You know that I have tried to limit the number of books that come into my house, and if you know this, then you also know how very bad I am at this. So here are a few of my newest books.
These lovely books were a gift from my friend GA (not George Ashley), whom I met through the internet. East End Vernacular is the most recent publication by GA, a collection of paintings of London’s East End. All of the paintings are previously unpublished works, which just goes to show that talent is not enough to make it in the art world. The next book, Traveller’s Children in London Fields, was the very first book that GA published and it is a collection of photographs taken by the late Colin O’Brien. And then there is A Hoxton Childhood, a reprint of a memoir of a working man reflecting back on a long life (and a really wonderful book). Thanks for the good reads GA.
These books are also from people that I know through the internet. The Daily Coyote started out as a blog, and Shreve published this wonderful record of Charlie’s life. Too bad if you see this and want a copy, it was available by subscription only. Dogs of Avalon is a much more challenging book, and it covers the evils of greyhound racing, and the sanctuary that helps these dogs recover their spirit. I “met” Laura some years ago after she published her second book “The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken, New Jersey”, which was a memoir with recipes.
I’m including these calendars in this post just because they come from the internet as well. I have previously bought a book from The Mincing Mockingbird, but he didn’t have anything new this year, so I just bought his calendars. And I do love Charlie from The Daily Coyote, he’s actually the only coyote that I like (and he is super adorable). But, I swear that these are the last books I’m buying (at least for this year, maybe).
It’s quite a lovely thing to be strolling down the street and to come across an interesting bit of street art (not tagging graffiti, which I find dull for the most part).
My attention was drawn to this piece by the person who was photographing it seconds before I took this shot. Peace to you, too giant skeleton person.
I have this thing about herons; I hate them. I hate them because they refuse to stand still and be photographed (although I still try every time I see one). But this heron is not going anywhere, so I was able to capture it.
I was actually taking the photo of the piece with the alien, balloon and bag of money (the bag of money being a necessity in any big city). Later I noticed the piece of pixel art above it. Could this be from the noted French artist Space Invader? Quite the enigma as the artist does create anonymously. But it certainly is in the Space Invader style (who knew this was a thing?).
And then I came across this piece in front of a Truman’s pub. I do know who created this, thanks to a blog post in Spitalfields Life. The artist and model is Robson Cesar, in his preferred medium of beer bottle caps (bottletops to you Brits). I have heard the saying “the purpose of art is to communicate”. Or maybe the purpose of art is to just add a bit of color and interest to life. Whether it’s the former or the latter, I think that the artist involved achieved his goals.
A list of my favorite things would surely include stop motion animation. Animators must have incredible patience and skill to create the illusion of being a living thing out of a tiny puppet. So of course I am familiar with the work of the great Ray Harryhausen. I love his films, and have seen each one multiple times. Having the opportunity to see an exhibit on his creative process was part of the very excuse of my visit.
This shot is of a scene in Jason and the Argonauts where they come across these giant metallic statues. The guy with the sword comes creaking to life and fights the hero before smashing into pieces. Great stuff!
This is the evil and deadly medusa from Clash of the Titans, the final film from this great director. She is much shorter than one would suspect and her gaze has lost quite a bit of it’s power (no one there had been turned to stone, much to my disappointment).
The magnificent Pegasus (as I mentioned in a previous post, I love Pegasus), it’s hard to believe that he could carry a full grown man on his back. But I would definitely ride one given the opportunity.
One of the most famous scenes created by this artist was the fighting skeletons in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. I thought this scene was tremendously thrilling when I first saw this at a Saturday matinee as a child. Those skeletons were so ferocious looking that they seemed extra scary to me. (I decided it would be a good idea to run away if I ever encountered them).
Here is one that they captured to put on display. And he is still ready to fight (perhaps I had better back away slowly and make my escape). 😉
What is it about monkeys that makes them so interesting? We share a common ancestor and also share a lot of DNA, and we have some similarities with them, except for the tail bit. And they are quite adorable and if you are obsessed you can notice them in many places.
They have quite a distinctive and easily recognized silhouette, like this pattern on a floor.
And they make lovely lamps. Here they are available in whichever sort goes with one’s decor. (I’m not sure what it says about one to actually purchase this for one’s home, but these can be bought in a rather swanky shop.)
Perhaps a monkey on the wall fits in with one’s decor better than a table lamp. (But I do think that lamps need to have a shade.)
They are so very human in their expressions, this one seems to be quite sad gazing down on the passing multitudes.
It’s too bad that people don’t have tails, they are a built in security blanket, easy to wrap around and protect one, in case a scowl is not enough.
I had decided that it was time to visit London again to see if it was as I remembered. As I am a creature of narrow habits there were some things that it was mandatory to see again. So once again I popped into the National Portrait Gallery to see Richard III, and this other portrait.
I can’t remember the name of the sitter (and don’t know if I ever knew it), but this picture was featured in one of my earliest posts. I was impressed that this portrait was unlike any of the others in the room, that it was done more in the style of a splash page in a graphic novel (not that such a thing existed at the time). Ordered as a memorial portrait by the widow of the subject, it features highlights of the life and death of this man. And as I was in a rather raw and fragile state of widowhood myself when I first saw it, I appreciated the underlying sentiment of the piece. (I attributed her motivation as love, because it seems so personal a display).
He was born, went to college and had the sort of career that persons of his social class had doing something or other (possibly involving eating).
But then he died and I assume those that knew him are eulogizing him. His missus is left to carry on as best she can.
And then his missus wants everyone to know that she gave him a fine send off. This portrait resonated with me, showing that grief is universal, however one expresses it.
There is something fascinating about recreating a familiar object as a giant sized thing. You know that I love robots, and a 20 foot tall robot (albeit an unmoving one) is quite a splendid sight. This robot has stopped to smell a flower, so it must be a friendly robot. (Otherwise it might just want to crush the poetry van in front of it).
Spiders are another matter entirely. Most people scream at even a tiny harmless spider. But this giant spider is inert, so I guess it might be safe to sit under it. (Unless it is drawing electricity from the nearby power line and just waiting for a chance to make a move!)
I love this over sized bird giving one the eyeball. What does it want? Some over sized sunflower seeds perhaps? Or is it planning on making a giant nest before the attack?
I don’t know what’s up with this insect and I’m not sure if it is supposed to be an ant or a termite. It sort of looks like a mash-up of these species. But what I started thinking about were eurypterids, giant sea scorpions (12 feet long) that once roamed around in the shallow sea in New Mexico wreaking havoc on smaller species. One can find their fossils around Socorro as I have.
And at the end one comes to this enormous and mysterious rabbit. (And you know how I love bunnies). Is it an alien species? Did it have anything to do with the creation of this place? You’ll just have to visit Santa Fe for yourself and reach your own conclusion.
I grew up in old houses. When I lived with my parents, the newest house had been built in 1920, the rest were from previous eras. So one thing (out of many) that I am a snob about is doors and door knobs. The doors must be of solid wood, and the doorknobs must be something nicer than builder grade knobs. (M was the same way, he replaced all the knobs in our house, just because he didn’t like the existing ones).
A proper knob lets one know that they are entering a proper place.
I had gone out to have a bit of a nosh with some friends, when I noticed the fabulous entrance to this restaurant.
It just makes one want to pull open the door and go on in (because who doesn’t want to grab ahold of a fish?).
Even this common burger joint added a flourish to their entrance. One doesn’t just want to order from the drive-through, one wants to pull on the spatula to enter. (Hopefully these are not the sort of spatulas used on one’s food.)
The entrance to this steak house features these lovely cast bronze heads to let one know what is on the menu (and their food is pretty good too.)
This outdoor store (which sells mostly to city people) has an entry way with climbing axes for mountaineering. It’s an adventure just to go shopping (this is as close to outdoor adventure as I get).
Okay, I will admit that the pictures I just showed you could be more properly categorized as handles if one wanted to get technical about it. But this picture is undeniably knobby. And it’s part of the interactive art experience house. So I’m not the only one who notices the importance of knobs. 😉
It’s sometimes hard to say when the subject of a post is done. And I find myself looking at new things and thinking that they could be a part of a previous post. So here are some additions,
This lovely candidate for the trees post, serves as a shady bower to protect those persons waiting for the bus. From the hot New Mexico sun in Santa Fe.
This tree however is a lonely bit of art, positioned on a sidewalk where few travel by foot. It has metal birds perched on the branches, while a real hawk circles above.
I had promised the previous piece of art that I made to a friend. But since it did win a ribbon, I found that I could not let it go. So instead I decided that there was nothing for it but to make another one. This time I sort of knew what I was doing, and I think that this one has better contrast between the mane and the face. I whipped out the finished piece the day before my friend’s auction to raise money to help tigers in Thailand. It wasn’t going to sell for very much, so I bought it back, and now I have two lion quilts. (And I made a donation to help the tigers too.)
These are some rather unusual birds about town, from right in my neighborhood. I have no idea what these wild turkeys were thinking as they strolled about, blabbering away in turkey talk. But they were the first of their kind I had ever seen nearby, looking for place to hide before Thanksgiving no doubt.
The day had started out with me on a mission. And I had set out with only one mission, to track down the local telephone company office and get a modem from this century for M’s cousin. Google had led me along a winding path through the city, and there I was. Only there was no phone company office at the rumored address, only a real estate office that had been there for years. So as I waited on the phone to talk to someone from the phone company, I noticed these fine feathered
fiends friends across the street at an art gallery. (Santa Fe has so many galleries that they are almost hard to avoid).
I love crows, and apparently so do normal people.
They are somewhat mysterious and sentient. What exactly are they thinking as they observe us?
Possible harbingers of some dread fate, they are also quite popular subjects of poetry and rhymes.
I’m not quite sure I would like to have this crow looking down on me in my garden (assuming I had a garden).
But this one, which I saw the next day was clearly the best of the lot (but sadly, it is not for sale). This bird lives in an interactive art experience (a former bowling alley filled with rooms of mysterious stuff that one can wander around in). And at three feet tall clearly not a bird to be messed with.
Horses have wonderfully expressive faces and artists have been trying to capture this since the time people first started painting in caves. So the best part of my trip to the Cowboy Hall of Fame was the art with horses.
Horses often look like they are just about to say something to you (like the famous Mr. Ed), if only one would stop to listen.
They have their opinions about what the humans are up to, and they mostly are too polite to say.
This statue celebrates the life and career of Khadafy Skoal (named after some dictator or other). He was originally slated for a career in horse racing when his humans noticed that he did not care for jockeys. He started his career at age 7 and was named Horse of the Year in 1990, 95 and 96. (He was very well liked by his fellow horses). He retired in 2004 and died late in 2013 at age 31.
Much as I liked these other horses I must admit that my favorite horse of all time is Pegasus. Those wings just give him an unfair advantage over mortal horses.