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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Paintings I've Not Done Yet--Cities

Copyright, Jim Lane
Local color, depth, flowers, and café ambience, this
photo has it all.
A week ago I began a series dealing with my collection of photos suitable for painting, which I probably will never get around to using. As a result, I've chosen to post them here in the hope that other artists will find them fascinating enough to "borrow" them for a painting of their own. Today I'm displaying a series from European cities taken over the course of several years. The image just above is from Split, Croatia. If you've never heard of the city, join the crowd. I'd never hear of it either until I noticed our cruise ship, the Celebrity Silhouette, planned a daylong stopover. The city is most famous for the Palace of the Roman Emperor, Diocletian (4th-century A.D.). For some reason I don't have any pictures of it. That happens quite often, the local color, such as the, Gradska Kavana (City Café, above) would make a far more interesting painting than some old Roman pile of stones (not that the ancient pile of stones isn't interesting, just not as I saw it as the subject of a painting).

The top photo in this set is the Church of Our Savior of the
Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia. The second is a street
in Syracuse, Sicily, patiently waiting for a traffic jam; while
  the bottom shot may well be the most startling of all, a
German beer-bike on the streets of Berlin.
One of the great things about traveling the world is the unexpected. You look upwards in St. Petersburg and you see onion-domed church spires, which often are not actually churches at all but museums. The Russians tend to love bright colors and churches with long names, even if they seldom worship within them. Syracuse, on the coast of Sicily is like many other European cities--part old, part new. Usually the old part is a painter's paradise of picturesque scenes, you just wouldn't want to see it on more than two wheels. Speaking of wheels, did you ever see a beer bar on four of them. Yes, the guys on the barstools are peddling to propel the vehicle. The drive train beneath must be a mechanic's nightmare. Imbibers be forewarned, you drink too much and fall off the stool, the bar bike does not stop to pick you up--only in Deutschland.

The streets of Barcelona, Spain, and Porvoo, Finland--sharing
the same continent, but little else. Both love tourists with
plastic cards and cameras, though.
Barcelona's main claim to fame seems to be Antonio Gaudi. His Sagrada Familia (Sacred Family) and his turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau La Casa Mila (second photo) are not to be missed. The bottom photo in this set is from the picturesque Finnish town of Porvoo, whose main claim to fame is being the second oldest settlement in Finland (thirty miles or 50km east of Helsinki). For the painter, Porvoo is best. For the art historian or would-be architect, Barcelona is a treasure chest of unexpected surprises-- like their ice cream (helado).

For the artist, the list of things you must do in Paris would be longer than it's most famous street, the Champs-Elysees. The top of that list, would, of course, be the Louvre, but from there down, it's the ultimate list of what see and what to skip. By all means, don't skip a ride in one of the city's bike-taxis. Tip well, peddling that thing is damned hard work.
Things to do in Paris--ogle the Mona Lisa; ogle the dancers at the Moulin Rouge; ogle Paris from the top of Eiffel's Tower; stop ogling the ladies and spend a day at the Orsay; take a dinner cruise on the Seine; get out of town and see Giverny, Mont St-Michelle, and Versailles; drop a few Euros shopping the Champs Elysees; glance at the Arc de Triomphe and if time permits, don't miss the Pompidou Centre (contemporary art), Notre-Dame de Paris; the Wine Museum of Paris, The Pinball Museum and the Sewers of Paris Museum. Don't bother taking pictures; in one week I took enough for every artist with a wet paint brush.

If you wish to use one of these photos as the source material for a painting, e-mail me at and I'll readily grant permission. The only stipulation is that you send me a digital photo of the finished painting before requesting to use a second photo. Be sure to indicate which image you wish to use as well as your full name, city, state, and country. More to come in a week or so.


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