Tuesday, December 7, 2021

View From Above


My Art Challenge group met Sunday afternoon to review our latest challenge which was "View From Above".  Our little group had not met for almost 3 months because of busy schedules so it was great to see everyone once again.  The pieces I did for this challenge were three prints all taken from the window of an airplane.  I had them mounted and printed to 8 by 10 and I called the series "Why I Like the Window Seat".  The one above was taken while landing in Phoenix and the plane was over Grady Gammage Auditorium on the campus of Arizona State University.

 This one was taken right after take off from the Orange County Airport in Newport Beach California.  We were flying right over the big shopping Center called Fashion Island.  I've shopped or dined there many times.

And, this last one is of Venice Italy.  I took it right after take off from the Venice Airport.  It was a rare, clear day and I was able to get a great shot of Venice.  Good enough to pick out St. Mark's Square and the train station.  

Our little group has been meeting for over 10 years now.  It's hard to believe we've been challenging each other that long.  I might post a few of my pieces from past challenges in the future.  Many of them I never displayed here on the blog.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Headed Downtown


I found this mural on a wall along 7th Avenue near downtown Phoenix.  It serves as a sort of welcome to downtown Phoenix.  (It's a shame that someone put a tag in the middle of the Phoenix bird.)

It was painted by an artist named Jesse Perry and once I found that out, I learned that Perry also painted one I posted three years ago, a portrait of Salvador Dali.  When I posted that, I found a signature of just "Perry" so I didn't have any luck finding the artist.  I had much better luck with this one.

Taking part in Monday Murals.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Luminarias, Owls & Strange Lights in the Sky


I was back at the Desert Botanical Garden Friday night, this time for the annual Luminarias event.  It's a Holiday tradition for the garden to light all the paths with Luminarias and guests can enjoy the lights and the plants at the same time.  This year of course, we have the added attraction of the Chihuly glass sculptures.

On one of the paths, a group called Liberty Wildlife had two owls for the guests to meet.  Just look at this handsome fellow.

Liberty Wildlife is an organization that nurtures and rehabilitates animals that are rescued or brought to their facility.  

The other owl was a screech owl who looked downright tiny compared to the big horned owl above.  

It was fun meeting these two wise creatures.

Right after viewing the owls, I looked up at the sky as saw this strange set of lights, slowly moving across the sky.  It's hard to tell from this photo, but that trail of light was actually many little individual lights in perfect formation.  (I took this photo with my iPhone, believe it or not.  I'm impressed that I got anything.). 

My friend Julie did a search for lights in the sky over Phoenix and found an explanation.  It is attributed to a set of low-orbit satellites used for SpaceX's broadband network.  I found several videos and news stories about this but the one here is the most succinct with a pretty good video.  After viewing these videos, I'm even more impressed by my iPhone photo.  

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I stopped in at The New York Times.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Shades of Yellow & Orange


Another room of the indoor Chihuly Exhibit featured this vision in yellow and orange. 

The way these pieces are displayed against a mirrored background makes them doubly beautiful.

Inside the large pieces were a selection of smaller pieces in all kinds of patterns.

Such beautiful baubles! 

Friday, December 3, 2021

Chihuly at Night


Wednesday night, I attended the opening party for the new Chihuly exhibit at the Desert Botanical Garden.  So I got a look at those beautiful sculptures lit up in the darkness.  Above is the boat I pictured back in mid-November when they had just started installing the sculptures.  You might notice that I captured two more installations in this shot.  At the far left you get a glimpse of the green and red sculpture and behind the boat we can see the blue reeds.

What I hadn't seen during the last few weeks of set up was the indoor display.  It is pretty spectacular.  It reminded me so much of the beautiful displays at the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum in Seattle.  I'll have many more photos in the future.  It is very impressive and very beautiful.  So much so that I'm sure I'll visit this exhibit many times.

Here is my favorite part of this fun evening.  After strolling the garden to look at the glass, I was treated to the music of my favorite music group, Pink Martini.  I LOVE this group.  They are fabulous.  I listen to their music all the time.  If you are curious, here's a link to one of their videos.

It was a wonderful evening with great food, beautiful art and superb entertainment.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Random Garden Scenes


My walks at the Desert Botanical Garden give my a lot of opportunities to photograph nature in its various forms.  But it also offers me some more unusual photographic opportunities.  One day when I was there, I spotted this cute dog who had some red and blue "fur" on the top of its head.  Now that is something you don't see every day.

On another day, I was there early in the morning and came along one trail where a volunteer was watering some of the desert plants.  This prickly pear cactus was so wet it looked like it was made of glass.

On another walk, I saw rows of chairs all set up for some evening music concerts. I like the look of those neat rows.  

In the gift shop, they were getting ready for the holidays.  This year they are offering a series of ornaments with a variety of owl faces.

They are also displaying a "Christmas Saguaro" instead of the traditional tree.  

I see all kinds of things on my garden walks.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Theme Day: The Future


Today is December 1st and the first of the month is always "theme day" for City Daily Photo Bloggers.  The theme for today is "The Future".  I had a very hard time with this subject.  Every time I tried thinking about what the future holds, I would get a little afraid for the human race.  The inhabitants of this small, blue planet appear to be facing an ever increasing amount of  insurmountable problems and we haven't seen much being done solve any of them.   So instead, I decided to use the title to an exhibit running right now at the Heard Museum, "Remembering the Future".  It would be nice if any number of years from now I will be remembering all the positive moments from the days I'm living right now and be thankful for the few who are willing to look at the bigger picture and create new ways to live life here on planet earth.

To see other expressions of the future, click here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Only Black & White


I went to the Shemer Art Center over the weekend to see the current exhibit called "Only Black & White".  One of the members of my Art Challenge Group had a piece in the show and here it is.  

Jim Lowman is a printer who specializes in serigraphy, etching and relief printing.  His piece is called "COVID Codex" and he used a lot of Native American symbols done in silkscreen on special paper.  It's always fun to see one of our members featured in an art exhibit.  

There were some very creative pieces in the show.  I'm always impressed by the amount of talent on display at these exhibits.  The one above by Lisa Nordstrom was very clever.  It's called "Another Well Woven Story".  She has taken lines of text and woven them together.

To the right is a piece done with colored pencil called "Resilience" by Barbara Dahlstedt.  It is so finely done that I thought it was a photograph at first.

Here is another very interesting piece.  This one is called "House of Memory" and is composed nine wooden, house-shaped frames each containing a mason jar and inside each jar was an old photo.  Along with the piece was a recorded message of the artist's voice talking quietly about memories of family and friends over the years.

It was another fascinating show at the Shemer.  

Monday, November 29, 2021

The Sun is About to Shine


A week ago when I was at the Desert Botanical Garden, I spotted another Chihuly glass sculpture being installed.

As I got a little closer, I could see the boxes containing the "rays" of sunshine looking like they were anxious to get out of the boxes.

When I was there on Friday, I saw that the work had been completed and "the sun" was shining brightly.  It will look stunning at night when it is all lit up.  There is a grand opening event Wednesday evening that I will be attending.  You can be sure there will be lots of photos to follow.

One last photo.  This is what it looked like three weeks ago when I first spotted this huge orb.  I had no idea at the time what it was going to be.  Now I see that it was the framework for the sun-like sculpture.  

Sunday, November 28, 2021

On the Move


I went for a short walk at the Desert Botanical Garden Friday afternoon so I could enjoy the lovely fall weather.

I saw one of the cute little cactus wrens perched on top of a saguaro cactus.  I raised the camera to take a photo and just as I clicked the shutter the little fellow flew off.  I thought I'd be tossing the shot but when I downloaded it, I actually liked the action in the image.  That little bird looks like it's flying right at the camera.

To the right I photographed another saguaro cactus with just a hint of lavender Chihuly glass reeds peeking out at its base.  

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm featuring a Japanese treat in NYC.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

All Gone!


There used to be a beautiful fountain at the Scottsdale Civic Center Park. 

It was large with several fountain spouts that pushed water into the air.  It was located right in the middle of the park and although you wouldn't know it when you were walking around it, the fountain was located right above a street that traveled north and south right under the park.  That fountain started to cause leakage below it and the water was causing a lot of damage to the underpass for the road.  Back in 2018, I wrote about it with some photos of the temporary art pieces that replaced the water.

It was finally decided that the entire underpass had to be rebuilt so construction started in the fall of 2018 and it continued into the spring of 2021.  During that time, the park was almost divided into two pieces because of the construction and the work that needed to be done to stabilize the area.  When it finally opened again, this is what replaced the fountain.  A long flat space with both grass and paved area.  It's certainly not as attractive as the fountain but the area has become a  popular place to ride bikes through the park and picnic in the grass.  It's still a popular park, it just looks different to those of us who remember the fountain.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Attracting Butterflies


The last time I was at the Desert Botanical Garden, I noticed quite a few butterflies attracted to the plant called "butterfly mist".  

They were being attracted by the sweetness of this plant and I was being attracted by their beauty as they sat on top of the blooms.

It was a sort of mutual attraction!

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving!


Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S.  There will be a lot of pumpkin pie served on many tables.  I'm making pumpkin bread myself.  Of course, it won't be made with the little pumpkins shown here.  These little ones are not good for cooking.  These little pumpkins were found at the Desert Botanical Garden about three weeks ago.  Someone had placed them on this wall all line up in neat rows.

A week later, the neat rows were gone but the jumble of little pumpkins was still on that same wall.

Then just this last weekend, they were rearranged again but they were still in the same place.  The next time I go, I'll look to see if they are still there.

In the mean time, I'm going to enjoy some pumpkin bread, some pumpkin pie and some turkey and mashed potatoes too.  It's a day for eating as well as giving thanks.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Taking a Second Look


A friend of mine wanted to see the new exhibit at the Heard Museum so I went with her and took a second look at the exhibit titled "Remembering the Future".  I found two more art pieces that appealed to me.

The one above is called "Corn Dancer" by Pablita Velarde.  I love the geometric style of this one.  I don't see any curves at all.

To the left is a sculpture called "Shaman with Fetish" by Michael McCleve.  Looking at this one, I see a big horned sheep with its large, curved horn.  I look again and I see a large falcon or hawk approaching its prey.  I also like the way the light has cast a perfect shadow behind the piece.  

The abstract nature of both of these appealed to me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The Glow of Sunrise


Yesterday's brilliant sunset inspired me to post these photos that a took a week ago at sunrise.  I walked at the Desert Botanical Garden at 7:00 AM, just after sunrise and with the sun still low in the eastern sky, it was casting a light on he Papago Buttes making them glow bright red.

Moving along the trail, I saw the sun start to light up the tall saguaro cactus.  

About 30 minutes later, I was on a different trail where the sun was lighting up the mountain to the south and it was beginning to spread across the desert floor.  It was a good time to be walking at the garden.  

Monday, November 22, 2021

Dramatic Sunset

 I was at my friends Julie & Dave's house Friday night and we got to witness another spectacular Arizona Sunset.  There were enough clouds in the sky to make it glow.

It was a less busy weekend than the last one but I did go once again to the Symphony on Saturday night.  My friends David and Riley and I went to see Midori play the violin and she was (of course) perfect.  She played Korngold's Concerto in D which is a wonderful piece of music.  It was very dramatic music to match this sunset.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

"Open Sesame"

 I love it when the Desert Botanical Garden grows something unusual that I can learn from.  When I saw the signs identifying this plant, I was fascinated.  I wondered where sesame seeds came from and here it is.  Those little pods are full of seeds.

It was great that the garden provided a display so you could see the broken pods and the harvest of seeds.  

So, do you like sesame seeds on your bagel or bread?  I always find them a welcome addition.  

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm enjoying the view of Manhattan from the plane.