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Ventana - An Enchanting Resort in BIg Sur

Summary: I love Ventana. I highly recommend visiting  and exploring the landscape at Lime Kiln and Andrew Molera State Park which I've blogged about here. Please note this is #notsponsored . Yes, that means we paid our own bill! Lots of details in the following review. including a Post Ranch vs Ventana comparison.  Can you tell there's something exciting beyond this beautiful gate? There's something special about Big Sur, a magic in the light, the presence of the Pacific, the cliffs, beaches, redwood forests and the murmur of the surf. It's one of my favorite places in California. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be to celebrate turning fifty, because it's a place where there's a sense of nature, space and light and a wide horizon. We've been to Big Sur many times and for a celebration there are two fantastic hotels vying for your attention. The exclusive, modern and very private, cliff top Post Ranch Inn and on the other side of the road the …

Street Art in Lisbon

This morning I waited for a break in the torrential rain and hot footed it over to the the Picoas metro stop. I'd had a look at the Cronos Project website and wanted to see if I could find some of their extraordinary large scale street art installations that cover the facades of  abandoned buildings here in Lisbon. I was relieved that several works were easy to find next to the  Picoas metro stop on  Avenida Fontes Periera de Melo. You'll see the three buildings on the same side of the road as you walk down towards the Edward VII Park.  Above you can see above the full impact of two of the building from across the street. Unfortunately I couldn't capture all three in a single shot.

The Manifest of the Cronos Project (which ran for a year from June 2010) says that they aimed to establish "an itinerary of Urban Art in Lisbon" and that a "selection of internationally renowned artists will be invited to develop interventions alongside Portuguese artists and local communities in a process of 'urban curatorship', which has the support of the Lisbon City Council in providing locations in the city for this purpose." This is street art created with a  sense of the ephemeral.

The first piece I saw was by the Brazilian artist GEMEOS above. It is right next to the wonderfully stylized  Art Nouveau metro stop, I love the contrast of design from such different periods. Originally the label on the scarf above the graffiti artist's right eye read "I love vandalismo" - wonderfully ironic for a city council sanctioned project!

In the second installation it's interesting to note how BLU utilizes the architectural detail of the building for the crown in the work  below. The building is more than just a canvas, it shapes the work too, it seems to me this is part of what gives this series a vitality. You can see lots more of BLU's work here. In this political satire the oil king, complete with a crown marked with company logos, symbolically and literally sucks the earth dry. You can  see the straw going into the globe in the far left hand corner of the frame.

The second building has been take over by the Spanish artist SAM3 who also makes full use of the building facade and the architectural details. When you see it up close you can only parse a part of the composition, as you can see below. 

You need to step back and look at the building from across the road to see the figure stretching out to pick something up. It's just such a wonderful use of the space and really revives the building, creating possibility and beauty in the face of the decay. So fabulous, there is so much movement here  I half expected the figure to follow me down the street!

Who wouldn't like  Ericailcane's languorous crocodile creeping across the third and final building? I particularly like the way in which his body is drawn across the windows and yet two limbs appear to duck through them, giving the work a real  sense of fluidity as if he is clawing his way up the facade.

You see the final work by Lucy Mclauchlan  as you turn the corner  of the building. This one brings a slightly  distorted natural image to this urban scene. I think that it is well worth taking a short detour to see all of these works, highly recommended.