Beginning April, 2012, we'll be offering a regular Giverney Trip -- once or twice a week...along with Auvers sur Oise (Van Gogh's final home)!
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
“... painting “en plein air” is WONDERFUL” according to painter/teacher Laurie Fox PESSEMIER. Imagine standing in the Luxembourg Gardens surrounded by manicured trees, and brilliant flowers, against the backdrop of the Luxembourg Palace, built for Maria de Medici, the mother of Louise XIII. In this setting your paintbrush fills the canvas with the bright colors of high summer, or the earth tones of fall. “You haven’t painted until you’ve painted outside”.
Not all painters are realists, or impressionists: the May workshop hosted two abstract painters. “Each painter sees things differently,” Pessemier notes. “I’ve never had two even remotely similar renditions of the same scene.”
Most tourists don’t bring their paints to Paris. That is why Laurie and Blair Pessemier have several sets of acrylic paints ready for their students. Along with easels and brushes, palettes and canvases, the Pessemiers and their entourage can be seen in the Luxembourg Gardens, along the Seine, or out at Giverney most days between May and October.
“We paint a picture in the morning,” Laurie explains, “and then take lunch, where we can clean our hands and brushes”. Often the group will go to a museum for an hour or so, to replenish their font of inspiration. An afternoon session of painting ensues. “I am more at ease after I warm up in the morning,” Pessemier says – she paints right alongside the students.
But what about RAINY DAYS? There are cafes, and passages, according to Pessemier. “I paint at a café nearly every afternoon I am not teaching.” La Palette, Le Rostand, Le Fumoir (a little dark), or Cafe Panis are usual haunts – painters add to the ambiance of the café and to date, have never been asked to leave.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Blair and Laurie painted these side by side this morning (Sunday) between 9:30 and 11 AM Same view.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
I have always theorized that children teach their parents, not the other way around. And I think the same is for my painting students. Today we had our first of this season’s painting sessions, and our two painters taught us a thing or two. As Blair and I noodled out another depiction of the Pont des Arts, the woman I painted with created an abstract composition of quintessential Paris. We started out a little nervously, but in no time at all, our paintings were complete.
Blair and his fellow occupied the other side of the river. His associate painted in oil, the scene in front of him but oh, so far away. It was like standing on the quai next to Milton Avery. I was so impressed by them. Remarkable.
Our week plus has been action packed, and these notes a little truncated. While two students arrived a day early and left on Thursday, another arrived three days late, so the “week” of teaching is now ten days. I’m pooped.
At Giverny, we visited the gardens and the house Monet lived in. The highlight for me was the visit to the museum, where we saw Bonnard’s paintings of Normandy. M and I studied the brush strokes and the colors: Bonnard and I share a palette of turquoise, magenta and lemon yellow. Fortified with inspiration from three corners, we retired to a nearby field to paint.
Another friend, M2, needed a day out of Paris and we gave him an easel and canvas so he could play along. The four of us turned out radically different pictures. Painting at Giverny was much more “public” than our earlier roosts. People treated us as if we were yet another feature of the official visit, and we talked with folks from all over the world.
Blair has joined me in the “ham” department – we have come to accept and enjoy the banter and shutter-snapping. I like to think it encourages other people to try their hand at expression.
We’ve been to the Luxembourg Gardens and will go to the Eiffel Tower, Seine near Notre Dame, and the Bois de Boulogne before we call it a workshop. Who knows what visual surprises tomorrow will have to offer?
Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Blair and I painted on the banks of the Seine this week. Despite very grey weather, we sat on the stones and painted the willow. When the two of us paint together, it is quite amusing: we never see things the same. I think something must happen when the subject enters the “interpretive” part of our brain. I translate three dimensions into two with bright colors. Blair has a sense of perspective.
The dilemma of the “plein air” painter is to put a three-dimensional object onto a two dimensional surface. This dynamic, when the dynamo is working, transmits the spark, the individual interpretation, a little bit of the painter’s muse onto the canvas. It is this interpretation which makes a painting unique. A photo is already two dimensional, so when painting from photo, one copies what one sees. En plein air, one is forced to transfer the actual volume of the scene onto a flat surface. The roughness of the stones, the gloom under the bridge, the willow branches skimming the water can all be suggested by the artist.
While we were painting, two men were taking pictures of one another beneath the tree. Later, they asked if they could photograph Harika; one of them WITH Harika; one with me and my painting (Harika crashed that scene). I just love that one day our photos will appear in some far away photo album, and years hence a daughter will say, “this was my Dad when he went to Paris back in 2011”.
The crocuses are in bloom in the garden, and I can never tell if it is someone’s perfume or the scent of flowers wafting through the air when we are out walking the dog.
My goal is always to finish my painting in one swoop. It’s never the same if I have to “go back”: the light is different, my brain is different. I paint “loosely” when I paint outside. In doing so, I leave lots of room for the viewer to finish the scene in his own head.
Although one thinks mainly of figurative painting when painting “en plein air”, it is not strictly limited to painting what one exactly sees. Paul Klee and John Marin painted outdoors. Turner, who painted brilliantly “atmospheric” canvases, was a dedicated “plein air-ist”. He is alleged to have tied himelf to the mast of a ship to realize the impact of a storm at sea. I don’t think we’ll go that far.