Sunday, May 17, 2015

Artnotes: Looking for a .... STAMP!

Iris by the gate     Blair Pessemier  Acrylic on canvas  14 x 20"  35 x 50 cm

 Iris Dark Background   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic on canvas  20 x 12   50 x 30cm
 Iris Yellow Background   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  15 x 22.5"  37 x 56 cm
 Behind our house    Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  12 x 16" 30 x 40cm
 Iris at the wall   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  14 x 20" 35 x 50cm
View from the Tower   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  18 x 24   45 x 60 cm

Artnotes:   Looking for a ... STAMP!

"I want another job," the man behind the window says, in English, "you think I am joking but I am not".  In fact, I just wanted him to stamp our passport, a now near-impossible feat in Europe.  We listen to his qualifications.  He'd be great on a security detail involving international commercial shipping -- he knows lots about trucks, speaks  several languages, young.    In case you need someone.

We had just been to the Swiss border (45 euros for a tax sticker for the car), only to turn around to try to get a passport stamp showing our entry into Italy.  No dice.  

Despite our Schengen Visa (it doesn't say Schengen anyplace on here, the Italian official tells us), we are required to have documentation of our passage from France into Italy, to validate our lease agreement.   So, we took the opportunity to drive up to the lovely Lake Como, and onto Lugano, Switzerland to procure said documentation.

At our first go around, we were waved through by the border patrol, despite protestations that we wanted a stamp.  "Go to the Police in Como", he tells us.  At a Carbinieri office we sit in the waiting room with a deranged-looking partially undressed man, while the only policemen on duty conducts a lengthy and hysterical interview with a mother and her son.  The policeman eventually sends us to the Questra, where we meet Franco, looking for another job.

Lake Como is more beautiful than I imagined it: enormous green hills surrounding a lake deep in the valley.  The architecture is wonderful, the city clean, the people are happy.  Despite the poor weather we were having, it was a great outing.  We lunched on the best risotto we've eaten to date.

It was our second outing this week, the first to see the Boldini show in Forli.  It was an extensive representation of Boldini paintings -- he is often just associated with pictures of attenuated, flighty women in evening dresses and pearls.  He actually is a marvelous portraitist, as well as landscape painter.   He enjoyed the support and communal inspiration of the Impressionist artists, and writers and musicians of the day (portraitist of John Singer Sargent, Giuseppe Verdi, Robert de Montesquieu). We continued our trek to the Adriatic, where we ate fried squid at a roadside stand, and Harika and I frolicked in the sea.

Franco suggests to us we try another border crossing, as he steps out from behind the counter and gives us his resume.  A dozing priest awakes in his chair.  Have the prayers worked, it is his turn?  We say goodbye and Franco (thankfully) resumes his post.

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