the shortness of life can not dissuade us from its pleasures

My painting eat, drink and be merry.

My painting, “Eat, Drink and Be Merry,” will be on display at the St. Augustine Art Association through May 28.

“The shortness of life can not dissuade us from its pleasures nor console us for its pains.”

This quote by Luc de Clapiers sums up the life and legacy of Henry Morrison Flagler. The brevity of  life did not spare Flagler sorrows nor limit his dreams. A millionaire developer and co-founder of Standard Oil, Flagler suffered the loss of two daughters, a grandchild and a wife who died of tuberculosis.

Flagler’s life and accomplishments were part of the inspirations for my Trilogy: Flagler Mortality series.

My Flagship painting ” You can’t it take it with you” is of the Memorial Presbyterian Church. Splashes of gold and color droplets allude to wealth and the brevity of life.

Flagler built the Memorial Presbyterian Church in St Augustine to honor his daughter who died in childbirth. Flagler, his first wife and daughter are entombed in the church building.

My colorful and festive painting ” Eat, Drink and Be Merry” captures the essence of Flagler’s Alcazar Hotel. The hotel offered accommodations, dining and expansive recreational facilities. It had a casino, bowling alley, tennis courts, Turkish and Russian baths, Swedish Massage services and one of the world’s largest indoor swimming pools.

My third painting, “Behind Every Rich Man,” is of Grace Methodist Church and Wiley Hall. The muted colors and lack of details depicts the lack of recognition often given to key players.

Located behind the Flagler’s glamorous Ponce de Leon Hotel, both buildings are reminders of those who contributed to Flagler’s success. Flagler’s executives used Wiley Hall to conduct business. Grace Methodist Church relocated and sold Flagler the land on which he built the Alcazar.

http://www.elainemarieartist.wordpress.com

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TGIF: Ireland’s Stunning Upside Down Lighthouse

West Rathlin Lighthouse

West Rathlin Lighthouse is built upside down.

The West Lighthouse on Rathlin Island is a marvel of human ingenuity. Unlike most lighthouses, the Keepers had to climb down to the light. The Commissioners of Irish Lights Engineer-in-Chief CW Scott came up with this novel idea. Because the top cliff was often obscured by fog and low clouds, a traditional lighthouse would not do.

Built in 1912 on a somewhat vertical cliff, the project was a huge undertaking. It took almost 4 years to complete. The enormous amount concert used had to be mixed by hand. An inclined railway was built for landing materials.

http://www.elainemarieartist.com

http://www.johneaglephoto.com

http://www.irishlights.ie

TGIF Travels: How to make a group tour work for you

The Eiffel Towel

We stopped by the Eiffel Tower but I ventured out on my own to visit the Louvre.

I’m not one for following crowds or conforming to popular opinion. So it was with a little consternation that I booked a group tour.

Group tours can be pricey but what’s more costly and disappointing is not getting the experience you personally hoped for. I’ve been on group tours to France and Ireland.

When I traveled in France, I failed to do research and missed seeing some of the sights that I was personally interested in. Here are the lessons I’ve learned on my group tour of Ireland:

Mountain view of Ireland.

A view from Tory Island

 

1. Plan ahead. Before the group tour in Ireland, I voiced my interests and objectives with the tour guide before paying my fee. I’ve learned you have more leverage before a transaction than after.

2. Talk openly. Open communication before a tour is one of the keys to having a successful self group tour. The tour in Ireland was primarily for lighthouse enthusiasts not lighthouse artists like me. So I inquired about how many lighthouses I would be able to draw. The tour guide was not immediately forthcoming. I think he was concerned about promising something he couldn’t deliver because of bad weather. Once I assured him I was aware that weather could alter things he gave me a tentative lists of lighthouses.

 

3. Get support from fellow travelers. I made friends with others on the tour and looked for opportunities to be helpful. It got to the point where the other travelers teased me about getting my sketches started before we approached the lighthouse. And by the end of the tour the driver was sketching lighthouses too!

Painting of Chaine Memorial Lighthouse

We stopped 5 mins at Chaine Lighthouse.

 

4. Express appreciation and be cooperative. Show gratitude for the tour guide’s flexibility. I knew the tour wasn’t all about me so I thanked the tour guide often for accommodating my wishes. The tour guide delivered more than he promised and I kept my word about brief sketches.

5. Be kind but firm when sticking to your agenda. I missed the final dinner but enjoyed the spectacular sunset at Blackhead lighthouse instead. Don’t forget courtesy goes a long way when cross purposes arise. After the final dinner, I stopped sketching and went on the moonlight tour.

I’ve learned the hard way to voice objectives in advance, research the tour as if I am traveling alone, reaffirm my objectives along the way and stick to my personal agenda. But it was well worth the effort and the money spent.

For exciting photos of my Ireland Lighthouse trip, visit http://www.elainemarieartist.com.