Venice, FL- During my annual writer’s retreats in Florida, I always come across a gem; it may be an artist, a breeze, scuba divers or sand castle builders, students of architecture on their spring break. This is my seventh year on the Gulf Coast exploring treasures washed on sea, and not just seashells.
This year, it was the “50 Shades of Orchids” show organized by the Venice Area Orchid Society, (VAOS) an affiliate of the American Orchid Society.
The VAOS is celebrating 50 years of existence. The show is put on at the height of the tourist season and it attracts 3,500 visitors annually and premier growers.
Perhaps, the most striking upon entering the exhibit hall at the Venice Community Center was the unexpected fragrance filtering in from all corners. I am a lifelong lover and collector of these enigmatic flowers. To see the orchids displayed in all colors, shades, hybrids and varieties was stunning.
The orchid stems and spikes were bending under the weight of the magnificent blooms.
Some of the blooms looked more like the faces of animals, birds or butterflies. Others resembled spiders. The large tricolor blooms resembled the Iris or more common flowers home to northern climate zones.
Each display consisted of 50 different orchids, hybrids and species wrapped in palm greens.
The participating growers offered most orchids for sale including the ones adaptable to various climates like the cattleya, Phalaenopsis, oncidium and vanda hybrids.
My favorite is the ornate Phal that comes in many different shades. I have a nice collection of these that has grown over the years on my windowsills facing the soft northern light.
Years of experimenting have rendered valuable experience. Unlike popular belief the flower doesn’t like a lot of water, only two ounces per week, less in winter. The orchid does not like to have her feet wet. The pots with orchids should be emptied.
There are more than 25,000 orchid species in existence. However, many are being destroyed by poaching and deforestation.
The orchid society promotes conservation and educational projects. It has grown into one of the largest and most active orchid societies in Florida.
The magical orchid can also be found at the Marie Selby gardens in Sarasota, Fl.
Venice, FL– As of yesterday I started feeling like a true Floridian with salt, sand & sun in my hair and skin. I celebrated two major name days St. Pat’s & St. Jo’s in Venice. I experienced the sunset and the full moon at the same time on the beach, beautiful weather and a tropical storm. I spotted young dolphins jumping high in the air as I was swimming along their side in the Gulf, and a stingray flopping by my feet. I went shelling and found precious concha shells and amazing beach formations.
I found my favorite spot on the beach by the two tall pines. I have my Venetian favorites: seafood dish Gulf Mix at Sharky’s, seaside drink and dessert, blue Bait Bucket Margarita and Key Lime Pie, my favorite yoga instructor Elin, downtown coffee shop Coffee & Wine, downtown shops boutique Seaside Chic and Fifi’s, bookstore Goodwill on Tamiami Trail, print publications magazine Venice Gulf Coast Living and newspaper Venice Gondolier. I have one last thing left to do. That is finding a shark’s tooth today. Today is my last full day in paradise.
If it was your last day in paradise what would you do?
Copyright (c) 2014 story and photos by Emma Palova
Participate in the survey on Your last day in paradise. What would you do?
Dali entrances in St. Petersburg’s enigmatic museum
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
St. Petersburg, March 12- On a misty Wednesday morning, we headed out from our base camp in Venice southwest Florida north on I-275 to St. Petersburg on Tampa Bay. Mom Ella feared crossing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge perched into the sky high above the bay.
The winds were only 25 mph, nothing to fear. The bridge closes to traffic when winds are over 45 mph.
St. Petersburg greeted us with a mix of sunshine and tropical rain like spring in the North. We parked on Beach Drive near the other big arts venue, the Museum of Fine Arts, ( MFA) in this fashionable city.
Since, it was lunch time, we walked the Beach Drive in search of the perfect joint.
We found one at Parkshore Grill. But, along the way, I peeked into some fashionable boutiques like Bella Moda.
The Parkshore reminded me of the decadent cafes in Prague and Brno, always full with old ladies drinking coffee. We sat next to a round table taken by a group of dames wearing print blouses.
Overall, the place buzzed with conversation and carefree laughter.
Our waiter Dakota fit the bill. He was entertaining and multilingual. We ordered small plates for $16 which consisted of Caesar salad, jumbo sautéed shrimp with angel hair pasta and a mini dessert.
In the tropics, no lunch is complete without a cocktail. The Pisco Margarita with reposado tequila and aloe nectar was smooth like the day. I watched the tropical rain whip the sidewalk with café umbrellas.
Après lunch, we cruised down First Avenue to Dali Boulevard.
This was my second visit to the Dali Museum located on the marina on the bay at One Dali Blvd. The three-story futuristic building, constructed in 2011, is just as striking as the artist. It was built in the shape of a rectangle with a glass bubble erupting out the backside facing the bay. The bubble made of triangular pieces of glass is known as the “enigma.”
A spiral staircase reminiscent of the DNA molecule and Dali’s obsession with spirals leads to the galleries on the third floor.
This time I took the audio tour rather than the docent-led tour to take in the impossible; that is Dali in all his greatness.
The second largest collection of Dali’s work after his homeland gallery in Figueres, Spain was made possible by his close Cleveland friends, Reynolds & Eleanor Morse.
America brought fame to Dali in 1936, when the Time magazine featured Dali on the cover. Dali and his wife Gala lived in the USA from 1940 to 1948 to escape German occupation.
It is divided into his early work, anti-artist period, surrealism and nuclear mysticism.
The audio describes in-depth featured paintings mostly turning points in Dali’s career.
I was absolutely blown away by Dali’s double image paintings such as the “Slave Market with the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire” and “The Three Ages”, oil on canvas 1940.
His epic “Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea which at Twenty Meters Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln” is a prime example of double imagery. The title describes precisely the 121-pixel painting that at second look from a distance becomes a large head of Abraham Lincoln filling the entire canvas.
The Gala/Lincoln painting reminds me of the 3D pictures popular in the mid-90s. At first you only see the blocks, but staring deep into them will uncover a unique 3D scene. I loved these, I wish I had kept some of them.
My other fascination with Dali is his depiction of progression of time as in “The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory.” This painting has the famous melting watch. He was inspired by an oozing cheese melting on a hot day in his studio.
I often ponder the twisted clocks as I am sure Dali wanted us to do just that; ponder and contemplate over his paintings and images.
Like Einstein & Dali, I have my own fascination with time; not as it’s measured with devices, but its progression and evolution in space.
My major work, literary novel manuscript “Fire on Water” has been labeled by agents and critics as having no sequence in time or a juggled sense of time. The story moves between various episodes loosely connected, like Dali’s “Still Life-Fast Moving.” In the novel, just like in the painting, everything all of a sudden is thrown into action, only to be brought back to stillness.
I don’t know if that categorizes me as a surrealist writer that has skewed perception of time. As a writer, my goal is to connect the past, present and the future into one fluid movement. Along the way, the writing path winds, twists and bends as life itself.
In my stories, whether fiction or non-fiction, I attempt to fuse time in its different phases into one powerful elastic body of work.
I am heading out to Venice on the Gulf in Florida. The plane southwest.com had a three-hour delay so I got a $100 voucher. Not bad considering I got additional time to work while still at home. But, now I am ready to have some fun in the tropics.
I am looking forward to 2014 in spite of its rocky & freezing start. My goals include exponential growth of followers of my online journal. I plan on diversifying the content with other writers’ and bloggers’ work.
So far, it has been a one –woman show as far as articles, photography and design.
I am using this opportunity to invite other writers and artists to display their work in my journal. I would like to add fiction and poetry. I am a firm believer in creative partnerships.I want to add more advertising, both local and national, as well as a store page in an effort to monetize the site. And tie everything close with social media.
I am also happy about completing career profiles on Google+ and Elance in search of freelance work.
I will continue writing the memoir “Greenwich Meridian” which is the principal reason behind the journal. The family immigration saga is evolving as we speak and taking its own course.
My parents Ella&Vaclav Konecny, who started the saga in mid 60s are spending the winters in Venice,Fl. Dad will be celebrating his 80th birthday this July. My daughter Emma appears to be staying in France for a while. My brother Vas lives in Paris, Michigan and my son Jake lives in Kalamazoo.
I am targeting the book for next year’s publication before Mother’s Day since it is dedicated to mom. I am aiming for traditional publication as of right now.
I also have plenty of short stories awaiting publication collected in “Glass Flowers” anthology. I wrote most of these when I was working at the Meijer store in the nineties in Grand Rapids.
So, it will be a busy new year. I celebrated my one-year anniversary with WordPress on Jan.15. Looking forward to another one.