Posted by: jeanne | January 30, 2015

a somewhat more successful search for art supplies

i had a sudden inspiration this morning.  hey, i said to jim, as we were making breakfast (scrambled eggs and polenta fried in butter with syrup, known in the south as cornmeal mush).  hey, i said, why don’t we go and try to find that pigment shop that might well be our only hope for getting pastels?

i had been on to my sister, who lives in portugal, about this pitiful art supply situation, and she sent me a bunch of links to sources in france that would mail some pastels to us.  but they only offer sets, and that’s no good to jim, who only needs a small range of blues.

and we had been on to jim’s friend, the artist bob meredith, who has been to venice a bunch, and he recommended the pigment shop, arcobaleno s.a.s. di nube massimo.

and we’d heard from our friend marie matthews that she would bring a few things over when she comes to visit in a couple of weeks, if we needed.  and i wrote back to her suggesting maybe she could bring a few things, but marie only travels with a carryon, and so would hit the weight limit immediately, not to mention the liquids limit.  because i was going to ask for a bag of chalk and a bottle of gum tragacanth, so jim could make the pastels he needs.

so i thought perhaps if we checked out the one last remaining store, that bob mentioned in his email, that maybe we wouldn’t need for marie to sacrifice needed items for what jim needs.

so at around 9 this morning, seeing that the torrential rains that were forecast never materialized, we put on our rainboots and went down to the waterbus stop.

it was way high tide, higher than i’ve seen it.  we had to go up the ramp to the bus stop, rather than down, as usual.  and the water was quite choppy, and it was beautiful as ever on the lagoon.

the notice boards that give the schedule and which vaporetto line is arriving when were all lit up with a notice in both italian and english that due to the high tide, several routes were cancelled, and others would only stop at certain places.

acqua alta.

this was made apparent as we cruised past san marco and saw all the tourists up on the portable walkways, stopping traffic to pose for frigging selfies.

and by the time we were in the grand canal, houses we were already familiar with had lost a whole lot of their bottom halves, and were floating in teh water up to their doors, and in some cases above their doors.  obviously water was pouring in thru the doors.


i couldn’t resist acting like a tourist at this, and started taking pictures right there in the vaporetto, just like the tourists i had just been shaking my head at, bobbing on the strong swells, trying to level their cellphone cameras to take selfies.


it’s a little obscure, but the water is right over the walkways and the front steps of this house.  well, i was impressed, anyway.

houses that we want to paint were flooding.  boats were piled up, parked, in the side canals, and the room under the bridges was minimal, so they couldn’t get thru.  so they didn’t bother.  we only saw a couple of tourists in gondolas – it was that cold and windy.

i was expecting the vaporetto to stop at san samuele, but for some reason it didn’t, and continued up closer to rialto before stopping at sant’angelo, so we got off, put connor in the stroller, and consulted the map app on the phone.  in that part of san marco sestiere all roads seem to converge.  the canal goes around a half circle at that point, and nothing is far from anything else, so we had no trouble finding the street where we were supposed to find the pigment shop.

the thing was, it was full of water.  the street.  and connor went plowing right into it.  wow, deep water, what fun.  and before i could get him back, his pants were wet up to his thighs.  so now it was only a matter of minutes before the cold would set in and he would become unbearable again.  this particular street – calle delle botteghe (which shows up as calle botteghe dorsoduro) was not one of those they put up the walkways, so i pushed the stroller thru the water and moved it to where the street emerged from the puddles, and stopped.  then jim and i went up the street until we found the actual pigment shop.


it was closed.  there was a sign on the door.  closed for maintenance until january 31.  so that means a) it’s there, b) we can go back next week, and c) we might be able to get what we need.

a major accomplishment, really.  considering.

so then, it was how to get back to a vaporetto and get connor home and into the bath.  after consulting the map, we decided to go to accademia and catch the boat there.  this meant going up a whole lot of steps, so connor had to get out and walk with jim holding his hand, while i carted the stroller up and back down the bridge.

it’s a wooden bridge, by the way, and quite tall, so we all stopped to have a look, and watch the tourists taking selfies, and the street sellers selling selfie poles.  there were a couple of beggars on the bridge, as well, something we haven’t seen much of.

and soon we were back home, connor was in the bath, and the promised slice of pannetone and glass of milk was waiting for him at the kitchen table.  jim and i made more coffee and had some cake, and several hours later had some lunch, after which everybody but me is resting.  i have just printed out a bunch more reference photos so jim can start another painting, i still have to finish my second one, and connor is very happy in his room playing with his tablet.


google street view proving the shop exists.  because i tried calling them on the phone this morning and got a message saying the number was wrong, which is usually a bad sign.

so, okay, third time’s the charm.  i’ll post about this quest again.


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