A Little Village on the Mountain, Cornelia

Corniglia, Cinque Terre

Surprise!  I was not expecting much from the smallest of the Cinque Terre villages, and the most remote from the sea.  Set on top of a mountain, it was necessary to climb about 300 steps to reach it from the train station.  Steep steps — and lots of them — have become a way of life for Martin and I.  It’s the price one pays for stunning views and plates of pasta.

The rewards:   Fresh morning breeze, glimpses of sea glistening with golden sunshine, and . . . Corniglia, a charming place.


The Sun Comes Out in Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre

img_2571The tremendous storm of the day before was clearing.  Martin and I ventured out to explore our village, all drenched and drippy, but shaking itself off and coming to life.  The water seeped into the cracks in the stone walls of our seventeenth-century house, feeding ferns and moss.  Sun peeked through patches of blue overhead.
Food stores displayed their vegetables on the street, the wine shop door was open, the bakery already had a full stock of Ligurian pastries and focaccias and restaurants were supplying cappuccino to eager tourists.  We gleefully filled our bags and our tummies.

img_2615We discovered that the street was indeed a river of water.  We could hear it all around us.  However, we could not see it.  It flowed beneath the main street of the village.  Ancient drains from all sides, supported by stone-built arches, fed the contained rage of the water under our feet.  We could hear it roar from beneath the grates placed at intervals all the way down the steep street.
Martin conquered his fear of foreign scissors and ventured into the only barbershop in the village.  Fortified and beautified, we were ready to conquer the trails of Cinque Terre.


The Sun Sets in Florence

Florence, Italy — October 12, 2016

We must say goodbye to Florence, city of art,  antiquity, renaissance and style.  To bid farewell, Martin and I walked to the Ponte Vecchio just before sunset.  Lingering at a wine bar on the banks of the Arno awaiting the culmination of the day, we suddenly leaped up.  The hour had arrived — 6:35 to be exact.  Down on the table went the euros and out the door we dashed, cameras in hand. I kept walking down the river to follow the light and capture the light.  As light dimmed, night’s lights emerged.




The Best Thing About Today — The Rijks Museum, Amsterdam

September 12, 2016

_mg_5729It was the golden age of Amsterdam, the 18th century, and painters were learning to capture light and create composition.  Today was a golden day:  Hours spent at the Rijks Museum soaking up the magic created by the brush.

Look at the gleaming flanks of the horse and the whitecaps in the ocean. Imagine being engrossed looking at a horse's but!t

The gleaming flanks of a white horse on white sand.  _mg_5722The common, simple subject of a cow, caught aglow in the afternoon light.

Painting, wet-on-wet, to create the mood of the damp Netherlands autumn

The wet-on-wet application of paint that evokes the mood of a damp day in the Netherlands autumn.  The delight of rich texture:  How could that sleeve be created with a pallet knife?

I am in awe of the inspired use of light and shadow to create focus, depth and drama.  Tonal realism is what inspired me to paint, thanks to my teacher and friend, Linda Gauthier.  I kept looking up close, then backing away, then marveling at how the Masters accomplished such life and dimension.




The Best Thing Today — August 6, 2016


We spent the whole day with Elizabeth and Kristine, Martin’s cousins (distant and a lot younger!), exploring the alternative culture and “hipster” hangouts (yes, “hipster” is the word they use!) in the Vestebro quarter.  However, the hipsters tend to come out when it is sunny, so our hipster sightings were sketchy.  Kristine’s boyfriend, joined us in the afternoon.  They were so much fun to be with, so smart and articulate, and we engaged in all sorts of conversations about cultures, ideals,social justice, and the clashes caused by change.  We ended up at a fun restaurant called Madklubber.  This has been our favorite day:  We have three delightful friends here!