PPAC #3: Fire Hydrants

Cee and Marsha’s Public Art Photo Challenge is in its third week, I think. This week is Marsha’s turn, and I linked to that. If you haven’t seen other contributions, click on the link and see some awesome petroglyphs!

Fire hydrants are a good place for public art – they are necessary and they are always there. People walk by them every day and don’t look at them, but sometimes it is worth stopping!

Actually, I believe this one was in Mt. Prospect also, as are the two following!
!

APAW: Weathered

Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week challenge has the topic weathered. Nancy says,
“Living close to the mountains and rural areas, I come across weathered items to photograph frequently. There are also a lot of different treatments that you can use to make an image look weathered. With this week’s challenge, try lots of different techniques.”

I tried “weathering” some of my photos using SnapSeed and my other limited photo editing software, but I couldn’t get that “weathered” look. So I relied on my naturally weathered photo subjects.

Three subjects taken in Poulsbo, Washington

Meet Josephine, a javelina I picked up at an art fair in Tucson, Arizona. Her natural look is weathered, because she is made from metal treated to appear rustic or weather-beaten. I experimented with SnapSeed, but I think her natural state is a better look. What do you think?


I did use SnapSeed to create a “grunge” look on some other items in my house, while working on a still life photo project. Click on the photos to see them larger.

Southwestern USA, and particularly along Route 66, is a great place to find naturally weathered subjects.

Weather-beaten vehicle at the Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino, California – now retired, it’s just for show!

North of Victorville, CA is Bottle Tree Ranch. Besides “trees” made from bottles, there are a lot of old junk items that the artist collected and put on display. The longer they are left in place, exposed to the elements (heat, wind and dust, occasional rain), the more weather-beaten they become! A bizarre place, but a photographer’s heaven!

L-APC: Spots and Dots

Spots and Dots is the creative topic for Leya’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.

flowers (2 orchids at Chicago Botanic Gardens, sunflower at Cantigny Park-Robert McCormick estate, Wheaton, Illinois)

animals (Tanzania)

art: sculpture (dalmations in Sao Paulo, Brazil; abstract sculpture in St. Charles, Illinois; giant pumpkin somewhere in Japan – this photo was a screenshot; Chinese lion at Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Illinois)

museum art (tapestry, light display)

Leda Catunda, Onca pintada No. 1, 1984, (at museum in Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Exhibit at Museu do Futuro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

public art

Lightscape light show installations for the holiday season, (Chicago Botanic Gardens, Dec. 2019 and Dec. 2020)

April Squares: Bright and Whimsical

These whimsical animals were part of a sculpture garden next to an elegant restaurant in Antigua, Guatemala, and I think they are perfect for Becky’s April Bright Squares.

Antigua was part of an optional tour during our 2017 cruise through the Panama Canal. We crossed from east to west, and made several stops along the western coastal ports of Central America.

After touring the historic center, our tour bus took us on a narrow winding road up a hill, past the rich part of town. At the very top of the hill was a cultural center, Santo Domingo del Cerro, and restaurant called The Golden Fork.  This is where we had lunch and afterward had some free time to shop at craft vendors or wander the grounds which contained interesting artwork by local artists, including various colorful animal sculptures – a rabbit, monkeys, snails, crocodiles, horses, and merry-go-round horses. 

CFFC: Animal Art

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week has the topic Non-Alive Animals. Of course, any representation of an animal has a real animal in mind as the artist creates it. But the rendition may be very close in appearance to the real animal, or it may be whimsical, or abstract. It all depends on the craftsman’s talent and point of view.

It was hard to choose photos for this post – so many to choose from! Everywhere I go, locally or abroad, there is animal art. Animals have been subjects for every kind of art imaginable for thousands of years…

Such as the first known painting in the world, a painting of Egyptian geese on papyrus at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo,

and the god Horus, usually represented as a hawk, at the Temple of Horus in Edfu, Egypt.

Also at the Egyptian Museum is a throne of King Tutankhamun, whose tomb was not found until 1922, with most of its grave goods intact – it hadn’t been subjected to many tomb robberies!

This elaborate throne contains many symbols and images of gods, such as twin lions on the front. One of ancient Egypt’s sacred symbols was the scarab beetle, depicted in the cartouche on the front of the arm; the hieroglyphics within the cartouche generally are names of kings, so this may have been Tuthankhamun’s. Embracing the throne of either side are the wings of the vulture, a bird considered to be a protector of kings. In this case, he represents the king-god himself, wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.

The ancient Chinese civilization also had many animal representations, one of the most common being the guardian lion. This one is in front of a restaurant, House of Szechwan, in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Generally depicted in pairs, guardian lions stood in front of imperial palaces, tombs, temples, government buildings, and the homes of the wealthy. The concept was to show the emotion of the animal, in this case ferocity, as a symbol of protection.

Deriving from this Chinese custom, there are people today who have a pair of lions as lawn ornaments, like this one in Des Plaines. He might look more ferocious if freshly painted!

Here are another example of a Des Plaines lawn ornament, this cute little bird sitting on an orb.

There were many whimsical animals on display for sale or as decoration in the charming small town of Poulsbo, Washington, north of Tacoma.

In Evanston, Illinois, there is a little known museum called the American Toby Jug Museum, which we discovered during Chicago’s annual Open House in October. Toby Jugs are ceramic figures, usually depicting well known persons, but also animals. The history of the toby jug, or philpot, dates back to 18th century potters in Staffordshire, England and was popularized by colonists in the United States. The top of each toby jug has a spout for pouring, but nowadays, these figurines are primarily for ornamentation or collections.

After the wedding we attended near Poulsbo, Washington, we spent a day in Tacoma before returning to Seattle for our flight home. There is a beautiful Museum of Glass there, which has many objects designed by the famous Dale Chihuly, but there is also a fine collection of glass sculptures by other artists, such as this beautiful horse.

Horses are the subject of many works of art, including statues of famous heroes mounted on horses in many European cities, but I am only including two 2-dimensional renditions, one a drawing of a palomino I drew a few days ago, and another one at a short film display at the Ij (Eye) Museum in Amsterdam.

While in Amsterdam, we visited the Oude Kerk, the oldest building in Amsterdam, founded circa 1213 CE. Under the seats of the choir were unique carvings – some rather bawdy! – including this one of a pig.

Most people love animals, and there are many examples of whimsical animals to delight human sensibilities. In the gardens behind Melk Abbey in Austria are some cute creatures, mostly fantastical combinations of human and animal, but there was this turtle:

In Passau, Germany, which we had visited the previous day while on our Viking European cruise, while walking around town on our own, we came across a dachshund museum! Big and little dachshund statues were in front of it.

Who could resist being delighted by several painted cows in the town across from Mont St-Michel in France? Here is one of them, my personal favorite (I love that bright blue udder!).

Our daughter loves Hello Kitty, and for her bridal shower, Hello Kitty was the theme! I bought these as party favors.

Some animal sculptures are cute,

At Mount St. Mary Park in St. Charles, Illinois

but some can be a bit intimidating!…

Giant spider at Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

and some are reminders of favorite movies, such as this groundhog in Woodstock, Illinois, where Groundhog Day was filmed.

L-APC Checks and Stripes

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week has the topic Checks or Stripes.

Mosques have striped carpets where the worshippers line up to pray. (Cairo, Egypt)
Blinds in a friend’s apartment (Des Plaines, IL)
Stripes on steps (Des Plaines)
Fences are striped. (Chicago Krisha Society)
A fence with both stripes and checks – at The Church of All Nations in Jerusalem
Bottle Tree Ranch near Victorville, California (one of the sites on Route 66)
Seats in ancient amphitheatre in Caesrea Maritima, Israel
Woven striped design on my bottle holder that I bought in Peru
Beautiful inlaid (some of them checked) designs on small tables & other items in Aswan, Egypt
Stripes and Checks in a coloring book (photo modified)

Thursday Doors: Amsterdam

Norm and others have posted colorful and creative doors for Thursday Doors this week. Here are some colorful doors mostly from the De Pijp neighborhood of Amsterdam, which I don’t think I’ve posted before. If I have, so be it – they’re worth having another look!

Locker doors at the Ij (Eye) Film Museum (This is not in the De Pijp neighborhood, but I am sure I have never posted them before.)
Warehouse or garage door
This door isn’t as interesting as what surrounds it!

LAPC: The Objects of My Every Day

P.A. Moed is the host for this week’s Lens Artists Photo Challenge: Everyday Objects.

I bought this little metal sculpture of a javelina at a street fair in Tucson, Arizona. Its home is in front of my fireplace. One of my cat’s toys is under her chin right now. (My cat’s favorite toys are balls that she rolls around the house until they get stuck somewhere.)
This is one of my ‘Covid-19 pandemic’ pictures. Our food is delivered to our door every day and often includes either bananas or oranges.
Another ‘Covid-19 pandemic’ picture – we had accumulated several masks and a pair of plastic gloves that had been sitting around forever, so I found a little basket to put the masks in. Now we always know where to find a clean mask!
I originally took this photo for another photo challenge – maybe favorite snacks?
Another pandemic picture from early in the lockdown – our TV set, mounted on the wall, tuned to our community’s closed caption channel which that day was broadcasting a concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
An everyday object – a pencil – in an unusual place: stuck in a display of evergreens.

Here’s a gallery of some things I’ve photographed in the past.