Life in Colour: Blues

Jude’s Travel Words blog’s topic for Life in Colour this month is the color blue. Jude challenges us to find “unusual” blues! OK, I’ll do my best…

Sky reflected in a car’s headlights
Glass art decoration at The Moorings
Selfie after modification by SnapSeed
Steps up to an Immersive Van Gogh presentation
Viola
Siberian bugloss
Dandelion after modification with SnapSeed
Aquarium at Brookfield Zoo
Chagall Windows at Chicago Art Institute

Several shades of blue in this shot of a church in Budapest
Blue door, blue bag in Budapest
Graffiti in Germany
Modern building in the outskirts of Amsterdam
Eiffel Tower at dusk

PPAC #4: Human + Nature

I love this challenge that Marsha and Cee are hosting! It’s Cee’s turn this week.

Today I am featuring some interesting sculptures by Daniel Popper, an artist from South Africa, which are on display in various locations at Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. The installation is called Human + Nature.

This is the first sculpture we saw, not far from the entrance to the park. Its title is Hallow.

Further on down the path, we came upon another one, called Sentient.

There was another sculpture in that part of the park, but even with the map, we couldn’t find it. So we drove across the highway to the smaller part of the arboretum, where we saw two more.

I neglected to take a picture of this one’s title, but it was something like Mother or Beauty.

The last one we saw was called Basilica, and there we met the artist himself, who was using spray paint to touch up a few details. Our visit was at the beginning of the display. These sculptures will remain for about a year, before they are dismantled and Popper takes them to their next destination.

The artist poses next to his sculpture, Basilica.

CMMC: Up Close and Personal

Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge this week has the topic close-up or macro.

Hazel doesn’t really like me getting this close for a photo. She seems to be sleeping, but one eye is slightly open!

Center of Queen Anne’s lace

Taken from our balcony on our river boat cruise on the Rhine: apparently this swan is used to getting up close to humans (probably wants an edible tidbit!)

At a Buddhist temple in Des Plaines, IL

Our niece got into the shot I was aiming for.

Sometimes you run into (almost literally!) an unexpected subject. This caterpillar was hanging from a single thread – probably weaving its cocoon.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell what I’m taking a picture of! Take a guess!

I took this selfie when I was about to go outside for a prolonged period in February – rather frightening! With my glasses on, wearing a mask caused my glasses to fog up and I could barely see!

A piece of a multitude of faces, taken at Morton Arboretum’s display of sculpture by Daniel Popper. (See my blog post in PPAC #4 for more!)

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!

Life in Colour: More White & Silver

I’m joining in this challenge again, to contribute white buildings, and more, in Chicago!

View of white skyscrapers from Millennium Park:

And silver in Millennium Park – “Cloud Gate” sculpture (known by locals as “the Bean”)

This silver structure in Millennium Park…

…projects faces. There are actually two of these, with a shallow wading area in between them (the wading pool is only filled in warm weather – these photos were taken in October.).

A few more whites in Lincoln Park

White yachts

PPAC #1: Photographing Public Art – Denver

I am happy to get in on this brand new challenge with co-hosts Cee Neuner and Marsha Ingrao! For this very first week, Marsha is the host. She says:


The #PPAC is deliberately open – photographer’s choice. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Seasonal Displays
  • Graffiti
  • Statues and Sculptures
  • Collections
  • Store Windows
  • Car Shows
  • Artistic Construction (benches, buildings, bridges)
  • Wall Art (not just murals)
  • Challenge Guidelines
  • Art has to be freely visible from a public street, freeway, or walkway.
  • Photographers have free access of use for their photos – no copyrights by the artists.
  • The challenge starts every Friday by 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time.
  • Write a post on your blog, publish it, and include a link back to the appropriate host’s post – not on Cee’s or Marsha’s #PPAC page. Also write us a comment and paste the link into the comment. Sometimes pingbacks are missed.
  • Visit at least two or three other participants in the community and leave them a comment.

Here are some public art pieces in downtown Denver, Colorado. From these photos, you can see why I fell in love with Denver and hope to visit again soon!

This was the first sculpture we saw, in the downtown business district.

Most of the public art we saw was on a pedestrian street, closed to traffic.

These decorated pianos were available for anyone to stop and play (we actually saw someone playing one of them), but I don’t know how well-tuned they were!

Other public art-based entertainments: chess/checker boards!

My husband wasn’t interested in playing chess or checkers – he was just tired and wanted to sit down for a minute!

More cows:

Cows weren’t the only public art bovines on display – there were bison also!

Another sculpture:

Cleverly designed restaurant signs can also be classified as public art!

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)

L-APC #146: The Beauty Is In the Details

I think I am late for this one, but I’m participating anyway! Lens-Artists’ Photo Challenge #146 is to focus on the details.

In 2019, we took a Viking river cruise, which started in Amsterdam and took us down part of the Rhine River. Our first stop in Germany was in Cologne, with its fabulous cathedral. Its imposing towers can be seen rising above the rest of Cologne’s buildings, this photo taken from our cruise ship as we arrived in the morning.

Officially named the Cathedral Church of St. Peter, this Gothic architectural wonder took centuries to build. Construction began in 1268 but was halted around the middle of the 16th century. It was finally finished in 1880, remaining true to its medieval plan, and at 157 meters (515 ft) it is the third tallest church in the world. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Its façade contains a dizzying number of carved details, none of which are the same. (And these are all on its exterior!)

I was surprised to see these dark stripes up close.
I was amazed to see the ladder going up this spire! I can’t imagine someone actually climbing up it!
There is a sheep in the middle of this flower-like design – I have never noticed it before!
With so many intricate details, it’s no wonder that it took many centuries to build!
I zeroed in on this skull, somewhere on the panel above.
A stained glass window, viewed from the outside.
Above each archway is something different.
Similar to one of the flower-like patterns above, but with no sheep in the center!

Historical details from Cologne Cathedral – Wikipedia.

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.