When people ask me why I chose to study mechanical engineering rather than music, English, or something else, I explain that I have never shaken my childhood urge to play with Legos. Engineering, while somewhat removed from Legos, scratches the itch, but it doesn't stop me from visiting as many Lego stores as I can... Continue Reading →
Le Havre [Loo Ah-v-ruh] is a French seaport in Normandy. The town was almost completely destroyed in World War I, so architect Auguste Perret undertook the job of redesigning the city so that it would still feel French, but with modern considerations in mind. Thus, Le Havre has remarkably wide streets and building facades that... Continue Reading →
If you follow the Seine River out of Paris and wind north-eastward toward the English Channel, you will pass through a quaint town called Rouen [Roo-ahn]. You might recognize it (if you are good with European history) as the place where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake or (if you are an art... Continue Reading →
Whenever the catacombs have come up in conversations or stories, I've always wondered where they came from. It's a little odd to have miles of underground networks tunnels full of bones underneath a bustling city. Today I learned where they came from. So what exactly are the Paris catacombs? Simply put, the catacombs are a... Continue Reading →
Places to Go
Of all the places I love most
I like the ones along the coast.
I like mountains in between.
I like to see the plains turn green.
I like to see the cityscapes,
the inlets, islands, glaciers, capes,
the forests, fog, and ocean foam.
I love to go and come back home.
My wife, Courtney, is officially launching her blog on traveling and art today! Go on over and check it out!
Please enjoy this short Q&A about why Paintings & Places is so important to me and those who understand (or are trying to understand) the importance of travel and art!
1. What is Paintings & Places?
Hello, bonjour, hola! My name is Courtney Mortenson and please allow me to introduce you to Paintings & Places. As a student of Brigham Young University studying languages, specifically French and Spanish, my classes focus intensely on grammar and literature. This makes sense for those trying to learn words and how to put them together, but in an effort to gain cultural literacy, more than linguistic mastery is required. With this in mind, I’ve set out to visit as many places that I can that speak these languages (and any other places I happen to be able to visit along the way) in order to learn more about people and what they value from…
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On Monday, Courtney and I went salsa dancing along the Seine (rhymes with zen) River. Some volunteers from the organization Courtney works with met us outside the metro and showed us where to go. We walked cobblestone streets until we came to the green waters of the Seine. As a river, the Seine is not... Continue Reading →
Today we visited Montmartre [mohn-MAHR-truh], a hill on the north side of Paris. On top of the hill sits the great domed basilica of Sacré Cœur [SAH-krih Kuhr] (Sacred Heart) which offers a panoramic view of Paris, assuming you are willing to hike up some stairs to get there. The hill gets its name from... Continue Reading →
When I was in middle school, I went with my parents and grandparents to a special exhibit of paintings at the Venetian in Las Vegas. It was my first real exposure to fine paintings. At the time, I didn’t know much about art (I’m still not an art historian by a long shot), but I... Continue Reading →
The metro in Paris feels older and larger than the metro in London. The ceilings are lower, the corners are darker, and the trains don’t go quite as fast. But the maps in Paris are much easier. Instead of names for each line and confusion over the direction of the train, the Paris underground uses... Continue Reading →