Showing posts with label Paris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paris. Show all posts

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Respectfully Resurrect

As an artist and tech-savvy individual, my surprising journey into the world of Vincent van Gogh took an unexpected turn when I delved into the realm of artificial intelligence. Little did I know that my exploration would lead to a captivating endeavor – creating images of Van Gogh as if he had never left us, but instead continued his artistic journey in Paris. 

The Starry Night, Vincent van Gogh, 1889

AI interpretation
Years ago, then as a student in art college, my fascination with Van Gogh's unique style and emotive use of color prompted me to study his life and work in detail. Van Gogh´s turbulent and tragically short life as a Dutch post-impressionist painter left an indelible mark on the art world. His emotionally charged brushstrokes and vibrant color palette spoke volumes about his inner struggles and passion for art. 

AI interpretation of Vincent in Paris if he had not died age 37

Armed with the tools of our digital age, I decided to take my exploration a step further. Using AI technology, I began recreating the style of Van Gogh's iconic paintings, seeking to understand his techniques and immerse myself in the creative process that defined his legacy.

A unexpected breakthrough came when I started to ponder a fascinating "what if" scenario: What if Van Gogh hadn't met his untimely end in 1890, and instead, he had recovered from his mental health struggles to continue his artistic journey? The idea of creating images of a later-in-life Van Gogh living in Paris, a city synonymous with artistic inspiration, ignited my imagination.

AI interpretation

With the help of advanced AI algorithms, I embarked on a journey to visualize a hypothetical continuation of Van Gogh's life while also imagining the artistic evolution he might have undergone in a different timeline. What if Vincent had met with some success as an artist, like many of the impressionist painters that came before him? What if his brother Theo, an art dealer, had been fortunate selling the many paintings Vincent produced?

As I brought Van Gogh back to life through digital art, I couldn't help but marvel at the possibilities technology offered to reinterpret and extend the legacies of revered artists.
In this alternate reality, I envisioned Van Gogh thriving in the vibrant Parisian art scene, surrounded by fellow creatives and finding new inspiration in the city of lights. The result was a collection of images that blended the familiar with the speculative, providing a glimpse into the "what could have been" of Van Gogh's artistic journey.

AI interpretation of Vincent in Paris; successful artist. His brother Theo acting as his dealer.

Studying Van Gogh through the lens of AI not only deepened my appreciation for his art but also allowed me to play a part in crafting a unique narrative for one of history's most celebrated artists. In the realm of creative exploration, the intersection of art and technology continues to open new doors, offering a chance to reimagine and extend the legacies of those who have left an indelible mark on the canvas of history.

I would not mind if after I died, someone wished to respectfully resurrect me and my life work . . . perhaps I would be honored.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Along The Way

We are slowed down sound and light waves, a walking bundle of frequencies tuned into the cosmos. We are souls dressed up in sacred biochemical garments and our bodies are the instruments through which our souls play their music.    -Albert Einstein

I have been home for two weeks now, and the sights and sounds of the previous two months continue to reverberate in my being. The photographs I took, the paintings and writings, all testify to my soul journey.

This blog is over ten years old now, with 582 posts to date. It is a book—a record with photos.

So many experiences in life are bound to be buried. Little surprises that happened along the way come to life with pictures or writing.

Like this. I was walking in Paris on the left bank, heading back to my hotel in Saint-Germaine. I came to a woman in a wheelchair, surrounded by pigeons she was feeding. It was cold, and she was wearing tennis shoes. An oversized beige beret sat on her head. When our gaze met, she smiled warmly with light in her eyes. I wondered about her life and circumstances, and asked to take her picture. She had no pretensions and to my surprise spoke fluent English. “I love speaking English,” she said. We chatted some small talk, then I took her picture. I noted that she was not begging, but imperturbably living on the street, taking care of pigeons in the midst of the flowing crowds around her.

I have close to two thousand pictures from my last sojourn—from Washington DC to Paris, on to Venice for a month, then Egypt for three weeks.

Memories jump to life with pictures that add "a thousand words".

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Deep To My Soul

I am glad I had my paints, camera and pen along with me. Oh, and my laptop. Two pair of shoes was enough. So was two pair of pants, four shirts, socks and underwear. I used the umbrella in Venice a few times. Never wore the shorts and decided to leave them in Egypt.

Everything fit in a medium size suitcase and carry-on with wheels. I never needed anything more and came home without a pair of shoes I gave away, and also left shorts, and shirts behind. The special item I brought back is the Jellabiya, (man’s gown) that was made for me in Egypt.

Oh, the four paintings I sent from Italy and two from Egypt arrived safely by courier. No equipment damaged, over 1,800 photos safely stored, and some foreign money in my pocket for souvenir.
The damage that occurred was in my body when I took a flu medication in Luxor and it wreaked havoc on my urinary system which is already slowing down because it is over six decades old. I had to come home sooner than expected. That was the biggest of the problems that arrived. All part of THE DREAM.

Friendships and bonds deepened. With my brother Wade and his family in Washington DC, with Cristiana in Venice, Italy, Fred the hotelier in Paris, and my Egyptian brothers, Hagag and Abu’l Ezz in Luxor, Egypt along with their families.

Perhaps I left a footprint behind in the places I sojourned. A memory that I was there.  My friends remember me, and cried when I left them. They went deep to my soul as well.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Too Late To Turn Back Now

Too late to turn back now. I have bought my tickets, except for my return.

A thousand small, cautious voices voices tell me to stay, don't go. I can hear them: What you are doing is dangerous, extravagant, foolish. Money will be lost. You will be lonely away from home. A thousand things could go wrong and you won't even speak the language. You will go missing, be taken advantage of by strangers. People will hate you because you are American. You might get killed in unknown parts of the planet.

The voices of the crowd that have seeped through my unconscious aren't my own voice. At times I have heard the words spoken from someone's lips. 

My authentic inner voice says to go back to Venice, Italy, a place I love. Go when the tourists have disappeared and the fog comes. Take photographs and paint. Re-unite with friends there. On the way, stop and see brother Wade and family in Washington DC, where I grew up. Mingle and rejoice with him, his wife and two children. Go to Paris and kick around on the cobbled streets of the left bank that I know. Roll around in the subway . . . take the train and discover Versailles. Be entranced. Let the creative juices flow. Take a cheap flight on Air France and arrive in Venice. Stay a month.

Let yourself be silently drawn by the deeper pull of what you truly love. -Rumi

Montmartre street, Paris, France
Egypt is poor and has been convulsed by the Arab uprising that has roiled the middle east. Yet, whenever I go I am welcomed and feel at home. Sure, I don't speak Arabic, look different, don't know my way around . . . but that is part of the fun. After two visits, now when I arrive in Luxor, there are two families waiting with open arms to see me. Each family has five children and is extremely poor by western standards. But I love being in the earthen homes with the animals all around, the children sitting next to me, relaxed, drinking tea . . . all the while the Nile River flows just steps away. I am drawn by this; it is what I truly love. 
Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
I can stay a couple weeks, a month, who knows? It is cheap to live there. My home in Santa Fe will be rented. Hopefully, my gallery will have sales enough during the slow season. 

I will dream, be absorbed in the ancient land of the Pharaohs' near the Temple of Karnak, photograph, paint and write.

Masai young men and boys, Serengeti
I want to go back to the land of the Masai people in Kenya and Tanzania. I believe I will go to Arusha, in Kenya. I can find the Masai . . . and maybe hike to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Sure, I might get mugged or have something stolen. But the local newspaper here in Santa Fe has a daily police report, and those things and worse happen regularly.

So, with a full heart I will go forth.

What you seek is seeking you. -Rumi

Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion. -Rumi

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Complex Labyrinth

Now that I have returned to the United States, I feel as if I am emerging from one month of wandering through a complex labyrinth. I seldom felt as though I walked in a straight line, but rather meandered, lost in wonderment, through a maze of experiences that curved, twisted and bent through cities, fields, mountains, deserts and oceans, among people who spoke languages I could not understand, sleeping in many different beds in various exotic abodes, eating unusual foods and learning to live where the sunrise is eight hours earlier.

While in the labyrinth, I did not feel particularly lost, even when I was sometimes traveling in the “wrong” direction, because I believe in THE DREAM, where everything has a purpose, even being lost. In Paris, the maze of tunnels under the city that carry the millions of subway passengers can be daunting, especially if one does not speak French, but being lost can have it’s pleasures. On the streets, I walked miles over the cobblestone avenues amid row after row of shops, café’s and hotels. An air of sophistication permeated everywhere, as if Paris was the seat of refinement for the world. In the Louvre Museum, I walked for hours over the marble floors, admiring some of the best artwork in the world . . . and also found myself in Pere Lachaise Cemetery, wandering amid the tombs of some the same great artists whose work is in the Louvre.

Morocco held many firsts for me: Drinking fresh squeezed orange juice every day for three weeks, seeing a snake charmer handling a live cobra, riding a camel and sleeping in a Bedouin tent under a full moon, being in a sandstorm, using a toilet and rinsing my butt with my hand dipped in a bucket of water used for that purpose, hearing the Muslim call to prayer blasted from loudspeakers at mosques every day for three weeks, eating olives at every meal, wearing a caftan and eye liner, seeing a woman go bathing in the ocean while fully dressed, including head scarf, (a wave knocked her down and she smiled at me with the same look of wonderment and glee as anyone would), pouring rose water in my eyes and also drinking it, seeing a herd of goats grazing in a tree while balanced on its branches, walking through a tannery, among the hides of animals being treated in smelly vats of pigeon excrement, looking west over the Atlantic ocean to see the sun set, drinking mint tea five times a day, being in a country where marijuana and hashish is legal but guns and alcohol are not. The medina’s, the souks and mosques, endless flocks of sheep and goats over the countryside, sometimes tended by children, fields plowed with horses, women covered from top to bottom with clothing to show Islamic modesty and discretion even while working in fields, fresh fruit and vegetables in every market, the call to prayer broadcast over loudspeakers five times a day, even in the smallest of villages. . . all the myriad sounds, sights, smells and sensations contributed to make me astonished and surprised at every turn.

In Spain, when I visited Antonio Gaudi’s (1852–1926) Sagrada Familia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I was sure the cranes would be gone from my previous visit, three years earlier, but they are not . . . it has been a work in progress since 1882 and is not expected to be finished until 2041.

Monday, May 02, 2011

The Bewildering Beauty of Paris

There is never any ending to Paris, and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. Paris was always worth it, and you received return for whatever you brought to it… Ernest Hemingway, in A Moveable Feast

To inhale Paris preserves the soul.

Victor Hugo

Paris, France is considered by many to be the most romantic city in the world. Whenever I am here I often see couples stopping to kiss.  On the Pont des Arts Bridge by the Louvre Museum are thousands of love padlocks with the lovers names written on them and locked to the guardrails—the keys tossed away into the Seine River flowing underneath. And this is what Paris does—it fills the soul with intimacy and romance so that you want to throw your life into what Allen Ginsburg calls, “…the bewildering beauty of Paris.”

I am here with Heidi of the Mountains for five days before heading to Morocco. It is my fifth visit to this storied city and so I know the neighborhood of the Latin Quarter where I typically stay. The springtime brings people outdoors, so streets are crowded. To stroll is to smell expensive perfumes, see stylish dress, hear many languages, see wonderment in people’s eyes, and now when the temperature is perfect, see street performers with their song and dance. Occasionally one can stop and listen to the distinctive notes of an accordion player sitting on the curb playing tunes of bygone years, tin cup at his feet.

At the Louvre Museum, as usual, a crush of people ten deep are always crammed in front of the Mona Lisa. I get as much pleasure studying an exquisite early self-portrait by Albrecht Durer, (German, 21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528)—and I do not have to peer over any shoulders.

Yesterday we hiked many miles. From our hotel we walked over the Seine River to the Louvre, strolled into the Jardin Des Tulleries (gardens), continued to the Grand Palais and then followed the paths beside the Seine River to the Eiffel Tower. After four hours, we arrived back to the hotel. Within an hour we were back on the street, taking the Metro Subway to one of my favorite places—the famous Pere Lachaise Cemetery. I have been there several times and could easily spend days photographing among the graves, mausoleums and sepulchers. Among the famous people buried are Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaff, Frédéric Chopin, Honoré de Balzac, and perhaps the most visited grave—Jim Morrison, formerly the lead singer for the Doors.
We were so entranced meandering among the graves that when the bells sounded at closing time we barely noticed. Later, Heidi noticed nobody around us and said "I hope we are not closed in here." I laughed and joked that I would choose which mausoleum to sleep in and she could choose hers. She did not find it funny. In fact, when we arrived at the gate it was locked and we guessed that we might not get out. After a slight panic, we eventually found a guard who stared at us with a disgruntled look and shoved us through a gate onto the street.
On the way back we got lost in the subway and took some wrong trains. But it is not so bad—being lost in Paris.

Heidi of the Mountains is full of wonder, and commented that seeing the grandness all around “sure beats looking at adobe walls.” She wants to stay longer but our course is set, so we go to Morocco tomorrow.

A few days ago a terrorist attack occurred in Marrakech and that is where we go first. Now that the USA killed Osama Bin Laden, I do not know what repercussions may occur. But to live in fear is something impossible for me. It is what terrorists want and we must not give them what they are after. I think that the good people of Morocco will be especially grateful for our arrival.
See my other Paris journals from previous visits: This is ParisCinderellaTravel Along The River Of Life