Venice in watercolor

It’s been a while since my last watercolor project. The class went on break for the summer, and I decided not to join any of the outdoor painting sessions my teacher held in place of the regular class. When I went back to Haarlem in September, I decided to continue my travel series with a painting of a Venetian gondola. With the change of seasons, it was my way of saying, “Take me back to Venice in the springtime!”

Here, my biggest struggle was with the interior of the boat, because there was so much crap detail in it. My teacher Penny is a real master at knowing when to be a stickler for detail and when to let go and just splash around, so I had lots of help from her here. She also introduced me to a rather colorful Dutch euphemism for nitpicking: mierenneuken, which literally means, to fuck an ant. Hilarious.

Overall, I’m really happy with it… but I think I’ll go easy on the details when choosing my next subject!

Do you like this month’s watercolor piece? Does it feel like spring in Venice to you?

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Fashion first: the one-piece jumpsuit

They say 30 is when you shed the insecurities of your 20s and become more confident and comfortable in your own skin. One way I’m finding that to be true is in my own personal style. Though I was much thinner years ago, I was too self-conscious to be adventurous. I secretly nursed many fashion fantasies; I would admire a piece of clothing in a store or magazine, try to picture myself in it, then tell myself I couldn’t possibly look half as good as other women would look in it. Then I would walk away.

The one-piece jumpsuit, or onesie, was one of these fashion fantasies. I always thought they looked fun and playful, but nothing I could actually wear. That changed when I spotted a cobalt blue jumpsuit in Zara that I thought would be perfect for a tall, blond, blue-eyed friend. When she didn’t bite, I found myself trying it on… and to my surprise, liking how it looked on me.

I chose to debut my one-piece jumpsuit in Venice. It was the perfect location for a personal fashion first—and to feel like, as Jason said, a 70s movie villainess. Like I had just arrived in Venice via private seaplane. Like I should have been slinking around with a crystal champagne flute, ivory cigarette holder, and entourage of assistants.

You know what they say about wearing something and owning it? I owned it all right, but not the way you’d think. It was more like wearing the jumpsuit made me feel like I owned… everything.

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My own private Venice

Venice? Private? Hah. With 20 million visitors a year, you can’t possibly hope to feel like you have this eternally beautiful city all to yourself.
But you can try. Because while the sights you share with countless, faceless others are truly stunning, they are just easy pickings.
And while the Venice of the Grand Canal, of the Doge’s Palace, the Venice of the Piazza and Basilica San Marco is as beautiful and evocative of a splendid past as anything you’ve ever seen…
… it is the Venice of the narrow side streets that is the most special, because it is the Venice that will become your own.
Thankfully, the city provides no shortage of these small, winding alleys to get lost in. And I was happy to share my own private Venice with the love of my life, and with one of my dearest friends (and the love of her life!).
Far away from the grand piazzas and palaces, and close to sunset, after the hordes of day trippers have gone home, is the best way to find your own private Venice. This is what mine looks like.


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