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The Magnificence of Antoni Gaudi (or “Things to Marvel At”)

With Europe on my mind, and my daughter studying in Spain, I’m reminded of my fascination with Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. Known for his engineering genius, there are so many elements at work in his work that he bursts the seams of any one title – except perhaps that of artist, whose buildings were his canvas representing a treasure trove of design and unbridled creativity. You look at them and think “How….???!”

Revered worldwide as one of the most important modernist style architects, Gaudi lived from 1852-1926. “Over the course of his career, Gaudi developed a sensuous, curving, almost surreal design style which established him as the innovative leader of the Spanish Art Nouveau movement. With little regard for formal order, he juxtaposed unrelated systems and altered established visual order. Gaudi’s characteristically warped form of Gothic architecture drew admiration from other avant-garde artists.”

To view Gaudi’s work is to see “thinking outside the box” at whole new levels. His extraordinary examples, many of which reside in Barcelona, are movement and dance; they’re sugar-laced monuments with creamy frosting; they’re marshmallows and gingerbread, sand-castles, stone, glass and iron; they’re original, dramatic, striking blends of angle and color.

I marvel at the boundlessness. Fantastic. Illogical. Stunning.

Dennis Sharp. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Architects and Architecture. New York: Quatro Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-8230-2539-X. NA40.I45. p61.
Muriel Emmanuel. Contemporary Architects. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1980. ISBN 0-312-16635-4. NA680.C625 1980.
Images via Google.

Margaritaville and The Lost Island


While the planet continues to shift, rearranging the northeast into some kind of Arctic replica, I took some time away, letting my muse wander among talking dolphins, small dragons and lazy hammocks under a hot, shiny sun. Had a cheeseburger in paradise, looked for Jimmy Buffet’s lost shaker of salt (thought it might be in the old Hemingway home, but no). And I pondered which island on the horizon might be the one that my mother purchased years ago.

Yes, my mother bought an island. She would, not often, but on occasion, do things like that. Buy a convertible when a station wagon would be more sensible. Write a letter to the Queen of England. Buy an island. Maybe to defy an orderly life, to make dreams real, to remind herself during times of inevitable routine that she was more than laundry folded and meals on the table; to remind her four children that our dreams were also valid.

We never saw the island. I’m honestly not sure she ever saw the island. The island that might one day be a family gathering place, or an artist retreat, or a healing place, or who knows what ~ a dream without limits. It could well be that the island was no more than a single palm tree on a lump of earth bulging from the Gulf of Mexico. Or it could have been a small but bona fide piece of paradise. It was sold, so we’ll never know ~ but the idea of it ~ the loveliness, the throw-caution-to-the-wind of it, the hopefulness and cheer of it, lives on in me.


An Island Lost

Stars like freshly polished gems,
Close enough to touch –
A sprinkling of stardust
Soundlessly rests on giant palms
And sweeps across the sea,
A silent chime,
The whisper of a song
With familiar, forgotten words from
The language of dreams.

How far the distance between then and now?
A heartbeat? A century? All of time?

A story unfinished, a vision unseen
Green and blue on sandy shores
Ripe with adventures not taken.
A red sail, a setting sun,
Flowers in our hair.
An island lost awaits
A barefoot waltz,
Promising secret treasures.

But instead, a more reliable path.
Feet on solid ground. And yet ~

And yet,
A cactus grows in winter, and
Mysteries breathe in hickory trees
Where cardinals, red and fit,
Watch from lofty branches.
A poem from the future,
And guiding stars
like freshly polished gems,
Close enough to touch –

Stardust falls on me,
On you,
Then, and now,
There, and here
Inside this sky
Where dreams wander
And Prometheus plays
And Shakespeare sings
And Copernicus soars
And hands are held
And laughter swells
And love is forever
And ever.

~ P. Saxton




Some Doors I Have Known

There’s something about doors that makes me want to walk right on in, see what’s behind them, uncover a mystery, discover a history, a magical passageway, a hidden treasure. And the lavish architecture of Venice just intensifies that intrigue!

Of course, the truth is that sometimes (most of the time) I just have to use my imagination ~ but that’s not too hard with doors like these. ♥ Ah, what stories they could tell…




March: Like a Lion


Don’t know how the March weather will play out this year ~ we’ll just have to wait and see ~ but the old phrase “in like a lion, out like a lamb” conjured up some fond lion-memories for me.

It was in Kenya, about this time of year back in 1990, that I captured a small lion family on my old Chinon 35mm. So I thought I’d share part of a sequence that delights me now almost as much as it did watching it unfold in front of me then.

They look so sweet, don’t they? We were reminded that despite appearances, they are killers ~ and we were only 20 feet away . It was an extraordinary treat being so close, but I was equally glad for my zoom lens (and that Mama Lion decided we weren’t a threat and could get back to her nap). What a beautiful wonder they are.









Getting What You Ask For

Unplugged is when you decide to stay away from all work and computer / electronic connection.

Very unplugged is when Mother Nature steps in to be sure you fulfill that intention. Something along the lines of a rainstorm. Drenching your laptop. Unrecoverable. Which is what happened to mine on my “unplugged” trip ~ just so there was no cheating, even if I’d wanted to.

The bad news, of course, was having to get a new laptop sooner than I’d hoped. The good news ~ it was a liberating 7 days. I highly recommend it. Just one caveat: be careful what you ask for. The universe just might give your request an unexpected boost!

In any event, thought I’d share a small taste of what I did instead of checking emails and monitoring facebook pages… (Thank you rainstorm?)


Kenya Inspired

Me, Relaxing

Thought I’d share a few paintings that came out of my Kenyan experience several years back. More haunt my mind and lurk in my paintbrushes, but there are so many paintings to paint and so little time…

Kenyan Landscape / 5’X7′ / © Patricia Saxton

Flower Lady / 4’X4′ / © Patricia Saxton

Kenyan Plains / 9X12″ / © Patricia Saxton

And here’s me, capturing great shots. Looking younger too. Ah… Hakuna Matata.

Me, Captivated