Posted by: jeanne | March 8, 2015

there’s a cold coming on

and it’s not a cold front i’m talking about, because spring is way here in venice, with trees leafing out all over – i saw a weeping willow on the mainland, green green green, the temperature climbing steadily (down to 40 at night, up to almost 60 during the day), the new spring shoes in the stores, people wearing their down jackets unbuttoned, kids on the playground.

well, they’re always on the playground, whenever they’re not in school, and especially on the weekends, when they come here from lido and all the rest of venice.  connor’s in heaven, and ends up going out at least twice a day to play on the whatever you call it.  he calls it the swings, but it’s really a play compound with rings, slides, climbing things, ramps, etc.  the ground is six inches to a foot of pine bark, and kids of all ages play together on it.  as i’ve said before, connor’s lack of italian proves no barrier.  the kids who are learning english in school practice it on him, and the others use hand gestures.  he screams, makes faces, and runs around at top speed.

but he’s getting a cold.  we all are, actually. he’s got snot for the first time since we’ve been here, and it’s green, so i’m medicating him with echinacea tincture and as much fruit juice as he can hold, enforced naps, and baths every night.  doctor grandma uses much less medical intervention than doctor mom ever did.

anyway, i didn’t much feel like going out today, but i’m beginning a painting of a certain cafe in dorsoduro, and didn’t have the right angle on the building, so i had to go back.  kay wanted to go off on her own today, and was nowhere near ready to leave the house when i was, so i took the vaporetto, intending to get off at accademia and get directly about my business.  but i tried to text kay about the boat she was thinking of taking, and the message bounced, with a message i didn’t understand, so i took the vaporetto to rialto instead, and went to the vodafone store to ask them wtf.  turns out my plan only lets me text to italian phones, and kay’s is irish, so the text never had a chance of going thru.  good thing she went in the opposite direction…


after campo san bartolomeo, i went across to rialto market, looking for the address of one of the art residencies we have applied for but not heard from.  i think they might only contact people they actually want to accept and blow off the rest – who knows.  but they have an address, and so i followed the numbers, which really do have a method about them, until i found the place.


it’s right in the market, right next to the fish market, and their name is on the bell.  being saturday i knew there was no point ringing the bell, and it would be horribly rude to do so at any rate.  and they didn’t answer my email saying we were in venice and wanted to go around and see them, so i just took a picture of the door and left it at that.

then i wanted to go down to the cafe i’d photographed, but that part of dorsoduro is a world away from san polo, where rialto market is, so i got back on the vaporetto intending to go to accademia.  but the moment the vaporetto pulled away from the dock, i noticed this wonderful little campo that i’ve always wanted to explore, so i got off the boat at rialto, one stop away, and worked my way back to the campo, taking every right turn i found until i got to the right one.  most of them were dead ends, some of them were photogenic.  (today i took 360 photos.)

it’s a tremendous little place, with good architectural bits on three sides,


and the grand canal on the fourth.


it was well worth visiting, and will make at least one painting.


and then i wandered down along the back of the grand canal, wandering down this alley and that street, looking for another place i had seen from a boat that i wanted to explore.


i never actually found it, but at some point i passed the entrance to the street that leads to the contarini del bovolo house that i have painted and jim is now painting.  i didn’t go down – the light wasn’t right and i’ve already got a full set of photos – but i did remember that you’re supposed to be able to see it from some bridge, so i went there.  and couldn’t see it.


i wandered some more, to the fenice, and wandered some more, to the pigment shop, which is open on saturdays YAY!!!

i stopped in the cafe near the pigment shop for a coffee and a something of rice (i forget the name) – a torpedo shape of rice molded around a ragu of some sort of meat (i forget the name) and fried.  it was very good.  then i used the bathroom, because that and hunger are the reasons i stop for something.  it was noon, and i was starting to look intently at every pastry shop i passed, so i figured i’d stop.

after that i continued to wander.  down toward the grand canal and that passageway i saw.  and never did find it.  but i did end up at the side of the accademia bridge, and crossed it to begin looking for that cafe.  it took awhile, but i eventually found it.


they’d changed the interior decor since i took the first set of photos, and it looks like they took the awning down (i can’t believe that, however).  i took a great second set of photos in broad daylight (it was evening when we happened upon it the first time), and used a slightly more gentle angle so that it won’t resemble the night cafe of van gogh as much as it was.

i passed the guggenheim, which was full of children,


and then came upon a guy making mozart using wine glasses filled with water.


i gave him a coin after taking pictures, because damn.  and then i came across a guy playing a very old fashioned lute, and stood and listened for awhile, also taking pictures.


and then i arrived at the salute vaporetto stop and abandoned my plans to take it to arsenale and then find that art supply store, and the nearby used clothing store, that jim and kay found yesterday (was it the day before yesterday?) – because it was after 1 and they were undoubtedly closed.


i got home at 2ish, had some seafood salad kay and i had picked up at the panorama deli counter the other day (was it yesterday?), and processed my photos.  this time i’m not going to use the 11×14 watercolor paper, but i’m going for the huge 22×30 size, because there’s tons of details inside the cafe, and tremendous architecture, and i don’t want to miss any of it.

of course, i have to go back for another set of photos, when i can catch people sitting outside.  i got the waiter setting the tables, but they were all empty, and that’s kind of not the point of a cafe painting.  we’ll see.


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