How do you find a missing train...?

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

©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

©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.


Night Lights...

NIGHT LIGHTS©Felice PanagrossoOil on Canvas11 x 14 inches

©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.




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

MEGLIO FURS©2015 Felice PanagrossoOil on Canvas24 x 18 inches

©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,




Canal Saint Martin, Paris

©2015 Felice Panagrosso
Oil on Wood
22.5 x 30 centimeters

Dear Friends and Family,

This is the Canal Saint Martin, in Paris.  About a 30 minute walk from my house.  It’s an even shorter walk from the Canal to the Bataclan Music Hall, where some of the horrible events of Friday, November 13, 2015 took place in Paris.  In the evenings, especially on weekends, this area is filled with young people enjoying picnics by the water, sitting in cafes, and riding bikes.

This is a photo recently taken just outside the Bataclan.  Caryn and Sam went there the following weekend to light candles.

Candles at Bataclan

A more spontaneous memorial a few blocks away.

Candles Near Bataclan

On the night of November 13, 2015, we received more texts, tweets, Facebook messages, and good old-fashioned emails and phone calls than I can count.  From friends, family, colleagues.  From France, elsewhere in Europe and from the United States, many from whom I have not heard in years.

As we celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday this past weekend, quietly, I gave thanks for you all.

See you next month,



Orange is the new... orange

HAUNTED GARAGE©2015 Felice PanagrossoOil on Panel14 x 22 centimeters

HAUNTED GARAGE, Orange, Connecticut
©2015 Felice Panagrosso
Oil on Panel
14 x 22 centimeters

There is no substitute for orange.  The color orange sits on the color wheel between the primaries red and yellow.  It’s a mixture of those two warm colors.  No other primary or secondary color is situated between two warm colors.  In one direction orange leans to red and in the opposite direction it leans to yellow.  That’s why orange is the warmest color.

I’ve often wondered why orange and black are Halloween colors. Maybe orange serves to oppose (or compliment?) the dark cold black on Halloween.  Black is often associated with dark spirits, death and the cold night, while orange is associated with life, the harvest and fire.

On a recent trip to the US (in the town of Orange, Connecticut!), I was able to enjoy the height of fall foliage in New England, and to be reminded how truly Orange it is.


Back to the Bois...

“I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.”
– Henry David Thoreau, 1817 – 1862


©2007 Felice Panagrosso
Oil on Canvas
16 x 24 inches

I painted these trees several years ago in the Bois de Boulogne, and sold the painting to a woman in the park walking her dog. The picture wasn’t finished but when it was I brought it to her apartment, which to my amazement I discovered was filled, floor to ceiling, with 20th century art.

So, during this beautiful fall weather I didn’t walk, but rather rode the 43 bus, 6 or 7 kilometers to return to the Bois de Boulogne.  This 2,090 acre forest, or park, is the second largest in Paris, after the Bois de Vincennes.  It is 2.5 times the area of Central Park in New York.  It contains an amusement park, tennis stadium, a zoo, lakes, running paths and an English garden.  If that’s not enough for you, the Bois de Boulogne is the setting for the new Louis Vuitton Foundation.

With all this going on I found a quiet place to set up and do a sketch, with just some passing joggers as company.

photo in Bois 1 rotated

photo of palette in bois


I don’t know about tramping through deep snow, but I do look forward another visit with the trees.

Hope to see you there.


Painting Safari 2015, Part II



Dear Friends and Family,

While spending more time in France this summer than ever before, yet wanting to travel light when we finally did depart for the US, I decided to explore other painting media.  The sketch above is a watercolor of a café in our neighborhood in the 9th arrondissement…

A sketch in acrylic paint of rue Bruyeres.  I can actually see this street when I lean out of my apartment window.

Here is a photo of my watercolor “setup” at Cape Cod.  Notice I did not forget the sunscreen!


Watercolor sketch of sunset on the Cape…



When all is said and done, oil paint is still my preferred medium. An oil sketch of our backyard in Orange, Connecticut…


I played around with watercolor, oils, acrylic and pen and ink on this accordion sketchbook this summer…


Some of these sketches, drawings and studies will be worked up into complete paintings in the weeks to come, and some won’t, but it was fun exploring.



Cora's Coffee Shoppe



Last year, on college tour with my family to California, we came upon Cora’s Coffee Shoppe.  Sometimes when you’re on vacation (or on college tour) it’s nice to step out of your motel early in the morning before all the other tourists are up.  Grab a coffee and walk on the beach, or down the Main Street.  Or in this case Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica. Cora’s is located on 1802 Ocean Avenue.

What I tried to capture here is that feeling of early morning.  You know it’s going to be a hot day but now it’s cool, with a breeze off the ocean.  And the light!  Warm, changing, moving, threatening to become too hot, but for now just fine.

As you know I love painting trees and here I had the opportunity to paint a palm tree.  I’m happy to report that palm trees are no more symmetrical than New England Pine trees.  And there are dead branches on palm trees.

I also love the juxtaposition between a California beach restaurant and the Old (or is it Middle) English “Shoppe.”

I found this California Shoppe during an unexpected escape from the New England winter, but I’ve finished it now during my summer in Paris.

My daughter has decided not to go to college in California, and that’s too bad for me.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to visit her in Santa Monica, and have breakfast at Cora’s.

Cora’s Coffee Shoppe is eleventh in the series “Sign Paintings”.

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