Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Leaning Trees of Phoenix

The sight of these two trees leaning into the road stopped me in my tracks.  I had turned down a side street to avoid some heavy construction and was met with this almost unbelievable sight.

How can those trees be growing like that?  They must have a very wide and strong root system.  It's a good thing we aren't prone to hurricanes here in the desert.

Monday, March 30, 2020


Here is another mural found in that alley behind The Churchill in downtown Phoenix.  This one is by Phoenix muralist Nyla Lee and it's called "Protector."  This one leaves me wondering who is protecting who.  I think maybe the pretty girl is protecting the tiger.  What do you think?

Monday Murals!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Social Distancing & Paranoia

This social distancing thing has taken all kinds of forms.  I spotted this fellow relaxing in his car and while having a phone conversation with someone.  Actually, I have no idea if he was practicing the safe distance routine or if this is something he normally does.

However, this T-shirt I saw in a shop window seems to fit our situation perfectly.  I might have even thought about buying it if the shop wasn't closed.  😁

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourn's today.  I'm visiting the third of the three islands on Lake Maggiore.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Feathery Skies & Interesting Trees

I loved the look of the skies when I went on my walk on Friday.  They looked like they were painted on with soft brush strokes.

And, there was something about the look of this tree that appealed to me.  I'm not sure if it was the shape or the bright green color but it drew my attention.

And this blue hibiscus was particularly attractive.  I only had my cell phone with me or I would have zoomed in on one of those pretty blooms.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Three Sisters

Here is something right out of my dining room.  I meant to do a post about these three little ladies about six months ago when I acquired the third one.  These little statues are the work of sculptor John C Whiterock.  I purchased each one individually at the Heard Museum gift shop.  There is just something about them I love.  When I saw the one in the middle, I already had two and I stood there trying to decide if I should buy another one.  That's when I remembered that I am one of three sisters.  It seems perfectly logical for me to own three of these lovely little ladies to represent the three of us.

John Whiterock was born and raised on the Navajo reservation and he is known for his sculptural dolls made from both clay and bronze.  He was inspired in his youth by his mother who is a potter.  He dedicates his work to her.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Sixth Year of Construction

I've been taking walks around my neighborhood lately and when I came upon this house under construction, I realized that it was a house I featured a few years ago when the house was into its second year of construction.  You can see that post here.

The original house was torn down in August of 2014 leaving only the portico standing.  I made a comment in that old post about not understanding why they left the portico standing but, I've since learned the answer to that question.  It is one of those questionable tax loopholes.  If you tear down a building to completely replace it, the permit fees are for building a new building.  If you leave part of the building standing and add to it, it's a remodel with much lower permit fees.  So, the owners decided to keep the portico while the whole house was demolished.  I'm just not sure why it is taking so long to complete the construction.  The first photo on that original post was taken on September 14th 2014.  The one above was taken last Sunday.  As you can see from this latest photo, they are still not quite done with it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Contemplation & Reflection

When I was taking that long walk at the Desert Botanical Garden last Friday, my friend Glenda and I sat for a while in the Contemplation Garden.  That's when I noticed the great reflection in Glenda's sunglasses.

The Contemplation Garden is just a small space with a calming water feature that attracts all the birds I've shown you splashing about in the water.  It also has a wonderful pavement feature that goes in a spiral to a center spot.  If you stand in the center, your voice sounds amplified.  That spiral made a perfect reflection in Glenda's sunglasses so I couldn't resist taking the shot.  Thanks Glenda for posing for me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A Word About SPAM

There seems to be a lot of SPAM floating about these days.  Not the kind in the picture above but, the kind that tries to get my readers to click on links in the comments.  I've had every kind of unwanted comments you can imagine.  One recent one touted the upside of being a vampire of all things.  I don't like to put moderation in effect so instead, I lowered the number days a comment can be made without moderation.  I watch my comments and am able to get rid of bad ones quickly when necessary however, when spammers place the messages on all the open posts it can take a while.

On Sunday, I received a very hateful anonymous comment.  This one was different.  It wasn't meant to trick someone into clicking a link or to entice someone to buy something.  This one was pure hate aimed at a generation of people rather than a single person.  I feel sorry for the person who wrote it.  I realize that we are living in a rather stressful time at the moment so I'm hoping this person can find a more productive way to address the fears they are facing.  Lashing out at strangers will not solve the problems of today's world.

Monday, March 23, 2020

In the Canyon of Closed Stores

On Saturday, I took a walk at Biltmore Fashion Park, the shopping center near where I live.  I thought it might feel kind eerie to walk around all those closed stores but actually, it was quite pleasant.  There were several other people doing the same thing.  Not crowds but a small smattering of people here and there.  There was even on family having a picnic on the grass between the stores.  It's funny the things you notice when you are not distracted by retail goals.  I never noticed this architectural pattern on the Macy's store and I like it.

I also like this simple window display and the reflection of the trees in it.  Yours truly is also caught in that reflection.

Finally, I decided to stop at the California Pizza Kitchen and pick up something for dinner.  Their famous BBQ chopped chicken salad sounded appealing.  It was strange to see this busy place completely empty.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Going Subterranean

This little round-tailed ground squirrel was very busy building a new subterranean passageway.  I saw him when I was on that long walk on Friday.

He was kicking up a lot of fresh dirt into a nice neat pile outside the entrance he had created.  Nature's creatures are an enterprising sort.

I love seeing all that fresh dirt on his feet and nose.  There was no doubting that he had been hard at work.  The Desert Botanical Garden is full of all kinds of furry critters and colorful birds and they will have the place pretty much to themselves while we humans wait out the health crisis.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  There was a villa to go with those exotic birds I featured last week.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

An Extra Long Walk

Mexican Sunflower & Queen Butterfly

Yesterday I met my friend Glenda at the Desert Botanical Garden for a walk.  We went early while there was still a chill in the air and we knew there would be no crowds.  What we didn't know until about 45 minutes into our walk was that it would be the last one for a while.  We learned that the garden had decided that morning to close temporarily for the protection of the employees.  I was saddened by the news but I do understand.


We are moving into peak blooming season here in the desert so I will have to look in different places to find my favorite cactus flowers and other blossoms.

So, I'm taking you along for my last visit to the botanical garden for a while.  It was a nice long walk.  We were there for 2 hours.  We saw that the Mexican Sunflower plant was blooming and attracting butterflies.  The brittlebush plants were blooming all over the garden.  The hummingbirds were out enjoying the abundance of flowers and this Gila Woodpecker was pecking away on the side of a saguaro cactus.

And finally, this little goldfinch was enjoying a leisurely bath.  He was especially fun to watch because he played and splashed around in the water for quite a long time.

I'll find another way to escape the relentless and depressing news.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Bumper Stickers

Bumper stickers are quit common here in the United States.  People who put them on their cars are always trying to convey some type of message.  Every now and then I see some that I can't resist photographing like this cute little dog peeking at me.

Below the cute dog was this sticker blaming the the dog for the texts while driving.  I'm betting the dog is completely innocent.

On another day, I saw this one on the back of a car.  This is probably good advice especially if you happen to be friends with a "true-believer".

But this one was my favorite.  That's the best play on an old familiar joke that I've seen.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Artistic Variety & An Artist at Work

I have one more post from the Celebration of Fine Art that I visited last Friday.  This colorful piece is by Terrell Powell, a multi-talented artist who paints, sculpts and works in mixed media.  He had some very whimsical paintings on display but, I loved this piece with the colorful ceramic stripes.  Here's a link to his page in the artist's guide from the event.  You can see photos of some of the other pieces he had to offer.  He is from Santa Fe New Mexico.

I captured Anthony Barbano at work on one of his spectacular glass pieces.  His work with glass was something to be admired.  I was truly tempted by one of his pendants.  Anthony is from Murray Utah.

I'm so glad I went last Friday before all of us were encouraged to stay in our homes.  And, I'm glad I took these photos.  Looking at them again is almost like being there.  Well, not quite but it will do.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Admiring Those Mountains & Canyons

I have two more wonderful art pieces from the Celebration of Fine Arts that I went to last Friday.  This first piece kind of blew me away.  It is about 6 foot tall and would take up most of a wall.  Those jagged peaks make me think of the Dolomites in Italy and I love how tiny that train looks running along near the bottom.  The artist is Santiago Michalek.  What a talented man.

This second one is another mountain scene, this one more reminiscent of the American southwest.  I loved the way this one was displayed on that wood plank wall and with the rustic table below it.  The artist for this one is Kirk Randle, another talented artist.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Giant Roadrunner & More Empty Shelves

This giant 10-foot tall roadrunner was another art work at the Celebration of Fine Arts in Scottsdale from last Friday.  He's a fine looking fellow who would be at home in any number of sculpture gardens around the world.  The artist is Paul Rhymer.

I decided to stop at my local Trader Joe's thinking since they are a sort of specialty grocery store I might have some luck finding a few things I wanted to get.  What I found was more empty shelves.  Even more empty shelves than at my Safeway Store featured yesterday.  I have never seen all the frozen food gone like this.  It was the same on both sides of the aisle.  Totally empty cases.  I think the only thing I saw were two bags of frozen peas.  We are living in strange times.

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Mystical and Surreal

Here is another mural from that alley behind The Churchill in downtown Phoenix.  The artist is J J Horner.  This one has a bit of a mystical feeling to it.  I found this article about the artist in case you are interested.

To see more murals from around the world, click here.

I'm adding two more "surreal" shots to today's post.  I went to the grocery store yesterday.  I had heard about some shelves being empty but, I wasn't quite prepared for almost all the shelves to be empty.  The produce section was just about stripped bare and that second shot is the egg counter.  Have hens stopped laying and I didn't hear about it?  This is what happens when nobody believes the news media, scientific experts or their 'supposed' leaders who can't tell the truth.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

A Day Surrounded by Art

I mentioned yesterday that I spent the day at the Celebration of Fine Art in far north Scottsdale.  That is the annual event that brings together nearly 100 artists from all over the country who work together from January through March inside the very large white tents that make up this temporary art studio.

I go every year and have a wonderful time seeing such a huge variety of art and meeting the artists who make it all.  The pieces I've feature above are by Doug Fountain who resides in Ft. Lauderdale Florida.  His artist's statement reads "As I honor and embrace my Native American heritage, I strive to have my artistry and craftsmanship reflect my deep passion for my heritage."  Doug explained to us his ideas for his pieces and how he embeds his pieces with the symbols of his heritage.  I love these colorful pieces. They speak to me.

The second artist I'll feature today is Jenny Foster.  Jenny lives in Scottsdale and creates these whimsical oil paintings.  Her artist's statement reads "People smile when they see my work. It is simply meant to bring a bit of joy to the observer's life - a kind of childlike happiness we all once knew. If I can evoke that happiness in my work, I feel I have succeeded."  Don't you love that pup in the blue hat in the top photo on the right?

I'll show you some more next week.  As always, it was such a rich experience to see these works and talk with the artists.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm visiting the colorful birds of Isola Madre.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Wild and & Wet Weather Day

Yesterday morning around 11:00 AM, I headed to Scottsdale to pick up my friend Glenda so we could go to the Celebration of Fine Arts in far north Scottsdale.  I took this photo out the window at a traffic light because I loved the look of that scraggly tree against a pretty blue sky.  We got to the art show around noon and stayed until after 3:00.

Sometime around 2:00 we heard the roar of some heavy rain on the roof of those big white tents.  It rained and rained and rained some more.  By the time we left, we were driving through intermittent rain with lots of flashes of lightening.  We heard there was also quite a lot of hail but we missed that.

After dropping Glenda back at her house, I headed home and was lucky to get a pretty great rainbow view while at another traffic light.  What a weather crazy day!

More about the art show in the next few days.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Clutter on the Stage

Last Sunday evening, I went to see the musical "Once On This Island" at Gammage Auditorium in Tempe.  Imagine my surprise when I arrived at my seat and saw this rather cluttered looking stage.  I was also surprised to see some members of the audience seated on the stage.  They certainly got a close-up view of the show.  The story is based on a fable of love and death and temperamental gods in the French Antilles.  It was basically a colorful new twist on the Romeo and Juliet theme.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Disrupting the Portrait

One of the classes I took at the Apple store was called "Disrupting the Portrait".  It was designed to teach how to use the phone to get some artistic portraits.  This was our instructor teaching us about turning the phone upside down to get the lenses closest to the floor and shooting upward to get an elongated photo.  I've done this many times with my camera but never tried it with my phone before.

I really enjoyed seeing how to use things like small colored gel sheets to either color the photo or in this case wrapped in a circle around the lens it created a colorful reflection of my fellow classmate.  I'm so glad I signed up for these classes, they've been fun and inspirational.  This new iPhone does so much more than my old one.  I love it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Learning About the iPhone 11 Pro

Back in early February, I got the new iPhone 11 Pro and I wanted to learn to use it correctly so I signed up for a series of classes at the Apple Store.  They've been very helpful for learning all the things I can do with the cameras on the new phone.  At one of the classes we went out for a photo-walk near the store.  I took the photo above using the 2x telephoto lens.

Later on the walk, I used the .5x (wide angle) lens to take this photo looking down into a parking garage.

Last Thursday night when I went of the Scottsdale Art Walk, I only brought the iPhone with me to take photos.  This gallery happened to be closed the evening of the walk so I shot this photo through the door using the standard 1x lens.

Then I positioned it on the wide angle lens and got a different perspective.  It's been a fun experience learning all the possibilities with this new "toy".  I'll show you a couple more things I learned in another class tomorrow.