 24"  45 x 60cm  250.00

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Artnotes: Zero with a Slash

 

24 September 2022 Roccamalatina MO  Italia
Autumn Daffodils    Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/paper 17 x 25"   41 x 63cm  330.00
We had record cold temperatures Friday morning:  46 degrees (8 celsius).   Berlino is thrilled:  he lies in the sun, on the cold ground, turning himself like a roast in the oven – right side, back, left side, belly.   I’ll be darned if I’ll turn on the heat before 1 October – so we are beneath heavy quilts and blankets at night.   I am toughening up for an energy-starved winter.  My father swore by a hooded sweatshirt and sleeping bag when the power failed in Connecticut.   Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

We’ve gotten some surprising flowers in the yard:  hardy pink cyclamen by the hundreds, and a yellow crocus-like plant called the Autumn Daffodil  (Sternbergia lutea – in fact, a member of the amaryllis family).  They are wonderful, and I’ve gotten out there to paint them in the sunshine.
 
Our "POLO" mobile
It’s been a bureaucratic week:  our visa appointment was on Tuesday.  “Why do you have a house you don’t rent out?” “why don’t you get your social security in Italy?” “where did you get that money to buy a house (5 years ago, and they are just asking now)?”   It’s worse than going to the Wizard of Oz.  Instead of bringing the broom of the wicked witch, we now need records of a years worth of deposits and withdrawals at the bank, a certificate that we live in Roccamalatina (we have an identity card from there) and a copy of our deed (which was actually included with our application).  It used to be there were policemen at the Modena Questura we spoke to, who would ask funny flirty questions and say, yes, yes, yes.  Now we have women hired for their cruelty and meanness – their goal seems to be to bring the applicant to tears.   Both Blair and I were grilled separately, as if there were some deep secrets to extract.  Honestly, I can’t understand why we would be a problem, as we don’t work, don’t use any free services, we pay tax.  It still isn’t as bad as France, but it’s getting there. 
Elderberries    Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas/crayon  16 x 12"  40 x 31cm    490.00
Happily, our new Internet was installed this week – it was originally scheduled for mid-October.  It’s fantastic on my computer, which is faster than it’s ever been.  Blair’s computer, newer than mine, can’t hook on, even with Ethernet.  The device came with no directions, and there’s no manual on the web.  In fact, the web photo is not even similar to the actual router.  There are five buttons:  plus, minus, x, and a zero with a slash; plus the illuminated logo.  I have no idea what any of them represent.  I had to send in a video of myself with my identity card before they would activate anything (luckily I didn’t need the certificate)..
Cyclamen   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas panel/crayon   8 x10" 20 x 25cm   390.00

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Artnotes: Fluffed Up

 

10 September 2022 Stimigliano MO  Italia
Amorati Blair Pessemier Acrylic//canvas 15 x 18"   37.5 x  45cm   575.00     
We drove to Stimigliano on Thursday to spend the weekend.  A friend would be there. “There will be 50 Dutch people in town,” he told us.   Our interest peaked.  We threw a few extra paintings in the car (we’ll open the studio) and took off.
We went out to dine Thursday evening, at the Oasis di Vescovio, a restaurant nearby.  We sat outside, despite thunderous peals a dozen miles away.   Our waitress, a charming woman, offered to speak English to us.  “I speak English better than Italian,” she admitted.  “I am from Ukraine.”   She went on to tell us how her father has been recruited into the military and her mother stayed on to be with him.  She was lonely and afraid, but thankful to be in Italy with a job. 
Bench at Vescovio   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  18 x 12"  45 x 30cm  575.00
One of the marvelous things about the Dutch is their height.  I feel like a "little thing" when I am around them (I am 175cm; 5’8” tall).  I found my neck hurting as I craned upward to have a conversation with a man from Amsterdam.   I love this kind of “upset” – it can make me feel totally different.   It underscores the importance of meeting people in person – you can bulk-up or relax, step in or step out, or brush your arm against a friend.   Body language is a critical element of communication.
Fall Color    Laurie Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas/crayon  31 x 19.5"  79 x 50cm  650.00
These last few weeks I have had trouble with my bearings, my ideas, my plans – I am re-evaluating a lot of things.  I believe, more than anything else the return to one-to-one interaction has been the biggest disruption. It’s mostly good, although I have been standing up for myself more than I once did, occasionally too vociferously.  On the very positive side, it makes me consider putting myself further out on the line – with a pop-up store, or participating in art shows, or just entertaining people more often.   With that, I am forgoing this week’s virtual Art Salon in favor of doing something in person.
Wild Yellow  Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/canvas/crayon   14  x 10.5 "   35 x 27 cm   490.00
One of the things I like best about parties is that people are dressed up.  Luckily, I had a diaphanous number in my closet.  But I didn’t hold a candle to the lady in the brilliant, metallic striped skirt, or some of the summer dresses that billowed in the setting sun (it was a late-ish garden affair).   The bride herself wore a fabulous translucent chartreuse dress, with sparkly gold undertones – she was beautiful. The piece de resistance, however was the Pakistani “prince” in his feathered hat and traditional robes.  He fluffed up the rear as he perched on his chair, and I thanked my stars I was out and about in the human world again.
They've desiignated our street in Stimi "Lover's Lane" and encouraged posting romantic pictures.    I'm sharing my Etrucan. Satyr  and The Cat and Mouse

Sunday, September 04, 2022

Artnotes: Chair Afire

 

3 September 2022 Roccamalatina,MO Italia
Sloe Gin Fizz   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic//canvas 16 x 20"  40 x 50cm   575.00     
I am practicing sitting around in the house with the lights off. In Italy, the population is in an absolute panic over electricity.  The cost of electricity has gone up 135%, on average, since last year.   Natural gas is up 65%.  I worry for the trees, as they are being cut down to produce wood for burning (cough, cough, choke).    Of course, this energy crisis affects everything – from the cost of eating out to running refrigeration in the grocery store.  I have been canning tomatoes and eggplants for the winter.  In our yard, we have apples and sloes (a kind of prune-y thing, with a large stone – think sloe gin fizz) but those are hard to imagine canning (I froze a few).  I am not really an applesauce person.  I like to chew my food while I can.
Apples   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas/oil crayon  13 x 18"  33 x 45cm  535.00
I have been cooking meals in my new kitchen.  It’s a bit smaller, but I enjoy the convection oven. It’s hard to decide if the electricity to run the fan costs more than cooking slowly, but eating sooner is usually better.    I am really looking forward to firing up the wood oven, but I must wait until cooler temperatures.  I am going to make pizza (the pizza man from down the street will come over to show me how to do it), and I am really looking forward to grilling.  I have a little metal grill I can place over the coals.  At the restaurants we go to, I watch the cook fish out some hot embers, place the grill over them and voila! 
Time Traveler  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  24 x 16"  60 x 34cm  600.00
I think it’s better for me to try to earn more money than to economize.  What would Mr. Micawber say?
I have had a job of sorts, to sell a large Meissen figurine that belongs to a friend.  He is also selling some other ceramic pieces.  It’s been a real education for me, corresponding with auction houses, in Europe and abroad (US and Eastern Europe).   It has fueled new ideas about selling our own paintings that way, and of offering the service of selling things for others.   It’s a job I can do from wherever I am, plotting the logistics and keeping track of what items are selling when.   I don’t have to move anything or even go to the auction. 
Dog not for sale
In Europe, France has the most important auction houses.  They are on a variety of levels, from the exclusive to the basic.   What seems to be selling everywhere now is Modern and Contemporary Art.  Traditional auction houses have thrown out the old in favor of new art and mid to late 20th century design.  It’s interesting to see, but give me a nice wooden chair any day – plus, I can always burn it.
Flowers and Demijon   Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/canvas+ 10  x 15 "  25 x 35 cm   450.00


INVITING All Artists to present their Work:   Paint, Literature, Crafts, Food....


Pessemier's Sunday Salon
Weekly on Sunday  No Reservation Necessary
 

How it works: Bring a piece of your ART: that could be visual, like painting or printmaking; or literary, as in poetry or prose; or crafts, like metalwork or knitting; or food, or music.  Something you made, or feel particularly inspired by.  You have about 5 minutes to present, and we'll ooh, ahh, or answer questions you have.  You can also come and see how we work before diving in.  Just show up on Zoom at a minute or two before the hour.   



Rome 8PM; NY 2 PM; LosAngeles 11AM 



Meeting ID: 856 2508 8767 Passcode: 887182

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Saturday, August 27, 2022

Artnotes: Spaghetti and Kibble

 

27  August 2022 Roccamalatina,MO Italia
Ready to Pick  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic//canvas 16 x 20"  40 x 50cm   575.00     
I love that Italy is a small-ish country.  This week we went to the Rome area, the Arezzo province, and had lunch in Florence.  Nothing is too far away.  
Petunias   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas/oil crayon  16 x 20"  40 x 50cm  550.00
We’ve finally figured out how to keep the canine Berlino content in the car:  the window must be slightly open.  If the window is down a couple of inches, he’ll lie on the backseat.  The second we roll it up, he starts shaking and wheezing like Peter Lorrie.  Yes, it’s quite annoying to have the window open on the highway, but the roar of the road is better than a drooling, asthmatic passenger in the rear.  We’ve had to listening to the radio.
 
Chapel in Stimigliano frescoed by contemporary artist Mario Bagordo
He is especially enthusiastic about the car if he thinks we’re going out to lunch or dinner.  This week we went out twice:  Stimigliano and Florence.   The waitress at daLina in Stimi remembers him and gets his water just right.  One of us orders the Federico Pizza (mortadella, bufala and pistachios) and the other, grilled meat and chicory.

We drove to Florence, via Castiglion Fiorentino (a friend’s house) midweek.  We shut off his electricity and water until next time.  Hung a picture. 
Sketch of Florence  Blair Pessemier Acrylic/canvas  8  x 18 "  20 x 45 cm   450.00
Our friend Mary accompanied her son to a conference in Florence, so she had time to spare while he convened.  We hadn’t seen her in at least a dog’s age.  She hopped into our car at her hotel on the edge of Florence and we drove up to the Piazzale Michelangelo. 

For those of you not familiar with Florence, the Piazzale Michelangelo, on the other side of the (nearly dry) Arno, is where they take that famous photo of Florence:  a sweeping view of the Tower at the Palazzo Vecchio; Brunelleschi’s Dome at the Duomo; Giotto’s Bell Tower; there’s another pointy tower to the far right, but I can’t seem to identify it – somewhere near Santa Croce.  We decided to eat lunch on the terrace of the Ristorante la Loggia right above the piazza, so we could watch the sun and clouds transform the red roofs.   The wait service was excellent (I always worry about tourist-y restaurants), and after a small pasta starter, we shared the kilo of delicious Florentine steak (Berlino’s favorite).   We sat for a couple of hours, covering topics from Tesla to fine art and writing.   We ate cheesecake and had coffees before driving back up to Rocca Malatina.
Emerging Rabbit in Clay (Mary says I am coming out from under)  Laurie Pessemier
They are tilling fields here in Emilia Romagna, in anticipation of pending rain.  We are thinking of our next foray, but for now just eating spaghetti (and kibble) at home. 


INVITING All Artists to present their Work:   Paint, Literature, Crafts, Food....


Pessemier's Sunday Salon
Weekly on Sunday  No Reservation Necessary
 

How it works: Bring a piece of your ART: that could be visual, like painting or printmaking; or literary, as in poetry or prose; or crafts, like metalwork or knitting; or food, or music.  Something you made, or feel particularly inspired by.  You have about 5 minutes to present, and we'll ooh, ahh, or answer questions you have.  You can also come and see how we work before diving in.  Just show up on Zoom at a minute or two before the hour.   



Rome 8PM; NY 2 PM; LosAngeles 11AM 



Meeting ID: 856 2508 8767 Passcode: 887182

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Artnotes: Holy Moly

 

20 August 2022 Roccamalatina,MO Italia
Moroccan Oranges   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/gold /crayon/canvas 15 x 18"  38 x 45cm   550.00     
 
We’ve had violent thunderstorms these last few days.  It’s cooling us off, and is filling our nearly-dry rivers.   We’ve not been to the Fountain of Youth since Wednesday. I imagine it is cascading more energetically.  The horse is there now – he has a pen and spends part of August stabled by the river. 
Horse Applique on Newspaper (after Franz Marc)   
The lights went out this morning and I cooked breakfast by candlelight: toast in the fry pan, tea (where is that tea-ball?).  Lucky we have a gas stove I can light with a match. My poor pup Berlino nearly had a nervous breakdown in the wee hours.  He trembles:  I could hear his teeth banging together.

“Hug him very tightly,” a friend suggests.  That gets difficult after about 15 minutes with a fifty pound dog in the middle of the night.  The effect is a pretty immediate, if not long-lasting.  I think it is like lying beneath a heavy blanket, or wrapping a babe in swaddling clothes.  Blair worries that horse must have been in a fright.
Berlino   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  20 x 27.5 "  50 x 70 cm   650.00
We are moving out the last dribs and drabs to our new house.  The cooler weather has made that easier.  Even though I try to put everything away as soon as it’s moved in, there are items I can’t find.  Moving is such a difficult experience, I can’t image how older people must feel when they move to a retirement home, or worse, a rest home.  That comfort of going into your bedroom, turning on the lamp, picking up a usual book, is all different now. 

We’ll need to transfer/stop utilities from the old house.  I magic-markered our name to the mailbox (on paper it immediately faded in the sun).   The rain has filled the holes Berlino has excavated in the yard, his attempt to stay cool.  Maybe we won’t need them anymore.
 
Ferragosto 2020    Blair Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas 19.5  x 27.5"  50 x 70 cm   650.00


INVITING All Artists to present their Work:   Paint, Literature, Crafts, Food....


Pessemier's Sunday Salon
Weekly on Sunday  No Reservation Necessary
 

How it works: Bring a piece of your ART: that could be visual, like painting or printmaking; or literary, as in poetry or prose; or crafts, like metalwork or knitting; or food, or music.  Something you made, or feel particularly inspired by.  You have about 5 minutes to present, and we'll ooh, ahh, or answer questions you have.  You can also come and see how we work before diving in.  Just show up on Zoom at a minute or two before the hour.   



Rome 8PM; NY 2 PM; LosAngeles 11AM 



Meeting ID: 856 2508 8767 Passcode: 887182