Sunday, October 02, 2011

2 October in Paris

 Bridge morning   Laurie Fox PESSEMIER   Acrylic on wood  7 x 19.5 inches  

Louvre  Blair PESSEMIER   Acrylic on linen   15 x 18 inches  SOLD
Louvre and Seine  Laurie Fox PESSEMIER   Acrylic on wood   7 x 13 inches     SOLD

Artnotes: a wink and a strut

Even though Paris is thought of as a dog-friendly place, it is very difficult to find a park which accepts dogs.  The little corner parks have a sign sporting a dog on leash, with a big red “x” on it.  In our neighborhood, only one corner of the Luxembourg Gardens is designated dog-friendly, and then all canines must be on leash.
Don’t get me wrong , Harika isn’t suffering.  Yesterday she went to three cafes.  For breakfast, at the Tourne-Bouchon,  where Omar greets her in Tunisian.  For afternoon “tea” we go to the Fleurus where Pierre plies our little beast with cookies and a bowl of water.  And this Friday evening, we went to the Hippocampus to hear a new combo – Harika only goes for a bit of the last set, on her last walk of the evening.
Things have really perked up at the Hippocampus (not to be confused with the Hippopotamus  all-you-can-eat restaurant chain – honestly, wouldn’t you feel a little bad about a turning into a hippo?  Maybe that’s the strategy…).  Our “Hippo” is a jazz club. 
It is my idea of a perfect jazz club, that is:  imperfect.  It is accessible, yet with professional musicians.  The food is mediocre, at best.  But I can go there, be a regular, and enjoy the crowd as much as the music.   A middle-aged French woman with red hair wears a blue flare-skirted dancing dress, with red and white piping;  I know she hopes to dance, but the men are glued to their seats.  I encourage two Americans to leave a good tip for JB, the waiter.  He’s the only waitstaff left, and now he has more than a dozen tables to serve.   The lights are a little too bright, and the interior has the sense of a designer who never saw New Orleans (neither have I, so maybe IT IS authentic?).  There are pictures of Jazz musicians in 3-D, plantation shutters, a neon saxophone, and the ceiling looks like the night sky with sparkling stars.    The music is still playing when we leave at midnight and walk around the block – it’s still warm enough to be wearing a sleeveless dress.   I think of New Orleans.
I never think “perfect” things are perfect.  A Louis Vuitton handbag may be perfectly turned out, but does it have any character?  I never like those showdogs at Westminster – give me a mutt with a wink and a strut any old day. 
Impressionist painting made painting “imperfect”.  John Singer Sargent’s portraits tell a more interesting story than Gainsborough’s.    One wonders what goes on in the mind of an “imperfect” Toulouse Lautrec painted performer.  Imperfection leaves room for interpretation and hypothesis.
I paint the Seine, and the hideous Bateaux Mouche (tour boat) floats by:  worse yet, at night, its  spotlights blinding passers-by.  But it is Paris: a perfect city riddled with crazy French ideas.  A homeless man gave me two hot pink Eiffel Tower key chains the other day – the idea of a beggar giving me something, much less the icon of the city we live in was, well, imperfectly perfect.

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