Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Photography at the Garden

On Friday night when I went to the Desert Botanical Garden’s “Agave on the Rocks” event, I went with my friends Julie and Dave. Julie has the Scottsdale Daily Photo blog and has published many of her Chihuly pictures on her site. While we were there, I was able to get a couple of shots of Julie working her magic with her camera.

In the photo above, she’s working with a difficult subject because it’s made with neon tubing. I happen to know she got some fabulous shots all around the park that night. We might be seeing some of them on her site in the future.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Flowers & the Moon

I told you I’d show you some of the wildflowers blooming right now at the Desert Botanical Gardens so, here is a shot the captures lots of different types of flowers and also has Dale Chihuly’s “Moon” sculpture in the background.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Out the Window

Last Thursday I spent the afternoon and early evening attending a trade show at the new Phoenix Convention Center. From the top floor vantage point I had a beautiful view out the nearby windows. The convention center is huge and beautifully designed with appealing lines and d├ęcor. The view out the window looked on to the street between the building I was in and the building next door which is connected by a skywalk. The sun was low in the western sky and bright enough to light up St. Mary’s Basilica on the street below. I have featured St. Mary’s a few times before.

In addition to the church, there are a few other interesting things to see in this photo. First I should mention those laser light beams across the photo. Those are reflections of the lighting inside the area where I’m standing. The really do look like laser beams ready to pierce the building next door.

Behind the church is the Arizona Center Tower and below on the street you see pedestrians and one of the downtown rickshaw drivers looking for a fare amongst the convention delegates and tourists walking on the street.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Agave

I may not know my lizards but, I do know fine entertainment when I experience it and that is exactly what I did Friday night. I joined close friends for an event at the Desert Botanical Gardens called “Agave on the Rocks”. (I know what you are thinking. She spends entirely too much time at the botanical gardens.) Let me just say, a membership to the gardens is one of the best investments you can make.

This was my first time to attend this annual event but I can truly say it won’t be my last. The event is billed as the gardens “hippest” event and I couldn’t agree more. You wander through the gardens sipping Margaritas (tequila…agave….get it?) and enjoying bands and other performers including the aerialist pictured below. And that’s not all. At every turn is another food station provided by valley restaurants and caterers. You would think that eating light would be easy but, I left there feeling like I had just had a gourmet six course meal.


My picture above is of the table full of Margarita glasses ready to be picked up by waiting guests. The stem of each glass contained flashing lights making every person holding a drink a little beacon in the darkness.
Let me just say, it was a fantastic evening.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Gecko

If you live in a warm climate you are very familiar with this little creature. The gecko lizard is very common with over 2000 species worldwide. They are unique because of the tiny pads on their toes that allow them to climb smooth and vertical surfaces. They can even walk across a ceiling with ease. I spotted this little fellow perched on top of my back fence keeping his eye on me while I watered the plants. People around here are very fond of these little critters. They feed on insects and help to keep that population in check.



You can see this gecko emerging from the seam in my block fence in the small photo. I’ve noticed that many of them live in that crack in the seams all around my backyard fence. I truly enjoy watching them come and go.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chihuly….revisited

Last weekend I took my niece to the Desert Botanical Gardens to see the Chihuly exhibit and guess what…I found an installation that I hadn’t seen before. I love the blues and purples in this one.

I really love this exhibit (as I’m sure you’ve guessed) but, the spectacular addition of spring wildflowers and blooming plants and cactus made the event even more stunning. I’ll share some wildflower photos over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Laser Sun

Over the weekend I saw that we had some clouds in the sky and I thought it might produce a nice sunset so I headed to a nearby golf course to see if I could get some photos. The sunset wasn’t as colorful as I had hoped but, I did get a few nice shots. I especially like this one with the irrigated lawn in the foreground and the sun looking like it is boring a hole in that tree in the middle.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Divine



This colorfully dressed young lady was at the mall over the weekend handing out flyers for Divine Performing Arts, a classical Chinese dance and music performance. It will begin on March 27th at the beautiful Gammage auditorium on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe.

Check out their website. I just might have to get tickets!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sunset on Central Avenue, part 3

Looking south from yesterday’s position, we now see more of the tall buildings that make up the Central Avenue Corridor. On the right, the Bank of America building is plainly marked and is reflecting the two office buildings I featured on Saturday. The three high rise buildings on the left are all part of the Phoenix Plaza, an office complex that was built between 1988 and 1990. I featured a major artwork located in front of the Phoenix Plaza on July 21st, 2008.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunset on Central Avenue, part 2

Looking north from yesterday’s vantage point, we can see a few more of the high-rise buildings along the Central Avenue Corridor. The tall building on the left is the Great American Tower built in 1985. Behind it and peeking out from the left is the 3300 North Central Tower, a building seen in another one of my posts on December 7th. Behind the palm tree is the Phoenix Financial Center Building that I feature in several posts between the 3rd and the 8th of December 2008. The building on the left is the Century Plaza Building that I featured on August 21st.

On the day I took this photo, I met a man who lives in the Century Plaza Building when he was cutting through the parking lot on his way to pick up some take-out dinner. He said he loves living there even though it’s quite expensive.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sunset on Central Avenue

The late winter sun was low in the sky when I noticed the glow on the buildings that make up the Central Avenue Corridor. The tall building houses National Bank of Arizona among other offices. I don’t think the shorter building has a major tenant, but I do know that many years ago, the top floor used to be a Playboy Club. Can you remember those clubs with their scantily clad, cotton-tailed, bunny eared waitresses? What ever happened to those clubs? Icons of another era, maybe?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Flowering Arches

This is the last in my series of the Arts & Flowers exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum. This painting by Claude Monet was interpreted by Christine Price of Cactus Flower. A floral interpretation for a floral painting.



You can barely see it in the small photo, but this arrangement had a little secluded pond in its center surrounded by flowers. Ms. Price even used fragrant lilacs in her arrangement.


Bravo to all the designers who participated in this exhibit. Very well done.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Madame Adelaide

An elegant arrangement to go with and elegant painting. The painting is titled “Madame Adelaide” by Adelaide Labille-Guiard. Labille-Guiard was born in 1749 in Paris and was a feminist of her time helping several female artists get admitted into the Royal Academy. Her most famous painting is “Self Portrait with Two Pupils” which hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.


The floral arrangement is by Kathy Cheathem, Cathie Wong, and Maggie Moran from the Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center. It took three designers to put together this huge arrangement.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Untitled


The quality of this photo is not very good but, I decided to show it to you anyway because I think it’s another good interpretation. I think the designers who were assigned abstract paintings or sculptures faced a unique challenge and they all did a wonderful job. The painting is untitled by Hans Hoffman and the arrangement is by Kristie Lashbrook of the Mayesh Wholesale Florist. This is another one that I think captures the painting very well.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Knight

Here is another exotic floral arrangement inspired by the sculpture called “Knight” by Seymour Lipton. This arrangement was created by Sarah Noffsinger and Shelli Walker from Community Florist. I didn’t see a sign to say this arrangement won any prizes but, I have to say that I think it’s a very close interpretation. What looks like a bow tied around those lilies is actually made of long leaves from some tropical plant.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Red with Mirror

As simple as it may be, this was my personal favorite arrangement at the Arts & Flowers exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum. There was something about the intensity of the red roses and the red tinted water in the vases that just spoke to me. It was designed by Rob Hudachek and John Johnstonbaugh of Flora Bella.

The painting it reflected is called “Red with Mirror” by Liliana Porter. It’s difficult to see in this photo but it depicts a doll or small statue in front of a mirror all on a red background.

This one didn’t win any prizes, it was just a favorite of mine.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Arizona Theme Day: Old Arizona

This is Mission San Jose de Tumacacori, established on this site sometime after 1751 after nearby missions dating back to 1691 were destroyed and abandoned. This is one of the many missions established by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, the explorer, cartographer, and Franciscan priest who is responsible for the chain of missions running from within Mexico to northern California. This mission was abandoned by 1848 and began its fall into disrepair until 1908 when the area was declared a National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt. Restoration continues today although very slowly. In 1937 a museum was built at the National Monument which later became a National Park.

The mission is located in Southern Arizona between Tucson and the border with Mexico. Photos don’t really do it justice. It is one of those places you need to see in person in order to enjoy its beauty.

Enjoy the rest of the Arizona bloggers photos of “Old Arizona” by using the links below:

Flagstaff Daily Photo
Chandler Daily Photo
Prescott Area Daily Photo
Tempe Daily Photo
Scottsdale Daily Photo
Chandler Daily Photo
Scottsdale Daily Photo

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tensions

The painting is called Tensions by the artist Emil Bisttram and the floral arrangement is by Lorraine Cooper from Brady’s Floral Gallery. This arrangement won first place for Most Creative Floral Design and you must agree, it is very creative. I was impressed with how well it matches all the geometric shapes in the painting.

Tomorrow I’ll take a one day break from “Arts & Flowers” in order to join my other Arizona bloggers for our 15th of the month Arizona Theme Day. More flowers to follow on the 16th.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Spring Flowers

Arts & Flowers is an annual event at the Phoenix Art Museum where over 40 florists, floral designers, and garden clubs create beautiful arrangements to complement one of the many art works in the museum. Each arrangement is judged for creativity and for best floral interpretation of the assigned work of art. The painting above is titled Spring Flowers by Julius Stewart and the arrangement next to it was created by Laki Haden. This painting has long been one of my favorites at the museum because I always feel like I could walk right in to it.


The small photo shows a closer picture of the flower arrangement. Tomorrow I’ll show you one of the prize winners.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Flowers

Today I’ll start another series from my adventures last weekend. This time it has to do with flowers. Southwest Blooms was a weekend event all about flowers and gardening. I started with a stop at the Southwest Flower and Garden Show which turned out to be a large trade show all about gardening and out-door related home improvement. They did have a contest of floral arrangements and an entry from that is what I’ve featured today. The top photo is of a perfectly round ball covered in yellow flowers.


The small photo is of a lily that I thought was quite beautiful. Tomorrow I’ll show you a photo from my favorite flower event, the Arts & Flowers exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The people of the Indian Fair & Market

Here are some of the beautiful people I encountered at the Heard Museum’s Indian Fair & Market last Saturday. As always, it was a culturally rich experience. I even got to meet an artist I’ve admired for many years. I have two prints of his wonderful work and when I entered his tent space, I recognized his work immediately. His name is Baje Whitethorne and it was a pleasure to finally meet him.


The small photo shows the two prints by Mr. Whitethorne that hang in my living room. You can see more of his wonderful work here. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of him.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eagle Dance

The photo above was taken during the “Eagle Dance” performed by the dancers I featured yesterday. What we saw was a very short version of a ceremony that usually lasts all day. Participants dance to the “Tree of Life” with the intent of manifesting health and prosperity. Ceremonial drums play a hypnotic beat while voices rise in chants possibly calling out a prayer like below:

Eagle fly high
Touch Great Spirit
Share your medicine
Touch me, honor me
So that I may know you too

As you can see, the dancers arms are covered in eagle feathers. Since the eagle is an endangered species, there are very strict laws against the harvesting and possession of eagle feathers. Those laws have specific exceptions for Native Americans so that they may continue their spiritual ceremonies. Only individuals with certifiable Native American ancestry and enrolled in federally recognized tribes are allowed to possess feathers from eagles and other migratory birds.


In addition to the dances, there were cooking demonstrations of some traditional Indian foods. The lady in the small photo is making Piki bread a traditional Hopi dish. It is made from a batter of blue corn meal with a little juniper ash added. The batter is spread on a hot plate in a very thin layer using the fingers. When it is done, the very thin sheet is lifted from the hot plate and rolled into a sort of tube of paper thin bread. If you would like to see a picture of the cooked bread and read a little more about it, click here.

Every time I see this demonstration I wonder how tough your fingers have to be to spread the batter on that hot plate.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Flurry of Feathers, Fur, and Fringe


While I was at the Indian Fair & Market, I caught a performance of group of Comanche and Kiowa dancers led with great humor and personality by Tom Ware. I chose the top picture to represent the fury and speed with which the dancers performed.





The small photo shows members of the group watching the performance around Tom Ware, the narrator. Click on the photo to get a good look at the variety of costumes worn by the different team members and tribes.


My Weekend: I had another very busy weekend. It makes sense that many things happen in the early spring and late fall in the desert because the summer gets too hot to do very much out of doors. But that also means that sometimes things get crammed into one weekend. The weekend began on Friday with two events. On Saturday I started with the Indian Fair and later went to the 7th Avenue street fair, a local celebration with live music, food and more shopping. On Sunday I went to the Arts & Flowers celebration at the Phoenix Art Museum. You can bet that many photos will follow.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Indian Fair & Market

Saturday was the opening day of the 51st annual Indian Fair & Market at the Heard Museum, an event that is considered one of Arizona’s most significant cultural events. The fair features over 700 successful Native American artists so you can imagine the mind-boggling array of art on display and for sale. Mix in over 20,000 expected visitors and you have one of the biggest events in Phoenix.

This photo shows one of the weavers working on a beautiful Indian rug with some of her finished pieces displayed behind her.


The small photo shows a long line of artist’s tents and represents only a fraction of the display tents located on the Heard Museum grounds. Click on the photo to enlarge it and you can see some beautiful artwork on display.

Tomorrow I’ll show you some very colorful Native American dancers

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Watermelon Radish


It’s Saturday and many people will be heading for their local Farmer’s Market to pick up some fresh vegetables and fruit. Here is a peppery little radish to look for. I had never seen this variety before but as you can see it’s quite attractive.
Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Prickly Beauty

I’m not an expert on cacti so, when I saw this one recently I had to do some research. The white part is called "euphorbia lacteal christata rubra". How is that for a serious name? It has been grafted on to another cactus to form this exquisite combination.



It’s amazing the things you learn publishing a blog!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Back to the Future

Do any of you remember the 1985 move “Back to the Future”? Over the weekend a friend spotted this DeLorean on display and it brought back so many memories. I can just see Marty McFly at the wheel while the talented and somewhat eccentric Doc Brown explains how the “flux capacitor” is powered by common household trash. I wonder if this car has been tested at 88 MPH yet?


I’m going to imagine that this one might have just escaped from the mid 80’s to see what life is like in 2009. If it watches the news, it might just pack up and go back.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I think that I shall never see….


….a Poem as lovely as a tree. Those first two lines of Joyce Kilmer’s famous poem “Trees” is exactly what popped into my head when I spotted this gorgeous Eucalyptus tree in the center of the yard of a local nursery. I stood in awe of its beauty and then ran back to the car to get my camera so I could share it with you.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Zulu Prince

While at the Public Market on Saturday, I spotted some beautiful flowers that were totally unfamiliar to me. I asked about them was told they are called Zulu Prince daisies. A quick Google research revealed that their true name is Venidium fastuosum. Zulu Prince is much more romantic.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Where am I?

This is certainly not something you normally see in downtown Phoenix….or is it? I was at the downtown Public Market on Saturday for its 4th Anniversary celebration and was approached by the fellow wearing these wooden shoes who was offering a plate of Poffertjes for sampling. Poffertjes are puffy Dutch pancakes and they are delicious with a little powdered sugar or syrup or jam. The Dutch Poffertjes House has a handy little mobile stand that sells these wonderful treats along with coffee, tea, and other drinks. Judging from the lines of people, it’s a popular breakfast stop at the Saturday market.

You can see a picture of these sweet pancakes included in this local newspaper review.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Theme Day: Glass

I have featured events and art from the Heard Museum many times before but, I thought today would be the perfect time to show you this masterpiece located on the inside of the museum. The piece is called “Indigenous Evolution” and it was commissioned by the museum and created by two artists, Tony Jojola and Rosemary Lonewolf. It is a 30 foot glass and clay fence inspired by the organic fences made by Native people out of natural elements like adobe, ocotillo and saguaro.

The two artists had never worked together before creating this piece for the museum. Each created their pieces separately, Lonewolf making the clay pieces and Jojola making the glass pieces. They continue to collaborate on these beautiful fence posts.



I think this is a stunning piece and I always take time to look at it every time I go to the museum.