All was as it had been that day, a harsh purple-blackness filled the sky and the towers of the palace appeared to cage him in. Their ruthlessly straight architecture left no room for imagination and no room for failure such as the sins that had made King Salivoir a statue.
A thousand years ago, Jupiter had been furious with King Salivoir. His handsome features scorned the human king who had dared to bed his beloved Venus. Jupiter was so furious with Salivoir his mighty hands crushed the stone of the palace fountain. Salivoir had ended up in the water begging for his life.
Then, Jupiter had said something shocking, “King Salivoir, I forgive you your transgressions with Venus.”
Salivoir gasped and Jupiter smiled in arrogance turning wretched King Salivoir into solid marble — yet Salivoir still lived within his frozen form. For ages he was there, his marble body cowering in fear.
Then today a storm just as the one that occurred a millennia ago came and instead of the mighty Jupiter, Venus strode from the violent sky. The clouds turned a brilliant shade of sunset orange. Salivoir was freed and Venus in her benevolence granted him a new life in a new time; Salivoir wept for joy.
This city makes me dream of better things. From this view, it’s a paradise of skyscrapers grazing the winter sky. The windowed buildings glint in the sunlight. The light causes them to gleam, despite their varied shades of colour. There is a blue-green skyscraper fading into dirty brown, and other skyscrapers which are variations of grey and black. Some of the older buildings are a dull sandstone and ivory marble.
Each building is unique. Certain buildings are modern and geometric and certain buildings are tall with pointed tops. Other buildings are layered, flowing down like ancient ziggurats, while other buildings are of a more recent era in the nineteenth and early twentieth-century. They’re the prettiest buildings, their historicism copied using the lovingly designed architecture of late gothic and early-Renaissance cathedrals.
I call this city my home but I hardly gaze at it from this view. The snow lies as delicate white lace beneath my booted feet and I think, such beauty we have here.
Yet, in this beauty of skyscrapers, snow, and sunlight shimmering, they’re few places to rest for an aged homeless man.
The buildings in Havana, Cuba are pastel coloured. The architecture uniquely from the sixteenth-century. I feel anticipation as I walk around the streets of old Havana. The people here are friendly.
It amazes me that Havana served as a stopping point for ships entering and leaving the New World such as “treasure-laden Spanish galleons.” It’s a different view then the view you receive of Havana after the Communist Revolution in 1959 and Cuban Missle Crisis in 1962.
No US President has been on Cuban soil for eighty-eight- years. But Obama was here today, attempting to lift all trade embargoes on Cuba. Despite Raol Castro having significantly varied opinions on human rights, change is coming to Cuba.
For now, I visit a building called ‘Photo Centre,’a museum. I absorb the history of Havana. Outside the building, I take a selfie; I’m the second American in Havana today.
Thanks to Priceless Joy a gem of a lady who holds FFftAW each week.
Apology: I’m sorry, this is way too long for Flashfiction but the story just developed and formed. I tried to cut it down and it’s still too long 😦
I am sitting by a government building and admiring its interesting architectural elements. I am waiting for my contact to arrive.
It’s fall and I can feel the nip in the air as winter approaches. It’s why I have chosen to wear my new coat. It’s long, hits me mid-calf, and is made of a silk-lined pink-wool with black buttons. My makeup is flawless down to the lipstick that matches my coat and my hair is curled artfully. I’m anxious, but I need to appear in control.
My contact ‘Winston’arrives. He is dressed impeccably in a tailored suit and expensive shoes. He could be any government businessman. Winston looks at me and I can tell from his calm expressionless demeaner he knows about ‘intrigue’ well.
“Do you have it?” I ask him curtly “you’ve had plenty of time.” He looks at me sternly, “time is money” Winston says and I hand him a small bag filled with twenty-thousand dollars.
I stare up at Winston and hold out my gloved hand. He places a small memory stick in the leather of my palm and passes me a hard copy in an envelope. “It’s pretty obvious” Winston murmers matter-of-factly, ” Senator Smith’s wife is cheating on him. She has been for seven years. Two years after he found out, he began his own affair.”
“And before?” I question.
“He was faithful for the five years they dated. Since the day he meant her, he never slept with another woman until five years ago. Before Ashley, um you… he was miserable. He channeled his energy into his work and became a young Senator.” I shook Winston’s hand,”anytime, Ms. Taylor.”
I stare at the memory stick with the evidence of Linda’s affair. I knew about the affair of course. Jamie’s wife Linda was the one who first cheated. He had loved her deeply. She had wounded him and he hadn’t recovered until he meant me. But Jamie was still married to Linda. A piece of his heart hung onto her, even though she was always with Daniel (Jamie’s cousin) and hardly spoke to Jamie.
Slowly, I walked away from the ornate government building, walked down the street past some trendy shops, and into a restaurant called Linguini, where I met Daniel, Linda’s boyfriend.
“She gets a divorce or she disappears,” I tell Daniel. Daniel’s face turns pale when I present him with the envelope Winston gave me.”Why does she string Jamie along Daniel? You and I could both be free to be with who we love, if only Linda would sign the divorce papers.”
Daniel sighs, “she won’t sign the papers because she gets almost nothing. Just a million for twelve years of her life.”
“But she cheated first and she hates him now. Jamie didn’t start seeing me until two years after Linda first cheated. She had her chance.”
“It makes me angry too, Ashley. I have lots of money, but she gets hysterical when I ask her about signing the divorce papers.”
“If she doesn’t the media will know what a whore she was. How she ripped apart her marriage with the senator, cheating with you. If that’s not enough I’ll have her sent away. She’ll never see you again Daniel.”
A growl comes from Daniel, ” I’ll get her to sign the papers. I wish you would have came to me and we could have worked out a better situation for both our lives, Ashley. You didn’t have to play dirty.”
Daniel left the restaurant quickly and I sipped my Mascoto deep in thought. Jamie arrived soon after, his eyes sparkling at me serenely.” I have missed you so much,” he tells me kissing me softly and then deeply as we get lost in each other.
Jamie sits down beside me and puts his arm around me while we order food and drinks. “I have something to tell you,” I start talking nervously. I tell Jamie the whole story of me highering Winston to dig up proof of Linda’s indescretions. When I’m done talking a tear escapes my eye and Jamie wipes it away with his thumb.
“Ash, I wish you’d told me sooner. We both would have felt better if I knew what you were doing.”
“Are you mad?” I manage.
“No, not mad at all. This proves to me what I know; you love me and are faithful to me. You’re also a smart and savvy woman. I told myself I’d never be fooled by a woman like Linda again. That’s why I sent her the divorce papers and that’s why she’ll go to trial and get the death penalty if she doesn’t sign the divorce papers.” I gasp.
Jamie’s face has gone rigid and I can tell it is difficult for him to say the next words:”We did have a child once. A little girl named Amber. She was sweet and only two when Linda strangled her for crying loudly when they were home alone one night. Linda said the noise was driving her crazy. . .” I huddled into Jamie stunned. With a vacant look in his eyes Jamie whispers,”she was my wife. I kept her secret. I thought she was depressed. Then I found out she was cheating.”
“That’s terrible Jamie. I can’t believe you’ve been keeping this inside you all these years.” I whisper.
He smiles at me, “two years later I met you and you made me feel whole again. I promised myself I would cut ties with Linda. She wants more money but I won’t give her a cent. She killed my innocent daughter, and I have all the evidence necessary to put her in jail on death row.”
The food arrived and Jamie and I ate hungrily keeping us from saying more about the situation. Although, I wanted Linda gone, apart of me wondered whether she had struggled with postpartum depression; maybe she was still dealing with a mental illness untreated. She did seem volatile.
One instant I was eating and the next I heard a commotion in the restaurant. Linda was standing at our table screaming at Jamie. Daniel was close behind her trying to calm her down. I guessed his discussion with her based on my threats hadn’t gone well.
Linda threw the divorce papers on our table and shouted, “I want more money! If you don’t give me more, I’ll shoot the skank.” A handgun was pointed at my chest. Daniel and Jamie were carefully, attempting to settle Linda down and obtain the gun when Linda cracked and pulled the trigger. People screamed as the shot rang out.
I felt a burning in my chest, then extreme pain. I saw the blood on my hands as I tried to stop the steady oozing with my thick wool coat. Everything was happening quickly. Then Linda held the gun to her own head and despite pleading from Daniel, and the sounds of horror others were making in the restaurant, the gun went off. I briefly thought about how many people at Linguini would be traumatized by this shooting; not only Daniel, Jamie, and I.
I shrieked, surprised I still had a voice. My head was cloudy and I ached in pain as Jamie was trying to stop the flow of blood on my chest and call 911. Daniel was a mess as he cried over Linda’s body. There was blood everywhere and I registered the noise and panic of the people around us from a distance.
I slept fretfully for ages. I dreamt awful scenarios and I almost woke up before tumbling back into a nightmare. When I finally awake, I’m at a hospital and I can see out a window to the government building below. My memory is pricked but Jamie is asleep beside me, his head on the bed. I adjust my position on the bed as carefully as I can without hurting myself and waking Jamie.
The funeral for Linda was weeks ago. Daniel was devastated, especially when Jamie told him about his past with Linda. He felt Daniel had a right to know the truth.
I had been in the hospital a month in semi-consciousness. I almost died and Jamie had spent most of his time waiting for me, (while taking a leave of his senate responsibilities)to wake up and live the life we wanted together. “We’re free Jamie,” I tell him when I am allowed to leave the hospital. He grins and my pulse increases.
“I thought I’d lost you Ashley. The doctors told me it was a long shot you’d recover. ” I held Jamie’s hand in solidarity. I was done with intrigue and blackmailing people, for now…
There is art, architecture, and furniture in every century, starting with originals and going to copies of former eras with some new ideas thrown in:
We start with ancient Egypt in in 2490 BC Menkaure and Queen, Old Kingdom standards of proportions for the human body.
Then we go to Greece in 360 BC – Marble grave Stele with a family group, family was important too in Ancient Greece.
Followed by the Etruscans who carved their tombs to look like rooms, so the dead were comfortable, in 3rd. Century BC
The Romans conquered most of them and built in 70 to 80 BC The Flavian Amphitheatre. What you know today as the colosseum in Rome.
Then art sat on the back burner and society crumbled in the Middle Ages, but not completely – there is The Throne of Maximian in 545 AD.
But Chartes Cathderale en Paris, was built in the Gothic style to reach the heavens and in 1194 AD helped give birth to the Renaissance in Italy.
The Renaissance looked back on Ancient Greece and Rome, see Michelangelo’sDavid in 1501 Land Pieta in 1500.
Then came Baroque – The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa in 1647 and the Roccoco chairs of Thomas Chippendale around 1772.
In Neoclassical art we have Antonio Canova’s Cupid and Psyche in 1787, and Jacques Louis David at the Coronation of Napoleon, painted in empire style in 1804.
Then in Victorian Historical there was the Crystal Palace in 1851, and Gothic Revival Furniture in the late 1800’s.
Arts and Crafts, began a resistance to the industrial revolution, and Heywood Wakefield Chairs in Late Victorian era, were made of wicker in the early 1900’s.
The Shaker furniture with it’s simple lines began in 1850, a Arts and Crafts design, and Phillip Webb and William Morris designed the Red House in 1859.
Early Modern architecture was started by Frank Lloyd Wright who in 1910 completed the Robie House, his finest work, the modern bungalow.
Art Noveau became a thing with Victor Horta and the winding Staircase of Tassel House in 1892 and Art Deco was realized by Emile – Jacques – Ruhlmun in The David- Weill Desk in 1918.
There’s still a ways to go, I haven’t got that far. Past WWI, art, architecture, and furniture, continue ever changing, becoming more complicated, and looking back at once was as an ideal, and incorporating both human skills and industrialization.
Here are some more pictures of Montreal, Canada. Some of the pictures are modern but most are of old Montreal in buildings that could be hundreds of years old. Because the Metro or train is so well developed it is easy to arrive and leave anywhere very quickly with the purchase of a metro card that scans just like that, beats the ticket system we have in Edmonton. The Metro also allows one too see everything you could want to see and not have to drive.
Learning or relearning to draw can be a difficult thing. One must learn line, shade, mediums, design, placement of subject on the page, choosing a good subject, and most importantly, one must learn (or relearn) to be talented. For me, drawing is a skill ( well art in general) that has flowed from my hands as if I were Harry Potter and it was some magic I possessed. But such as magic with Harry Potter, drawing and art must be practiced and refined to be kept up. When I was 23 taking a drawing course at the U of A that magic still flowed from my veins, it circulated through out my body as blood and what was left behind by my hands was beautiful. Art was relaxing and after 3 full days of work I would spend Wednesday nights easily learning and relearning drawing techniques.
Flash forward 4 years later. I have suffered from a psychotic episode 4 years earlier that has effected the right side of my brain because I became too Depressed. I have slowly recovered my artistic skills starting with a pepper I painted when I first started to recover, followed by an attempt to paint some sunflowers in between; then a year ago, my drawing really began to improve drawing interior design textures for a class spent mostly drafting. My first real art class though since 4 years ago has been an option for my Interior Design Certification called Architectural Drawing.
And truly, from that class I have restarted the magic, from some awful sketches to some drawings that have actually been quite decent. And the girl who got the top Art 20 and 30 awards in high school has begun to return. It is true what they say practice, practice, practice. But can I guarantee that I will keep up the practice drawing after this class is done? I am not sure; the hectic pace of homework including three large drawings a week plus sketch book work is a bit of a gruelling routine when one has other work that must also be done. And art, it is not the relaxing hobby it used to be; rather, I must squeeze my drawing into the little time my mind has to concentrate and put to paper what I imagine, or what is in front of me. I still love art but I have found now that it comes with exhaustion and often, frustration. What used to flow so silkily from my hands sometimes becomes lost in translation. Three dementional prospective drawing is giving me that issue; capturing the birds eye view or worms eye view has been hard. I am waiting for that moment of ‘a ha,’ that moment of understanding, but it has yet to come.
But I have been quite happy with a lot of my other drawings. I have been ecstatic to draw with charcoal again, to feel its black smoothness coat my fingers and palms as I work. I have also loved to work with just the charcoal pencils, which give me more control when I draw and are excellent for adding line to the shading and blending common in a charcoal drawing. I like to work quite dark and I am learning to leave the paper as the lightest places on the drawing, rather than just erasing or adding in chalk or conte in white. But those methods still have merit. I also enjoy these markers that come in various colors made with Indian ink, which in itself is an interesting drawing tool. But these markers create soft wet colors that blend so brightly together, the ends as little paint brushes; beats Crayola markers any day!
For our final project in this class we need to come up with two things: an architectural statement of belief and a fully rendered, multi – medium drawing of some type of architectural building. Thank goodness, I can do two point perspective! I think I will research some classical architecture from my old Jansen’s Art History text book and draw one of those type of buildings. Or perhaps, some early Byzantine or early Gothic buildings; I do not know yet. What I do know is that I need something beautiful and artistic, something that will stand out in my own style. I can get more than a B in this course, which has been par for the course for Interior Design, so the rendering must be excellent.
What is of more interest to me currently is my architectural statement. What is the purpose of the architecture and why is it so important? Does architecture serve it’s program, its functionality? Is it aesthetic enough, how’s its structure, is it safe? Who is architecture for, for the architect, for the builder, for the people who live and use it? What style of architecture is right – should it be ornate or should it be simple or organic? All these things are important when I consider my statement.
So I start with simple statements: Architecture is the creation of buildings for people to shelter ( live), store, work, shop, entertain, eat, play, and appreciate culture in. Buildings of architecture can be ornate, plane and functionally built, or organic. I believe that architectural buildings should have a program and functionality for people ( and their animals)that is fulfilled in its design but that that design should have some sort of aesthetic quality to it for the architect and/or the people going to be using the building inside and out. There is no use in designing something simply for functionality ( although it is extremely important) as when nature was designed it was not created simply to be functional but to be aesthetically pleasing as part of it’s purpose; so should architecture be. I also think that it is important to be environmentally responsible when we are building and deconstructing are buildings. That we should focus on reuse, recycling, and using strong but environmentally friendly materials to build our architecture and dispose of it.
There is the beginning of my statement. A first draft if you will. As for me I will continue to practice my drawing skills, to finish the unfinished drawings for my portfolio, and to work on my final project. Maybe you can think of what architecture is to you, what design is to you, and how you can be an artist of your own in this world we live in.