Category Archives: Art

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.

Reflections

You know how much I love shadows and reflections. Shadows are mysterious, what on earth is casting a shadow in that shape. Then there are reflections (unless one is a vampire), with multiple layers, the item in front of one, and simultaneously, what is behind one. It’s just a wonderful juxtaposition.

Sometimes I am not sure why I bother to go out in public. This was a gallery show of contemporary art, which is not usually a favorite. But it was after the holidays, I was bored, and there was booze and a gallery talk, so it was just the thing. This is a picture of doors, the reflections are of the opposite wall and outside.

Here’s the other “not exit”, and this one shows something that was actually in the room. (Later they were playing “not music”, so I left).

This reflection has outside, the entryway, and the gallery talk. As usual the gallery talk was more complicated than the art.

A reflection and a secondary reflection of the main thing, this knotted string piece.

Here’s a bit of art that I found more to my taste, paintings of things, with the artist. All of the lights are outside on the street, which was rather empty as it was a cold night. Oddly enough (to me), this area has begun to attract tourists, and one frequently finds them wandering about, following their phones. I suppose that progress, like art, is in the eye of the beholder

Making crafts

Besides making the occasional piece of art, I make a lot of crafts. What is the difference between art and craft? That depends on who one asks, but in general if a piece is decorative, useful or made by a woman, then it’s craft. And here is what I have been up to.

I did not make this quilt top, but I did all the stitching that holds it together. I have a giant industrial sewing machine and I move it around (by hand) to sew the patterns. I used to do this for customers, but I rather lost interest when computers became common for quilting. I only quilt for myself and two others now. The owner of this top said that my name was in the “Navajo Times” for some quilting I did for her, so I guess I am famous for quilting. 😉

I always say “If you can wrestle an octopus, you can knit a sock,” because I use five needles for this sort of knitting. Some of my friends like to knit the sort of things that are art, but I stick to the practical and mundane.

So this is my most recent project, indigo dyeing bits of fabric. I have done lots of dyeing with chemical dyes, but this type of resist dyeing was a first. These bits are not exemplary, but I love them and can’t wait to make more and sew them into some sort of project.

And then there is this sort of craft, done using a machine (laser cutter). I’m not really sure if it counts as a craft, because I had to learn a computer program, and it was somewhat automatic from there. But this is unique, and I caused it into being, so I suppose I can include it.

This really had minimal input from me, it’s someone else’s program and I made no changes to it. What is it? Why it’s a 3-D printed DNA cookie cutter, but I did sit there and watch the machine do all the work. Perhaps that will be the way of the future, but I hope not. It is interesting to see a machine make something, but I have much more appreciation for items that show the maker’s hand.

Making art

I do end up taking the occasional art class; sometimes it’s to learn a new skill, sometimes it’s to improve a skill, sometimes it’s just to be sociable, and sometimes it’s to meet the instructor (after all, that’s how I got started in blogging). So I had signed up for this class with an artist whose work I admire, it was called “Making Armor”. What exactly this meant, I had no idea, but I forked over my money and showed up on the appointed day.

What we were doing that day was making masks and possibly helmets. The instructor was quite shy, the instructions were to use the basic patterns and make whatever we wanted with them. We were using foam sheets and had a heat gun to shape the masks. He said, you can shape them over your leg after they’re heated up, of course I was the only person wearing shorts. And as usual in a class, I thought of all the stuff I had at home that I needed or wanted. So I worked along as best I could, without any idea of how it might turn out.

I didn’t want to just make a random thing, I wanted it to be part of the series that I had previously done, so here’s the start of it.

The crows have featured in a number of pieces that I have made. And the background reflects images from southwestern chief’s blankets.

This was a piece that I made inspired by Custer’s guidon. He lost, so I made this piece for the winner, incorporating the personal symbols of the winner, lightning bolts, hailstones and a hawk. I put the stars in because the enemy did not stay defeated for long.

So here’s my finished piece and I must say that I’m rather pleased with it.

And the second piece, which has hailstones, lightning and feathers in the back to represent the bird spirit.

This piece is by the artist, and reflects a bit of his personal obsessions. I would say that everyone in the workshop made interesting pieces, but I’m glad that I pushed through doubt and uncertainty to make the sort of art that means something to me.