Sunday, January 13, 2019

A Lesson Learned

Reflections on the Tiber  (2018)  Laurie Fox Pessemier  13 x 18"  33 x 46cm  Acrylic/canvas  275.00  
The light here has been more beautiful than ever: cold, crystal clear days.  Rosy-fingered dawns and deep purple dusks announce the ever so slightly longer daylight hours.  I would be painting outdoors were it not so cold and were we not subject to the demands of hospitality.

 We drove to Greccio last week.  Greccio is close to the city of Rieti, which is about as far as we can go and still be in our province (Rieti, in fact).  St Francis visited Greccio and founded a sanctuary there in 1209; it was the site of the first reenactment of the Nativity in 1223.  It is a climb up a rocky hill, with steps and caves. Harika joined us, rather than her usual sleeping out in the car; I think she smelled St. Francis.   When we made it to the top, over 2100 feet, it began to snow.

Stimigliano in Snow 2018     Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  18 x 15"  45 x 38 cm   295.00

Winter is a time of reflection, and I have figured out oodles of things over the past few weeks.

Today, 12 January,  my Mom’s birthday (were she still with us), I learned that it sometimes takes a long time to see another point of view.  I always had a hard time with my mother – I never thought she loved me.  But now I realize when I was born, I was not priority number 1: that was my Dad, who had been ill; I was not priority 2: that was her work, that kept us all afloat because my Dad wasn’t always working; I checked in at number 3.  And when I was 8 months old, our town and home were washed away in the flood:  all she worked for was lost.  Why didn’t I understand all this before now?  Sorry, Mom.

Not Me and Shorty (Mom) Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/newspaper  25 x 17"  63 x 43cm   135.00

We saw the cave where Francis slept.  A stream passed through the monastery, likely the source of fresh water for the place in the 13th century.  A bird was trapped in a window, and Blair freed him to fly again.  Francis, for those who don’t know, was a rich man who spurned material possessions to get back to the basics in life:  Nature, Animals, Helping the Poor.  He founded the Franciscan order of priests, who ran the school I went to for the first 9 years of my education.

This is also the birthday of our friend Reza, who taught me one of my most valuable tenets.  When he had to live temporarily at the YMCA, I said, “Gosh, Reza those are some really awful people living there.”  He replied, no, they weren’t bad, that they were just down on their luck, like he was.  Since then, I don’t judge.

European Kingfisher Fledgling 2018  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/newspaper   17 x 25"  43 x 63cm  135.00

After a number of fish dinners this holiday season, all served at restaurants without red wine, I realized that in Italy, the restaurant guides you down their own culinary path.  I believe they do it because they like you and don’t want you making a mistake.  Our latest fish restaurant had no red wine; at the New Year’s Eve fish dinner they “ran out” of red wine; at the 1 star restaurant of my birthday, red wine did not even figure into the wine list.  I thought it was kind of nice.  Unfortunately, guests never seem to go along with this.

I learned that there are things I will never be able to do.  The fact is I just can’t live with other people, even the good guest.  I apologize to them.   I’m ok for the short term stay – I’m happy with the 3 to 4 day guest, even a week.  It’s the month long boiling-bones-on-the-kitchen-stove-stay that bugs me.   

Bug 2018   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/newspaper   17 x 25"  43 x 63cm   135.00

Once you learn something, and you acknowledge it, you can move on with life.  It doesn’t mean you might not make the same mistake again, or should never venture near that path, but at least you are aware of what can happen.  A lesson learned need not be repeated.

Sheep (2018) Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/newspaper  25 x 17"  63 x 43cm   135.00

Laurie and Blair Pessemier

 ps. That said, many of this week's paintings are "repeats".  We'll be back on the job this week.  The Mary book started in December is in its final stages.

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