Once upon a time in Fairytale Alsace

One of my favourite regions Ive come across as an artist to inspire me, is the 'Alsace' region , a beautiful group of fairyland villages located in north eastern area of France, where cities are dotted with half timbered medieval buildings and flower lined canals, a land full fo colour and magical charm.

COLMAR, a city where you can find the most prettiest village, a very inspirational city  that holds secret visual scenes from Disneys  ‘Beauty and The Beast’ and it is not hard to see why.

 

Walking the streets of Colmar is like walking through a real life fairytale, with wooden turrets, resembling Rapunzals tower, tiny cottages that would ideally suit the 7 Dwarfs and candy coloured shops and bakeries, right out of a ‘Hansel and Gretal’ world. Collar, lying in the north eastern boarder of France, a short train ride from Switzerlands ‘Basel’ airport will take you directly to a true dream come true. Bordering Germany and Switzerland, while it holds the french natural ‘Belle France’ charm, while clearly influenced by it’s neighbours. It is a truly preserved french village, with an abundance of pretty features, flower pots and uneven cobblestone streets.

It is an ideal base for exploring the fairytale Alsace region.

Magical fountains and chocolate box houses

Fairytale squares seen above - chocolate box houses where on every corner you stop and wow!

Yummy Bakeries. Pretzels mmm

 

Smells of Baking line the streets too.

Ribeauville. 

A village about 5KM from Colmar set along the Alsace's wine producing region, is probably the most medieval of all.

repunzel towers.

Riquewihr

A colourful gem...

magical colourful Streets.

The most colourful playland Ive come across, where plenty of chocolate box houses dot a very very!!! busy touristic village, heaved with shops, themed restaurants and defining art galleries... a joy:)

Dreamy art Galleries with a twist.

Kaysersberg

And then to Kaysersberg.. when you think one can't get any better than the previous village, this is mind-blowing. Prettiness excels.

Hansel and Gretal springs to mind.

And lastly to Eguisheim. 

Set directly from a storybook, featured in the beloved movie "Beauty & The Beast' It has to be seen to be believed. The streets are said to resemble a 'swiss roll' the sweet story  unwinds, dotted with the most beautiful tiny house full of charm.. a dream come true.

 

Picture perfect houses.

 

Taking a short trip to the alsace will not disappoint only excite the child within:) be prepared to skip and sing !!! XX SR.

(Accommodation - plenty of bnb's to be found  - an ideal base)


Lisbon Delights - A new colourful adventure.

Ever Wonder where they hide the colours in Europe.. Well Lisbon has all the secret colours heaped into each street and definitely high on an artists city bucket list.

Lisbon is the second oldest City in Europe, after Athens, with its own cultural vibe, tiles streets, infamous cobblelock roads, and ‘Fado’ music, heard around the beautiful streets.

Aflama 

One of the oldest Districts, and a walk through here, fado music is inescapable. From its beautiful views of the City to its old art charm where you can stroll the walls of Castello de S George. Orange rooftops shine as you walk and watch views ‘Above it all’

Views from Afalma

Bari Alto.. 

Lisbon’s oldest and most traditional area, a walk around the arty streets, local living spotting and vintage shopping whilst catching some magnificent shots of the colorful tiled buildings that line the streets. Bari Alto district is architecturally dreamy.

Tiled to perfection
Examples of wall tiles to be found on buildings.
Sloping streets of Colourful Bari Alto.

Baxa Chiado

fashionably stylish district, with its selection of monuments, vintage shops, protégées traditional stores, and fantastic restaurants, catch the buzz of the trams as they Zip through the streets...

Street Art on the famous Elevador Da Bica.

 

Lisbon, Famous for its hilly streets, and its fun vibe, to complete a journey, visit Sintra, known for its fairytale castle and colourful walls, an artists dream world.

 

Archicetural beauty. Bari Alto District.

Lisbon is a Hilly wonder to the colourful eyes. Enjoy the vibes, (Remember the trainers! ) XX SR


With Irish summer In bloom!

It wouldn't be an Irish summer without someone making lists of the essentials to bring for an Irish day out, umbrellas, rain coats, factor 60 creams, ham sandwiches (which usually end up as ham & sand sandwiches), tayto crisps but to name a few things. But a simple ramble through the Irish Countryside and simply enjoy it's stunning natural colours and beauty, is a special treat, an Irish Green wonderland. 

and you can find .... rolling hills

beautiful Rolling Fields

beautiful scented cherry blossoms bursting with colour and vibrancy ....

Cherry Tree Hills

Rolling rapeseed fields of golden sunshine bursting with delight...

Rolling Hills of Rapeseed

 

explosions of pink marshmallow balls puffing through the air...

Cherry trees bursting with colour

 

blue skies ... beautiful blue skies....

The Skies the limit

 

and soft sounds of birds chirping

Soft touches of the magnolia tree

 

magical Ireland, We are blessed. XX SR


Central Park; A tranquil elegance amongst chaos. .

Cities excite me, but none as much as the grand sudden burst of uncontrollable energy felt when arriving to New York City, with its chaotic multitudes of colour and splendour of noises. Their sounds alone sooth me but nothing so much as visits to the grandest of spaces, Central Park, where the power of its vastness silences the chaos inside us and outside its walls.

Into the light

Central Park is an oasis for New Yorkers and ‘wannabe’s’ alike, stretching across three avenues from 59th street all the way up to 110th street, its vast 900 acres (6 percent of the entire manhattan) is one complete, tranquil, pure escape.

I was lucky while here, to experience the transition of seasons from Autumn into Winter, with its golden transformations visible from all angles. Streets, especially close to 100th and 103rd street boast some of the most beautiful foliage, pure artistic paintings in their own right.

 

The archaic skyline rising above natural beauty.

Don’t miss seeing the reflection of trees in the lakes, taking walks along the rustic stone bridges, the arches, where walks can be most appreciated. The Ramble’ lake, located with access from 79th street, romanticised by many Hollywood movies, where you can rent boats or merely walk around the largest body of water in the park, enjoying again some of the best views.

Lake views - colour explosions

 

Closeby, from 71st -74th street, Strawberry fields, paying tribute to the late beatle, John Lennon, musician and peace activist, where a beautiful black and white ‘Imagine’ Mosaic was created in tribute to him.

Flowers placed as a symbol of peace.

And a frosty reminder for the wild side of us all - the ‘Wollman Rink’ opens every winter for skaters of all levels, and although a tourist draw, this rink located in the heart of the park, boast the most beautiful view, with the backdrop of skyscrapers

Central Park tranquility - located 59th st and 5th avenue.

Shop 'Colour In The City' Collection for more insights on NYC. 

Peace !  XX SR.

 


NYC - Packing Art into the Meatpacking!!

Chelsea's row of galleries along west 21st street between 10th & 11th Ave includes some of the finest galleries in the NYC gallery world, offering the latest contemporary art for both the casual gallery-goer and dedicated connoisseur.

I was lucky enough back in November 2017 to experience such a thrill, with each gallery providing free entry and an opportunity to witness some finest worldwide artists, one in particular, was the inspiring, (known and found for the 'mile long' queues (Not joking)) was the fabulous Yoyoi Kusama, the Japanese contemporary artist, active in painting, performance, film, fashion, poetry. She is best known for her conceptual art, minimalism, surrealism and pop art styles. She has been acknowledged as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan.

IN 2011, Kusama created artwork for six limited edition lip glosses for the brand lancome, as well as working with the designer Marc Jacobs, who was inspired by her line of Louis Vuitton products, and so, created for Marc a line of accessories, shoes, watches and jewellary. These products were available at a soho pop up shop, which was decorated with Kusama's trademark images of her polkadots.

'Ready to wait in Line?? worth it!

Her work, Displayed in the 'David Zwirner' gallery, showed off her selfmade journey to greatness and quite possibly showing that she maybe the greatest artist to come out of the 1960's. The 'Infinity' rooms on view in chelsea, give her paintings a forcefulness, with their imaginative images and sculptures, rooms that could win over any new fan. One room is a hexagonal box with mirrored interior, shows a changing light show, a sensation of flying above a cityscape.

My favourite room at the gallery, was a room (Photo above) titled 'With all my love for the Tulips, I pray forever' - a simple white room containing three large sculptures of tulips in which everything is covered with red dots, a room where you can experience, through her eyes, her innocent fun of art.

Kusuma in her life, experienced psychological imbalances that led to periods of hospitalisation (in childhood she began to experience visual and auditory hallucinations and continued) thus leading her to the paintings of red dots.

It is the vitality of the artist, that is infectious, the art that keeps her now alive.

(David Zwirner gallery is located on 525 W 19th Street, NYC.)

 

Exhibition was on display November 15th 2017.

Shop 'Colour In the City' Collection for more NYC enjoyment.

_________________________________________ XX SR

 


Galleria Borghese & Borghese Gardens - Eleggence in Roma

Villa Borghese gardens - exploring the 'Viale Del Lago' and the 'temple of Asclepius'

Roaming through the 'Villa Borghese gardens'. stunning lush gardens set a short stroll from Piazza del Popolo, you will come across the most beautiful 'Galleria Borghese' an art gallery housing a substantial part go the Borghese collection of painting, sculptures and antiques.

The villa was built by the architect 'Flaminio Ponzi, developing sketches himself who used this as his country villa to connect with his work.

Park Highlights.

The galleria includes twenty rooms across two elegant floors, concentrating mostly on Italian artists, the main floor mostly devoted to classical antiques, sculptures by 'Bernini' and many paintings from Caravaggio and 'Raphael'. 

Galleria Borghese - Piazale Scipione borghese, 5, Roma.


'Enchanting Village Life - 'Cote D'azur Secrets ' - a reconnection with art.

 

Ah the beautiful French Riviera, a glamorous coastline with glistening seas and elegance, from its aristocracy, to its divine, picture perfect villages, many of which hold artistic specialities. A holiday destination, where, any artist is sure to reconnect with themselves.

Driving along the winding roaming hills, you can be sure to come across villages like the pretty colourful  'Ez', the medieval village of 'St Paul de Vence', an historical typical old traditional untouched French cultural village of 'Villeneuve Loubet', rich and exclusively famous 'Yacht life' coastal town of 'Antibes', the bustling market life of 'Valbonne', all the way to the beautiful art gallery haven of Mougins,... the south of France is a sure true treat, catering for all loves of life.

Villeneuve Loubet :) X

'ÉZE'  - a magical hilltop village located above coastline of Nice, is a famous tourist site, renowned for its panoramic views of the sea from its peak, above the Church, 'Chapelle de la Sainte Croix, dating back to 1306. It is where Walt Disney spent a significant amount of time, enjoying its beauty and charm. Éze is one of the sixteen villages grouped together to be known as the 'Route of Perched villages'.

'ST PAUL DE VENCE' - famous for its modern and contemporary art galleries, it is sure to tantalise an artists pallet. It has been a haven for artists such as Pablo Picasso,  Jacques Revert, and Marc Chagall, all who lived here. A must visit for artists and cultural lovers alike.

St Paul De Vence

'VILLENEUVE LOUBET' - Crowned by its medieval keep, stairways are omnipresent and with steeply sloping streets, boarded by beautiful colourful facades of French charm and balconies decorated with flowers. At the top, a large church with its belltower deserves a visit, with the chateau hiding behind the high walls, is bound to intrigue you.

Medieval Streets 'Traditional French Facades' - Villeneuve Loubet

'ANTIBES' - Known for its famous port and supreme exclusivity. This port (village/town) is a beautiful stop to absorb the french holiday vibe of the Cote D'azur. From its fine class restaurants to its clientele, it is a sure to spot the 'stars'. Take a walk along the port to see some 'out of this world' yachts and walk the narrow route to a magical view point of the cote D'azur, also the pathway to the Picasso Museum and gallery.

'Antibes'

VALBONNE - a true cultural experience is this beautiful market village. You can capture local life from fresh fruit, vegetable, fish, flowers and meat stands around the narrow beautiful streets.

MOUGINS - A village filled with top class restaurants and an explosion of over 40 art galleries, it has attracted many creative types from Fernand Léger, to Churchill, Elizabeth Taylor to Pablo Picasso (Who spent the last 12 years of his life here, where he died in 1973). A few miles inland from Cannes, Mougins offers  extremely cultured presence with the finest of dining to coincide with the most luxurious galleries 'Museum of Classical Art' , founded by Christian Levett, including collections from artists such as Rubens, Picasso, Braque, Dali and Marc Chagall.

. Gallery Highlights of the Cote D'azur

Musée Renoir, (Cagnes Sur Mer) - The Renoir Museum stands in the heart of the magnificent estate with old olive trees and a superb panorama of the Cap d'antibes. Renoir spent the last 12 years of his life at this house in Cagnes Sur Mere.

Musée Picasso - (Antibes)  - formerly the chateau grimaldi at Antibes, is built at the peak of the village. In 1946 it was the home of Pablo Picasso, today it is known as the Pablo Picasso Museum, the first museum in the world dedicated to the artist. Notable paintings are 'The Goat' and 'La Joie de Vivre'

Musee Marc Chagall (36 Avenue DR Ménard, Nice)  - a national museum dedicated to the work of Marc Chagall,who resided in 'St Paul De Vence;, this gallery holds 40 of his work here. Marc Chagall, a Russian/French artist, an early modernist who was associated with several artistic styles including illustrations, tapestry, ceramic, and fine art prints.

Musée Matisse (164 Avenue des Arénes de Cimiez, Nice)  - The Villa was built in the 17th century and was his home from 1917 until he died in 1954. It has many of his paintings as well as his sketches and personal objects.

Musée des Beaux Arts. (Avenue Des Baumettes, Nice) with a wide selection spanning from 15th Century to 20th Centuries. Built in 1878 it is well worth the hike up the steep hill, it hosts everything from French masters to post impressionist paintings.

XX SR.                                    ______________________


'Via Margutta' - 'Roman Holiday' Historics

"The best thing I know is to do exactly what you wish for in life, for a while" - Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday.

And this is exactly how I adapted my Roman Holiday experience, that took me to a fabulous old historical hotel of 'Hotel Forte, Via Margutta, a street made famous in 1953 - where Audrey Hepburn & Gregory Peck in the movie Roman Holiday, attracted attention to the public eyes, by staying in one of the modest 16th century houses. Via Margutta is a narrow cobble stoned street, where ancient buildings are covered with Ivy and wild wisteria, a street in the centre of Rome, situated between Piazza Di Propolo and Piazza Di Spagna, accessible from the street Via Del Babiuno. Via Margutta originally was home to modest craftsmen, workshops and stables, but now hosts many art galleries and fashionable restaurants.

The 'One hundred painters of 'Via Margutta' is an annual street art fair, where over 100 Roman artists gather to host a week long festival of art from 28th April each year. the Street is currently host to many art galleries and museums, and to an array of beautiful restaurants, 1 in particular catering towards vegetarians, but what better way to enjoy fine Italian dining then being surrounded by superb artwork. (11 Margutta Ristorarte)

Via Margutta, a true artistic cultural charming drop of Bella Roma. xx SR.


'Vintage Roma' - From Gucci to the finest Vintage flea markets

Ten years ago, acquiring great vintage pieces in Rome was expensive and time consuming. There were a few premium resellers,  they wanted a lot of money for their old stuff. But as vintage appreciation has increased in the city and throughout the world, conversely, the options and the prices have become much more reasonable and variety is fantastic around the city.

Take a trip along the street off piazza Di Spagna to see how 2017 iconic fashion brands such as Gucci, Prada, Moschino all are completely influenced by the iconic style.. a multitude of eclectic colourful shop windows, and an eccentric price tags to boost its adoration... but follow the fabulous eye catching streets to a few well kept secrets:

  1. Bohemienne - 'Via Dei Cappellari', 96 (Campo Di Fiori area) - Bohémienne is predominately for women, with an incredible selection of accessories in particular. Mixed into the variety of vintage is a lovely of collection of leather hand bags, handmade by one of the owners. The stock and displays have a soft, antique feel about them, full of old-world charm.
  2. Flamingo Vintage - 'Via Del Boschetto' 123 (Monti area) - great, but boutique style selection of vintage and well-preserved designer wear. This store has the smart ladies vintage who have polished outfits, perfectly accessorized with Chanel sunglasses and YSL shoes. Flamingo is for designer ladies with attitude and an eye for funky style.
  3. Twice Vintage - 'Via San Francesco di Repa', 7 (Trastevere area) This hip little store in Trastevere keeps its stock incredibly up to date, reflecting the current trends- denim, preppy and hipster accents, with a huge range of quality shoes. It has a cool, downtown vibe about it, think rustic Americana with a dose of sportswear.
  4. Omero and Cecilia - 'Via Del Governo Vecchio' 110 (Piazza Navona Via Cavour Area) The quality of vintage available here is impressive- think violet sure skirt suits, flowing 70’s dresses and band jackets. Each garment has been carefully preserved, offering immediate wear, and has a guaranteed uniqueness. The hats are worth a special look in- it has possibly one of the best selections in Rome.

... and when shopping has finished don't forget to travel home, in style, on one of the local transport systems - the vintage Vespa - in an array of colours down every alley way!  :-) Zoom Zoom and happy shopping - Bella Roma xx SR


Bella Roma

Rome -' A Ruin'  -  'the beginning of transformation'

"We all want things to stay the same, settle for living in misery, because we're afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins.. maybe Life isn't so chaotic, maybe its just the world that is, and the real trap is getting attached to any of it.. "  - (Liz Gilbert 'Eat Pray Love')

Rome.. is the  perfect example of  Ruin as a GIFT.. a ruin showing the road to transformation.. A ruin where the shells of architecture show the beginning of how when we use and transform our wild Imaginations.. something new.. something magical, something extraordinary can happen. Rome, somewhere that is worth a few steps backwards as we begin to leap forwards... into the new !

Rome, A city where you're never falling apart, you're just falling into something different & unique, with the capacity to create the beautiful. It is a city where you find yourself, picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, starting all over again.. followed by a dusty repeat, and it can get very dusty !!!! : - ) X A Marvel.

When In Rome XXX