Sunday, July 25, 2021

Artnotes: What is Vacation?


Pont Neuf   Blair Pessemier  acrylic/canvas 16 x 24"  40 x 60 cm  590.00
What is a vacation?  It’s a provocative question, not always obvious.  It elicits ideas of ideal sunshine, a light breeze, a calm sea.  But really, it’s not usually like that, and at least for me, too much perfect is boring.  There have to be certain things that happen on a trip that make me think.  There was no shortage of those events on this trip.
Flowers by the Sea, Bretagne  Laurie Pessemier acrylic/newspaper 17  x 25" 41 x 63cm  260.00
Coming from Italy, I made a halfway reservation in Macon, France to stay the night.  There were actually three Ibis Hotels there, and we visited two before we finally found the one our reservation was at. It was a struggle, and made me say I’d never book the hotel again – Blair could do it.  Harika loved the air-conditioned comfort and “cloud 9” (memory foam) mattress.  But mostly she liked the trip to the Buffalo Grill, a poor first French meal in our estimation, but she ate as much hamburger as we did.  We ordered a good bottle of wine.
Tai Chi in the Luxembourg Gardens   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/antique paper 14 x 8"  35 x 25cm  110.00 
Our Paris accommodations were due to the generosity of friends, who will certainly get the best room in heaven, based on their kindness.  We painted in her studio.  Cafes have started serving "cocktails", formerly not a big deal in Paris.  Scooters and bicycles outnumber cars.  We entertained old friends at the dining table, making chicken with a gastrique and blue cheese; "extra fins" haricots verts and gnocchi.  We started with gazpacho and ended with a French raspberry tart.  We talked about Art.
Cafe de l'Orleans with Waiter  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/linen  16 x20"  40 x 50 cm  690.00
When an unvaccinated person came to stay at the large apartment, we changed venues and moved to visit friends in Bretagne.   Despite our vaccinations, it is possible to still get a mild form of Covid, which can, in our case (one of us has a serious condition, triggered by respiratory illness), be a killer.   The vaccination issue was a big one while we were in France.  Please, please please:  get the vaccine.  Otherwise, this misery will outlive you.
Cafe:  Madame la Proprietaire  Laurie Pessemier  Acrylic/carton  14 x 10"  35 x 25cm   150.00
Bretagne was truly ideal:  sun, breezes and a delightful (northern) Atlantic.  Icy dips (Harika went in 4 times in one day) spurred ideas.   We had wonderful conversations about everything, over fresh clams gathered from the sea out front, oysters and fish caught by a neighbor.   It was the first time I had mullet which was not smelly:  the thing was to catch it in the clear sea, not in brackish or muddy waters.
Oak Leaves over the Water, Pont Aven   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/antique paper 8  x14"  20 x 35cm  110.00
Returning to a Paris with new restrictions we encountered more Thugs in suits monitoring the entry to just about everything.  Is this Moscow? We have a green pass, but the Jewish Museum in Paris (AEJM) refused to recognize our EU certification from Italy.  I suspect this was highly illegal, certainly discriminatory (the Orsay had let us in the day before, no problem) but the Thug in a very expensive suit said, “I can’t take the chance of letting you in” (it didn’t stop him from cramming into the one person exit pod with Blair – scary, in fact, but [the thug] determined to prove his dominance).  He similarly detained two children of the couple in front of us.  Another guy left out of fear.  I am not kidding; I felt like a pariah....
Two Geese out of Water   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  10 x 18"   25 x 45cm  330.00
Against my better judgement, I made another room reservation for our early departure from Paris.  We stayed in the Italian Alps (90 degrees!).  We ate pizzas beneath a tent with the Italian Alpine folk and it was wonderful.  There was no hot water in our room.
You can see it was a trip of ups and downs.  The very best part was visiting with several good friends who are older and wiser than us. They soldier on and so will we, ready for next year.

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