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Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Taste of Italy by Margot Justes

I'm meeting with Susan Miura this afternoon to go over our 'Taste of Italy' presentation, and this is the perfect opportunity to segway to Venice and begin my travel blogs.

Getting to Venice is not difficult, hop on a plane to any central European city and transfer to a small plane bound for the Marco Polo airport in Venice.

It took a while to get my bearing, my nickname Wrong Way Rodal is well founded, I get lost easily and have a hard time with left and right, and we won't discuss North, South, etc.

I wanted to get an ACTV 72 hour pass, that would allow me to take the bus to the center of town and more importantly would allow me to use the vaporetto at will. I asked and received a blank stare, a finger pointing to a sea of faces, no kiosk selling anything, just tourists looking as lost as I was. One person actually answered in Italian, and since I spoke in English and don't speak Italian it presented a slight problem. But we smiled at each other and I thanked him in Italian. Grazie goes a long way but unfortunately not to a place that got me a ticket.

The fact that I spoke English, had this totally lost look on my face, was at an airport, lugging luggage behind me and hoping against hope someone would take me for a tourist, nope, no one did. Odd that.

I kept walking a bit further, probably in a circle, although nothing looked familiar and I didn't get that- been there done- that European Vacation 'look kids Big Ben' feeling.

Finally, I got lucky and bought the three day pass and took the bus that took me to Piazzale Roma, the central hub where it would appear all travelers converge.

From there it was walking distance to our hotel the Boscolo Bellini, the hotel was just steps away from the Grand Canal in the Cannaregio district.

Going up and down the various bridges was a treat, the luggage thumping, bumping and groaning as the was person pulling the darn things. That would be me.

The area was perfect, the hotel was not, at best it lacked a personality, however the people at the desk were gracious and helpful, and the location more than made up for the shortcomings of the hotel.

My first day was spent wondering through the maze of tiny alleys and streets in hope of finding the elusive Piazza San Marco. You guessed it, even following the clear markings and arrows, I got lost, but you really never get lost in Venice, invariably you'll get to the Grand Canal and every street and alley is a treasure trove filled with charm and history.

Next door to the hotel was a remarkable Romanesque church and it so happened that there was a concert that night right in the church. It was fantastic. All in all, an incredible first day in a wondrous city.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Friday, April 9, 2010

Eyvind Earle by Margot Justes

I've written a few blogs about art, and I just realized not once have I said a word about my favorite contemporary artist, Eyvind Earle.

For more years than I'd care to mention or remember, I have loved and coveted his work. I went through a period where anytime I could get my hands on his Christmas cards, I would buy a box and never send them out, because I couldn't bear to part with them.

There is something magical about his style. It's nature and yet not. Colorful, stunning in the grandeur of the landscape he often portrayed, but you can still see the illustrator at heart. His work is simple, elegant, almost Oriental and yet not. The colors are vibrant, alive, brilliant, the combination is simply magnificent.

I finally own a numbered serigraph, my prize possession, and dare I say it, I want more.
When I was in San Francisco a couple of years ago, I visited Carmel and stopped at Gallery 21, the gallery now owned by his estate, since Mr. Earle died in 2000 at the age of 84.

His career started early, in fact I read that at the age of 10 he was already very prolific. His career included a stint with Walt Disney as a n assistant background painter. His work for Disney included Peter Pan and Sleeping Beauty, among others. But it is his later efforts that truly show a master at work. Someone wrote that his style is lyrical, and I would never associate lyrical with art, but it fits, it flows, it moves you. It is indeed lyrical.

If you're interested in seeing some of his work, just Google his name, and I promise you will not be disappointed.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris