Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Circles or Dots

I found this building in downtown Phoenix a week or so ago and was smitten with all the colorful dots.

I stopped to get a closer look.  The sign at the front says it's an art gallery but, it wasn't open when I happened by.  I'll have to check it out on another occasion.  I do love that colorful exterior.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, the day we honor our men and women who have died in active military service.  There will be parades and services throughout the state.  The plaza in front of the Arizona State Capitol has a number of memorials for different wars or military actions throughout the years.  Last year I showed you the Viet Nam Memorial.  This year I have the Desert Storm memorial.

I hope all my US readers are enjoying this Memorial Day holiday!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Phoenix Rising Revisited

Last Thursday evening, the Phoenix Art Museum had a special event to draw in visitors to the current show called "Phoenix Rising".  I told you about this exhibit back in April when I first visited.  It's a show of art works that are in the private collections of Phoenix residents.  Even though I had seen the show before, I took the opportunity to see it again and I brought along my good friend David who had not seen it yet.  The piece above is one of my favorites from the show.  It's a photographic print titled "Greenhouse" by Anthony Goicolea.  It's a very long and narrow piece so my photo doesn't do it justice.  It shows a dozen or so perfectly dressed and groomed gentlemen inside the greenhouse with cotton plants surrounding them.

Another extraordinary piece in the show was this one simply titled "Portrait of a Man".  It is designated as "In the style of Rembrandt van Rijn" and dates back to 1635.  It does in fact have Rembrandt's name located right above his shoulder on the right side of the portrait.

The explanation says that many paintings that were designated as Rembrandt's have been discovered to be by other painters working in Rembrandt workshops or who were followers of Rembrandt so until the painting can be authenticated, it's better to say "in the style of".
Regardless, it is a mesmerizing portrait.

 Remember all those shoes from this show that I posted back in April?  Here are some fashions that go with the shoes.  In fact they are part of the same collection as all those wonderful shoes.

Today is the last day for this interesting show so if you are in Phoenix this weekend and would like to see it, get over there.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm visiting a favorite spot in Southern Arizona.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Praise for the Humble Burger

Today is National Hamburger Day!  What?? you say!  ;-)  Ever since I found that National Recognition Day website, I have found some very quirky and strange national recognition days.  It seems every day of the year has some sort of designation and most have more than one.  But, since today is the day to celebrate the burger, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to introduce you to a new "favorite" burger of mine.

This new place is called Hopdoddy Burger Bar and it's the second one to open in the Phoenix Metro area however, it's completely new to me.  I had never heard of them before.  They advertise sustainably harvested vegetables, fish and hormone free meats and they make all their own condiments and soft drinks.

The dining concept is unique in that you order your burger from a counter service and they then assign you a table and a server.  You go to the assigned table and the server takes over from there, bringing you anything you need after that.  I've been about six times now since it opened in February and the burgers are consistently good as is the friendly service.  As you can see from the top photo, my favorite burger is the one with the poblano chili on it along with bacon, cheese, tomato and lettuce.  It's delicious.

Strange name, but great burgers!  Happy National Hamburger Day!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Scooters are for Scooting

I saw these two cute little scooters parked in front of a sidewalk cafe in downtown Phoenix.  The cafe was closed at the time so I wondered if they might belong to the people preparing to open up.  I love the Italian flag paint job on the one on right.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Purple Blooms

Purple and lavender are two of my favorite colors so when I see those colors displayed in flowers, I tend to be drawn right to them.  That's what happened last Sunday when I took that early morning walk at the Desert Botanical Garden.  The first ones that caught my eye were the bee balm plants in the wildflower section of the garden.  There were fields of the shaggy beauties all along the trails.

Another one that I love seeing is the bright blooms on the Guayacan plant.  This plant is labeled as under special protection.  It's native to northern Mexico and into Central America.

Over in the herb garden area I found rows of Lynn's Legacy Sage with lovely lavender blooms all over them.  I do love cooking with sage but I don't think I've ever used this variety.

A little further down the trail, I saw the artichokes had gone to bloom.  One part of me hates to see them blooming because they aren't edible after that but, the other part of me loves the lovely lavender thistle-like bloom on top.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Our Giant Panda

I think I might have pictured this giant panda sculpture once before in post a few years ago.   It's called "Maternal Love" and it was a gift to the city of Phoenix from the city of Chengdu in China.  Chengdu is a Phoenix "Sister City".

She really is a "giant" panda as you can see from this photo taken a little further away.  It's located in the Margaret Hance Park in the Mid-Town area of Phoenix just north of our downtown.  It's not in a location that can be seen from a the well traveled street near by so I think it gets missed by most people.  But, it's well worth a little admiration.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Rock Climbers

When I was at the garden on Sunday morning I spotted a flash of white on the Papago Buttes but I couldn't tell what was going on.  So, I extended the telephoto and snapped a few photos as I walked along one of the trails.

After I downloaded the photos, I could see that it was a couple preparing to do a little rock climbing on the butte.

I took this las shot as I was leaving.  They were still up there practicing their climbing techniques.  

Monday, May 23, 2016

Whooooo....is that?

Who is that peeking out from a hole in a saguaro cactus?  I believe it's a Western Screech-owl.  I have  an early morning bird-watcher to thank for this photo.  I never would have spotted him without her help.

This house finch was enjoying his reflection and an occasional drink of water.

This fellow appears to be feathering his nest.

And this Gila Woodpecker was on his morning rounds.
A 6:00 AM walk around the Desert Botanical Garden on Sunday morning was very productive for bird sightings.  I must say that now that summer is approaching and the winter long exhibit has been dismantled, the garden is back to being a great place for a long walk.  I know that the art exhibits the garden has during the fall, winter and spring months produces a huge amount of income for the garden but, it's always nice when the crowds are gone and the garden is once again peaceful and full of wildlife.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Lunch at the Museum

On Friday I met my friend Janet for lunch at the Heard Museum.  I arrived early so I could walk around and take photos of some of the outdoor sculptures.  The museum is composed of four buildings.  The main museum building straight ahead in this photo, the gift shop to the right in this photo and the cafe to the left.  There is one more building with offices and meeting rooms located behind me.  They all are arranged around this wonderful courtyard area.

I love the fountain that runs down the center of the  courtyard with two round pools and the long canal of water.    When I sit outside for lunch here, I enjoy watching the birds fly down to the fountain for quick drinks.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  A visit to one of Chicago's architectural gems.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


I wasn't sure what to make of this sighting.  There were no belongings sitting near by and it was located to the side of a convenience store.  The pants and socks look in good shape.  Maybe he's on break and felt the need for a little nap.  Or, maybe he's just sleeping it off.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Colorful Umbrellas

There are several restaurants on the south side of the Biltmore Fashion Square shopping center and it seems like all of them have some outdoor seating.  It makes for quite a collection of colorful umbrellas running down the length of the center.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bus Stop

All over the Valley of the Sun (the Phoenix metropolitan area) there are artistic bus shelters in certain locations.

When I was in Mesa last weekend, I found this bus stop shelter right in front of the high-rise building I featured yesterday.  This has to be one of the most elaborate bus shelter I've spotted around the valley.

I found out it was designed by Joe Tyler and placed there in 2002.  The design consists of a dome supported by artificial palm trees.  Perhaps the artist was inspired by all the palm trees that surround the building.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Glass, Water & Palm Trees

Across the street from Fiesta Mall (featured yesterday) is one of Mesa's few high-rises buildings the 16-story glass tower called the Mesa Financial Plaza.  When it was built the building was called the Western Savings Tower but Western Savings was a financial business that failed back in the 80's when we went through the Savings & Loan crisis.

I was happy to see that the building appears to be thriving with Bank of America being the major financial tenant now.  I always loved these two gorgeous fountains in front of the building. There used to be interesting sculptures on the property but, those appear to be gone now.

I loved the way the water was reflected in the glass building.

It's one of the prettiest fountains in the area!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Death of a Mall....Part 2

I took a drive out to Mesa on Sunday and while I was there, I decided to go inside Fiesta Mall, the mall I featured at the end of last month.  I was curious to see what it looked like inside.  I remembered it as being a new and attractive mall back in the 80's.  From the outside I got the impression that Sears and Best Buy were the only two stores still open.  I was wrong.

Although there were quite a lot of empty stores, there were still lots of stores that were open.

Then I noticed that Dillard's was open which surprised me.  I saw hardly any cars on that side of the mall.  When I went inside Dillards I noticed that there were signs everywhere saying "Inventory Closeout" and it had that warehouse look to it with racks and racks of sale items.  It looks like Dillard's will be closing soon.

I stopped by the food court for a quick peek.  I was there at noon and as you can see, not many people were getting lunch.

On the end of the mall by Sears, there was a very nice playground that was being used by quite a few children. 

One thing that impressed me was that the mall was quite attractive.  I think I was expecting it to be a bit run-down but, that wasn't the case at all.  It was just very, very quiet.  Not at all what it's like when I visit Scottsdale Fashion Square.  I'm glad I stopped to see what it is like now.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Hug a Tree

If it hadn't been for a comment that Grace (Perth Daily Photo) left on my site yesterday, I would not have known that today is Love a Tree day. I looked it up and sure enough, loving a tree is one of the designations for May 16th.    So I encourage you to do like this Northern Mockingbird, give a tree a hug today.  If you are not into hugging, an appreciative and admiring glance will also work.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Another Bloom'n Tree

While driving toward mid-town yesterday, I caught sight of this tree out of the corner of my eye.  Those gorgeous purple blooms had me so enthralled that I turned around to get a closer look.

I don't recall seeing one exactly like this before so I had to do some research to find out what it is.  It's called a Chaste Tree or sometimes Monk's Pepper.  Those long spiky flowers appear at the end of the branches.

It was sitting in the middle of someone's front yard so I had to do a little zooming in to get a close-up shot of those gorgeous flowers.  I think I might have a new favorite tree!

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns.  I'm back at the Huntington again but, this time I concentrate on the masterpieces in the art collection.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Super Indian.....follow-up story

I'll apologize up front for the somewhat grainy photo.  I took it right off of my computer screen.  I wanted to follow up on yesterday's post after I saw this story on a local television show.  We have a local show that is a version of the national PBS show call Antiques Roadshow.  The local show is called Arizona Collectables.  Thursday night, the TV was on but I wasn't watching it directly.  That is until I heard this story when I stopped what I was doing and made my way to the TV.  The painting  above is by an artist named T.C. Cannon, a Native American artist who studied under Fritz Scholder (the artist I featured yesterday) at the school he taught at in Santa Fe.  The lady above on the right bought this painting at a Goodwill Thrift store for $7.99 because she just loved it.  The appraiser on the left told her that in its present condition it was worth around $15,000.00.  She went on to say that if she had it professionally cleaned and a couple of places repaired, it would be worth $25,000.00.  How is that for fantastic return on her money?  The lady who owned the painting had no idea of its worth and said she would still love it even if it turned out to be worthless.

T.C. Cannon was one of Fritz Scholder's students and I can certainly see some similarity to the paintings I featured yesterday.  I just thought it was such a coincidence that I featured that story yesterday and then found this connection to the same artist.  It also shows just how much influence Scholder had on the American Indian contemporary art scene.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Super Indian

When I was at the Phoenix Art Museum a couple of weeks ago I saw an exhibit called Super Indian and I was introduced to an artist I had not heard of before, Fritz Scholder.  He was a Native American artist who became one to the first to be recognized for his contributions to contemporary art.  He challenged the cultural stereotypes of American Indians through works that were bold, colorful and uniquely abstract.

The description for this painting, his first in this series reads:

"When Scholder moved to Santa Fe in 1964 to teach art to Native American students at the Institute of American Indian Arts, he vowed never to paint and Indian.  Three years later he broke that vow and painted Indian No. 1 (left) as an experiment in how to depict Indian imagery in a new way."

Scholder and his students looked at historic photographs of Native Americans for inspiration.  This one was inspired by a photo from an Arikara Medicine Ceremony.

This one is titled American Portrait with One Eye.  It was done in 1975, eight years after he started his abstract series.

This one is called End of the Trail and was painted in 1970.

I enjoyed seeing these paintings and learning about this man.  I can certainly see the influence he's had when I peruse the local galleries where Native American Art is shown.

Thursday, May 12, 2016


I circled back after passing by this home in Paradise Valley.  That southwestern pueblo style caught my eye and I was determined to get a photo of the place.  The only angle that would work was from this corner.  There were too many trees along the front and they hid the beauty of the place.  This the kind of house you could pick up and drop down in Santa Fe New Mexico and it would still fit right in.