Monday, August 31, 2020

Framed by Roses

I recently found this mural on the side of Mia's Flower Shop near 16th Street an McDowell roads.  There was no signature on it but I did a little internet search and I found it was painted by a group of graffiti artists from Phoenix who go by the name "Graffaholeks".  The name of the mural is "Cultura".  She's a very pretty lady framed by those red roses.

Taking part in Monday Murals.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Curious Art Challenge

My art challenge group met on Friday night and you might remember that the challenge for August was "Curiosity".  Here is my piece on the subject.  I enjoy abstract art and wanted to learn some new techniques so I've been watching a lot of online videos and learning new tricks.  I got out the paints and tried some new things.  This was the end result.  I call it "Curiously Abstract".

Most of my challenge entries end up being work with photos because that's where I'm most comfortable.  But every now and then I wander off into something else.  It's fun!

Our challenge for our September meeting is "About 67%".  I'm thinking of some ideas already.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm exploring those old slides I discovered.  This time I'm visiting Cologne Germany.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

National Guard

I don't think I ever mentioned that the Desert Botanical Garden is located very close to the Arizona National Guard military facility.  Consequently, I've seen National Guard helicopters fly over the park on many, many occasions.  Every once in a while, I snap a photo of one of them as they pass overhead.

A few days ago, a friend asked if she could get a copy of a photo of mine that I took at the Desert Botanical Garden and that prompted me to search through my photos to find the one she wanted.  That's when I found these three shots of these serious looking flying machines.

This one appears to be a medical unit.  The top photo I think is the best of the three. I took it in 2010.  The middle one was taken in 2012 and this medical helicopter was taken in 2016.  These might be the only photos I have of them but, I see one or two fly over almost every time I go to the garden.  It's a very busy National Guard facility.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Filtering the Sun

Early Wednesday morning I was on my way to an appointment when I turned east and noticed how strange the rising sun was looking.  I later learned that the smoke from the fires burning in California and northern Arizona was creating some high level air pollution.  We couldn't smell any smoke but there was a strange level of gray in the sky for most of the day.  In fact, it's been gray an hazy for the past two days. 

This almost looks like one of those sun filters people use to view an eclipse.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Hidden Condos

I took this photo back at the beginning of July when I went to Scottsdale and wandered around the outside of the Museum of the West.  I saw these condos about a block away from the museum and kind of hidden between commercial buildings on either side.  I had to do some digging to discover that the name of this little complex is Loloma 5.  I was able to see that one or two of them are currently for sale at around $550,000.  I like the angular look of them and they are certainly in a prime location right in the heart of old town Scottsdale.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

National Dog Day

According to the "National Days" calendar, today is national dog day.  In honor of man's best friend, I dug out an old photo of me and my two dogs Buffy and Jody taken sometime back in the 1980's.  We were visiting a state park in southern Utah called Coral Pink Sand Dunes.  I remember that the dogs loved running a kicking up the sand.

The photo is scanned and is pretty faded.  The sand really was a lovely pink color.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Reading Robot

I just had to get out of the house last Sunday so I took a drive around town to see if I could see anything new.  I didn't stay in downtown Phoenix very long because it seemed like every street was under construction in some way.  However I was there long enough to see this great sculpture on the corner of 1st Avenue and Monroe.

It's a robot sitting on a park bench and reading a book.  The artist is Doug Boyd and he said the piece was part of an inspiration he got while hiking on the John Muir Trail in California.  He was about 130 miles into the hike when he realized after checking his phone how connected he was in that great outdoors.  He got to thinking that we will all be rather robot-like with our connections to one another all the time.

He has the robot reading a book because that is something you normally wouldn't see a robot doing.  Robots are full of data storage so reading a book is something that a robot might never have experienced.  The robot has a solar panel on it so that it stores electricity and lights up at night.  I'll have to go back and see that for myself.

Monday, August 24, 2020

A Mixture of Patterns

Last Monday I posted a mural (you can see it peeking over the top of this building) that was on the opposite side of the building with Teddy Roosevelt on it. This week I have a post on the opposite side of the garage with the colorful peacock on it.  I posted that one back in February.

 I love all the patterns that make up the patchwork quilt of this mural.

Does anyone else feel a bit of nostalgia when you refer back to posts you made before March?  I keep thinking that life was so normal back then.  I miss being able to go anywhere and do anything.

Taking part in Monday Murals.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Storm Damage

The storm we had last Thursday night caused little patches of damage around town.  Fortunately, it was nothing like the folks on the east coast experienced.  Many of our native trees are prone to losing branches when the wind whips up.  That's what happened here where I live.  A big branch came crashing down on the carport cover.  The groundskeepers were out on Saturday to clean up the mess.

I noticed this rather confusing traffic light yesterday when I made a trip to the grocery store.  I'm not sure if the wind did this or if vandals twisted that traffic light around.  Whatever happened, it makes you think twice before entering the intersection.  There were several parts of town that had their electricity down for parts of the night but luckily, mine stayed on.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm going back in time again, this time to Germany.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Finally Some Rain

 I saw the storm warning crawling across my TV screen so I decided to go out to see what the sky looked like.  It definitely looked like a storm was building up.

About an hour later I started to see the lightning lighting up the sky and I could see that the wind was blowing.  This time I stepped out on the balcony to watch the lightning.  And luckily, I was able to catch another lightning shot.  Then it started to rain and it rained for the next hour.  Reports say it was only an inch but in the desert, every little bit helps.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Mr. Scosttdale

This sculpture sits in the heart of the Scottsdale Civic Park and is a tribute to a man who served the citizens of Scottsdale for 24 years.

Herb Drinkwater was the mayor of Scottsdale for 16 years (from 1980 to 1996) and before that, served on the City Council for 8.  He was a bit of a character who was a friend to everyone and a sort of one man Chamber of Commerce.  He liked to dress in western clothes because after all, he was the mayor of "the west's most western" town.  He was often seen around town with his dog Sadie by his side so it was only natural that she should also be immortalized in the sculpture.

The sculpture was created by Clyde "Ross" Morgan and place in the park in 2003.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

A Mixture of This and That

I'm mixing it up a bit for today's post.  Just a few things I've observed around town when I've been out running errands.  This fine looking Volkswagen bus caught my eye.  It has an "antique auto" license plate on it and whoever owns it has restored it beautifully.  Just look at that shine.

The police were after me again.  Just kidding.  I'm not sure what they were doing but they were making a big circle over my neighborhood.  When they approached the mountains to the north of me, I could hear them talking on the loud speaker but I couldn't make out what they were saying.

I snapped this one when I was at a traffic light.  I saw the sign on the back of that van and I couldn't figure out what a motorcycle lawyer was.  So I looked them up.  They take cases involving motorcycle accidents and injuries.  Now I know.

The photo above is from my archives.  I took it when I visited The Churchill, that dining and entertainment facility I featured back in February.  I don't know sign language but I did look this up and what I get is SFSG.  Which might stand for Special Forces Support Group or maybe it's something else.  Any ideas?

This last one is a mailbox I saw.  I bet the people who live here like dogs!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Sunrise, Mountains and Clouds

I promise I won't bore you with the same view every day this week but I just had to share this sunrise photo from yesterday morning.  The day after a monsoon storm usually fills the sky with scattered clouds and I had a feeling there might be a nice sunrise.

I was right, the clouds looked pretty good with the sun illuminating them from behind.

After enjoying the sunrise, I took a short walk.  I took the photo to the left because of the sunlight shining on the top of the palm trees and the white clouds behind them.  All in all, a very nice morning!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Dust on the Horizon

Sunday night a dust storm rolled into the valley.  I went outside to see if I could get any interesting photos.  Above is the view to the north from my place.  I posted this view back in May when the air was clear, the sky was blue and those mountains were crystal clear.

Then I walked to the west view to see if I could see my great view of Camelback Mountain.  You can barely see the outline of the mountain.  The air was full of dust so I scooted back inside.

As I am writing this, we have a thunderstorm warning for later this evening.  So out I went to see how things looked tonight (Monday night).  I may not have centered the mountain very well but I did capture the lightning.  Bonus!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Making an Important Statement

Remember that mural of Theodore Roosevelt that I posted back in June?  This new mural is on the other side of that glass building.  It was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.  One of the co-owners of the building Jason Harvey, found himself out on the sidewalk in front of the building handing out bottled water to the demonstrators who passed by.  He noticed that this side of the building was literally a blank canvas and he decided to do something that would make people think.

He chose Phoenix artist Antoinette Cauly to create an image.  The pair discussed options that included Martin Luther King but they decided they wanted to honor a man that people wouldn't recognize immediately.  They wanted an image that would inspire people to do some research and learn about the amazing accomplishments of the person chosen.  They chose writer and activist  James Baldwin.

Cauly painted a 5 foot painting of the author and then it was converted into screened images that would cover the whole side of the building.  Around Mr. Baldwin's head is one of his quotes: "Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced."

A great quote, perfect for this time we are living in.  

Taking part in Monday Murals

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Construction All Around

I took a drive downtown yesterday to photograph a new mural I had heard about.  I'll show you the mural tomorrow.

I didn't expect to see so much construction going on in the downtown area.  I could see construction cranes in every direction.  This one to the left really fascinated me.  Look how high it is.  That makes me wonder just how tall that building is going to be.

I zoomed in on the crane operator cabin.  Just imagine working from way up there in a box hanging off the side that steel tower.  That is not a job for me!  With employment at an all-time low and the economy in a free-fall, it seemed strange to see all this construction going on.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  Remember all those slides I found recently and scanned?  My post today is about Bruges Belgium a place I'd love to return to some day.  I'm so glad I found those photos!

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Shade, Lots & Lots of Shade

Not far from the castle-like condos I posted yesterday, was this house nearly hidden by these magnificent trees.  What wonderful and huge threes they are.  The house faces west but I'm certain that not one ray of hot, western sunlight hits any of those windows.  I bet the birds love those trees.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Making a Condo a Castle

I stumbled on this set of condominiums yesterday when I went out to get a sandwich for lunch.  It looks like the builder has decided that buyers might like the feel of castle living in their condo.  Some of the units have turrets.  I'd love to see inside one of these. I imagine maybe a space for reading or an office for working from home.   It would be interesting to see how that round space has been set up.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Gifts of Art

When I was at the Phoenix Public Library last February, I wandered around admiring the various art works that are scattered about the building.  This one is called "Ranch in the Hills" and it was painted by Howard Post, a well known Arizona artist.  Mr. Post was born and raised on a ranch near Tucson.  He graduated from the University of Arizona and taught art there for two years before becoming a commercial artist.  In 1980, he decided to start painting what he knew best, Arizona ranching life.  You can find his paintings in museums and galleries all over the country.

Not far away I found this wool tapestry called "Phoenix Bird" by Ronald Cruickshank.  Mr. Cruickshank was a Scottish weaver who combined modern designs with his medieval style of weaving. (This one was framed behind glass, sorry about the glare.)

Both of these art works were gifts to the Phoenix Public Library from patrons who contributed them so they would become part of the permanent collection.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Nice Clouds - No Rain

Monday morning brought a sky full of wispy clouds but there was no rain in sight.  The "Valley of the Sun" is living up to its name, sunshine and blue skies.....and heat!

When I went outside to get these photos, I felt like doing a little rain dance to see if I could encourage these clouds to meld together and burst open.  No such luck.  I just heard on the news that there is no rain in sight for the rest of this week.  We could use a good thunderstorm to break up the monotony.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Using the Useless

On Sunday I posted about the strange metal framework that had been installed around the old Park Central mall.  I mentioned that I thought it was pretty useless.  That is unless you happen to be a photographer looking for some interesting shots.  I decided to see if I could use it to frame some photos.

I wandered around looking for ways to use it in new and artistic ways.  This was the best I could come up with.

Probably the most puzzling is this 'covered' walk leading in and out of the center.  Shade is a very desirable element here in the desert.  Since this center houses a variety of restaurants it would make sense to provide some shade so the people working in those buildings across the street could walk over for lunch out of the sun.  As you can see from the top photo and this last one, this cover only provides shade in uneven stripes.

Monday, August 10, 2020

The Fading Camel

Obviously, this mural has been on this wall for a very long time but for some reason I just recently saw it.  It is on the side wall of a Middle Eastern Bakery that I've never been in before but I have heard very good things about it.  Someone recently told me they find all kinds of unusual spices there.  It looks like parts of the original mural have been painted over for some reason.  The guy on the flying carpet is a nice touch.

I need to stop in here one day and see what exotic delights they have for sale.  

Taking part in Monday Murals.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Big Changes at Park Central

When I first moved to Phoenix, Park Central was a midtown shopping center with a lot of nice shops, restaurants and department stores. I bought many clothes at the stores located here.  As the area became more and more of business hub and less residential, the shopping center started dying out.  For the past 15 or more years, the buildings have been converted into training centers, offices and clinics.  In this view across the parking lot and to the south  we can see the bank building (with the reflection) and the towers of the Phoenix Plaza.  This photo was taken in 2009.

Last year, I started seeing some unusual changes to this center in the form of all the metal screening and covers that have been added to the front of the center.  I say "unusual" because I don't think it's especially attractive or functional.  I think it makes the entire place look like it's still under construction.  As you can see in the photo above, the view across the parking lot was much the same.

This was that same view last Friday.  In one year's time, a whole new building has been built and it now blocks the previous view and covered the entire parking area.  I had recently read a call-to-artists" for a mural to be painted here and that's what prompted me to see where this mural might go.  It looks like it might run along the ground floor facade of this building but on the street side.  I'll keep my eyes open to see how it turns out.  I know one thing for certain, I still don't care for that strange metal framework.  It just looks like a some kind of metal scaffolding thrown together haphazardly.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  It's about a discovery I made while in Milan.