Wednesday, April 27, 2011

St. John

We actually pulled into St. Thomas, but since we visited St. Thomas last year we decided to take a ferry over to St. John. St. John is 28 square miles in size, the smallest of the U.S. Virgin islands. Two-thirds of the island is a U.S. National Park. St. John is known for its beautiful beaches. These are the breathtaking views we had from the ferry.
Rick would like to retire to this house!
This boat crashed into the rocks a few years ago in a storm. Don't know why it has never been removed, but it was cool to see.
Just thought this shot was cool~I had never before seen the U.S. Virgin Islands flag.
This was the beach we were heading to~Trunk Bay. Can you believe the color of this water?
Christy, I took several branch shots just so you wouldn't be disappointed. LOL I seriously love taking photos through tree branches!
A few more shots as we approached Trunk Bay.
Just thought this was cool~it's the bridge down to the beach.
We swam and snorkeled, then just relaxed on the beach. I think Rick was daydreaming about owning this sailboat.
Looking back down at the harbor.
That's it for St. John. We had to be back on the ship rather early, so we didn't get to do much exploring. But that's okay~a lazy day on the beach was just fine with us!

Now for the entertaining part: we have realized that we are truly middle aged, LOL! Now that we are empty nesters, we have been redecorating our home. We decided that we wanted to acquire some fine art to complement our new decor. The ship had quite an impressive art gallery, with a very knowledgeable curator. Since we aren't into gambling or partying in the nightclubs, we decided to peruse the art gallery and attend the auctions. We discovered that we love palette knife paintings, the art of applying thick coats of paint to the canvas using just the palette knife. The result is a 3-dimensional mix of rich textures that catch the light and provide great detail and contrast.

One of the current leading palette knife artists is James Pratt, a New Zealand native who lives and works in Charleston, North Carolina. (I am going to Charleston in July with my friend, Robyn~I think a trip to this gallery is a must!) As did the masters, Pratt uses only the three primary colors (blue, red, and yellow) and only a palette knife to create his masterpieces.

Rick fell in love with this original (one of a kind) painting in the gallery, called La Grande Cafe. We went to the first auction and were fortunate to acquire it for its opening bid. It is being reframed and we should receive it within the next few weeks. We are thrilled!
While we were at the first auction, Rick also eyed this painting, Antica d'Ora, by Russian artist Viktor Shvaiko. As a young man, Viktor's talents were stifled by the Russian bureaucracy. Unable to obtain a visa to the United States, Viktor was permitted to travel to Yugoslavia. During the Yugoslavian civil war, Viktor fled to Italy, supposedly with his paintings strapped to his back as he encountered and escaped from roving bands of militia. He survived in Italy by selling his art on the streets of Rome. He eventually landed in the United States, settling in New York. His trademark is his portrayal of small cafes. The painting we acquired is a limited edition work, meaning that it is a lithograph copy of the original, upon which the artist has added painted accents. The good thing about limited editions is that they cost significantly less than originals. The down side is that they don't increase in value as much as do originals. But we buy art that we love and that moves us, without any plans for selling them, so the "investment" is much more personal than financial.
As you acquired (or won the auction) for a piece of art, you were given a raffle ticket. At the end of the auction, they drew a raffle ticket, and one of ours was drawn! We got to choose which lithograph print (valued at $500) we wanted FOR FREE! (Of course, the framing wasn't free, but it was significantly cheaper than what Michael's or other framers charge.) This is the print we chose.
So it's official: we are getting old. Our kids are grown and gone, we are grandparents, we love cruises and relaxing on beaches, we eat dinner between 5 and 6 (because of my esophagus issues), and we attend art auctions and buy fine art! Oh, and the knees crick, our backs are stiff in the mornings, we need glasses to read anything, everything sounds like a mumble, and on and on and on! Ha ha!

Up next: Dominica.
Have a wonderful day!

1 comment:

Christy Lynn said...

I'm thinking of revising my "I'm not a beach baby" status after seeing your photos today :) Lee kind of halfway considered the idea of retiring to Okinawa but I refuse to live long-term anyplace that far from a Target! Your photos are gorgeous, now you just need to get to work scrapping them, right? As if I can talk, I haven't done anything on my books this whole month!

Love your artwork that you picked out. I don't think that having an appreciation for art makes you middle-aged or old...I fully intend to go to the National Gallery in London next time Lee and I go to the city, and we were talking about buying some art from a street artist to hang up in our house (we passed some artists selling paintings on the street in London a couple months ago). And you should see me try to walk after I've been sitting down stitching for a while...I totally hobble like I've got old lady knees. Ha!!