Sunday, January 25, 2015

Artnotes: Shut the Shutter

Blue Boat  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas 12 x 16" 30 x 40cm
 Toward Guidecca   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  9 x 16"  23 x 41 cm
 Bridge near the Vegetable Seller   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  15 x 7.5"  39 x 19 cm
 Reflections of Windows   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  21.5 x 18  56 x 46 cm
  High water  Blair Pessemier  acrylic/canvas 16 x 12" 40 x 30cm
Across the Accademia Bridge  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  16 x 12" 40 x 30cm
  Light on the Water at Dawn   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas 16 x 12" 40 x 30cm
 Mooring   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  16 x 16  40 x 40 cm
 Alilaguna   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas 9.5 x 12"  24 x 30 cm
 Confetti Morning   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas 12 x 16" 30 x 40cm
   Well on our Street   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas 16 x 12" 40 x 30cm
 Tree with Church  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas 12 x 16" 30 x 40cm
 Gondolier at Ca d'oro  Blair Pessemier  21.5 x 18  56 x 46 cm

Artnotes:  Shut the Shutter

Five middle-aged men in a gondola ply the rio not far from the Piazzo San Marco.  All but one is holding an Ipad, cover dangling like the seat of their skivvies, looking AT the screen rather than at their fantastic surroundings.  

Nearly everywhere I go here, people are looking at screens rather than the view.  The most hawked item here on the street is the “selfie stick”, so you can hold your Iphone three feet away from your face to get a good picture.  It’s alarming.  But actually, I am having such a good time, I don’t care what those poor suckers are doing.

There is an art to looking, and Venice is a feast for the eyes.   The color is shocking:  pink skies in the morning;  water that is actually turquoise/blue, even when the sun isn’t on it;  stones that glow a soft yellow gold; not to mention the actual gold mosaic tiles that adorn some edifices.   Brick towers tilt this way and that; a pointed, byzantine arch sits near a Palladian-style window; a shrine is tucked at the end of the street.

It’s impossible to see when one is clicking, or in many cases, video-ing away.  Everything is reduced to two dimensions.   One of the most interesting comments I hear in our outdoor painting workshop in Paris, from people who used to paint from photographs is, “there is so much AROUND me”.  It is that atmosphere that adds to the impression in one’s mind, so much deeper than a photo.   And that impression is what follows you home, inspires you to write, to make jewelry, to paint your kitchen Venetian blue.  I don’t hold a paintbrush ALL the time, and we do take photographs, but we try to keep it to a minimum.

Most surprising this week has been the many museums we are visiting.  I am not such a museum-goer, really, but when we went to the Peggy Guggenheim collection, the floodgates of my Art History education flew open.  Like old friends (and some were – a number of artists had spoken at the Hartford Art School when I was there), I recognized the work of Mitchell, Penrose, Pollack, Paul Klee.  In contrast, the next day we visited the Ducale Palace, with one of Europe’s largest rooms, and paintings by Titian, Bellini, Tintoretto.   Today at the Accademia we saw a Giorgione and Piera della Francesca.

We are still painting daily, in the very early mornings.  Friday, a photographer stood directly in front of me (I could almost touch her), with a tripod, to take a picture.  I stood up from my bench, hoping I wouldn’t take her tripod and break if over my knee, when she peeped, “oh, am I in your way?”  They could have heard my response  back in Paris.

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