Saturday, April 26, 2014

Once upon a time

 View le Loir   Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/linen 25.5 x 32 inches  65 x 81 cm
 Country Living   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen18 x 25.5 inches  45 x 65 cm
 Looking down the Path   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  32 x 25.5 inches  81 x 65 cm
 Willow over river   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  12 x 20 inches  30 x 50 cm
 River at Troo  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  11 x 14 inches  27 x 35 cm
 Iris by Window  Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  10.5 x 16 inches  27 x 41 cm
 View from house at Troo   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  10.5 x 16 inches  27 x 41 cm

Blossoming Trees by the River  Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  18 x 25.5   46 x 65 cm
Iris by the Wall  Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  12 x 12"  30 x 30 cm

ARTNOTES:   Once upon a Time

A couple of weeks ago, riding on the 63 bus, I noticed a train engine outside the Arab Institute.  Even though we were close to the Gare Austerlitz, an errant engine, both in space and time, just wasn’t possible.   But there it was, parked in the courtyard of the Arab Institute, for the exposition:  Once Upon a Time on the Orient Express.
The engine, built in France in 1922, is the classic engine one associates with this romantic train.  The real romance is in the cars:  we toured THE ACTUAL CARS, imagining our trip from Paris to Venice to Istanbul, in the first half of the 20th century.   One can picture the fictitious Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, all aboard:  and if that isn’t enough, their clothes, their books, cards, etc. are all artfully lying about.  The cars were designed by Lalique, in a true deco style.  A cabin set up with cards and a (near) smoking hubble-bubble was full of Arabic talk;  a newspaper on a table in the salon announces the start of the war; Graham Greene’s typewriter sits before his chair; Josephine Baker’s gloves and cigarette holder announce her seat.   The French president, in his pajamas, fell out of the train window one night.  Real or imaginary, the characters surrounding the Orient Express and the train itself, thrilled my imagination. 

Thus inspired we hired a Hertz car and made our voyage to the valley of le Loir this week.  In fact, we did so to escape the fumes from the polyurethane being applied to the wood stairs and floors in our building.  The renovation of public areas in our little building is still underway, since 15 January.   We joke about how Pessemier’s Commercial Interior Design used to “roll out” an Eddie Bauer store (significantly larger), from design to building to opening in a mere six weeks.  Ah, France, what has happened here?

We made our escape to the village of Troo, next door to Montoire-sur-le-Loir (inside a triangle with points Orleans/Vendome/Tours).   I felt like I was in 1930s France, with men in berets and hunting jackets with a loaf of bread under their arm.  This was a most curious place, with homes in caves (troglodyte).   We rented a small house (40 euros a night) which was part of a large, Renaissance chateau, overlooking fields of wheat, rapeseed and grapes.  Grapes grew beside our little house, with its black and white tile floors and 13 foot ceilings.    There were many buildings, some quite lovely, for rent or sale in the Loir et Cher region.   Farm equipment slowed down traffic, sparse at best.  We managed to paint nine paintings, some quite large, in just three days, which will give you an idea of the magnificent views.

Harika ran and rolled in grass, ran away from big farm cats, and chased rabbits.  It was with regret we drove back to Paris to find, yes, the work on the building is still going on.

PS:  Not everyone in Paris, however, works slowly.  On Friday last we had an appointment with a lawyer. “I’ll meet you exactly at 12:15” he said. Generally, if we are on time, people make fun of us, where a minimum 15 minute delay gives the “je ne sais quoi”.   He confirmed 30 minutes before. A young man of great ambition, with Jewish and Tunisian roots, worked over the holiday weekend, collecting our information, and on Monday (another holiday here) he delivered our new BUSINESS LICENSE.  Hallelujah!

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