I’m finally jumping in to Becky’s October square challenge: Squares of the Past! When I do an ongoing challenge, I create a folder especially for that challenge, and often the pictures I add never “make the cut.” So I’m going to begin with the Squares in those folders which I didn’t include originally.
These “bright squares” were all taken at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington in September of 2019.
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!
Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week has the topic of hole/whole. And for her newest challenge, Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge, the topic is orange.
Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is a wonder of geological formations called “hoodoos.” These orangish sandstone shapes were carved over millions of years through water and wind erosion. Besides being orange, look carefully to see the holes!
Another beautiful national park in Utah is Arches National Park, named for the many arches carved by nature into the orange rocks. The first picture below is an iconic image, which many people have seen on calendars or posters. I had to use my telephoto lens to get a good shot of this beautiful arch, because without an arduous climb we could not get very close to it! The second photo is another of the park’s arches, which form a type of hole due to erosion, out of the whole rock!
Pumpkins, when they carved, become jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. At night you can see the light of the candle glowing through the holes!
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!
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.
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,
but some can be a bit intimidating!…
and some are reminders of favorite movies, such as this groundhog in Woodstock, Illinois, where Groundhog Day was filmed.
Years ago, there was a popular Masterpiece Theatre series called Upstairs, Downstairs, examining the lives of the British upper class (who lived upstairs) and their servants (who lived downstairs). The popularity of that series inspired more recent series on this subject, including Downton Abbey.
Those of us who had young children in the 1970s or later cannot have been completely ignorant of the popular children’s series Sesame Street. There was a silly series called “Monsterpiece Theatre” with a sketch entitled “Upstairs, Downstairs.” It showed the Muppet Grover climbing a staircase while a deep voice intoned, “Upstairs…” and as he went back down again said, “…Downstairs.” I think Sesame Street was made to appeal to parents as well as their children. Many of its sketches and songs have stuck in my mind to this day – and now my son is 35!
So even now, when I think about staircases, I can hear that voice in my mind, proclaiming in a serious, deep voice, “Upstairs…downstairs.”
So for Becky’s January Square photo challenge with the topic UP, here are some squares of stairs (hey, that rhymes!) going up.
Becky has a new Square challenge – square photos of something that contains the word UP!
With the turnover of midnight on January 1, a new year – and hopefully a better one – begins and I like to think that things are looking up! So here are my first contributions for this monthlong challenge, with the theme looking up!