Sunday, June 30, 2019

Beware of the Dog....

...but, the lions are harmless.

I found this house while cruising around one of our historic neighborhoods.  These people certainly have an affinity for statues of lions.  There are six of them on top of pillars lining the driveway with two giant ones at either end.  And, those are just the lions I can see behind that fence.  There were two "Beware of Dog" signs, one on the garage door and one hanging on the fence.  I took the photo from across the street so I didn't disturb the dog, wherever it was.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm showing one of the biggest highlights of my recent trip to Italy.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Flying Wallendas

You have to admire anyone who can do this for a living.

Back in the late 90's when I was working in Chicago, my apartment was on the 12th floor.  I'll never forget the morning I woke to a bit of noise outside my window and saw one these guys hanging just like this and washing my windows.

It is certainly not a job I could do.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Camelback Commons

When I saw that photo of the big, golden Buddha in yesterday's post, it reminded me that I had taken several other photos on the day I took that one.  In order to get the Buddha shot, I pulled into the 15 minute parking zone at an office complex called Camelback Commons. Above is a photo from behind that office complex where a fun little play field has been set up so that any stressed out office workers can take a break and play a game or two of "corn-hole".

Walking through the complex's center, I discovered that in addition to the four floors above ground, this complex went a few floors underground as well.  This photo looks down into the open courtyard.    The railing around this area is made of glass and let me tell walking up to it to get this shot made my stomach do a flop.  It looks like you could step right off the edge and tumble down below.

This last photo is looking straight down.  (I took it after I steadied myself.)  A pleasant little courtyard below includes a garden and a bubbling fountain.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Random Musings

It's time for another series of unrelated, random shots that have been collecting dust in my photo files.  First up, plants in an office building atrium and the shadows they make.

Next, a mobile dog groom truck that I saw while sitting at a traffic light.  I've never seen this big, blue dog before but, it is certainly eye catching.

Suddenly the giant Buddha has shown up in the front yard of this house along 24th Street.  Those prayer flags in the background have been there for a very long time but this giant gold statue is new and quite startling when driving down the street.

This row of empty chairs caught my eye one afternoon when I was waiting for a friend to join me for lunch at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Last up, the Ralph Lauren Bear giving me a little wave in front of the Ralph Lauren store at Biltmore Fashion Park.  This was taken back in February so wearing that big heavy bear suit would be much more comfortable than it would be if he were out there today.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Grand Entrance, Revisited

Back in May, I posted a photo of the entrance of this shop located at the Kierland Commons Shopping Center in north Scottsdale.  When I took that photo, the door was framed by those two horse statues.  When I was there last weekend, I saw that a couple of lions had been added to the front of the Royal Fine Art shop.

This time I decided I should go inside and see exactly what Royal Fine Art was all about.  I didn't expect to be greeted by this huge eagle!

The store is full of all kinds of sculptures, chandeliers, antique furnishings and other collectables.  It was a bit overwhelming.  It reminded me of a few of the villas I had just toured on my trip to Italy.  I could see some of these things adorning one of those grand places.

This one would look good over the billiards table, don't you think  ?

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Getting Creative

As I was leaving the Scottsdale Museum for Contemporary Art, I saw this yucca plant positioned up against the wall of the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts.  It just seemed to have the perfect solid background for a little creative editing.

So, I snapped a photo of it and went home to play with the editing software to see what I could come up with.  I like this version the best.  It looks like it could be an illustration in a book.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Contemporary Glass Art

The exhibit I went to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art to see was called Divergent Materiality: Contemporary Glass Art.  There were some very creative and beautiful pieces in this exhibit all using glass in different ways.

The piece at top made me chuckle a bit.  It's called "Aristocrap" by artist Matt Eskuche.  It features all kinds of everyday things that appear to be silver plated but, it's all glass.

To the left is a piece by Vivian Wang and it is called Rooster Princess.

This last one is called "Seeker" by Lucy Lyon.

The third exhibit at the museum was called Mutual Reality: Art on the Edge of Technology.  That one was really impossible to photograph.  It contained a series of interactive exhibits.  I had fun making shapes change and music play simply by moving and touching.

If you live in the Phoenix area, I highly recommend seeing these three exhibits.  It's something to do inside a cool museum on these hot summer days.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The World is Full of Incredible Art

On Friday I went to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and was wowed by three amazing exhibits.  I was drawn there to see an exhibit called Contemporary Glass Art (I'll show you some of those pieces next week) but found myself mesmerized by the portraiture of artist Shizu Saldamando.

Saldamando's work focuses on friends and family and often-overlooked communities of color.  "Her work allows the underground crowd to see themselves reflected and affirmed in contemporary culture, while making them visible to new audiences."

She works with paint, collage materials, charcoal, pencil and graphite and on both paper and wood panels.   She has an incredible amount of talent.  The faces of each person depicted in this exhibit were so full of life and emotion.  I loved them all.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm completing my story about a very special wine tasting event in Oregon.  I'm feeling hungry just thinking about it.

Saturday, June 22, 2019


Oleander bushes are pretty prolific here in the valley of the sun.  You will find them almost everywhere.  Because of that, I rarely think about photographing their blooms.  They are just so common.  But, one day last week I parked my car right next to a blooming bush and I thought the blooms looked kind of pretty so I grabbed the camera.  I took this shot with the sun shining on the bush and a building in the shade several feet behind it giving the shot a black background.

Then I turned around and took a similar shot with the blue sky in the background instead.  Which do you think works better?

PS: I just noticed after I posted this that it is my 4000th post!  Whew...that's a lot of posts.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Quirky Decor

I recently met a friend for drinks at the Palomar Hotel in downtown Phoenix and I snapped a few more photos of the quirky decor in that hotel lobby.  The last time I posted about this hotel lobby, it was about the fabric that covered the big chairs in the lobby.  This time I have this interesting little private dining or meeting area located just outside of the restaurant.  I like that crystal chandelier with the wire cage around it.

But, what I really liked were these spider-like chandeliers that light up the seating area in the lobby.

The Palomar Hotel is a boutique style hotel so the quirky furnishings seem to go well.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Orpheum Theatre

I knew I had posted a photo of the old Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix before but, I didn't realize it was way back in 2008.  Here's another view of the theatre from the side.  I love all the ornate carvings in the side of the building.

Here's a couple of views of those carvings up close.  They really don't make buildings like this any longer, do they?

Here's an updated view of the front of the theatre.  That's the Phoenix City Hall building looming over it in the background.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A Few Big Blooms

I saw a few cactus blooms when I was at the garden over the weekend.  It's getting late for most cactus but some hang on and bloom later.  Above is a bloom on the toothpick cactus.  This one seems to get random blooms all year long.  It's a huge cactus and it blooms a lot in the spring but when summer comes I still see one or two blooms every time I visit.

To the left is a bloom on one of the night blooming cactus.  This is one that has big blooms, about 8 inches across.

These smaller pink blooms were on a hedgehog cactus.  They look like they are made of silk, don't they?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Photo-Bombing Insects

On Sunday I took another early morning walk at the Desert Botanical Garden, this time at 6:00 AM.  I didn't see as many birds this time but there were an abundance of insects doing their important work.  The funny thing is, I didn't see any of these until I downloaded the photos.  My photos of these three flowers were photo bombed!  That bee above flew right into the frame of these tiny white flowers.

I didn't see the bee peeking out from this squash blossom.

And, I didn't know that tiny little bug was sitting atop this purple owl's clover bloom.

Those sneaky little bugs! 😃

Monday, June 17, 2019

Temporary Murals

I'm a bit embarrassed to post these murals because they are gone now.  I took these photos and filed them away and then forgot all about them.  They we're up temporarily at the Heard Museum and covered many of the walls of the buildings that make up the museum property.

They are all by Cheyenne Randall, a Cheyenne River Sioux.  They are made of paper and put up with wheat paste.

They were very attractive while they were up.  I believe they were commissioned as part of an exhibit that was called "Dear Listener".  That was a very provocative exhibit that I enjoyed very much.

Better late than never, I guess.

Monday Murals!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Blooming Artichokes

Artichokes are gorgeous when they bloom with their wonderful purple flowers.  However, once they bloom, they are no longer good for eating.  So if you are going to eat these delicious thistles, you need to catch them before they burst open and bloom.

It's too late for this group!

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  On my recent trip to Oregon, I got to experience a fantastic garden.  Check it out.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Early Birds

I took a 7:00 AM walk at the Desert Botanical Garden yesterday where I saw lots and lots of finches out feeding on the various plants.

The goldfinches were in the vegetable garden feasting on the drying blooms of a plant I didn't recognize.

And, the house finches are at the "watering hole" getting some morning refreshment.

They all seemed to be taking advantage of the relatively cooler morning temperatures, as was I.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Flag Day

Today is flag day in the U.S., a day we celebrate the adoption of the old stars and stripes as our nation's symbol.

I found this interesting flag at the the Heard Museum.  It's a hand woven textile flag made by Sadie Curtis.  It was commissioned by Arizona Highways Magazine in 1976 to celebrate the Bicentennial. It was flown over the United States Capitol and the Arizona State Capitol that same year.

The carving to the left was made by Lorenzo Reed in 2002.  It was created to celebrate the Code Talkers of WWII.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Look Who I Found

Look who I found at the Desert Botanical Garden the last time I was there.  One of my favorite birds, the peach-faced lovebirds.  I hadn't seen any in quite a while so I was glad to see this guy chomping on the ocotillo seeds.

Do you remember when these guys used to hang out in my back yard when I lived on the other side of town?  I do miss seeing them every day.  They are such clowns!