Where I'm Calling From...

WHERE I'M CALLING FROM©2012 Felice PanagrossoMixed Media on Phone Book Page10.5 x 6.5 inches

WHERE I’M CALLING FROM
©2012 Felice Panagrosso
Mixed Media on Phone Book Page
10.5 x 6.5 inches

Doodling on a page from an obsolete Saint Germain-en-Laye phone book (I keep wanting to say Facebook). It’s obsolete for two reasons. First it was last year’s phone book. Second, who uses phone books nowadays anyway?

I wonder about the connection between these particular people on this particular page. They all live in the same town. Their names all begin with the same letter – M.  I myself am somewhere in this book but not on this page.

I’ve re-organized the relationships between these names by sketching, then painting skyscrapers/apartment buildings around them. Now at least they are grouped in the same neighborhood, each on a different floor.  But in reality I realize they are probably not connected to each other at all.  I also realize that some of these people have probably left town and don’t belong in the book at all.  Like me.

In Raymond Carver’s short story, “Where I’m Calling From” the narrator struggles with feelings of social alienation, and wanting to escape his own identity.  We actually never even learn his name.

-Felice

Open Carry on Cape Cod...

Have Brush, Will Travel...

Have Brush, Will Travel…

On my last trip to the US, Painting Safari 2016, I decided to Open Carry (my brushes). Now I know that Massachusetts is not a traditional Open Carry state. It is not a crime for license holders, but they have sometimes been known to have their permits revoked. Things are becoming more difficult for painters!  I can’t believe that plein-air painting is even illegal in some parts of Florida.   But I decided to exercise my Constitutional rights, and carry at least one piece out in the open.  I always carry heavy whether concealed or not.

And I always keep my brushes loaded.

Here is a photo of my holster.

Holster

Holster

In this baby I can carry everything from “cannons” like my Langnickel Royal Sable Short Handled Flat, to “pea-shooters” like the Kolinsky Winsor-Newton, size 0.  With this arsenal I’m ready for anything, because you just never know.

IN THE WOODS©2016 Felice PanagrossoOil on Panel10 x 8 inches

IN THE WOODS
©2016 Felice Panagrosso
Oil on Panel
10 x 8 inches

Until next time,

-Felice

Current Expositions:  My painting, Fairmount Theater II, is featured at Flux Factory, in Long Island City, New York, now through October 16, 2016.  The show is entitled “Picturing the Unprintable.”

Please Click Here, for more information.

 

 

 

Now at Flux Factory, Picturing the Unprintable...

FAIRMOUNT THEATER II©2014 Felice PanagrossoOil on Canvas<br15 x 24 inches

FAIRMOUNT THEATER II
©2014 Felice Panagrosso
Oil on Canvas

This painting, Fairmount Theater II, is featured in an Exposition entitled  “Picturing the Unprintable” at Flux Factory 39-31 29t Street, Long Island City, New York.  It was the subject of my post of February 28, 2015 (On Becoming a Serial Finisher).  The opening is tonight, October 7, 2016 and the show runs until October 16.  The show was inspired by the novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Earnest Hemingway.  It explores the idea of what is showable or printable and what is not, and how we might express the idea of what is ugly and obscene.  

-Felice

 

 

 

 

L'Heure Bleue (The Blue Hour)

L'Heure Bleue (unfinished)©2016 PanagrossoOil on Canvas25 x 25 centimeters

L’Heure Bleue (unfinished)
©2016 Panagrosso
Oil on Canvas
25 x 25 centimeters

I thought the Blue Hour only occurred in France, perhaps because it was here in Paris that I first appreciated it.  But in fact, the Blue Hour can occur anywhere on earth, either in the city or in the countryside.  In Spain it’s called La Hora Azul.

During twilight, when the sun descends between 4 and 6 degrees below the horizon, the Blue Hour can happen.  A lot depends on temperature, the amount of haze, moisture and pollutants in the air, but basically the blue waves of light from the sun diffuse into the atmosphere.  They remain visible to us, while the reddish waves escape into space. I suppose this is why the sky is blue in the first place.  But the blue of Blue Hour is much more intense, cold, vivid and saturated than the normal color of a blue sky.

The Blue Hour has inspired writers, musicians, filmmakers and photographers as well as painters.  The multi-disciplinary Belgian artist Jan Fabre produced a series of drawings called The Hour Blue.  Click here to see a video of his collaboration with the Kunsthistorishces Museum in Vienna.

-Felice

 

The Candy Man...

THE CANDY MAN©2016 Felice PanagrossoOil on Panel10 x 8 inches

THE CANDY MAN (study)
©2016 Felice Panagrosso
Oil on Panel
10 x 8 inches

Dear Friends and Family,

Candy has always played an important part in my life. My first memory of candy was as a little boy playing in my back yard. Mrs. Nolan would sit in her open window next door, on the second floor. She’d call to me and throw a paper bag filled with candy. It would sometimes get stuck in the grape arbor and I’d have to climb up to get it, but she was generally a good shot. My last memory of Mrs Nolan was when they took her away to the hospital for the last time. I was playing across the street on my friend’s stoop. She called to me and waved. I waved back, but I didn’t run across the street to talk to her or to give her a hug. I feel bad about that to this day.

We lived in a three family house owned by my grandmother. She had a tenant, Rosie, who lived on the third floor. As a boy I’d climb the stairs to Rosie’s flat in the mornings. She’d give me a cup of coffee and let me play with a big box of junk in her closet. Junk to her but treasure to me: parts of machines, ball bearings, tools, old jars and pottery. Then she’d give me two pieces of bubble gum, Bazooka bubble gum. It was always hard as a rock, at least when you first put it in your mouth.

My Dad, also, loved candy. He’d have birthday parties for us, with our friends and cousins, where each place setting was a paper plate piled high with candy. Chocolate bars, candy buttons, Junior Mints, wax lips, Good N’ Plenty. I still have home movies of these parties. Things would start off calm enough, but after about twenty minutes the sugar would hit our bloodstream and we’d all be bouncing off the walls.

Later, when I was grown up with my own kids, my Dad would carry hard candies in his pockets to give to them. Werther’s Caramels usually. I’d tell him not to give candy to the kids because it’s bad for them. He’d ignore me, thank goodness. He could always be counted on to have a Hershey’s Golden Bar (or two) stashed away for my Mom. Later, when we moved to France I’d take the kids to our local penny candy store. They’d make up candy bags to take to the States to give to Poppy.

He was the original Candy Man.

-Felice

How do you find a missing train...?

Gare du Nord

GARE DU NORD
©2002 Felice Panagrosso
Pen and Ink on Paper
50 x 65 centimeters

This is the time of year when people really start traveling in France. The two week school vacation for Parisian children has just ended, and the May holidays are still to come.  Train stations and airports have been busy with families going to the north and west coasts, and the south of France, or to other parts of Europe.  In a month or two the school trips for springtime will begin.  College students will be returning from abroad, being met at airports and railway stations.  Then come the summer vacations.

This is the Gare du Nord, in Paris, the busiest train station in Europe, and in fact the busiest train station in the world, outside of Japan.  It is one of six large train stations that serve Paris, connecting inter-city trains, suburban trains, and the Paris metro lines.

Claude Monet painted the Paris train stations.  He painted a series of paintings of the Gare St-Lazare, at least one of which you can see in the Musee D’Orsay.  He was interested in the changing light, the colors, the smoke and steam from the railway engines and early morning mist.  Unlike the steam engines of Monet’s time, the high-speed trains in my drawing above produce no smoke.  In this drawing of the Gare du Nord I focused on the line and structure of the station, in contrast to the movement of the crowds of people moving from place to place.

Please don't paint the Monuments...

LA MADELEINE©2016 Felice PanagrossoOil on Panel24 x 16 centimeters

LA MADELEINE
©2016 Felice Panagrosso
Oil on Panel
24 x 16 centimeters

I never paint the Monuments.  There is something about a place, especially Paris, that I prefer to capture by painting the stones, the streets, the waterways, and the light.  I’ve painted many pictures of Paris, which you can see here, but this is one exception.  This is La Madeleine (Church of Saint Mary Magdalene).

La Madeleine was completed in 1828, as a temple to glorify Napoleon’s Army.  It doesn’t look like a church to me, as there’s no steeple. As a matter of fact is was modeled after the Roman temple at Nîmes, called Maison Carrée. The funeral of Frédéric Chopin was held at La Madeleine, on October 30, 1849.  Its history is complicated, as you can imagine, and you can read more here.

La Madeleine is located in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, just north of Place de la Concorde, and just south of the shop where I buy my coffee.  I was on the way there about a month ago, having exited the metro station without looking back toward the church.  Something made me turn around and I saw this temple peaking from between the trees.  I made an exception to my rule and made this painting.

Early Morning Drives...

INDIAN NECK GARAGE©2016 Felice PanagrossoOil on Canvas33 x 55 centimeters

INDIAN NECK GARAGE
©2016 Felice Panagrosso
Oil on Canvas
33 x 55 centimeters

Dear Friends and Family,
On trips to Connecticut from France we usually experience jet-lag, but in a good way, waking up early, around 4am. One morning my daughter asked if we could take a drive. Where? Anywhere. Shall we drive north, west or east? We drive east, just drive for a couple of hours, enjoying the sky lightening in front of us. We always drive on secondary roads, this time on Route 1, the Boston Post Road.  The Boston Post Road is a system of roads that originally served as a mail route between Boston and New York City.  It mostly parallels Interstate Route 95, but is much more interesting.  Being on this road this early gives us a great feeling of freedom.  We are up far too early to compete with the morning commuters.  On this particular day, we drive almost to Guilford, stopping here in Branford, Connecticut.  We pause here, admiring the sunrise, in front of a service station called Indian Neck Garage.

-Felice

Night Lights...

NIGHT LIGHTS©Felice PanagrossoOil on Canvas11 x 14 inches

NIGHT LIGHTS
©2016 Felice Panagrosso
Oil on Canvas
11 x 14 inches

This painting is of the early morning light looking west from my bedroom window.

Before the recent terrorist attacks on Paris, I would often be awakened at night to the sounds of people making their way uphill from Place Saint George to Sacré-Cœur.  My bedroom window opens onto the street which seems to be their direct route.  What I miss, (or maybe don’t miss) most is the sound of revelers and the clackety-clack of suitcases wheeled by tourists across the cobblestones.  I imagined these folks had just arrived on an early morning plane or train and were looking for their hotel, which might very well be the one next door to my apartment building. Once, at 4:00 am, I was awakened by three inebriated guitar players sitting, singing on the stoop just across the street.

If my eyes are open at dawn I sometimes catch the early morning light coming up on the street.  There is a large street lamp mounted on our building just outside the window.  At a certain moment at dawn it shuts off automatically and the ambient light that had filled the room shifts to a slightly lower but much cooler tone.  It’s a very disconcerting sensation, similar in a way to when you’re sitting in a train waiting for it to depart and it starts to move. But then you realize it’s not your train that’s moving but the one next to it moving in the opposite direction.

The tourists will be back and with them the clackety-clack of rolling luggage.  I won’t be complaining.  I even look forward to the serenade of guitars before dawn.

-Felice

 

 

The Top 6 Posts from the Last 3 Years...

MEGLIO FURS©2015 Felice PanagrossoOil on Canvas24 x 18 inches

MEGLIO FURS
©2015 Felice Panagrosso
Oil on Canvas
24 x 18 inches

 

We normally spend New Year’s Eve in Philadelphia with our good friends.  On a recent trip to “The City of Brotherly Love,” I found Meglio Furs, on South Broad Street.  The store is closed, but the sign remains.  A couple of websites talk about the store.  Here is a good one, a real estate blog called Naked Philly.  I love this sign, a remembrance of the style and taste of the 40’s and 50’s.  It’s the newest in my series, Sign Paintings.

This month marks the third anniversary of this Blog, The Art of Felice Panagrosso.  Thank you, for reading my musings and philosophizing about Art, Paris, and life in general, but mostly for looking at the pictures over the last 36 months.   I look forward to the next 36!

Here are some highlights of the last 3 years, a list of the top 6 blog posts:

1.  What’s the Deal with Felice?  January 2013.  I introduce you to the original Felice (my grandfather).

2.  Painting Safari in New England, Part I.  August 2014.  An annual trip where I paint “en plein air” in New England, this time on the Appalachian Trail.

3.  My White Tire Bicycle.  October 2014.  A story about a gift from my grandparents.

4.  Why is Painting like Fishing?  November 2014.  Memories of fishing with my Uncle Bill.

5.  3 Reasons NOT to Buy one of my Paintings.  April First, 2015. Reasons why you should not by art, and why you should.

and last but not least…

6.  We’ll Always have Paris (except for these 4 things).  May, 2014. Some things that have changed in the “City of Light.

See you in 2016,

-Felice

 

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