Sunday, February 09, 2020

Artnotes: What a Difference a Place Makes

Hydrangea and Friends  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Mixed Media     16 x 12"  30 x 40 cm 

Selling Shoes at the Zocca Market   Blair  Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  16 x 16"  40 x 40:  

At the Zocca Market   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  12 x 12"  30 x 30cm

Lizard with Red Leaves  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Mixed Media  16 x 20"  40 x 50cm  

Zinnias on Black   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Mixed media/paper 12 x 16"  40 x 30cm 

When I was very young, before color TV, I used to spend a lot of time at my grandmother’s house.  I could go over there, hang out, look out her window across the river to Main Street, raid the pantry, draw pictures.    I had a host of hang-outs then – the Nelsons, who lived upstairs (I wrote my first story for them); the Renzas house (they had 6 kids, so it wasn’t always relaxing); and a converted a section of our garage/barn for reading and imagining.   It wasn’t as if I weren’t happy at home, it was just that I needed some perspective to appreciate it.

When Blair and I lived in Seattle, before cell phones, I used to take our  dog, Muttie, a Jack Russell, and rent a travel trailer on the Washington Coast.   She and I would fire up the surely dangerous heater, and make grill cheese or spaghetti on the stove.  We’d walk on the beach and I’d talk to God.   Blair never had that same need for a private venue, but he soon discovered the sheer fun of a new place.

When we lived in Paris, we’d spend our summers at Hemlock Lodge, in Winsted, Connecticut.  It was as if I were born again, and could see with completely new eyes.   In winter, we would spend a month in southern France, or Venice, painting and writing. 

Maybe I am part nomad, but I always remember a Moroccan taxi driver telling me, “you must get away in order to enjoy the place where you live.”

Here in Italy, we have the “big house” in Rocca Malatina, and the little apartment outside of Rome.  It’s less than four hours between them, and although both are in Italy, they are completely different.   Rocca Malatina is a northern village.  People value work, and education, and are always doing something.  Our 90+ year old friend, V, is planting his garden, painting the fence, putting on dinners at Alpini headquarters.  A is managing her Art Foundation.   Stimigliano, outside of Rome, is southern Italy.  People visit in the big square.  Kids go to school, or not.  Cafes are full of locals.   There is an acceptance, to the point of pride, in doing nothing.   We are complete weirdoes there because we get up early in the morning (the light is best for art), travel to Rome for pleasure once a week, write books, paint pictures, cook:   DO things. 

We have gone from being completely deflated last week in Stimigliano to:  painting outdoors at the market in Zocca; figuring out a new art technique using paper and black; painting a new portrait; sending out solicitations to take our baseball show (with a positive response!); spoken, via telephone, to old friends, one of whom really turned my thinking around; finished my landing page; and Blair applied for a job in the USA.
What a difference a place makes!!

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