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!

February Month of “Lurve” – #16-20

Whoa! I have five days to catch up on this challenge, Paula’s February Love Me!

Feb. 16: I love…my house. We moved here in August 2019, a compact, pristine little house (it’s actually a duplex) waiting for us. Everything is new & modern, nothing is malfunctioning (and if it does, we call maintenance who comes to fix it right away and we don’t have to pay for it), there are no stairs, we have a tiny screened porch and a patio with an elevated plot next to it where we can plant whatever we want, and adequate storage space. I think this house is the most satisfying thing about living in this senior community. I was so sick of our old house – nearly 100 years old, it had old plumbing, poor water pressure in the shower, and three levels. The washer & dryer were in the basement, and our bedroom was on the second floor. Now when I want to wash clothes, I just go from my bedroom to the washer & dryer unit off my kitchen. There was always something going wrong at our old house and we had to replace the roof twice. We don’t need to worry about any of that here!

Of course, we had to get rid of a lot of stuff, but I didn’t mind that. It was good to downsize!! The only drawback is having only a one-car garage, so one of us has to park in the driveway.

We live in the house on the left – the red Subaru is Dale’s.
View from the window of our second bedroom, which we use as our entertainment center – TV and computers are here.

Feb. 17: I love…my family. I grew up with three sisters and one brother, and both parents. We were not a dysfunctional family, we got along for the most part. My brother was really mean to me when we were children, and my oldest sister was kind of bossy too, but still we were a remarkably cohesive family. Now my parents are deceased, one of my sisters is also deceased, but we all have kids, and most have grandkids. I love and cherish my large extended family!

Our daughter gave us this photo in a frame. These are the members of my family who were there. But there are many more.
This photo was taken in 2007 (also in a frame) when we gathered to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday. She is in the middle of the first row, wearing a black & teal outfit.

Feb. 18: I love…my knickknacks. I have a lot of small figurines and other knickknacks that I have accumulated during my travels, or sometimes they were gifts. I have a lot more than pictured below!

Still life of five random things I have collected over the years! In back is a little round box that opens into a traditional neighborhood scene, from Cuba; at left is a black clay turtle, which also has a whistle; and a Mexican alebrije – a seal made from copal wood and then brightly painted with beautiful designs! On the right is a circle of Peruvian figures made from clay and painted in traditional dress; and a snake I bought at a craft fair, because I just liked it.
Maybe you have seen a meme on social media of a cutout photo of Bernie Sanders at Biden’s Inauguration, placed in other photos. He was sitting near the back and was hugging himself in the cold. A friend crocheted this figure of Bernie for me. She also makes mittens (full size, that you can wear!). Bernie Sanders himself has capitalized on his meme by having it printed on T-shirts for sale; all the proceeds go to Meals on Wheels of Vermont.
This is Josephine (Josefina), a javelina made out of metal by an artist in Tucson, Arizona. I am doing a series of photos with Josephine in various random locations. Here she is on my piano keyboard! (A javelina is a type of wild pig native to Southwestern USA.)

Feb. 19: I love…coloring. A few years ago, there started to be coloring books for adults on the market. They were promoted as being relaxing. You can find coloring books of anything from scenes from Outlander to Cats with Hats to Amazing Mandalas and geometric designs. It is really calming, so I tend to do it while watching the news! I bought several sets of gel pens, which are my favorite medium for coloring, but I also use colored pencils a lot – which are good for doing shading in the pictures – and markers. I like experimenting with different color combinations and it also helps me to color small details without going outside the lines – a good practice for when I need a steady hand for doing water colors or drawings. Here is a sampling:

Feb. 20: I love…walking. Walking is my favorite type of exercise. I like walking outside especially, because I can appreciate the nature around me, and it’s possible to find small things to admire, something I can’t do if I’m riding a bike, for example. I walk in any season as long as the weather isn’t too cold – it’s really the wind that keeps me inside!

On the walking path of our campus, a few days ago.
On our campus – I liked the shape of this autumn foliage!
At Cuba Marsh in spring
Duck on a pond with water lilies, at Chicago Botanic Gardens last July

Thursday Doors: A Nubian Lodge

Norm’s Thursday Doors is back! I haven’t been anywhere, like most of us. So I went into my archives and found photos of this charming place that we stayed one night at in Abu Simbel City, in southern Egypt. This region, which is today southern Egypt and northern Sudan, was traditionally the home of the Nubian people. Nubia (also known as “Kush” in ancient times) was often fought over, conquered and reconquered by the Egyptians while the Nubians rebelled for independence; in the end, Nubia became a part of Egyptian society while retaining some local cultural elements. Egypt even had a few Nubian pharaohs.

Traditional Nubian villages were colorful collections of domed houses. They used dome structures because clay bricks made from the mud produced by the Nile’s annual inundation were conducive to this architectural style.  Also the domes kept their houses cool in the hot weather. The men painted the house interiors white, while the women were in charge of painting the exteriors and they chose colorful pigments – blues, oranges, yellows, etc.

Here are some photos of Nubian-style buildings, taken from our tour bus as we drove through Abu Simbel City.

Many Nubian villages were displaced from their land with the building of the Aswan High Dam and had to be relocated, so in the years from 1960-1967, they were moved to a remote area in the desert north of Aswan.  The Egyptian government provided them with houses made of concrete, with flat roofs. This caused the interior of the homes to be very hot in the summer.  Furthermore, these houses were inadequate because of their size – while previously Nubian families enjoyed houses with nine rooms, they were now forced to live in 4-room houses shared by two families.  Crowding combined with the heat caused sanitary conditions to deteriorate.  Nubian children began to attend Egyptian schools in which the language of instruction was Arabic.  As fewer Nubians grew up reading and writing their native language, their culture threatened to die out.

In recent decades, the Nubian people have sought a revival of their culture and their written language.

The Eskaleh Lodge belongs to a musician and his wife who wanted to share their culture with the world, and is decorated with Nubian arts and crafts. The lodge is built in traditional Nubian style, characterized by domed roofs and archways. The domed ceilings keep the rooms cool. The lodge is a series of hallways and courtyards flanked by rooms.

An interior door admitting entrance for staff only.
This is one of the entrance gates to the lodge.

There is native artwork on display in hallways and public areas.

Traditional Nubian music is heard in the public areas of Eskaleh Lodge. A professor who came to give us a lecture about Nubian history and culture played for us on a mandolin-type instrument.

Most interesting was an instrument called a kisir. This 5-string harp-like instrument became katar (something like this) in Arabic, and in Spain it became “guitar.” The kisir is played by moving one’s fingers on and off the strings as the other hand strummed, much like how the guitar is played today.

Abu Simbel City is a colorful town in which the Nubians have begun to construct their buildings in the traditional way and return to some of their customs. Until recently, few tourists visited the area because it was so remote or took day trips from Aswan (about 2 hours each way) to see the Abu Simbel temples. That is why the Eskaleh Lodge is so important – there are still few lodgings in Abu Simbel and the lodge is a beautiful example of the revival of Nubian culture.

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.

CFFC: Painting of Many Kinds, Times & Places

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is anything painted.

Roof decoration on Hualapai Center, Peach Springs, Arizona
Appropriate for the 4th of July! Patriotic painted car, Seligman, Arizona
Train mural, Kingman, Arizona
Painted figures on a maypole next to a painted church, Wurzburg, Germany

Frescoes on the ceiling of a cathedral in Passau, Germany – I took this one year ago today!
Pharaoh offers food to the god Amun. Although in poor condition, the paint on this mural has lasted 3,500 years! Hatshepsut’s Temple, Egypt
Hanging on a wall in a hallway at the Moorings of Arlington Heights, Illinois. Depicted are the parts of a cashew tree.
VW in line for 4th of July parade, Arlington Heights, Illinois – I took this photo 3 years ago today!
Birdhouse, Des Plaines, Illinois
Painted chair, Highland Park, Illinois
Gospel Singers, by American artist Charles White, exhibit at Art Institute of Chicago, August 2017
Realistic looking mural covering an entire wall in Quebec City, Canada

RDP: Thingamajig or Whatchamacallit

Ragtag’s Daily Prompt word today is thingamajig. It is a word we’ve always used (or one like it) when we don’t know or remember the name of something. I looked up the word to see how it would be defined:
Merriam-Webster has a good, concise definition: something that is hard to classify or whose name is unknown or forgotten. 
I found the synonyms amusing: dingus, doodad, doohickey, hickey, thingamabob, thingummy, whatchamacallit, whatnot, whatsit (also whatsis or what-is-it)

I am often at a loss for words, so I’m likely to use thingamajig or one of its synonyms more often than most people. However, as I looked in my photo archives, I did find some objects that defied definition or name. These are some of them.

The Bottle Tree Ranch in California, on Route 66, is full of thingamajigs, doodads, and whatchamacallits. In fact, I think that is its entire reason for being. Lots of weird, rusty machine parts that I have no clue as to what they are even used for…
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More such things are on display at the Overlord Museum at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. If your thing is machines used in war, this is the place to visit.20190620_124504
There was a lot of chaos on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, as these displays attest to, so it’s only to be expected to find plenty of hoojiggies (another synonym!) there.  I trust that the men who were using these pieces of machinery had better vocabulary about them than I do!
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Enough of broken machine parts! What would you call this so-called piece of art, on display at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam?
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(Yeah, me neither, but scary, for sure…)

But – saving the best for last – I had to take a photograph of this weird whatchamacallit I spotted along a sidewalk in Chicago. I have no idea why it’s there or what it’s used for. (The water bottle adds a nice touch, though! At least it can be used to set things down on, and then forget them!)
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If anyone can clarify what this thingamajig is, I’d be interested to find out!

 

October Squares: Artistic Lines

Becky’s Month of Squares challenge is back!  Hurray!  This month the theme is Lines & Squares.

In the past month I have visited two museums: the Chicago Art Institute and the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. Plenty of opportunities for lines!! Squares too, probably.

Here are the rules for Month of Squares:
Create your line square post, and include a pingback to one of my daily square posts
You can also add a link to your post in the comments on my post
To make it easy for others to find you and to generate interest across the web do include this month’s tag lines&squares
Preferably post daily but you can also post all 31 in one go at the end of the month, or if it is easier join us weekly.
You can even drop in occasionally with squares if you are away or really busy, and many do.
There is though only ONE challenge rule;
your main photograph must be square in shape!

At the Chicago Art Institute, after seeing the Manet exhibit, we went to the members only preview of an unusual exhibit entitled In a Cloud, In a Wall, In a Chair: Six Modernists in Mexico at Midcentury. The general idea of the exhibit was to show how artists in Mexico (whether they were Mexican or not) were influenced by native art and how they used native art elements in their own work.

My main photo is this one, by  Ruth Asawa, “Untitled (BMC.58, Meander – Curved Lines),” c. 1948, pen, brush and ink on paper20190905_125432 (2)
Here are a few more in the exhibit:

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Ruth Asawa, Untitled (BMC.127, Meander in Green, Orange, and Brown), 1946/49, collage of cut colored and coated papers

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Ruth Asawa (American, 1926-2003), all untitled, hanging forms, brass, galvanized steel, copper and wire

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Pitcher, c. 1950, Purepecha, Michoacan, Mexico, hammered copper

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Cover of a book

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Female Figure with Bold, Geometric Face and Body Paint, 200-100 BC, Chupicuara, Guanajuato or Michoacan, Mexico, terra cotta and pigmented slip

 

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Cynthia Sargent, Linea Musical (Musical Line)

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Sheila Hicks (American, active France, born 1934), Taxco el Viejo (Taxco, the Old One),  1962, handspun wool. this is one of Hicks’ works whose geometry draws from Mexico’s ancient pyramids, as well as from the weave structure itself.

 

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Anni Albers (German, active United States, 1899-19940, Eclat 1976/79, silkscreen on cotton and linen

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Sheila Hicks, Falda (Skirt),  1960, wool

Personally, I did not always see the connection between Mexican native art and the pieces on display, although I did notice style and color, which are very Mexican, from my personal experience. My favorites are the yellow and orange Taxco rug and the hanging wire forms. There were several more pieces in the exhibition not included here.

CB&WPC: Wooden

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge this week is Things Made of Wood.

Window frame – Mont-St.-Michel, FranceDSC00401 (2)
Polynesian carvings – Field Museum, Chicago, IL
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Play Furniture – Second Time Around Sale 2019, Des Plaines, IL
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Bird House – Des Plaines, IL
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Wooden cross in shrine – Winslow, AZ
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