Sunday, May 18, 2014

Artnotes: (thinking of) Far Away Places

 Madame Tourne-Bouchon   Blair Pessemier  acrylic on linen  16 x 11"  41 x 27 cm

Today we met a man from Afghanistan at our morning café (really it’s Harika’s café, Pierre and Andre’s place, where they love her and give her sausages).  The Afghani is working in the neighbhorhood as a menusier, or specialty woodworker.  Blair saw the opportunity to get to know him better and offer a little work.  We have two drawers which never were properly fitted (actually, the backs were broken off to accommodate a pipe) and finished in our kitchen cabinet:  lickety-split he was over.   

He showed us pictures of Afghanistan.  Would I paint him a picture of the mountain which just had the landslide?  Of course. “ I will send you many pictures of Afghanistan, so you know – the real country, not the country you see on the news.”  He means the infernal war, the Taliban, the awfulness of it all.
We visit a little – we ask him about boats.  Boats?  Afghanistan doesn’t even have a seacoast.  I see a picture of his brother – “he was little when I left, now he is big and he shaves.  It makes me so sad when I look at this picture.  I have never known him.”  But the key in the picture is the river.  “See, we have a river, and there are boats.  This river comes from the mountain and brings water to Kabul.”  I hope Coca-cola never figures that out.  “People protect the river,” he continues “we all need it.”  The reason the mountain slid and killed 2000 people is because the people moved so close to the mountain to have water.

Allee in the Luxemoburg Gardens   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic on panel  12 x 12"  30 x 30 cm
I am so sorry I can’t go see Afghanistan myself.  Actually, Damascus in Syria was the place I most wanted to live after Tunisia.  Damascus was the oldest continuously occupied city on earth. Neither place is open to visitors now.  

Blair and I have lived in a charmed age where travel was cheap and easy and not everyone hated Americans.  Blair went to school in Rome, visited Istanbul on his own.  Those days are gone and to insure our continued stay-put-ness, we have Harika.  “You’re going where? NO WAY” her eyes bespeak her thoughts.  We have probably lasted longer because of her silent protests.  We have to be satisfied with meeting people from all over in cafes -- living in the big city has advantages.
We are thinking of going to Nimes on Sunday.  Blair found a grand house we could rent and put up people for art lessons.  Eventually we’ll turn it into a  retirement home for our more interesting friends.  We’ll hire good-looking help.  The politically incorrect police could be all over me.  A real French chef.

Oddly enough, our student on Thursday has had a similar idea:  to open a home for orphaned old folks.  Each one will have an orphan dog.  Harika isn’t as keen on that, but I am happy to hear other people are thinking the same way as me.  I read about people who are 100 are happier than many younger people.  And they ate whatever seemed good to them.  Hooray.

 Jean Lux   Blair Pessemier  Arylic on panel  12 x 12"  30 x 30 cm
 Three planters   Blair Pessemier  Acyrlic on linen  13 x 16"  33 x 41 cm
 Pont des Arts 15 May   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  11 x 16"  27 x 41 cm
 Shades of Violet   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  12 x 19.5"  30 x 58 cm
 Ile de la Cite 15 May   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  15 x 18"  38 x 46 cm
 Irises 15 May  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/panel  14 x 11"  27 x 35 cm

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