Sunday, April 08, 2018

The Bluest Skies

 Waiter  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  19. x 8  50 x 20cm 

 Kone and Djeneba   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  14 x 14"   36 x m36cm

 ​Blossoms  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  18 x 13   45 x 33cm

 ​Blossoms  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  18 x 13   45 x 33cm

 ​Chickens not peacocks    Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  15 x 18  38 x 45cm

In the Yard   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas ​ 15 x 18  38 x 45cm

Where did the week go? I feel like I accomplished nothing.  I did make our reservation to go see my father in Connecticut in June/July.  He’s in a rest home at the moment, with a broken pelvis.  We are hoping he makes it back to his apartment by the time we visit, otherwise we’ll be bathing with the spiders.  If only to remind me, I noticed a daddy-longlegs (a questionable spider) hanging on the wall above my shower here in Rocca Malatina yesterday. 

We went to a marvelous art show this week:  the work of Alberto Pasini, an artist from the Parma area.  He visited Persia in 1855 with an official entourage, and made the sketches and paintings from that trip  into his life’s work.  There were over 100 images in all, but 6 of monumental scale, shown at the Salon in Paris in the 1860s.

The exhibit was spectacular on many levels.  As our friend G, who accompanied us, said, “…just the clothes from times past were so much more interesting and beautiful than today.”  Colorful cottons and silks, worn in dramatic style made the people in the pictures seem fantastic.  Camel trains with colorful tents; a caravan waking at dawn;  fruit and vegetable markets, all provided extraordinary subject matter.

Pasini’s eye lent itself to dramatic perspectives, of which he was a master.  A scene on the steps of the blue mosque in Instanbul is large enough and perfect enough to step into.   Huge landscapes, with clouds casting shadows on the plains beneath, were chock full of human and animal vignettes which enhanced the picture (not always the case).   The brilliant sense of sun and shadow was the inspiration I most came away with:  was the world brighter, crispier 175 years ago?  Maybe.

The air was terribly polluted yesterday in the Pianura Padana (the Po Valley), where Parma sits.  I had to use my inhaler, something I’ve only done once since leaving Paris.  I am lucky to live at a higher elevation, which is less affected by the smog.  Besides the horrible effect on health, the pollution changes the sky color to a more whitish-beige-blue.  When modern pollution enters an area it is hard to see those beautiful colored skies Pasini or even the impressionists painted.  I recall the day a photographer attending my painting workshop in Paris said, “what has happened?  Why is the sky is so dull?”  And I realized then, that the light I had moved to Paris for was no longer.

The light around Rome remains quite lovely, especially in the surrounding hills, like Stimigliano.  It is very golden/yellow.  It is such an important thing to a visual artist.  Of course, being able to breathe has its own merits.

The grounds of the Fondazione Magnani-Rocca are beautiful by themselves.  The enormous trees were just in bud, and the peacocks were displaying their plumage.  After a delicious lunch, we visited the foundation’s permanent collection, including Renoirs, Morandis, and Cezannes, before climbing the hills back to Rocca Malatina, an hour away.

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