Sunday, July 03, 2022

Artnotes: Jingle Bells

2 July 2022 Roccamalatina,MO Italia
Commission  Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas   
We had a Christmas in June experience this week.  We are moving to a new house.  For us, it's a formidable task because we have lived for the past seven years in a furnished house – as in dozens of place settings, silverware, towels, sheets – those little things that cost a fortune.   So you can imagine my shock and delight when our friend said:  “my brother left some things you might need on the table at the new place.”   We went over there immediately, and the table was stacked two feet high with dishes, and silverware, utensils, glasses, towels, a coffee pot – it made me think of Christmas at Shorty and Foxie’s house (my parents).
Christmas Hat (unearthed while packing)   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  20 x 24"  50 x 60 cm   550.00
My mother was the Christmas Queen, and having grown up through the Great Depression, she didn’t want her kids to wake up on Christmas morning to an orange and a chocolate bar.  No sireee.  We had presents to open for a full hour, in addition to dolls and an electric train.  So this, this wonderful gift from our new landlords made me feel happy, humbled and nostalgic. 
Saintly Hat (from the archives)  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/newspaper  25 x 14"  61 x 43cm  275.00
It also made me think of giving presents to other people.   Who doesn’t want a gift?  Actually, I can answer that rhetorical question:  people who want things a certain way.  For us, this box of dishes, six place settings, each a different ceramic color, is exciting; but if you’re a white dish kind of person, you’d hate it.

I learned to accept gifts as a child.  My mother (who seems to get more saintly the longer she’s gone) told me, "if you get a lousy gift, or a repeat gift at your birthday party, you just rave and say thank you like it’s perfect."  I did, and they were perfect.  That year, at my birthday party, I got three manicure sets.
Day Lily and Wildflowers  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas 16 x 10.5"  24 x 35cm  450.00
We are officially “in” the new house now.  The solar hot water heater is running.  We are still buying some odds and ends.  We hung the paper mache horse head, and sing Jingle Bells.
PS   I just want to write to remind everyone about our Sunday Art Salon.  This last week we had a returning artist that got us all thinking in another direction.  He was invited to participate in a  “street art” (graffiti) show.   It got us all focusing and sharing our thoughts on that subject; it made us think graphically, huge, differently.    It’s equally good for the artist because it allows them to present their work, explain their motivation.  And it was really summed up when one of the salon participants said, “Don’t refer to your art as a “hobby”.  You are a real artist and it’s great”.   Do you want to feel that?  Well, join us!


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

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Artnotes: Smooth Road

 26 June 2022 Roccamalatina, MO Italia

This Week's Only Painting:  Still Life Roses    Laurie Fox Pessemier 24  x 20"  60 x 50 cm  Acrylic/canvas  600.00

Smooth Road, Clear Day…why am I the only one travelin’ this way?  Bill Evans  
“Detour Ahead” best sung by Ella (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Frxssz-hk0w&list=RDFrxssz-hk0w&start_radio=1 )

I need a smooth road to paint a picture.  No bumps, no interruptions, no pressure.  Much of this week I couldn’t paint.  There is something about MOVING that really throws one off: in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it’s a basic.

So this week, instead of paintings, I’m offering a couple photos of our new house. It used to be a stable for a horse.  It has a big fenced yard, and inside there is about 1500 square feet.  We move a couple of boxes a day, or a Persian rug (I’ve been washing them myself), or a piece of furniture we’ve bought.  Before this, our house was furnished, perfectly, but we owned none of it.

I am feeling sad about leaving this house at the end of the summer, but I know the heating costs could bankrupt us.  Here in Italy, they are talking about severe fuel shortages (this week, airplanes have been sitting on the Italian tarmac for lack of jet fuel), and natural gas is  our only form of heat at Villa Loris.  At least the new place has wood burning potential.   And it’s romantic.

We’ve launched a new Instagram account, “Poetic Fences" @poeticfences – Blair’s idea, actually.  We post poetic themes, mostly photos, of fences and other edges.   Out walking to the ends of the earth, or at least the limits of Rocca Malatina, with Berlino, we see beautiful scenes in the morning light. When the painting picks back up, we’ll continue on Laurie Pessemier.  Who says we can’t have two sites?  With a smooth road, anything is possible.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Artnotes: Never Wash a Dish Again

 

18 June  2022 Roccamalatina,MO Italia
Pomegranate Blossom  Laurie Fox  Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas   10.5 x 7"  25 x 35cm  375.00
Well, nuts!  Blair went to Castiglion Fiorentino for the week and Bernie and I were stuck here in Roccamalatina.  It’s impossible to get work done where Berlino is present (he’s just TOO much fun), and the pressure is on to finish our renovation in CF before the 2 July.    What I didn’t know is that they are having a Palio there on Sunday, and on Thursday, they started marching the horses into town. Blair awoke on Friday to hooves on the cobblestones, and a town arrayed with flags.   He took pictures.
It wasn’t all bad here in Roccamalatina, actually.  Every morning we went out for coffee and a walk.  The dog is very gentle with me; he knows he has an old mother.   He hangs in the backyard while I pack and paint, and mop my sweaty brow.
Rolls of Hay   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  10.5 x 16"   27 x 41cm   450.00
I installed the pavilion out front and sat beneath its shade to paint the hay rolls gathered from our yard.  The roses are currently “over the top” and I filled our big copper basin with their blooms.  I picked them before a predicted thunderstorm, which actually knocked out our power, a challenge to restart.  I was amazed at how much more difficult life was on my own and developed a greater appreciation for the “single mom”.  Without a car.  In 90+ degree weather.  In the country.
Geranium Sketches    Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/cardboard  10 x 14"  25 x 35cm  pair 350.00
By the time Friday rolled around, I wondered how people manage when one partner travels for work.  After 42 years (our anniversary was 8 June), we have really gotten into a groove of delegated tasks.  I hope I never have to wash a dish again.
Three Colors of Pansies  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas 9.5 x 14"  24 x 35cm  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...you get the picture.  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, June 11, 2022

Artnotes: 50 Cents a Lawn

 

11 June  2022 Roccamalatina,MO Italia
Nightfall on the Lake  Laurie Fox  Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas   12 x 12  30 x 30cm  450.00
As we drove down the hill from the Roccamalatina house, the valley was full of billowing white rectangles:  all of the fruit trees were covered in anticipation of the rainstorms to come.
It was a beautiful sight, reminiscent of my childhood home in Connecticut, where shade grown tobacco was cultivated (since 1640-ish), for cigars.  There, miles of billowing white sheets provided shade for the smooth, unblemished leaves that wrapped cigars made in Europe and Cuba.
Berlino Chewing on a Stick  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas 10.5 x 16"   27 x 40cm   400.00
I am a little homesick for Connecticut, and the USA.  I miss summers at Hemlock Lodge, on the shores of Highland lake, swimming in the clear waters in the warm golden sunshine.  I am mostly nostalgic, I think, for dinners with my family around the grand table on the windowed porch. Doing puzzles.  Playing badminton.  Painting pictures.  Porch art shows.   We would spend many a day with my dad, especially if it were rainy – and all go out for Chinese lunch.  It’s time to start up those fun times here, at the new house (I am painting horse pictures). 
Horse Picture in Progress (borrowing from Degas)  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  24 x 35"   60 x 90cm   750.00
Hemlock Lodge on Highland Lake was my favorite house, ever; we spent 20 summers there.    It was elegantly ramshackle.  The town of Roccamalatina is having a referendum to relocate the school to the old parish hall.   They tore down the old school in favor of building a new one.  Like so many public projects in Italy,  illicit contractors took the first payment, tore down the building, cleared the lot of any growth (hundred year old trees), and poured too much concrete.  Now there is an abandoned building site where there were once leafy shade and childrens voices.
Children's Voices (Highland Lake) Laurie Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas panel  13 x 18"   33 x 45cm 450.00
I think the kids will like the old hall.   Children aren’t as focused on new as adults are.  I remember loving the fact all of my aunts and uncles went to the same school, St. Anthony’s, as me.  I loved the polished wood floors and transom windows we opened with a pole.  The window panes were slumped and distorting.
The Push Mower   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/carton 20 x 28"  50 x 70cm  375.00
We dug the hand push lawn mower out of the basement this week.   I had the lofty ambition of sharpening it, but as I read the directions I realized maybe just adjusting the grass height setting (for bumpy lawns) could take care of our problem.
The night before, I was visiting on the phone with my friend Sal, telling him about the mower He recalled mowing lawns with that kind of mower (50 cents a lawn) and we talked about that whirring noise it makes.  I tried to do an imitation.   I could smell the grass.
Ladies Sunning (Highland Lake)  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  16 x 20"  40 x 50cm  550.00


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...you get the picture.  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

Sunday, June 05, 2022

Artnotes: Spaghetti

 

4 June 2022 Roccamalatina, MO Italia
Rose Behind an Oriental Grill  (and inspiration) Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas 11 x 13cm   27 x 33cm  450.00
I have been FORCING myself to paint this week…I got out of the groove some time ago, and it is tremendously difficult to get going again.  Roses abound in my garden.  I have been pleased with the result of painting again, and my mental attitude is greatly improved.
Pale Roses  Laurie Fox Pessemier 14 x 24"  45 x 60 cm  Acrylic/canvas 575.00
It was a holiday here this week:  Republic Day.  In 1946, Italy voted to be a democratically-elected republic rather than a monarchy.  Although the victory was clear (54% voted for the republic), it wasn’t unanimous, which surprises me.  Formerly, the House of Savoie ruled Italy.  There are parades and fireworks, mostly near Rome.  We are having spaghetti for dinner.
Tropea Onions (my fave Italian onion) Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  15 x 24"  38 x 60cm  575.00
We went to Ikea this week to buy things for the house we are decorating.  I can’t think of any store I’d rather not go to.  The plan is so convoluted, one can barely get around (it must encourage people to buy more); and the people who work there are absolutely draconian.  Blair asked for a cart, and the woman behind the desk shouted as he started to take the carriage (you aren’t allowed behind here!) and an enforcer took charge.  Just then, the otherwise perfectly behaved Berlino peed in the aisle.

Of course, we don’t encourage that behavior. Harika used to do the same thing if one of us were threatened.  I recall a particular instance at the airport when security confiscated a silver pin I was wearing – she made her feelings known.

Berlino is out at the crack of dawn, and we are on our big walk about 6:30.  We run into an old nun with a blind, diabetic miniature doberman.  "We’re like the postman," she says this morning; "same time every day".   We usually take a path through the woods after that – sniffing out the wild boar and the badger’s nightly forays. Berlino nets twice the exercise as he darts into every nook and cranny.  The sound of the birds is breathtaking – a real cacophony of nature.  On our way back we pass Arturo, a sort-of-Norwich terrier.  He may only weigh 10 pounds, but he can really take his owners on a ride.  Today we consult about vaccinations and riding in the car; and how this terrible humidity makes a walk exhausting. 
Pink Roses Glass Vase   Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/canvas 11 x 13cm   27 x 33cm  450.00
We have been moving, bit by little bit, to our new house.  I brought over some herbs that I planted in the garden.  We are selecting light fixtures.  Berlino loves going there because he can run free in the yard.  And sometimes he just lies in the grass. 


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...you get the picture.  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

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Artnotes: Berlino Writes a Book

 

28 May  2022 Roccamalatina,MO Italia
FIgs in the Foreground  Laurie Fox  Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas   10.5 x 16   27 x 40cm  450.00
I’ve been cooking up hot weather food this week, as temperatures climb (we are supposed to be in an art show next weekend where the temperature is predicted to crest 100…hmm).  We entertained a lunch guest today and another tomorrow.  I made a Sicilian Caponata, which might be best cooked by a large family – lots of chopped vegetables involved.  One could imagine sitting around the table, tap tap tap, as the eggplant, peppers, onion and celery are crafted into bite-sized.  I made a potato salad with cumin, in honor of the Memorial Day weekend.  The piece de resistance was a veal tonnato:  thinly sliced veal with a tuna-caper sauce.  One puts the veal in boiling, seasoned water, and lets it sit, heat off, for an hour.  Then I blend tuna, eggs, anchovies, capers and lemon for the sauce.  I made these treats while Blair shopped for furniture.
Portrait of Cat with Owner (in process)   Blair  Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  16 x 20"   40 x 50cm 
Blair searches for furniture, almost everything appearing on the Internet these days.  This week, at Mercantopoli,  we managed to procure a like-new yellow sofa, and two 1940s style endtables/nightstands.  We purchased 4 heavy wooden chairs, for 10euros, the lot. They are remarkably solid, and one can imagine throwing one without damaging it.  They won’t tip over easily, either.
Assemblage II   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Paper, Ink, Linen  27 x 39"  70 x 100cm  750.00
This all comes on the heels of furnishing a new apartment for a friend, K, near Arezzo.  It’s so interesting what one can find in the antique stores.   Brown (wood) furniture has been “out” for years, and it allows us to buy those beautifully crafted items we like for a very small price.  Berlino (our pup) loves going into used furniture stores.  I believe he can smell the story behind each item, which would make quite a tale:  Machiavelli slept in this bed sort of thing. That, and his daily jaunts of nasal ecstasy, make me think he could write a book.
Castello Serravalle (archive)  Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  12 x 19.5   30 x 50cm 450.00
It’s hot here, even in the Apennines.  The crickets chirp nearly constantly.  They were still going at 1:17 this morning, when I took Bernie out for an urgent “walk”.  Cursing under my breath, we inspected  the yard – he lurched frighteningly at a hedgehog.  I saw my first firefly of the season, and Blair came out to witness it.  This morning we walked through the woods, which were dark, cool, and quiet, save for the cuckoo that chirped on and on.  7AM. “He’s off by 10 minutes” Blair announced.
Montecorone   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  12 x 24"  30 x 60cm  450.00

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Artnotes: Nettles and Roses

 

22 May 2022 Stimigliano, RI Italia
Rose in a Tall Vase  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas16 x 13cm   41 x 33cm  450.00
Thanks to our dog Berlino, we are going for marathon walks – usually several miles, at 6 o’clock in the morning.  It gets light out around 5:30, and it stays cool for at least a couple of hours.  We’ve been to parts of town we’ve never seen before.

There are houses with wonderful awnings, and flower gardens like I’ve never seen.  I am never sure it’s the Italians, or their soil, or their flower seeds that make the difference. Cactus in outrageous bloom; multicolor petunias; roses beyond the pale.  Outside of town, fields of poppies and all sorts of wild flowers proliferate.  
Wild Flowers White Vase  Laurie Fox Pessemier 9.5 x 14"  24 x 35 cm  Acrylic/canvas 450.00
We’ve been driving to Castiglion Fiorentino regularly to improve a friend’s house.  Here’s a before and after picture of the living room. 
We delivered artwork to the Relais and Chateau hotel in Cortona today, just a short skip from Castiglion Fiorentino.  It was so beautiful there, I could hardly believe it.  Stone fences, black cypress trees, roses that made you think you were in France – it was like a movie.  It made us think about making a book about Tuscany; not that it’s not already been done, but maybe not so much the way we see it.
View at Castiglion Fiorentino   Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/canvas 12 x 16"  30 x 40 cm  450.00  
Bernie had a setback this week, with severe head shaking and then he couldn’t hold his head up properly.  Our regular vet was sure it was “grass in the ear”.  “I can’t get it out,” she told us.  “He may have to be anesthetized.”   We drove to Fiano Romano, with the three lady vets (who are tough as nails).   We heard severe moaning and crying – Berlino is a hound, after all.  Sure enough, they all emerged ten minutes later, bearing a piece of shrubbery I’d be hard pressed to imagine in my own ear.  No anesthesia.  Bernie was smiling.
On Thursday, we walked along a sort of impromptu path in Stimigliano, with a homemade wood handrail.  It is an iffy walk, because at certain times, the path is overrun by nettles.  Not this week.  To get there, one walks along a sort of driveway.  This day, a man was out there smoking a cigarette.  “Come here,” he urged, “you’ve got to see my roses”.  Spectacular.  There were several rose varieties, from a clump of climbing roses as big as a delivery van, old style pink roses, and red roses as tall as me.  It was the reds he loved, and we smelled them.  He then cut me a near five foot long example.  It turned out I had just the vase for it.
We pressed on down the nettle path, looking at the roses.    
Roses on a Square Canvas  Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/canvas 12x 12" 30 x 30 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...you get the picture.  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