Thursday, September 24, 2020

Repairs at Landmark Towers


Landmark Tower is a condominium building that started its life as an apartment building sometime around the 1950's.  When I first moved to Arizona, I worked a few blocks from here and I learned that there were several apartments leased by famous actors and writers who wanted to spend some time in the Arizona sunshine during the winter months.  Sometime in the 1990's, the building converted to condominiums.

I recently noticed that some type of major construction is going on at the building right now.  So, I did a Google search and found that the building had some structural issues and the balconies needed to be stabilized.  When I read that it gave me a bit of a chill.  Imagine standing on a balcony like that and feeling it shake or move.  Yikes!  

It looks like the construction workers have installed their very own elevator to the back of the building.  If I was living there, I'd be pretty happy about these repairs.  Balconies are a nice feature but only if they feel solid under your feet.    

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Four Seasons


Another art exhibit that appeared at the Desert Botanical Garden consisted of these four sculptures by filmmaker and artist Phillip Haas.  The group is called The Four Seasons and it's the artist's rendition of the paintings of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, the 16th century Italian painter.  Arcimboldo was known for his portraits where the features of the face were composed from fruits, vegetables and a variety of plants. You can see some of his paintings here.  

Winter, pictured to the left is a rather gnarly looking character.  

Spring (above) is a flowery fellow and Summer to the left is abundant with fruits and vegetables.  

I enjoyed taking photos of these sculptures and I posted a few shots several times back in 2012 and 2013 when they were on display.  This is  a link to my favorite of those shots.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Look Deep Into My Corolla


The last time I was at the Desert Botanical Garden, I noticed a lot of Jimsonweed blooms in different areas of the garden.  I couldn't help photographing a few of them.  I got up close and personal with the bloom above and pointed my lens right down into the bell-like flower.

They really are very impressive blooms but beware, it is a very toxic plant.  It's one of those plants that are pretty to look at but don't touch and certainly don't ingest.  

Monday, September 21, 2020

2020 Vision


My art challenge group met last Friday night via Zoom again.  The challenge for this time was "About 67%" and the pieces our group came up with were as varied as the many interpretations of that subject.  My first thought on this subject was the "rule of thirds" in photography.  I asked my friend David to pose for me gazing out at Camelback Mountain.  I also thought about how our faces are currently broken up by the masks we are all wearing these days so I asked him to pose with his mask on.  Then I used a poster-like effect on the finished photo.  I call this "2020 Vision" because this how most of us are viewing the world in 2020.  Once again our little group produced an outstanding variety of art on this subject.

Our October challenge is "Hummingbird".  Now that's a subject I have some experience with.  I'm going to start looking through my hummingbird photos today!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

A Tribute to a Remarkable Woman

The news of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg hit me rather hard yesterday.  She was someone I had great admiration, respect and even love for.  Her work over the years centered around gender equality but she was always a champion of justice no matter the cause. 

She was already in her 80's when she became the subject of a documentary film and a feature movie about her life.  And about 3 years ago, I saw a play called "Sisters In Law" that was about her and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor when they were both on the court bench.  I was lucky to see her at work when I sat in on oral arguments at the Supreme Court and I attended a lecture at Arizona State University featuring her and O'Connor.

She was a remarkable woman with a compassionate heart, brilliant legal mind and a searing wit.   She will be greatly missed.

Rest in Peace RBG! 

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns.  It seems appropriate to revisit the United States Supreme Court.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Next Up: Whispers of a New World


After the big bugs that I featured yesterday, the next art exhibit at the Desert Botanical Garden was one called "Whispers of a New World" by Carolina Escobar.  

Ms. Escobar creates sculptures that have an organic feel that fits perfectly into a garden setting.  They remind me of the odd shapes that nature forms for plants and seed pods but they also have an alien quality to them.  She makes them from wire frames and resin coated cloth forming the skins.  

Carolina Escobar was living in Phoenix but I can't find any information to confirm that she still does.  She is a very creative artist so I can't help wondering what she is up to these days.  I featured some of these sculptures throughout the month of October in 2012 but my favorite one is here.  I love it.

The garden purchased the sculpture to the right.  It now sits in one of my many favorite spots in the garden.

Friday, September 18, 2020

The World of Big Bugs


Here is another of the art exhibits that have taken place at the Desert Botanical Garden over the years.  This one dates back to September of 2011 and ran through January of 2012.  It was David Roger's Big Bugs!

These creatures are all made from fallen trees and selectively harvested willow branches and other forest materials.  

The big guy to the left was positioned right inside the entrance to the garden so he was the first one visitors would see.  The giant ant and his pals (above) was climbing around on the hillside by one of the trails.  Those ants would certainly ruin a picnic rather quickly.  

I remember that these creatures were a big hit with the kids.  While they were at the garden I always saw lots of kids with their parents and quite a few school groups too.  I wondered what these giant creatures were up to these days so I looked up David Roger's Big Bugs and I see that they are now crawling around the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.  

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Real Estate Siblings


There is a neighborhood in central Phoenix that looks like all the homes were built by the same builder  back in the late 1940's.  All of the houses appear to have the same layout but they have subtle differences that set them apart from each other.

See what I mean?  They all have that same front shape with different pillars and gable designs.  It makes for a very neat and tidy looking neighborhood.  It's not a big area, just two streets each about 2 blocks long.  Checking the real estate listings, I see that these houses currently sell for between $350,000 and $450,000.  It's such a pleasing street in a great central location.  I would think that houses here might sell quickly.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Garden Sightings


There were lots of things to see at the garden last Sunday morning.  I saw several humming birds.  This one was taking a bath.

This one was busy looking for tasty treats inside the blooms.

Out on the long trail, the corn crop was way past its prime.  It still looked pretty spilling out from behind that rustic fence.

On the other side of the dried corn stalks were several California sunflower plants showing off some very bright and cheerful blooms.

I see blogger isn't done yet.  Just when I was getting used to things, they moved them around again.  And text alignment seems to be hit or miss. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Smoke Filtering the Light

I went back to the Desert Botanical Garden on Sunday for and early morning walk that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Well, I enjoyed everything except the yellowish light that was cast by the sun trying to shine through that thick upper layer of smoke.  This is how the sun looked when looking up.

Every photo I took has a slight yellowish tint to it like this photo of a prickly pear cactus full of those red fruit pods.  

This photo was taken from one of the longer trails looking toward one of the mountains that are part of the Papago Buttes.  It also has a bit of a yellowish tint to it.  The smoke is supposed to clear out by today.  I'll be looking forward to blue skies again.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Unlocking Your Potential


One of my trips last week was way down into south Phoenix in search of this mural I had seen a photo of. It's called "Unlocking Your Potential and Freedom" and was created by artist Lucinda Hinojos.  The artist dedicated the mural to the "dreamers".  It depicts a young migrant girl unlocking a cage full of doves and butterflies freeing them.  It really is a beautiful mural in spite of the distracting road work in front of it.

Here is another photo that I didn't crop down so you could see that the street was blocked off right down the middle.  I ran into so much road work in every direction I went.  I realize this type of work needs to be done but, I have to admit I did some grumbling to myself about it.  Between the road work and the smokey skies, my plans to photograph things seemed to be doomed.

Taking part in Monday Murals.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Good Shepard School & Home


I took several drives over the last few days trying to narrow down a list of places I wanted to locate to photograph.  In the end, I only was able to cross off three on the list.  I was thwarted by closures due to the pandemic and what seemed to be an epic amount of road construction.

This is one I was able to find.  It was once the Good Shepard School for Wayward Girls.  It was apparently founded in the 1930's and closed in 1981.  The main buildings have been designated as a historic preservations site in hopes of maintaining the facade.  The property now houses a grocery store and several shops and offices but this front entrance has been kept.

I'm willing to bet that a statue was once sitting in that little alcove near the top of the building.

I took a closer look at all the carvings around the front door.  The one of the pelican was directly above the front door and the angel to the right was along the side.

I did some research about the place and found very little information except for a blog post from someone back in 2011 when the writer related some ghost stories.  Apparently the place has a reputation of being haunted.  

"Wayward girls" has such a troubling undertone to it.  I would imagine that in the 1930's, 40's and even into the 50's any girl who wanted to be independent or wanted to do something only boys did could have been called wayward.  That thought makes me feel a bit sorry for some of the girls who lived here.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.   It's about windmills and castles located in an unusual place.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

The Smoke is Back


The smoke from all the fires in California has made its way over in our direction once again.  This is how the air looked all day yesterday and they tell us it will be like this through Sunday.  Fortunately, the smoke is very high so we don't smell it and it isn't dangerous to breath.  It just looks gloomy.

Friday, September 11, 2020

A Favorite of Mine

This is another artwork that was on display at the Desert Botanical Garden back in 2011.  It was a single piece that was there while Steel Jam Sessions was also showing.  This piece is by a local artist, Patricia Sannit.  I featured this one on 7/12/11 when I explained what inspired the artist.

Patricia Sannit works in ceramics and has created a variety of sculptures that have appeared all over the world.  She had an exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum three years ago that I featured here.  However, this piece still remains my favorite.  I like the mystery of it and the ancient feel.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Mask up Everyone!

 I made to the garden for an early morning walk where even the plastic snails were wearing masks!  I thought this little guy was so cute in his mask and pointing to the masked snail.

I climbed up to the high viewpoint so I could get my look at good old Camelback Mountain.  A few of the trails were closed but, I walked most of them before I left.

I saw this little fellow contemplating a leap off of this cactus.

And, then he decided to take the plunge!

Thank you everyone for all the fabulous Birthday wishes.  
In spite of everything, the day was a delight.  

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Flowers & Champagne

I'm going to be spending today doing a little celebrating because it's my birthday.  I have a walk scheduled at the Desert Botanical Garden and the weather gods have blessed me with comfortable temperatures.  Our temperatures are supposed to drop 10 to 15 degrees.

After that, I'm going to take a little drive and see where the car takes me.  Some place where I can snap a few photos hopefully.

And, in the evening I'm going to be celebrating via Zoom with friends. My best friend David, surprised me with a bottle of my favorite champagne.  I'll be popping the cork on this lovely bottle and having a glass...or two.

I have the day all planned.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Steel Jam Session

Another garden art exhibit from the past.  This one took place from the fall of 2010 through May of 2011.  It was called "Steel Jam Session" and it was by sculptor Ludvic.  The artist creates sculptures from found objects.  

I remember that I didn't care for this exhibit when it was at the garden but, now looking back on the photos, I actually do like them.

These last two photos are the two I posted back in 2011 when the exhibit was going on.  Normally I would just insert a link to that old post but something has corrupted it and the photos don't show.  So instead, here they are again.

Obviously my taste in contemporary art has evolved.  Ten years ago I didn't care for these.  Now I quite like them.

Blogger Update:  Above I made the statement that something corrupted my post from 2011.  I did some further investigation and found that posts dated from June 18, 2011 through July 24, 2011 had some kind of problem that was causing all the photos to appear as a thin black line.  I edited each of them by putting a space between the photo and the text and then updated them and they appear to be working now.  I thought I'd mention it in case this same thing has affected other blogs.