Lunch at Prato features diners taking advantage of mild spring weather while dining along Park Avenue in Winter Park, Florida. If you follow me you know I love these types of scenes. A reminder to slow down, breath deep, enjoy those around you. I appreciate restaurant making the most of the sidewalks, and the idea of walking around, exploring and window shopping.
I loved the vibrant red chairs and choose to match the umbrellas for an extra pop of color. I also enjoy the trees and flower boxes lining the street, proving shade and beauty.
Hannibal Square is located a few blocks off Park Ave in Winter Park, over on New England avenue. There are apartments with cute balconies, trees line the street and there are several restaurants and shops. When I’ve been there it is usually early in the day and several of the restaurants are not open. This patio space is for patrons of the Sausage Shack. (Makes me smile just saying it.) It has it all, a fountain, seating, shade from umbrellas and the trees. Lights strung for night time ambiance, even space heaters for the winter.
I’ve started a series of paintings inspired by Winter Park, FL. Each painting reminds me of different things. The first painting, Hope Renewed, reminds me to have hope. This second painting is of the Briarpatch Restaurant along Park Ave. It reminds me to have perseverance.
I was in the area a few different times and it was always overcast. One day it looked like it was going to storm and a waiter was pulling in the chairs and tables for the day. But finally I was there when the sun was shining and people were enjoying a late lunch in the mild spring weather of Florida. I can compare the shots with direct sun and overcast and the shadows add much interest to the composition.
I tried something different for this one. Usually, If people are in my photographs I don’t paint them. Yet I took a chance and kept most of the people in this painting. (Shoutout to artist Margaret Baker whose paintings inspired me to keep the people.)
The start of the piece went quickly filling in trees, sky, and umbrellas, then it slowed way down with the people. I wanted to keep it simple, yet needed proportions to be believable. I was often zooming in to make sense of what I was seeing.
The Briarpatch will always remind me of the day I became a mother. It was the last meal I had before my daughter was born. A day that was long and trying, and yet knowing we’d soon meet her allowed me to persevere through the minutes and hours of contractions. And in the end, joy, meeting my daughter. The sunny yellow umbrellas reminding me of that day.
Around the time I was creating this painting of Park Avenue in Arches National Park, I was reading about how many things are irreversible. Arches is one of my favorite places with big skies and wonderful red rock features. It has many stone arches and other rock formations that continually change. There are plaques at different viewpoints which show how they think it looked before when arches were solid.
Even though you can stop and look around or even find older photographs, you can’t go back. The park doesn’t try to attempt to reconstruct an arch that has given in to gravity and fallen. As many TV shows and movies have dreamt of traveling back in time, it’s still just that: a dream. So many things in life are final; you can’t undo accidents—although you might be able to clean them up and get things looking much like before. You can’t go back and make a different first impression, however, you might get more chances to interact and change someone’s opinion. You can’t go back and hug your grandma who has passed away. Death is irreversible. And yet that’s where hope shines bright at Easter. When the grave was not final. Here is what Philip Yancey says in the book The Jesus I Never Knew: “If I take Easter as the starting point, the one incontrovertible fact about how God treats those whom he loves, then human history becomes the contradiction and Easter the preview of ultimate reality.” Jesus reversed the irreversible. My hope rests in Him.