It’s so rare we get mail any more, unless it’s an Amazon package! So when I received an oversized envelope from an unknown person, I didn’t know what to expect.
But it’s so lovely to get a surprise!
I opened the package to find a hand painted picture of Ca’ Memmo, Procurator Andrea Memmo’s home on the Grand Canal. Though he was a skilled statesman and Venetian noble, Memmo is often best known today for his affair with Giustiniana Wynne, the beautiful and talented young woman who later went on to write Les Morlaques, which is one of Italy’s first published novels. I’ve written about both these icons in two of my books. (Their relationship is chronicled in Andre di Robilant’s book A Venetian Affair.)
So who sent me this painting? It was Karen Cogan, an American painter who is as smitten as I am with Venice. She had read my books Free Gondola Ride and Seductive Venice and decided to just send me a painting in gratitude and shared love for the city of Venice. She wrote to me, “I still care more about sharing my art and I always must feel connected to my paintings.”
Karen was actually interviewed for a blog post where she tells how painting and traveling solo have changed her life. You may find your experiences in this story, too. At the very least, check it out so you can see more of Karen’s paintings. She also posts on Pinterest or on her website.
It turns out that Karen and I live only about two and a half hours apart in California, and we’ve both been to the Sacramento Italian Cultural Society multiple times. I have no doubt we will meet in person soon! We can swap more stories about traveling as solo women.
Karen points out that giving her paintings to others has brought her much more satisfaction than selling them. I often feel that way about my books (though, of course, I do have some boxes of books in my basement that would be happy to be united with readers!). Her generosity has brought her immeasurable satisfaction.
And her generosity has brought me immeasurable satisfaction too!