Friday, March 29, 2019

Sunset Sherbert Birch Forest

Brightscapes: The Way To Beauty

Sunset Sherbert Birch Forest
acrylic paint on canvas board
16" x 20" (40.6 cm x 50.8 cm)
© copyright Mike Kraus
To purchase, please visit:

I count my breaths as I enter the woods.  It calms my thoughts and helps me to relax.  The chaos and cravings of the world evaporate with every step.  If you're fortunate enough to find the mysterious pass, then you enter into paradise.  This is the magic of the forest.

This painting would look best in a small space that is dark red, orange, green, blue, white, black, grey, beige, or wood.

More About Mike Kraus Art
My NPR Marketplace Business News interview about art as an alternative investment

Graphic Ear Interview on WAYO 104.3 FM

Michael Kraus was born on the industrial shoreline of Muskegon, Michigan. After earning his Fine Arts Degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he attended Grand Valley State University for his graduate degree. From there, he gained varied experiences from the Chicago Architecture Foundation, Art Institute of Chicago, Hauenstein Center For Presidential Studies, Lollypop Farm Humane Society, and the Children's Memorial Foundation. And every place he worked, he had his sketchbook with him and found ways to be actively creative. In 2014, Kraus became a full-time artist by establishing Mike Kraus Art. Since then, he has sold hundreds of paintings that are displayed in nearly every state and dozens of countries. Currently, Kraus lives in Rochester, New York with his beautiful wife and goofy dog.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Spanish Expedition - Palma de Mallorca, Spain - Part I


After a long, gloomy winter, our Upstate New York eyes have difficulty accepting so much of this Spanish sun.  And the 70 degree weather somehow even feels warmer.  No complaints.

Coming in for a landing in Barcelona to transfer to our next flight.

You know you're in a nice climate when the new ultra modern airport has outdoor seating. 

We asked for Mallorca beer and we receive Cerveza Rosa Blanca (

 We asked for Jamon and received Bocadillo Jamon from Can Iberic (  Jean Carlo was very helpful and kind.  It was a great introduction of what to expect for the rest of our vacation.

 Wandering down the main roads and side alleys of Palma, we saw a lot of interesting architecture.

Can Rei building in the Modernista (Art Nouveau) style

Strolling the Costa del Teatre

We visited the CaixaForum (, which is a cultural center for temporary shows. Along with a large collection of Greek sculptures, they featured the artwork of Hermen Anglada-Camarasa (, pictured above.

Sun setting on a tree lined boulevard.

This is neither a castle or a church.  The Llotja was a stock exchange building for maritime traders.  But, the building has been used for many other functions as varied as an armory and art gallery since its construction from 1426 to 1456.

Heading into the Cafe Ca'n Toni ( for dinner.

Cafe Ca'n Toni had a fun atmosphere.  The food was very good too.  I had a rabbit dish that was incredible.  But, I do regret not getting the pig, which welcomed dinners as they entered the restaurant.

SO MUCH SANGRIA!  A large group came in as we finished our pitcher.  Our waiter asked if it was alright to move us to a different table to accommodate the other group.  No problem.  Especially when he gave us another half-pitcher of sangria.  It's amazing we found our hotel again walking those Medieval streets afterwards.

The Baroque and Mannerist town hall was constructed by Pere Bauçá, Miquel Oliver and Bartomeu Calafat from 1649 to 1680.  It is known as the "Cort" as this is where the lords and ladies of the feudal court would gather.

Front of the Cort Town Hall

Inside the Horno Santo Cristo cafe ( in the Can Rei building

Getting use to the Spanish lifestyle/jet lag with a late breakfast of coffee and some kind of chocolate filled pastry.

Megan and I wandered through a set of a movie on Carrer de la Portella

The few times I've been in Europe, it always amazes me to see Cathedrals.  There are so many similarities and differences depending on countries and region.  While this would be an impressive structure to build today, it's even more incredible to think they did this in a time before power tools and mechanical equipment.

This was a site of a mosque until the conquest on 1299.  Soon after, the La Seu Cathedral ( started construction under Jaume II.  A process that would take 300 years to complete.  Many prominent designers and artists have worked on this structure including Guillem Segrera, Juan Bautista Peyronnet, and Antoni Gaudi.

Portal Major from 1601

interior arch

Medieval artwork

The church museum had TONS of requiems.  This requiem allegedly holds pieces of the crucifix Jesus died on.

I think this is probably the best Rose Window I've ever seen.  Not only is it large with a 40 foot diameter.  Or stunningly detailed with 1,200 pieces of colored glass.  But, it really captured the Mediterranean sun and threw colors through a very large space.

Just a side chapel.

Compared to the Portuguese, Germany, Belgian, Austrian, and Czech churches I've seen, the Spanish seems very stark.  Much let decoration on the walls.  The materials of the building were largely left exposed, which was both Modern and Medieval at the same time.

A view of the alter from the back of the Cathedral.

Another side chapel.  These were life-sized statues.  Another feature I found unique about Spanish churches was the theatrical nature of the side chapels.  They seemed more interactive and stage-like than other chapels I've seen.  Some even had stairs where church-goers could participate in such scenes.

Light bouncing off the walls from the Rose Window.

Chapel of the Holy Eucharist

The Chapel of the Holy Eucharist holds the bodies of two Princes and is one of the oldest parts of the Cathedral.  The original chapel from the 1500s burned in an 1819 fire.  It took 20 years to fix and restore and this new chapel by local artist Miquel Barceló was installed between 2001 to 2006.

Antoni Gaudi's candelabra-baldachin over the alter.

The scale, detail, and staging of these side chapels are incredible.  Especially when they contrast with the bare stone walls.

The Rose Window casting it's light on a side chapel.

A view of the belfry of 9 bells from the orange tree filled cloisters.

Until the 1960s, the Mediterranean Sea use to come right up to the ramparts at the base of the Cathedral and the rest of the city.  A convenient (and unfortunate) highway changed that and created Parc de la Mar.  It's a nice gathering spot to relax, enjoy some coffee at a cafe, and stroll.

One of the many narrow streets around the La Seu Cathedral.

For a northerner like me, there's something magical about seeing palm trees in the winter.

So, this is where the rich and famous dock their yachts.  This was a very large harbor filled with even more boats.  We walked around this for quite a while and didn't complete the loop.  Apparently, just beyond our walk is another marina better suited for the even larger mega-yachts.

A palatial estate overlooking the Mediterranean with a windmill.  Let me know if this goes on the market, I'd be interested...

Overlooking the marina harbor of Palma.

After a good walk and exploring neighborhoods and markets, we had a hardy lunch at Restaurante Café Zanzibar (

Megan's meal seemed pretty exotic as a fish cooked in a banana leaf.

View from the Es Baluard Museu d'Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma ( looking toward La Seu Cathedral

View from the Es Baluard Museu d'Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma looking toward the Mediterranean 

All over the Palma was intricate tile work and glass balconies.  Not a bad way to live.

Our last meal in Palma de Mallorca at Quina Creu Tapas & Restaurant (  At least we went out with style.

A final stroll down the Passeig del Born

Hey!  We found the Cort Town Hall building again.  This time during the day with a bit less Sangria.

Across the street from the Cort Town Hall is Plaça Cort with the attention grabbing "Olivera de Cort."  This 600 year old, 23 foot tall olive tree was moved to Palma from the Pedruixella Petit estate in Pollença  ( 1989. 

Another amazing alter in a random church we found.

To prepare for Barcelona, we look at a couple Modernista (Art Nouveau) buildings.

We stayed at a fun and quirky place called the Brick Hotel (  It was very reasonable, close to town, easy to reach from the airport, and a fun place to stay.  Highly recommended.

Last look out the window from our room brought us roof cats.

It's difficult to believe there's any abandoned real estate in this area.  Know the owner?  Send him my name and an offer.

And a shot of our room.


See more of our vacation at:

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