“... 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.