Category Archives: Art

Fee Fi Faux

I do love to wander about taking random photos of whatever catches my eye. This area is famous for it’s natural beauty, but there is also the charm of it’s fakeness (not sure if this is a word).

For example, if one gets a permit and has technical rock climbing experience, one may climb the sheer cliff faces at Garden of the Gods. In lieu of that, anyone may try their hand at climbing this artificial rock slab. No permit is needed and there are no warning signs of impending doom. (Plus it’s both easier and quicker than technical climbing).

This could be a tree (after the developers have had at it), or perhaps it is a new way of stacking firewood. But no, it’s neither. This claims to be art, and is part of the arts in the street program (who knew?). And it’s for tourists and locals alike

These faux rock formations are being installed at a new play area. It recreates the feel of rock formations, without the pesky realism and danger of actual rocks. Oh imagine all the fun that children will have playing on these (or not).

It’s not just civic organizations that go for the unnatural look. These homeowners decided against a lawn (really not a terrible idea) and instead populated their yard with these rather attractive plants. It breaks up the monotony of a rock yard, and gives it a bit of style, so this is the only spot of faux nature that does something useful. It’s an improvement, unlike the art on the street tree (try again city).

A day in the country

I love a drive in the country, it’s something that we sometimes did when I was a child, just to escape the city. And on this day me and my girlfriends were on a mission, and of course this mission involved shopping.

It’s really not that far to go, just drive south to the next city, then follow the river, and there you are among the fields. This was a giant field of pumpkins, across the road from a popular farm store. It’s not really an old-time farm stand, it’s more of big business, so it’s an interesting place to shop.

They had added quite a bit of stuff, since my last visit, like the imported Italian pasta (there were lots of Italians who came to the area to work in the steel mill, and their descendants are still here). There were plenty of baked goods and even tourist souvenirs to be had. And they were roasting green chile in front, so the place smelled great.

As this antique tractor has steel wheels, it is probably from the mid 1920’s or possibly early 1930’s. I’m leaning towards the earlier date, because it has a starter crank instead of an electric starter, and the overall primitiveness of design. (I know way more about tractors than I should).

Here’s another farm store, this one also had a cafe, which was quite good. (sorry, I don’t take pictures of my food anymore).

Quaint old stuff sets the stage for selling locally made products. It’s a guarantee that we’re out of the city.

And why had we gone south? (aside from the obvious need to shop at the farm stands). Oh yeah, I had won a red ribbon (2nd place) at the state fair, so well done me. After a quick ride on a Ferris Wheel, it was back to town.

New artist

So now you might be wondering, what was the recent gallery opening about? And why did I feel impelled to go?

This piece was the first one created by this artist for the local “art on the street” project , and it has always been my favorite (I actively hate some of the work of other artists). It has been here for a couple of years and I am amazed by the number of my friends who have never noticed this and don’t know what I’m talking about. Anyway, the statue was vandalized by some jerk last year, and this is actually the second version. The artist came to town to fix this, and decided that he liked the place so well, that he and his family moved here from Korea. So now I guess that makes him a local artist.

This is this years’ selection for “art on the streets”. And because one does not have to put any money in the parking meters on Sunday morning, I was out and about to take this new photo of these amazing steel Betas. It was rather breezy and they were moving in the wind, as is proper for fighting fish.
So besides making massive sculptures, he also does smaller pieces, like this tiny tree (it did not have a tiny price tag). This tiny gallery is the perfect sort of place to show small art. (Not sure if it is the perfect sort of place to sell art). But there we all were, seeing and being seen, drinking cheap wine and admiring the art.
I did love this piece, and after a glass of wine I had a few fangirl words with the artist (and I hope that he understands English, or maybe it’s better if he doesn’t).

I had found out about the gallery show from an article in the local newspaper, and this mentioned that the missus of the artist did fiber art. Well, so do I, so I wished to meet her. But we do very different sorts of things, and I guess I am not a fangirl, but I definitely approve of following one’s muse. I hope that she and the family like this town, and that they continue to be local artists, because we need great art for the streets (wait a minute, that brings tourists, so maybe not).

Lizards

There was recently a spell of hot weather, perfect for basking.

These two were enjoying the heat on my front steps after emerging from the oregano jungle.

I’ve seen this one before, perhaps I am getting the side-eye because this is probably not a lizard, it’s a skink (but, nobody cares what a skink is, they are all lizards to everyone not a biologist).

This one, however, could clearly be described as a lizard, most likely the dreaded roof lizard.

This one is possibly not a lizard, it could be some sort of dragon (maybe?). And heedless of the danger to life and limb, these tourists are casually strolling by. It must have already eaten, as it never moved. As I said, it was perfect weather for basking, so I found myself wishing for some air conditioning and a very cold beer.

New Dumpties

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the King’s horses and all the King’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty together again

There are a variety of explanations offered up as to the meaning of this rhyme, it’s a drink of brandy boiled with ale (sounds awful), a short and clumsy figure, or various persons, but the true origins are unknown. The real mystery is how the King’s horses were expected to do the job.

There is some mad artist in town who is enamored of these anthropomorphic eggs, and I assume that Mr. Humpty Dumpty was his inspiration.

This nattily dressed figure is in fact, sitting on a wall, but it seems unlikely that he might be seriously injured from falling off of it. So, he’s pretty safe sitting here and it’s just a short ride to the nearest hospital (but quite a bit farther to the nearest stable should the need arise).

Located nearby, again sitting on the walls are the newest of his fellow Dumpties. Careful Pizza Man, you might drop that pie on some unsuspecting tourist.

This Dumpty seems to have been out fishing before settling in to his perch high above the street. Be careful Mr. Fisher-Dumpty, I’m not sure if it is legal to keep a fish that small, and where are your shoes?

I’m not sure about this fellow. Because he’s wearing breeches, waistcoat and a wig, perhaps he is a time-travelling barrister (we don’t get too many of these here).

This is from a book I read as a child, and it supposes that the rhyme is a riddle, and one is meant to guess that HD is an egg (and a rather old-fashioned egg at that). But whatever, I just enjoy seeing the various iterations of this figure and I hope that the artist never gets tired of him.

Box art

Because this is a tourist destination, there is a lot of street art to be seen. Quite a lot of it is juried-in sculptures, but the street scene also includes the common phone router box. And someone got the bright idea to wrap up these eyesores in printed art, which is really quite brilliant. One can look at them when stopped at the many traffic lights, or should one happen to be strolling along. These bits of art add a tiny splash of color to the streets.

This enigmatic gentleman will watch as one sashays down the avenue.

This winter scene was customized by a passing bird.

This artwork depicts a solitary fisherman, enjoying the quiet of nature. Anyone who has ever gone fishing knows that as soon as one decides on the perfect spot to fish, someone else will come along to fish in the same spot. It’s inevitable.

This scene is even more idyllic (and untrue for the local area). In spring (like right now), nothing has greened up yet, and when the winter snow melts, the creeks do more than “babble”. But it is a lovely image, perhaps it is of somewhere else (note to tourists: please go there immediately.)

These beasts can be seen nearby in the foothills, at least for now (until the city permits a massive apartment complex to be built in their home).

Whether it’s a slice of life or an artistic fantasy. I do appreciate the effort every time I spot one of these.

Sketchbook

I bought this little sketchbook the last time I was in London (and who knew that it would be soooo long until I can go again).

I use my sketchbooks for a couple of purposes. It is an aide-memoire to things that influenced me: I re-watched Vertigo, saw a documentary on slavery and made a visit to the National Gallery. I sketched this horse there in the crowded gallery, surrounded by hordes of tourists milling about. The words attraction, suicide, duplicity, domination and desperation were used in the BBC description of Vertigo (not quite how I would describe it).

I noted a couple of ridiculous words that I saw on signs: “pedestrianize and wealthify”. There are addresses I wanted to find, and I especially recommend 1a Princeton Street.

Hogarth’s rather ugly dog, which he included in his self-portrait. I sketched at the museum and later inked it (because it was Inktober after all).

I started this drawing on the flight home, and didn’t have time to include Pteri until now.

The sketchbook is still unfilled, and I still carry it around sometimes. Here’s a bit of the local scenery. Perhaps I shall finish it off someday, or it may be destined to remain as is.

Trees

There are a lot of the usual sorts of trees about town; there are avenues of elms leading to downtown, cottonwoods and mountain ash by the streams and river, aspens here and there, and lots and lots of pines, Scotch, Ponderosa, Mungo, etc. and of course Colorado Blue Spruce. Then again, if one looks closely, there are a few other species to be found.

For example, here are some “palm” trees located just outside of a cowboy bar. Easy to care for, these trees require no water and are quite sturdy.

I’m not sure what sort of tree this might be, perhaps it is something tropical.

Although this looks rather like an ordinary pine at first glance, it is actually a cell phone tower, which is quite a different species of tree. And it is very useful to have around.

With the leaves turning yellow on the top of this tree, it almost seems like it might be Fall. However this a a special grove of aluminum aspens, it’s not commonly found in nature, so they are perpetually the same.

So far no birds have been fooled by these trees, by a few people were horrified by the way these aspens had been trimmed. I guess that shows how much people love trees, whatever the kind.

Art on the street

One doesn’t have to go to the museum to see art (which is good as the local museum is currently closed), it can be found on the streets, which also saves the cost of admission. 😉

If one needs to see a giant pumpkin, why here it is. And it is conveniently located about half a block from the creator’s house. (It would be a b$#@+h to move).

Even the telephone box sports some art, like this picture of a parked car, which is right next to a parking place for one’s car. (Not shown is the parking meter for said car, which allows 6 minutes for a dime).

And then there is this bit of art, which represents, uh, yes, one of those.

These steel cut-outs of birds are part of the signage for the alternative free newspaper offices. The tilework is by the same artist who created the pumpkin.

And all of this art is located right there next to each other on one street corner, available for free viewing (except for the 10 cent parking charge, daily, from 9am to 10pm).

Landscapes

There are always those calls to post something on Facebook, like four things one has done, states or places one has visited, personal faults and confessions, etc. And like the chain letters of old, one is encouraged to keep it going. So far I have resisted the siren call of these things, but, for some reason (I am bored) I decided to follow the landscape challenge. I did not copy and paste the directions (I am not that much of a sheep, plus I am not sure how to do this ;-). But I did follow the directive to put the picture up, and to not say anything about where or what it was (that bit was easy). So here for your enjoyment are days 1-5.

This was from the very first batch of pictures taken with my latest phone. It is from a rather spectacular local city park.

This is my favorite village in northern New Mexico. I snapped this picture as we (me and M’s cousin) were barreling down the freeway. We weren’t going to stop and visit, so I am amazed that the picture came out at all, as we were going so fast.

I took this in August, 2018 of the old steel mill south of here, and I took the picture to prove that any picture is made better when one adds a pterodactyl.

And it was a perfect post for April Fools Day.

This picture is from last summer. I was at the last rest stop before the New Mexico border. One has to go up and over the pass to reach this next state.

This is an old picture that I think I took with my first digital camera. I was born in this city, just south of the downtown area. I do pre-date the Arch by some years. I was driving around taking pictures and was at the stoplight at 14th and Jefferson by the Federal courthouse.

So now you know, dear reader, the what and where of my landscapes.