TGIF: No means yes in South Beach

A picture of the museum

The Jewish Museum Florida FIU was designed by Henry Hohauser who attended Pratt Institute.

South Beach is a place of defiance. I once heard someone say, people come to South Beach to do every “God forsaken” thing they wouldn’t do anywhere else! No means yes in South Beach.

It should come as no surprise that the Jewish community in South Beach has often defied the status quo.

Art Deco weekend.

Thousands of people come to Art Deco Weekend each year.

Barbara Capitman, a Jews, defied the establishment. Capitman fought city officials “tooth and nail” to preserve the historical buildings that light up Miami Beach and make it the second most popular place in Florida. If not for her vision and perseverance, there would not be an Art Deco District. The over 800 Art Deco buildings that remain are testaments to Capitman’s defiance. The Art Deco District was the first 20th century neighborhood placed on the National Register of Historic Places much to her efforts. The Miami Design Preservation League continues Capitman’s legacy.

Poster

Miami Design Preservation League poster rallying the community.

What’s more, Henry Hohauser, an architect who was Jewish, built over 300 Art Deco buildings. Hohauser lived in an era when signs “Gentiles Only” and “No Jews Allowed” were commonplace in South Beach. Jews were not even allowed to live beyond 5th Street.

An Art Deco chandelier and displays inside the Jews

An Art Deco chandler and displays inside the Jewish Museum.

Visit one of Hohauser’s buildings and experience first hand the story of Jewish culture in Florida. Hohauser’s building, once a synagogue, is now the home of the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. Eighty stained glass windows, a copper dome, and chandeliers are reminders of the days when Hohauser and others worshipped in the synagogue. Taste and see the Jewish experience during the Jewish Food Tour that leaves from the Museum. Learn how the Jewish community thrived despite many obstacles.

Falafel and Israeli salad.

Enjoy Falafel and Israeli salad on the Jewish Food Tour.

Facing off with those who thought South Beach should be known only as a place for “fun in the sun,” Holocaust survivors garnered public support for the building of the Holocaust Memorial. A memorial garden and a sobering sculpture recall those who died and remind all who visit: “we shall NEVER forget.”

Sculpture at the Holocaust memorial

A bronze sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly at the Holocaust Memorial.

The impact of Jewish culture permeates every aspect of the city. Mount Sinai Hospital was built because Jewish doctors weren’t given staff privileges at area hospitals. The Bass Museum scheduled to reopen in the fall, is named in honor of John and Johanna Bass, Jewish immigrants who bequeathed over 500 works of art to the City of Miami Beach.

The Bass Museum in Miami Beach.

The Bass Museum in Miami Beach during Art Basel.

It is said that obstacles are opportunities. Fighting bias and opposition, the Jewish community realized that no means yes in South Beach.

http://splashandcolor.com

https://jmof.fiu.edu

http://holocaustmemorialmiamibeach.org

2016: A Tale of European Cities

Monument to King Alfonso XII.

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom; it was the age of foolishness….it was the season of light; it was the season of darkness…”

I thought about this Charles Dickens quote from the “Tale of Two Cities” when reflecting on my accomplishments and disappointments in 2016. I started the year complaining on the road with fans from the Orange Bowl. I checked everything but the traffic when planning my road trip. Thanks to that mishap I now look at the traffic on Florida 511 and Florida events when traveling.

A view of Madrid.

A beautiful view of Madrid at Parque de la Montana.

The following month I traveled to London and Madrid. In Madrid, I was spellbound at the monuments at Parque del Retiro. I saw “Guernica” by Picasso at the Museo Reina Sofia. I visited The Museo Nacional del Prado home to paintings by European Masters like Durer, El Greco, Velazquez, Rembrandt, Rubens, etc. My favorite painting were “Las Meninas” by Diego Velazquez and “Adam and Eve” by Albretch Durer.

Museo Nacional del Prado.

Museo Nacional del Prado.

After Madrid I flew to London. In London, we stayed a block away from Buckingham Palace at the Nadler Hotel. We watched the changing of the guards several times.

Changing of the Guards

The gallantry of the Changing of the Guards.

We walked to West Minister and saw the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and worshipped at West Minister Abbey.

Big Ben at London.

Big Ben with a view of the London Eye.

The next day we rode the Tube to Trinity Buoy Wharf where I sketched a lightship and a lighthouse. Somewhere along the way, I went to the Tate Museum and saw the paintings JMW Turner bequeath to the people of London.

Self portrait of Turner.

Self portrait of JMW Turner.

My daughter wanted to stroll down her childhood memory lane so we visited the London Bridge. She was disappointed but satisfied that she had actually seen it.

London Brige

A view of London Bridge.

We ended our stay with a look at the Tower Bridge and The Tower Castle.

The Tower Bridge of London.

The Tower Bridge of London.

A few days after I returned from Europe, I had a kidney stone. The only relief was that I didn’t get sick while traveling overseas. That would have been a bigger pain than the kidney stone.

Sunset at Blackhead Lighthouse.

Sunset at Blackhead Lighthouse, Northern Ireland.

After the kidney stone, I felt a sense of urgency and decided to book a lighthouse trip to Ireland instead of waiting next year. During the summer, I visited The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland where I stayed at Blackhead Lighthouse. I had an oceanfront room with a fireplace for two nights. That alone was worth the cost of the trip. We saw over 24 lighthouses in the course of 8 days. It was an amazing trip.

As I look at my disappointments in 2016, I realize that I wouldn’t have accomplished much without them. I actually better prepare for my trips, drink more water, take advantage of more opportunities and have gratitude for the little things in my life. Without the darkness, we can not relish the light.

http:/www.elainemarieartist.com

http://splashandcolor.com

So when did being nice get to be weird?

Christmas decorations in Chicago.

The Christmas season in Chicago.

I love Edward Hopper the artist. I rediscovered him at the Art Institute of Chicago. I visited the Art Institute a few years ago with my daughter.

The Art Institute of Chicago.

The Art Institute of Chicago.

She declared that his “Nighthawk” was her favorite painting in the collection. That’s a feat considering there are approximately 300,000 works of art.

Nighthawk by Edward Hopper.

Nighthawk by Edward Hopper exhibited in the Art Institute of Chicago.

Last summer I was mesmerized by the book “Edward Hopper” by Robert Hobbs. After reading the book from the library I went to Amazon and saw it priced for over $50. Not wanting to pay that, I added it to my art book wish list.

Edward Hopper by Robert Hobbs.

Great book by Robert Hobbs on Edward Hopper.

A couple of days ago, my daughter asked me what I wanted for Christmas. My mind came to a complete blank. Then I thought of my wish list.

I said ” Do you remember the painting “Nighthawk?” She paused and said, “no.” Well it was your favorite painting when we went to the museum in Chicago. Anyway, I want a book on Hopper for Christmas.

I looked at Amazon and it was a little under $50 now. I said, “You know Amazon doesn’t always have the best prices on books.” ” Really, because they initially started out by selling books,” she informed me.

I decided to “goggle” the Hooper book by name. The cheapest price under $20 was on Biblio and Barnes and Noble. My daughter decided to go with Barnes and Nobles. There was one snag. The book would be delivered after Christmas! I said, “That’s ok, Christmas is not my birthday.”

My to our surprise the book was delivered the next day. The Skymedia Online Bookseller employee said he used to live in the neighborhood and when saw the book he volunteered to deliver it. “That’s weird!” my daughter exclaimed. No that was nice!

A Christmas window in Chicago.

A Christmas window at Macy’s in Chicago.

Christmas is all about generosity-going above and beyond. That’s what God did for us by sending Jesus. And that’s what Christmas is all about. Thank God and thanks Skymedia!

TGIF Travels: Free Holiday Fun at St. Augustine Lighthouse

St. Augustine Lighthouse in North Florida.

St. Augustine Lighthouse in North Florida.

Enjoy a delightful evening for the whole family December 7 from 7-9 pm during Luminary Nights at the St. Augustine Lighthouse.  Experience a night of spectacular Christmas lights, holiday decorations and fun activities.

Festivities include children’s activities, holiday crafts and yuletide refreshments. Listen to live music with a string quartet and watch a tree aglow with white lights inside the Lighthouse tower.

A Christmas tree adorned with nautical ornaments donated from people around the country is displayed in the Lighthouse Keeper’s House. Climb the lighthouse and see a breathtaking view of St. Augustine Nights of Lights.

For more information, check out http://www.visitstaugustine.com

http://www.elainemarieartist.com

The Best Guide in Europe

A view of Madrid.

The most distinctive geographical feature of Spain is its mountains. Spain is the most mountainous country in Europe besides Switzerland.

I dreamed of painting picturesque lighthouses on mountains in Spain but found no guide to take me there. Like most of my life, my plan to paint European lighthouses did not materialize.

In Great Britain, Trinity House, overseer of most of Britain’s lighthouses, had no organized guides for tours to all of their lighthouses.

Disappointed, I scratched my plans and settled for two lighthouses. Trinity Lighthouse in London and St. Catherine’s a few hours away from London.

St. Catherine’s Lighthouse at the Isle of Wight soars above the British shore poetically. Day trips are only $100. With that in mind I made plans.

To my dismay, two weeks before my trip, the ferry port for the Isle of Wright caught fire. All trips were cancelled. I considered that a spiritual red flag and reluctantly made plans to just paint the Trinity Lighthouse.

My daughter who made the discovery about the fire consoled me and said “Maybe things will change by the time we get to London.” However, when we arrived in London, things changed from bad to worse. The storm Imogene was brewing off the coast of Isle of Wright making the day trip impossible.

Thankful I could at least visit one European lighthouse, we caught the London Tube to the hamlet of West India.

Sign for Trinity buoy wharf.

Trinity Buoy Wharf awaits.

My heart raced as we walked a few blocks to Trinity Buoy Wharf to the lighthouse.

Trinity Lighthouse

Trinity Lighthouse.

While I sketched, my daughter sipped hot chocolate at a quaint diner nearby. Reading the lighthouse signage, I glanced at another one about a lightship. Funny I had not even noticed the lightship behind until I read it. “Wow, two lighthouses,” I thought. God had quietly guided my steps.

Signage for Lightship.

Signage for Lightship.

He has a better plan if we allow only allow Him to unfold it. I did not have to travel far and wide to find two European lighthouses.

Lightship at Trinity Buoy Wharf.

Lightship at Trinity Buoy Wharf.

God guides and orders our steps even when we are unaware of it. When pass we pass through the fire and the storm, He is with us.

Later, leaving London and grasping my bible, I heard a Brit say “you’re following the right guide.” I gave him a hug and agreed I was.

http://www.trinitybuoywharf.com

Mayhem at Madrid

A view of Madrid, Spain

A view of Madrid, Spain.

My preparation for my art trip to Madrid began three years ago. But I didn’t know it. I took a free Spanish Business class for three months. A few weeks after the class, I could hardly remember a thing. I laughed, I probably won’t need Spanish anyway.

Three years later the joke was on me. As I finished packing for my trip, my anxiety choked my enthusiasm as I thought of arriving at the Madrid airport. The small voice in my devotion said “God travels with you and God will go before you. ” It tried in vain to silence the noise in my head.

After enjoying an incredible flight on American Airlines while reclining in my seat (because the seat next to me was vacant) I felt reassured that everything would be okay.

When I arrived in Madrid the airport was quiet and not frantic as I imagined. In the baggage claim area Cabifly was there was doing a ride promotion. Realizing it was a godsend, I walked over to the table. When the lady spoke in English and said she would order the ride and escort me to the cab, I said a prayer of thanks out loud. She even said she was happy to help. Not sure who was happier her or me, I gave her a hug.” God travels with me,” I thought. The “Mayhem at Madrid” was all in my mind.

Timeless Lessons from Great Britain

Big Ben at London.

Big Ben at London.

It is possible to evade a multitude of sorrows through the cultivation of an insignificant life. Indeed, if a person’s ambition is to avoid the troubles of life, the recipe is simple: shed your ambitions in every direction, cut the wings of every soaring purpose, and seek a life with the fewest contacts and relations.

If you want to get through life with the smallest trouble, you must reduce yourself to the smallest compass. Tiny souls can dodge through life, bigger souls are blocked on every side.

As soon as a person begins to enlarge his or her life, resistances are multiplied. Let a person remove petty selfish purposes and enthrone Christ, and sufferings will increase on every side.

John Henry Jowett, a British pastor of a century ago.