Saturday, September 30, 2023

Another Reflective View


Two years ago, I posted some photos of the reflective piece in the foreground along with the artist's complex perspective.  On this visit to the museum, I decided to photograph it from a distance.  You can see how all those reflective pieces are creating more reflections on the ceiling. 

This is another one of the many artworks that gets moved around to different locations in the museum.  The piece was created by Josiah McElheny for his series on total reflective abstractions.  

While I'm in the room to see McElheny's work I decided it was only fair to feature the two pieces behind the reflective piece.  This one is called Arches of Geso by the artist Manuel Neri.  This is another large scale piece that gets moved from gallery to gallery.

Next to the one above is another piece by Manuel Neri called "Ter Fome Series II".  The one above is bronze and this one is mixed media on canvas.  

On this short visit to the museum, I found myself enjoying pieces I've seen many times before but never studied carefully.

Friday, September 29, 2023

The Black Velvet Tree


I stopped at the Phoenix Art Museum last weekend.  I was in the neighborhood so I thought I'd make a quick visit.  I was surprised to find this black velvet covered tree in the lobby of the museum.  It's usually located in one of the contemporary art galleries.  

I thought I had posted a photo of this tree before but when I went to look in the archives, it doesn't look like I ever did.  This piece is by Rebecca Campbell and it's called "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?"  Yes, it is named for a pop song by the group Culture Club.  

There are several glass birds scattered around the branches of the tree.  The birds are filled with Windex to give them that blue glow.  

Ms. Campbell said the ideas for creating this tree started with her seeing a group of burned trees standing in the snow.  She said it made her think of the John Singer Sargent painting called Portrait of Madame X.  I'm not sure I would have made that connection.  It's always fascinating to learn what inspires artists.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Eat Your Greens!


During the hot summer months, I tend to eat a lot of salads.  Why add any more heat to the house when it's 115 degrees outside.  I've pictured a few I've had that stand out.  I've had several watermelon salads over the summer but this one was by far the best.  I had this one at Tarbell's Tavern.  

This one I made for myself.  I thought it looked pretty good so I snapped a photo of it.

This one I had at Elements, a restaurant at the Sanctuary on Camelback Resort.  It's one of those salads that has a little bit of everything in it.  

This last one isn't really a salad but since it was mostly greens, I think it counts.  When I came home from my visit to California in August, I was craving a fish taco so I stopped at a local restaurant to try their version.  They weren't as good as the ones I had on Newport Coast but they satisfied the craving.  

Now I'm waiting for soup weather to arrive.  Since temperatures are still hovering around 100, it will be a few more weeks I think. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The Holidays are Sneaking Up on Us


Over the weekend, I stopped at my local grocery store and was greeted by this scene.  It appears that the Halloween season is upon us which means the holidays can't be far away.  It's probably just me, but it seems like it has arrived rather quickly.  I bet if I looked hard enough, I'd see some Christmas decorations up in some places.  

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Enjoying Nature


I've got three photos from that walk I took at the Desert Botanical Garden a week ago.  This first one is of a tiny, little hummingbird taking a rest on a twig.  He was buzzing around a flowering bush and I tried to get a shot of him in action but he was too quick for me.  He finally took a little breather and I was able to get the shot.  

I had no hope of catching this bee buzzing around the bee blossom but I pointed the camera anyway.  I got lucky.  It turned out pretty good.

I took this last shot because I just couldn't resist to symmetrical patterns the branches of this agave plant make.  It is one of nature's perfect plants.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Beautiful Quail


Here is another wonderful bird themed mural by Lauren Lee.  This time with one of the friendly quails that seem to follow me around at the Desert Botanical Garden.  Ms. Lee is a talented artist whose depictions of birds always makes me smile.

Taking part in Monday Murals.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

An Evening with Audra McDonald

 On Friday evening, I joined my friends David and Riley and we went to the Mesa Art Center to see Audra McDonald perform.  This photo was taken after the show at a special question and answer session.  It was a beautiful performance.  She has the most amazing voice.  She has the kind of voice that brings the words to life with such emotion.  

One of the songs she sang was a song I had never heard before called "I Always Say Hello to a Flower" by Murray Grand.  I could only find two YouTube recordings of the song, one by John Lithgow and another by Faith Prince.  Neither of these are quite as great as the way Audra sang the song but you get the idea.  I'm not sure why that song filled me with such joy.  Maybe it's because I spend so much time walking in a garden.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Swirling Lights and Sparkles


I had dinner with a friend on Thursday evening at one of my favorite places to go, AZ88.  That's the restaurant with the ever-changing artistic exhibits.  The current display are these black dots on the wall above the bar.  You can see the sparkly lights emitting from behind the dots.

As it got darker, the lights show up even more and the swirling patterns start to show some rainbow-like colors here and there.  It was quite mesmerizing.  At AZ88 I always get dinner and a show!

As we left, I took a photo of the place from the outside and you can see those lights glowing inside the restaurant.  

I've featured so many photos from this place and all their artistic endeavors, I decided to create a label just for this place.  It took me a while to place the label on all the past photos but, I think I got them all.

Friday, September 22, 2023

A Pretty Señorita


When I was at the Desert Botanical Garden last Sunday, I saw this pretty Señorita setting up a tripod in the garden's front cactus garden.  At that time she was carrying that sombrero.  I decided to find a place out of sight and watch what she was up to.

It turns out that she was setting up some "selfie" shots using the abundance of cactus as her backdrop.  I'm so glad I zoomed in and got that first shot above.  I think she found the perfect spot for her little photo-shoot.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Hidden Door


I discovered this interesting door while walking in Old Town Scottsdale.  It was actually a bit hidden from the street.

It's a door with a lot of character.  

I found it along this part of the street where the old blacksmith shop is located.  

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Coming Soon....


An exhibit of works by Fernando Botero is coming to the Desert Botanical Garden on October 7th.  However, I got a sneak preview on my walk at the garden last Sunday.  This sculpture was being set up in a central location.  I had read that this was going to be the art exhibit at the garden for the winter of 23/24 so I was saddened last week when I heard of the artists death.  

I am looking forward to the exhibit.  It is supposed to contain some of his large scale sculptures like this one and will also have an exhibit of some of his drawings and paintings.  

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Sunrise in the Garden


I decided to take another early morning walk at the desert Botanical Garden last Sunday.  I arrived at 6:00 AM and headed to the high point to watch the sunrise.  

One thing I noticed on this walk was an abundance of quail everywhere.  I used to only see them in certain places but on Sunday they were on every trail I took and they almost seemed to follow me around.  This one was watching me while I was watching him and his large group of friends.  It was fun seeing them running in every direction.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Man's Best Friend


This new mural caught my eye recently.  It's hard to miss that adorable face.  This one was painted by Diego Perez and I believe that it's a portrait of his own dog.

There are a few other details in the mural but, the dog is definitely the star.  I love it.

Taking part in Monday Murals

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Tranquility, Serenity, Peace


Tranquility, serenity and peace are all words I'd use to describe these artworks by Martin Beaupre'.  When I was in California last month, I was walking along a street lined with art galleries when I was drawn to a painting I saw in the window of the Lou Martin Gallery.  I went inside to get a closer look.

I fell in love with these wonderful paintings by Martin Beaupre who is from Quebec Canada.  The artist is inspired by his meeting with Buddhist monks in Thailand and Japan. His works "take us on a zen journey which reveals a search for beauty and harmony."

I think this one was my favorite but it really was hard to choose one above the others.  The link above goes to his website where you can see more examples of his art.  On the "Biography" tab on the site there are two short videos about his working style.  In one of them he is actually painting with both hands at the same time.  It is amazing to see.

I just had to share these amazing examples of his work.  We can all use some harmony, serenity and peace in our lives, especially these days.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Hidden Park


My chiropractor moved his office to a new location about 2 years ago.  At the new building, I found this little garden area on a lower level between the building and the garage.  I visit his office about once every month and I've never seen anyone using this space.  It's such an attractive and quiet spot, I'm surprised it isn't used more.  

I've never been there around lunch time. Maybe it gets used then.  

Friday, September 15, 2023

That Wonderful Tree


I was scrolling through some of my photos from earlier this year at the Desert Botanical Garden when I came across this one.  This old tree can be found on the Wildflower Loop trail, on a short side trail that goes to this spot called a shade garden.  It's one of those little side trails that doesn't get a lot of traffic so it's a great spot to sit in the shade and enjoy the surroundings.  

We are finally getting some slightly cooler temperatures so I'm hoping that it won't be long before I will be able to take long walks at the garden once again.  

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Captivating Boxes


There is one Arizona artist whose works show up quite often at the different exhibits at the Shemer Art Center.  His name is Barry Oleksak and he works primarily with wood creating fascinating sculptures.  This one was included in the current show that I saw last weekend.  

He also had this piece in the show. It's the first one of his that I've seen that was more rounded than angular.  

I went back to look at some of my older photos from other shows and found two more of his creations.

Mr. Oleksak has been a woodworker for over 25 years.  He states that is works are built around studies in geometry and color and are heavily influenced by mid-century modern design, space, nature and math.

I included another one of his pieces in a post last year.  

I find them quite captivating and unexpected. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Masks and Pottery


Here is another scene from that new exhibit at the Heard Museum.  You can see that painting I loved in the background.  I wanted to show you the three fabulous masks that were also on display.  They were made by Henry Speck Jr. and they were actually worn in ceremonial dances in the artist's native British Columbia area.  They are beautifully designed and intriguing to look at.  I can't imagine wearing one while dancing or even just standing still.

While I was there, I stopped at the Berlin Gallery, the shop where they sell precious pieces by Native American artists.  I admired this beautiful piece of pottery by James Polacca.  I couldn't resist a photo of the gorgeous piece.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

A Favorite Room


Since we were at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel on Saturday evening for dinner, we couldn't leave without taking a peek into one of our favorite rooms.  Even though Frank Lloyd Wright was not the architect for the hotel, he was a major influence in the design and that can be seen very well in this room.

Since the room wasn't being used on this night, I could stand in the center of the room and take a photo straight up to that dramatic ceiling.  It's always fun to explore this historic hotel and it's so close to where I live, I need to visit more often.  

Monday, September 11, 2023

Celebratory Dinner with Great Friends


I enjoyed a fantastic dinner with my great friends David and Riley on my birthday last Saturday.  We went to one of my favorite restaurants called Renata's Hearth at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel.  As you can see, they serve meals "family style".  We had the smoked brisket with some roasted fingerling potatoes and fava beans with a mushroom sauce.  We managed to clean every one of those serving plates.  

My birthday dessert was a coconut cheesecake topped with a strawberry jelly and a honeycomb cracker.  The star here was the scoop of jalapeño ice cream.  Sounds crazy, right?  It was delicious.  So delicious that David and Riley are thinking about trying to make it at home.  They are both great cooks so I'm confident they will accomplish that goal.  

Sunday, September 10, 2023

My Next Museum Visit


Last Sunday, I made a stop at the Heard Museum to see a brand new exhibit that had just opened.  The title of the exhibit is in the above photo and it contains indigenous art from Canada.  The artworks range from 18th century ceremonial regalia to contemporary works by well known and respected indigenous artists.

One of those well-known artists is Kent Monkman whose work is legendary in the contemporary indigenous art world.  I saw this painting once before when it appeared in an exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum several years ago.  It's called "Wedding at Sodom".  Monkman is a brilliant artist whose provocative works explore historic and contemporary indigenous experiences creating new and thought-provoking realities.  

This colorful painting also caught my eye.  I simply love it.  The artist is Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun and he calls this work "New Climate Landscape".  He says the title "refers to a change in social climate rather than the literal climate.  So this is not a look into the past, but rather to a new future."  

Another excellent exhibit at the Heard Museum.  I'm sure I'll return for another visit before it is gone.

P.S. Thanks for all the Birthday wishes!

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Celebration Champagne


After my visits to two museums, I treated myself to a late lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, AZ88 in Scottsdale.  On the cocktail menu, they had something called Celebration Champagne which was described as champagne with a touch of peach and raspberry liquors and a sprinkle of confetti sugar.  

It certainly made a striking presentation.  

Since today is my birthday, I'll be doing a little celebrating with some friends today.  I'm betting some champagne might be involved.  

Friday, September 8, 2023

Architectural Spaces


I mentioned on Monday that I went to two museums last Saturday.  My last few posts have been about the Scottsdale Museum of the West.  Today's post is about the exhibit at the Shemer Art Center.  The exhibit was called Architectural Spaces so all the works showcased the architecture all around us.  The piece above  is a photograph by Penny Ann Dolin called "Helios".  Ms. Dolin is a professor teaching commercial photography at Arizona State University.

Here is another photograph that I admired.  It was taken by John Kitts and it's called "Renaissance" which is appropriate since the photo depicts part of the facade of the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Phoenix.  You can see one of my photographs of the same subject here.  My photos were taken with my Nikon digital camera.  Mr. Kitts' photo was taken with a 4x5 large format, film camera.  

I found the painting above very impressive.  When I walked up to it, I thought it was a photograph but it is an oil painting by Barbara Clements.  She calls it "The Stevens House".  

This last one is another photograph, this one by Joanna Profitt.  Joanna says that her "goal is to provide a visual interpretation of the spirit or soul of my subjects rather than a literal representation."  I found the image very appealing.  

I think that might be the Seattle skyline, what do you think?