There are places that one finds in life that somehow have a centering, calming, and joyous effect on the soul. The memory of my Grandparents' buttered toast and pipe-scented house in California, the balcony in Boudha where I taught my dear After School Artists during the monsoons, the breakfast table with Pedro— I have a lot of these happy places. One of them happens to be the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon, where I never tire of wandering through the galleries, though I have been there several times. Familiar brush strokes, colour palettes I know too well, and creamy marble that feels like home. It's like visiting a beautiful house full of old friends, who never seem to age though I do.
This holiday, I spent five hours at the museum one day— just me and Sargent, Monet, Manet, Turner. I went to Ancient Egypt, to Medieval and Renaissance Europe, the Ottoman Empire, and beyond. With the new sketchbook that my Grandma sent me for Christmas in hand, I sketched a few of my favourite pieces. Most of all, I just looked.