Posted in Urban

Click on the image to see the full painting by Brooke Harker – original available at Lu Martin Galleries in Laguna Beach, CA.

I made my first trips to Venice several times in my early twenties when I worked with children for the US military in Vicenza. The appeal of the city alluded me. I felt quite certain that the rest of the world might be wrong about it’s charm. Of coarse, my introduction to the famously romantic city on water came by way of escorting over a hundred children on a field trip via ferry. The boat voyage kicked off with a melt down by one of the children whose tendency towards violence resulted in him being physically restrained by a staff member who feared the child might injure another passenger or plunge into the merky water.  Upon arrival, I probably omitted about eighty percent of the sites and architecture from awareness as head counts every few moments consumed my attention. We ushered the children past crowds of tourists to feed the pigeons in Piazza San Marco and then to the island of Murano to witness the production Venetian blown glass.  Being surrounded by infinite opportunities for children to potentially fall in canals or touch arrays of colorful breakables probably influenced my response to the city.

Years later, while already in Italy to paint, I returned to Venice to give it another chance to wow me.  How magical a place can appear when unencumbered by children on the brink of tantrums.  The friend I’d arranged to meet missed her train so I had a couple extra hours to wander the city alone.  A view of the grand canal caught my attention as my friend called simultaneously to say her train arrived.  I snapped a few photos and took off running. Once over the foot bridges, I launched into full sprint and arrived at the steps of the station with tears in my eyes. I hadn’t seen this friend in seven years and now it seemed surreal to greet her on the steps in Venice. We’d worked together in Germany over a decade earlier.  She knew me at a different time in my life, before I’d committed to living as an artist.  In seeing the woman she’d grown into, I remembered the younger versions of us. She’d become a mother since and had a glow to her that made her more gorgeous than she already was. In an instant we spoke, I felt like I got back a piece of me that I didn’t even know I was missing.  I love how friendships are a bit like time capsules this way and carry pieces of one another until a new moment.   After getting lost, which she said is the best way to see Venice,  I got to meet her daughter, their collection of kittens and see her husband who had also been a dear friend.  Seeing them revived my spirit and the joy of that lives in this painting.





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