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Looking Out, Looking Up

What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are.  

C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

For these next 2 cards, “where I was standing” was essential and what I was seeing sent my imagination into high gear.

View at Arienzo

View at Arienzo – sold


In 2011, we rented a tiny little apartment that clung to the side of a rock cliff on the Amalfi Coast, outside of Positano. Since it was anchored somehow to the cliff (and we tried not to think about that), all windows faced the sea and these views were spectacular. We would look out onto the sea for hours, and relax, daydream, write (I wasn’t drawing then), discuss deeper issues, make plans, concoct stories about who owned those yachts. We had a such a peaceful time here. Towards the end of our week, I walked past one of the windows and saw our hats nonchalantly sitting on the ledge and the image really struck me. This was our week – part in brilliant sun, part in sleepy shade, connected to the sea, sharing silly daydreams of boat ownership, and getting lost in all the different shades of blue.

Villa Garden in Varenna

Villa Garden in Varenna – sold

As in the previous story, I got transfixed by water again, but this time in Varenna on Lake Como. Varenna is a picturesque and quiet town with a lovely boardwalk along the lake. On one stroll, I stopped to soak in the lake view with its rise of mountains. I stood there for what seemed like an eternity. But I was awakened by my husband yelling at me a few feet away – “behind you, look up!”. This card captures the view that awaited me when I looked up. Enormous flower pots, palm trees, flowering shrubs and a pink villa! This taught me that on vacation (or everyday for that matter), it’s important to look all around me where I’m standing to discover beauty.

3 replies »

  1. Oh, yes, definitely — eyes wide open! These doodles are wonderful, Marion!
    PS: I’ve never asked, I don’t think, but what is it that attracts you to Italy?

    • Janina, you’ve asked a question that I never know how to answer succinctly but here goes. The first time I went to Italy, I felt immediately “at home” and also exhilarated in the same moment – maybe a little like love at first sight? And this was before I had my first meal, glass of wine, or interaction with Michelangelo or the train strikes! I remember being in the taxi from the Rome airport and having this strange wave of emotion come over me. To this day and a dozen visits later, I still get it – when I’m there and even when I paint the place from home. Travel here has opened me up – I’ve taken risks, I’ve reconnected to my artistic self, I’ve learned to sit still in nature, I’ve made new friends… and on and on. I’m not done yet either and will return this October for a month. I’m not Italian, but I joke in another life I just might have been!

      • I think you may have been too! I understand that ‘at home’ feeling. I’ve had that feeling in Italy too as a teenager, and as I did when I was in Hawai’i many years ago as an adult. Hawai’i I think would be my real home, if I were able to be there, which I’m not for many reasons which I won’t go into here. Thanks, Marion, for trying to explain. Travel does wonders for us all, or at least for those who are open to what it has to offer! 😀 Love your work. Viva Italia!

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