Under Sail - The Dalmatian Coast to Greece

Monday, May 23, 2011

We boarded the yacht Panorama in Dubrovnik, Croatia and set sail on our National Geographic expedition along the Dalmatian Coast to Greece. There are many exciting excursions planned for this 12 day adventure that will provide a full-sensory immersion in Greek and Adriatic cultures.

What we'll be doing, (from the NG itinerary):

Hvar is known as one of the most attractive and lively of Croatia’s historic Venetian towns. A walking tour takes us through the Franciscan monastery, the stunning main street arsenal and the oldest active theater in Croatia. We’ll remain in Hvar into the mid-afternoon so you can have lunch in town or opt for a swim. We then set sail southward.

Sibenik/Krka National Park
The small port of Sibenik boasts a spectacular entrance and its own World Heritage Site. We’ll visit the great cathedral of St. Jakov, containing a remarkable frieze decorated with 71 sculptured faces. Outside of town, we’ll spend a day amid remarkable waterfalls, cliffs and boardwalks of Krka National Park, which includes an historic sugar mill. Late afternoon we’ll depart through the Sibenik Channel and set sail south.

Dock along the 13th-century walls of the island port of Korcula, one of the most beautiful medieval towns in the Balkans. Visit the town's sites, including the house believed by some to be Marco Polo's birthplace; enjoy free time to take in Korcula's cafés and waterfront; and see a spectacular performance of the traditional Moreska sword dance.

Dubrovnik, Croatia
Under UNESCO’s protection, Dubrovnik is regarded as the best-preserved medieval town in the world. Unlike most ships, we will actually anchor off the city walls and land in the heart of the Old Town. Here we stroll marble-paved streets to the 15th-century Rector’s Palace and the Franciscan Monastery. We can take a walk on the ramparts, then explore this magical city. We remain anchored for the evening, so you might opt for dinner on your own or an after dinner stroll through town.

Kotor, Montenegro
Sail into the magnificent fjord-like Gulf of Kotor, backed by soaring mountains with sparse villages clinging to the slopes. Visit the historic town of Perast, and then take a local boat to the islet of Gospa od Skrpjela, or the Church of Our Lady of the Rock, created by local fishermen. Spend the afternoon in medieval Kotor, or join us for a drive up the 27 serpentine switchbacks to the top of the fjord for an unrivaled view.

Tiranë, Albania
From the port of Durrës, we drive to the old capital of Kruje to see the Ethnographic Museum and the Skanderbeg Museum, dedicated to Albania’s national hero. We continue to the fascinating contemporary capital of Tiranë, where we see relics from one of the longest dictatorships in Eastern Europe. We’ll visit wide-open Skanderbeg Square before a festive lunch in traditional Albanian style. We return to Durrës in the afternoon to sail northward.

Sarandë and Butrint, Albania
Today we visit the ancient city of Butrint, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its Hellenic theater, Byzantine basilica and Venetian towers lie in a beautiful lakeside setting. We continue to intriguing Sarandë with its blend of religions, cultures and landscapes. In the afternoon we’ll stop for a swim and a walk along Albania’s surprising coastline.

Few names elicit the intrigue and sense of adventure as Odysseus’s home of Ithaka. Today, the island remains off the beaten track, with gems of small Ionian villages. We’ll drive around the island to explore the sites that link the island to Homer’s Ithaka. In the afternoon we cruise to one of Ithaka’s delightful bays for a swim, then set sail north for Albania.

Delphi, site of the famous Oracle and a great pilgrimage site for the ancient Greeks, was the center of worship for the god Apollo, and the ruins here are exceptional. Explore the Sanctuary of Apollo, site of the sacred Delphic Oracle, and walk along the Sacred Way. Back on board, we set sail west for a late afternoon swim stop.

Athens/Marina Zea/Embark/Corinth Canal
We arrive in Athens, and make our way to the Electra Palace Hotel, located in the shadow of the Acropolis. This afternoon we board Panorama in Marina Zea. After dinner, venture on deck to view illuminated geologic formations that are seemingly within arm’s length of the ship’s beam as we cruise through the Corinth Canal.

Casablanca Hotel

Friday, May 20, 2011

This place is so awesome! Check out this review:Opened in February 2009, the Casablanca Hotel gives you a lot of style and convenience for a minimal investment. The 35-room inn sits right on the hottest street in Old San Juan, Fortaleza, home to restaurants, boutiques, and clubs. Downstairs, great effort has been made to create an eclectic feel, using everything from antique lanterns to silk pillows to oversize Warholesque paintings by a local artist. Upstairs, the rooms have the same original mix of thrift-shop finds (a silver tea set, gilt mirrors, a Deco armoire) and unexpected touches, like fresh white roses in a pitcher vase. The overall effect is quirky, stylish, and fun. I can't wait to head up to the roof to soak in one of the five stone hot tubs.

Coconut Water at El Yunque

Thursday, May 19, 2011

El Yunque Rainforest

The tropical rainforest lies completely within the boundaries of the El Yunque National Forest. It's the only rainforest that belongs to the U.S. Forest Service. It consists of a small crescent shaped band that lies over the tops of the peaks of the forest, located near the eastern end of Puerto Rico. At the top of the rainforest lies a narrower band of the forest in which plant life is stunted due to a thinner layer of soil at higher elevations on the rocky mountain, as well as higher winds.This was fun but is it wrong of me to be in a rainforest and wish it wasn't raining?


Last night we dined at OleLelolai, an authentic Puerto Rican tapas restaurant. We had mashed plantains called Mofongo. A little heavy for our timid stomachs.


We have spent the last couple of days in the fabulous El Conquistador Resort near Las Croabas.Perched high above the ocean on a 300-foot cliff,the views are amazing. We went to Palomino Island yesterday. It's the resorts private beach and the ultimate hideaway! We swam all the way to another little island and back. I'm totally burnt but the agony was worth it.

Currently Reading

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Contemporary Art Museum of Puerto Rico

This is a really cool museum. It used to be a hospital and has a beautiful courtyard. The exhibits featured artists whose work about the blended cultures that exist in the Caribbean.

Isle Verde

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tonight we're staying at the El San Juan Hotel & Casino.Located in the fashionable Isla Verde district, this charming San Juan Puerto Rico hotel is nestled along the most beautiful beach on the island and surrounded by 15 lush acres of landscaped grounds - perfectly blending tropical splendor with old-world sophistication.

Puerto Rico Here We Come

First Stop - San Juan!

Wiki History: San Juan is the capital and most populous municipality in Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States. As of the 2000 census, it has a population of 420,326 making it the 42nd-largest city under the jurisdiction of the United States. San Juan was founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, who called it Ciudad de Puerto Rico ("Rich Port City"). Puerto Rico's capital is the second oldest European-established city in the Americas, after Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. Several historical buildings are located in San Juan; among the most notable are the city's former defensive forts, Fort San Felipe del Morro and Fort San Cristóbal, and La Fortaleza, the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the Americas.

Today, San Juan is one of Puerto Rico's most important seaports,and is the island's manufacturing, financial, cultural, and tourism center. San Juan's main water bodies are San Juan Bay and two natural lagoons, the Condado and San José. In San Juan there are numerous tourist attractions, including: Old San Juan, Ocean Park, Isla Verde and Condado. The Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico, located in Santurce, specializes in contemporary artwork from Latin America and the Caribbean.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

These are our new hives...we are officially beekeepers! Notice the safe distance from which I took these photos...the last thing I need is a bee flying into my cast.

State of the Art/Art of the State

Friday, May 6, 2011

My painting "Flock 2" will be included in the State of the Art/Art of the State exhibition at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC. The exhibition focuses on contemporary art by artists currently living in, or native to, the state of North Carolina. The work will hang from May 7 through October 2011.


Susan Davidson: Senior Curator, Collections & Exhibitions, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Before joining the Guggenheim, she was collections curator at the Menil Collection, Houston, Texas for 18 years. Davidson’s research areas include Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and Pop Art, and she specializes in the art of Robert Rauschenberg. Her most recent exhibitions and catalogues include: Robert Rauschenberg: Gluts; Art in America: 300 Years of Innovation; No Limits, Just Edges: Jackson Pollock Paintings on Paper; Peggy and Kiesler: The Collector and the Visionary (The Story of Art of This Century); and American Pop Icons. Davidson holds advanced degrees in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Nicholas Cullinan: Curator of International Modern Art at Tate Modern, London. There he has worked on exhibitions including Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia; Cy Twombly: Cycles and Seasons, and Pop Life: Art In A Material World. Cullinan has previously worked at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Guggenheim Museums in New York, Bilbao and Venice. He writes regularly for journals including Artforum, The Burlington Magazine, Frieze and October and is currently working on a monograph on Cy Twombly for Phaidon and a book on Robert Rauschenberg's photography for Schirmer/Mosel. Among other projects, he is curating Tacita Dean's Unilever installation for Tate Modern's Turbine hall and the exhibition Twombly and Poussin: Arcadian Painters at Dulwich Picture Gallery, both of which open in 2011. Cullinan completed his PhD on Arte Povera at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.

Apsara Di Quinzio: Assistant curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She has organized solo exhibitions with Felix Schramm, Paul Sietsema, Mai-Thu Perret, and Vincent Fecteau and R. H. Quaytman. She is a co-curator of the upcoming 2010 SECA Art Award Exhibition, and organized the 2008 iteration as well. For SFMOMA, she also organized Abstract Rhythms: Paul Klee and Devendra Banhart, and she is in the process of editing the book The Air We Breathe: Artists and Poets Reflect on Marriage Equality, co-published by DAP, to be released in fall 2011. Last year, The Andy Warhol Foundation awarded her a Curatorial Fellowship to develop an international group exhibition that will open at SFMOMA in the fall 2012.

Timothy Anglin Burgard: The Ednah Root Curator of American Art and the Curator-in-Charge of the American Art Department for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. He designed the 2005 reinstallation of the new de Young Museum’s permanent collection of American art. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he holds Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy degrees from Columbia University. He worked previously at The New-York Historical Society and at the Harvard University Art Museums, where he served as the University’s first curator of American art. He is the author or co-author of thirteen books and numerous scholarly articles. Through his curatorial work, he has pursued his strong interest in interdisciplinary and multicultural studies that transcend traditional categorizations.

All participating curators will attend the exhibition opening on Saturday May 7, 2011 from 6:00-9:00 pm. The design of this project provides any participating artist equal opportunity to meet a significant curator working in the field of contemporary art today and have their work seen by all visiting curators.

This event pays homage to the open, creative curatorial spirit of the late art world maverick, Walter Hopps (1932-2005). In 1978, responding to a comment from his junior colleague, Deborah Velders (Jensen) about the problems artists face gaining access to notable curators, Walter Hopps conceived an entirely open, unmediated event to remedy the situation. His program invited any artist to bring a single work of art, to meet Hopps, and see installation of work. This event called “36 Hours” occurred in a gritty, street-level alternative space called MOTA (Museum of Temporary Art), located in downtown Washington, D.C. There was no jurying, no selection (or rejection), and no entry fee. The only restrictions were size (work needed to fit through the door), weight (regarding transporting/placing and support capacity), and the delivery time frame (36 hours). This unprecedented opportunity for artists was covered by the Washington Post, and attracted over 400 works of art, all by artists living and working in the Washington, D.C. area.

Image: "Flock 2" by Leslie Pearson
Acrylic paint, oil pastels, and screenprinting ink on paper, 22" x 28", 2009