Artnotes: Bloom Where We’re Planted


Just Bloomed   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  20 x 24″  50 x 60cm

Why is it some weeks nothing goes on and others?  Phew, we had one of those  last week.

In Paris, we visited with more friends than we remembered:  one who converses with the trees and another that has been unraveling the secrets of life.  Our friend Vincent Gagliostro made a film, “After Louie” and we went to a showing at a wonderful apartment (with a screening room) in Paris.  It is a great film, with gentle answers to so many questions we all share.

After days of feeling like kids in the candy shop, we took Atlas to the Luxembourg Gardens, for his last walk of our trip.  We packed up our car and headed for yet another stellar destination:  Ronchamp.  What, never heard of it?


Notre-Dame-de-Haut  Blair Pessemier Acrylic/canvas  12 x 12″  30 x 30

​Ronchamp is home to Notre-Dame-de-Haut, a church designed by Le Corbusier.  A defining piece of Le Corbusier’s career, the building is set up on a hill, with a sweeping view of the Jura Mountains.  The footprint is triangular in nature; a large pivoting metal entry door was painted by the architect himself.  The walls are ten feet thick in sections, made of concrete, punctuated by small, contemporary, often single color windows.  It is breathtaking upon entry: from the brilliant sun into the deep darkness of the interior. It is a little like going into the barn, after being out in the field.  And as your eyes adjust, you see the brilliant points of color.   It is the opposite of the wide outdoor expanse: it is intimate, mysterious, beguiling.

​Interior with windows  Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  14 x 20″   35 x 50cm   275.00

You really can’t see the church until you are on top of the hill yourself.  It’s a steep walk, but short enough.  And that roof:  you see this billowy looking pillow floating atop the walls.  And it is nearly floating – supported by concrete columns, it sits above the walls themselves.   It provides a sliver of light to further illuminate the minimal interior.   The downspout which takes the water off the amazing structure is dramatic:  it creates a fountain when it rains.    There are three altars in this little church, all bathed in light from above.  A fourth altar, the oratorio, outside, is acoustically arranged so the priest might address 200 worshippers, without using a microphone.  A stone pyramid provides seating for the faithful.

​Sketches by Blair

We stayed as long as decently possible.  I spoke to a tree in the parking lot before we left for our 54 euro a night hotel nearby.  It was a deluxe truck stop on the border of France, Switzerland and Germany.  At the restaurant, Blair and Harika had the largest calf’s liver I ever saw.  There was a quite remarkable salad bar with celeriac remoulade and shaved, very fresh, radishes.   With a bottle of Bordeaux (I know, we should have been drinking a Bourgogne), the price was still less than 50 euros, although one of the truckers commented that he’d never seen a meal so expensive there.   It made me think about following a truck and painting along its route, but it was probably just the Bordeaux talking.

We came home to roses in bloom and the prospect of an art show in Modena, in September/October 2017.   We’ll bloom where we are planted.

​Red Roses in a Vase   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  12 x 12  30 x 30cm  175.00

Blair’s book, Paths in the Woods is doing well, thanks to all of our friends and family.  If somehow, you were left out of the announcement, take a look at:



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