Tuesday - Venice  

Locals take a traghetto across the canal. It's a gondola that you ride standing up.
On Tuesday morning June 5, we meet in Venice, La Serenissima. We check into our hotel and vow to stay awake until 9:00, well, maybe 8:30pm.

We buy a pass and hop on the vaporetto at the Rialto Bridge.

Art store within sight of the hotel

It doesn't take us long to find an art store.

Fortuna sways with the wind at the mouth of the lagoon.
Our hotel, Bonvecchiati, is in a secluded location, with its own water entrance. It's just behind the Rialto Bridge and around the corner from Piazza San Marco.

We walk across the "Ponte della Paglia" (the Straw Bridge) past the "Bridge of Sighs" for dinner and watch life on the Riva Degli Schiavoni.

From now on, we will use our 3-day transportation pass. When our feet need a rest or we want to see things from a different viewpoint we use the vaporetti.


Venezia, Italy    
For centuries, Venetians have carried their fish and vegetables through these arches and artists have come to sketch.
Wednesday, Thursday & Friday - Venezia 

The nearby Erberia is a feast for the eye as fresh produce from the islands of Sant`Erasmo and Vignole tempts us at every turn.

Venice, was founded in the 6th Century.

They have come to the fish market for centuries to buy sardines, squid, crabs, to name a few.


20000 Lire is about $10 USD.

We are up early today so that we won't miss the colorful activities at the market.

By noon, it will seem as though no one was ever there.

Are those strawberries...or squid?

The complementary contrast of red orange walls and blue green shutters inspires this demonstration painting by Michele Cooper. The theme is repeated  in the window box flowers, mooring posts and "jade" hued canal.

A very kind Japanese woman stopped to admire and gave me a paper fan to relieve the humidity.

Our workshop is looking for "comple-
mentary or analogous color" as a  theme and starting point for inspiration
as we sketch and photograph individual subjects.

Each one chooses a subject within the parameters of the theme.

Then, after Michele's demonstration,
workshop participants set to work on their own paintings.

Our "Sketch Hunters" have brought in a catch of fresh paintings from a bridge next to the market.


And where are all the latte stands?
Well, in Italy, that would be a milk stand.

If you want to blend in (not possible, what sane Italian model would wear the shoes we do?) you must order an espresso and drink it while standing at a cafe bar. It is 1/5 the cost of sitting at a table.

Otherwise, just order a cappucino, fulfill the amusement quota of the locals and practice your Mona Lisa smile as you watch the cafe society ebb and flow with the water on the cobblestones.

Seattle isn't the only place where it rains. We get a downpour with thunder and lightning on the way to the Giardinetti Reali.

The Royal Gardens were created by Napoleon to improve his view from the Procuratie Nuove.

Everyone hurries home to improve their view of the lightning or to their favorite cafe to wait out the storm.

As we wind our way through back alleys and hidden cul-de-sacs, we discover evidence of the industrious artisans of Venice at every turn.

Printers, mask shops, sculptors studios and book stores have their place in the city known for its glass art.

St. Paul de Vence is one of the most scenic hill towns in the South of France

A sculptor at work in his studio.

The sun finally comes out and gleams along the last few raindrops as they drip back into the canal like glass beads returning to the furnace.
"Venetian Atmosphere" watercolor by Michele Cooper. 
Painted on the sea wall near the Royal Gardens.


This journal will be updated periodically to include the following itinerary.

  • From Venice to Florence. 
  • From Florence down to Il Borgo Poggiaccio near Siena in Tuscany.
  • Day trips to Elba, Siena, Greve in Chianti, San Gimignano, Colle`di Val d`Elsa
  • From Tuscany to the Amalfi Coast near Salerno. 
  • From Sorrento and Vesuvius to Rome.


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