She and I share a deep love and connection to Venice. I had studied in Venice for eight weeks in the spring of 1989 to complete my own undergraduate degree in Art History at Queen's University in Kingston. That experience was pivotal in my artistic growth and to this day was one of my most important life-changing events. Since my own immersion into that crucible of Western Art, Allison found her own way there... fell under that same Venetian spell... and quite literally... has scarcely left Venice, except to teach in Canada. Ironically... she heads the very Summer School in Venice experience, offered by Queen's which guided both of our Destinies... and launched us into a life long pursuit with our passion for Venice and our own artistic vision. "Be Bold"... has propelled both the young speaker of those words of wisdom... and her ol' Dad to a place..."Up there where we belong...". Music is never far away in a Sherman's life! HA HA!!!
I took the photo reference upon which this small panel is based on another occasion, when Deb and I prepared to have Allison visit in July of this past year. The roses come from our beautiful front garden and the cup was a gift which Allison brought me upon a return from one of her other Venetian forays. It is a delicate and beautiful hand crafted ceramic... which is quite literally and visually "Venetian". Its face design, created by the dark blue and grey pigments records a view from the Doge's Palace which looks out on St Marco Square and the Redentore. The postcard... upon which the cup and roses sit was her very first gift to me on her first voyage of discovery... her "first footing" for "Her" into a world... which even "I" had found deeply threatening and disorienting in my own experience. To enter Venice initially... is to "time travel" back into to Medieval time. That is the only way I can describe my experience to you.
It seems quite appropriate that "I" honour Allison with this personal votive... one which not only enjoins us not only as Daughter and Father, but as well, travellers who have always shared parallel journeys. Though my travelling days are basically completed... but not at all finished, Allison's magnificent journey is barely under way.
Dear Allison,... One cannot hold the moonlight... but may you always put your dreams in the Light.... Make visible what without "You"... may never be seen." Love Always, Dad XXOOXX
This is the top of an antique side table which I decorated with images and "iconographic images pertaining to a blended version or medley embracing our common artistic journeys together. I created it to commemorate her gaining her undergraduate degree in Art History. It is but one example of my "off-the-wall" explorations to explore and examine a variety of approaches to "imagineer"... and use art beyond its predictable, expected place hung on a wall.
This is Allison standing on the bridge which she and I both crossed daily to enter The Campo di Santa Maria di Formosa... the quarter where we both lived on Fondamenta Rimedio. That canal lies directly behind her over her right shoulder. The second bridge down the fondamenta is one I crossed the canal to enter my own dwelling. Yes... it is indeed cold and wintry in Venice as well. Ten centimeters of snow greeted her one evening on her return home... plus an expected record-breaking 104 cm rise in lagoon and canal waters in Venice... into the actual homes themselves. Each home is equipped (by law) with an inside ceramic liner and sump pump to (hopefully) keep these annual waters from destroying property... and health. All of these facts indicate that... life isn't as "green"... on the other side... as we think!
The title for this painting is a thought borrowed from the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzo c.604 AD
"The greatest journey begins with a single step"... which translated into Italian reads on this painting au verso:
"Il viaggio piu comincia con un piccolo passo."
So glad that "You" are home... yet still voyaging Allison!
Much Love ALWAYS,