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.

Kinda Square #2: Two of a Kind

I spotted these two dressed up bulldogs in front of the Batavia, IL town hall the other day. So Dale turned around and went back and I got out to take a few photos. They were kinda two of a kind – the same but different! So I thought they’d be just right for Becky’s October Kinda Square challenge! (And these photos aren’t just kind of square!)

October Kinda Square

Hurray! Becky’s back with another of her month of square challenges! This month the theme is kind (or a word containing the word kind). To get us started, here are Becky’s suggestions:

Here are some ideas you may wish to consider:

  • Something of the kind (similar to something or even a carbon copy)
  • Our imagination kindled (inspire us!)
  • Of its kind (a unique object or an example of something such as a flower or bird)
  • Two of a Kind (or one, or three or multiple!)
  • Kindred spirits (kindness in action or photographs of people)
  • Take kindly to (something you like)

Today Dale and I went out to the western suburbs and visited a park in St. Charles with a lot of unusual sculptures. These sculptures are truly “one of a kind” or “kinda weird!”

In case you can’t read its name on the side, it’s called Playing Mantis by Paul Bobrowitz of Colgate, WI, made of stainless steel.
Interim X by Bruce Niemi
Portals by Victor Nelson

SYW: On Fear, Hair Color, Bullies, and Winning & Losing

Melanie and Roger have a new set of questions for Share Your World/Harry Potter for the week of Sept. 7.

HPOrderofPhoenixSYW

Roger’s Magical, Mystical Questions

  1. What happened to cause you to discover ‘bullies” were real?
    Nothing – I have always known bullies were real. My brother was a bully when he was a kid and his favorite person to bully was me! Although I was never seriously bullied (my brother’s would be called teasing), my son was in high school. One day he came home early from school – he’d been “suspended” for two days for fighting. I was not mad at him because he was fighting with the bully – he was sick of the other kid’s bullying. The kids watching actually rooted for him!

    I had a book about bullies for children that I had read to him when he was much younger. And when he complained about the bully to me, I told him that he should ignore him if he could, and feel sorry for him because he (the bully) obviously had self-esteem issues. Maybe there was violence in his home.

    Now we have a bully in the White House – what a role model!!
  2. Eavesdropping- When given the chance, how often do you eavesdrop?   (this may be a similar question to what some folks said they’d do with an invisibility cloak)
    I am tempted to eavesdrop at times, but usually listening in on someone else’s conversation isn’t very interesting.
  3. Escalators, at one time, were the ‘next big thing’. When was the last time you rode an escalator?
    Three days ago, at Nordstrom’s.
  4. Have you ever ‘let’ someone win in a sports competition or a board game? How did it turn out?   
    Probably – but it was more like others letting me win – I was the youngest of five children and always wanted to participate in games, but my life experience wasn’t as mature as the others’, so they sometimes let me win, I think. As for sports, I was always the worst in every sport except swimming. No one wanted to pick me to be on their team. And no one ‘let’ me win!

Melanie’s Muggle Questions:

I’m very short on time today (Sunday) so I’m borrowing from Rory and Sandmanjazz to fill the questions today:

Do our fears start with our DNA?  (Credit to Rory)
I suppose there are people more susceptible to fear than others; that might be DNA-related, but in general, regarding fear and “nature vs nurture” I would say it’s more nurture – i.e. learned. People who are more sensitive and likely to have fears may have had some early experience, even as far back as infancy. But there is definitely biology in there too, because fearful people are often insecure people, and insecurity can arise from experience or be a bi-product of mental illness.

If you could have your hair any colour for 24 hours, what colour would you choose?  (Credit to Sandmanjazz)
I think I’d like to be a redhead for a day!

When do you think a person gets old?  (Credit to Rory)
When a person starts thinking old! For example, my husband and I are both senior citizens but we don’t feel old! I feel like the same person I always was. Oh sure, I have more aches and pains but most of the time I just am who I am.

GRATITUDE SECTION  (as always this is optional)

Please feel free to write about an uplifting moment in your life this week! We went on a day trip last Tuesday, just out to the western suburbs to seek out “kitschy” stuff (such as the Humpty Dumpty doppelganger pictured below). It was fun and I felt renewed!

The artist named him “Mr. Eggwards.” He sits on a wall surrounding Mount St. Mary Park, which is full of unusual sculptures, in St. Charles, IL

Here are some of the other sculptures in that park.

Friendly Friday: Street Art

The Sandy Chronicles’ weekly Friendly Friday challenge this week is Street Art.

Street art has become more popular in recent years, and one can find good street art almost anywhere.

Sandy says there are several kinds of street art:
Spray Painted Murals – large scale pictures drawn on walls and colored with spray paint.
Graffiti – one of the most popular and oldest form of street art, going back to ancient Egypt and Greece.
3D Wall Graffiti – with creative shadowing and paint effects, murals appear to be popping out of walls.
Poster Art – is art which is printed or drawn on papers and then attached or hung on walls.
Sticker Street Art – made with eye-catching stickers of different sizes and posted on trees, lampposts, walls and benches.
Sculptures – are structures displayed on streets, typically with cultural, political, religious or historical significance.

We took a 4-day trip to Iowa two years ago and saw some wonderful street art:
Downtown Des Moines (click on images to see larger)

In Dubuque, near the riverfront Maritime Museum, were these beautiful murals.

This 3D mural in Quebec City was stunning – this is actually a section of a much larger, full-wall 3D mural.

In Chicago, you never know when you’ll run across something like this.

On Route 66, between Gallup and Santa Fe, NM – this is just a small sample of street art that can be found in towns all over the Southwest.