Category Archives: Art

In print

So it was “Stationary Store Day”, a holiday which I had read about in M’s blog “Paperblogging.com”. I looked at the link, saw that there was a place in town that was participating, and decided I must go check it out to celebrate this holiday (I do love celebrating).

And here it is, located in what passes for a downtown locally. As I recall, this space was home to a seller of sheet music (and possibly instruments) for years. At some point demand for such items disappeared, and these nice ladies moved in a year or so ago. And are they a simple stationary store? No of course not, they run a full service printing operation.

What do they use for printing? Why they have a number of large vintage machines that use ink and brute force to print up whatever one desires. This clanking behemoth can print up to 5000 pages an hour (really this should be sufficient for most needs).

The machine pictured in the back is from the 1880’s and does weigh a ton. It is not tremendously useful, so it is currently a speaker stand, but it is in working order.

In the foreground is the machine I got to use on this special day. It’s relatively modern, being from 1948. So to use it one steps on the foot pedal to release the clamps at the very top to be able insert the item to be printed. Then one turns the giant crank and the piece rolls over a freshly inked plate to print the item and then releases the item with a thunk at the end of the track.

And here is what I ended up with. The cardstock had previously been run through the machine to print the red hearts, then they set up the machine to print the blue (all in all it’s pretty labor intensive compared to using some sort of digital printing). But each card has a quality that can’t be replicated with mere digital technology. Each card is the product of human hands, these lovingly maintained machines and the women who love keeping this art alive.

Street Art

It was time for my participation in the annual juried art show, so I found myself in the town to the south. After delivering the piece I was driving around and admiring the ambience of the city. It’s a much more working class sort of place, and this reminds me of the place I grew up in.

I love the outside of this local bar, but I wonder, what sort of beer might they serve? My friend who lived in town assures me that they make a fabulous green chile covered hamburgers, and perhaps someday I shall stop and try this.

This brick wall is dedicated to the delights of chile (yes spellcheck, this is in fact how it is spelled!). I must admit this is my favorite vegetable, and I can eat it in all three meals a day.

There are a lot of untouched and shabby old buildings in town, so it’s perfect to spiff the walls up with murals, art one doesn’t have to get out of the car to appreciate.

I always pop ’round to a fabric shop while I’m there, and this has just been added on one side of the block. This courtyard is for the overflow from a bar for young persons (not the kind of people that drink Coors).

Hidden (sort of, it is newly painted in bright colors) in an alley nearby is this mural that celebrates the logos of various schools in town.

Here’s more of the same theme, your school rules (or not). And why is it important that this art can be admired from the air-conditioned comfort of ones car? This town is at a lower elevation and is always much hotter than my town (great in Winter, not so much in the Summer).

Plein Air

It was time for the annual plein air art demos at the fancy hotel across town that is sponsored by the gallery at the hotel. I am nothing if not a lemming, so there I was yet again. I drove up to the entrance and the valet parked my car, because at a place like this I am certainly not going to do this myself and walk. Then I popped through the hotel, up to the lake where most of the artists were hanging out amidst the tourists.

What was interesting to note was that although this is very picturesque, nobody was painting what they saw, they were all using reference material. (Probably because they want paintings that sell, in their respective styles).

One lady had a photo of a peacock which she was painting on a plain wooden panel, and the other was using her phone to paint a lovely sunset from somewhere.

No waterfalls here, but if he went up the mountain he could see a real one (although he would have to pay an admission fee to the hotel).

It wasn’t all painters, there were also persons working in clay making models for bronze castings. It was a very hot day, and the clay was starting to get quite soft, but The persistence of memory sort of thing is not what they are aiming for.

This was one of the people working in metal, so he was just talking about it. He makes a visual representation of a topographic map by cutting out and arranging layers of stainless steel. Why? Because his dad owned a construction materials firm and he learned to weld at an early age (also people pay big money for his art).

This artist was not just wearing the hat for shade, he wanted to indicate that he was a real cowboy. He said that he used to be a professional bull rider (which involves sitting, quite briefly, on the back of an angry bull that has a tight cinch around his testicles). Painting is a much less physical activity, and you get a win every time you sell a painting. He was painting a swan, and noticed that there was only a single swan in the lake, so I told him that the other one had been killed in a summer hailstorm.

I did pop in to the gallery afterwards, and I saw some tourists pick out and buy $$$$ a couple of paintings for their home. It’s nice work if you can get it, so hurrah for anyone making a living at art.

On Record

A friend had recently been gifted with a new bit of antique technology, so we were off to the place that sells both new and antique items, a record shop.

When I was a very young person I had a portable record player. It was in a square case (maybe 15″ x 15″) that folded open to reveal the mechanism for playing a single 45 (one song per side, with a large hole in the middle). One of my brothers used this to drive me mad by playing “The little white duck” a bazillion times in a row.

So there we were at a record shop, which also sold the antique technologies of cassette tapes, compact discs and DVDs. We were searching the bins to replace old favorite music that had somehow fallen by the wayside. And I also found these treasures.

I was talking about this record with one of my friends. She had been clearing out her mother’s house, and had found a similar album. We laughed about it a bit, and she said she made the audiophile who picked up the stereo system take this too (serves him right!).

I had recently met a blogger who writes about, and appreciates World Music, and I was thinking of her when I snapped this photo. What was most interesting to me was the sticker that labeled this as once being part of an Air Force base collection. I imagine the record is in pristine condition (but I didn’t actually look) and I wondered how on earth it had ended up here.

I have a copy of this music on compact disc, but not with this conductor. I took this picture because I loved the album cover.

Here’s another one that had a gorgeous cover, done in a style between Aubrey Beardsley and Margaret Keane. I have been to the opera, and can’t really say that I enjoyed it (although it was fun to get dressed up and spend lots of money for the ticket [maybe not that part]). But I was almost tempted just by the cover art.

But I succumbed to temptation with this record. What is it? I have no idea because I have never listened to it, I bought it solely based on the cover ($3 at my local thrift shop). Cover art on these old albums was an important part of getting one to pick it up and buy it. With the advent of compact discs, a picture was included, but it was so small as to be irrelevant, and with downloads there is no picture, or a very tiny one. But interestingly enough this shop also carried brand new vinyl of new music, and reprints of some classic rock albums for the hippest of the hipsters to carry off and listen to on their new/antique turntables. Maybe there will always be a place for vinyl (until the next new thing comes along).

Reflections

Fast away the old year passes

Well it’s that time of year again, when one is inundated with recaps of the past year (in case one has forgotten being there). And today I am also giving in to the impulse, but, being literal-minded I am including some of the reflections of things that I photographed over the past year (you do remember how much I like reflections and shadows?).

January, 2021. I was at the local market and I was inspired by how lovely the clouds looked. It must have been quite cold, as I just took the picture by my car. That is the car’s roof reflecting the tree and clouds.

This was in June, when the local art on the street program kicked off. I seem to remember that one could visit each bit of art, and perhaps get a prize (this assumes that one could find a parking place near each of the new pieces). I had decided that this was the only new thing worth seeing (price $80K to buy), and here it is also reflecting the new courthouse addition and jail.

August, and this reflection was taken in my car window. I had gone over to a friend’s to drop off some delicious, perfectly ripe peaches, and there was this lovely peach sky.

October. I adore the reflections in this spot and have photographed it several times over the years. The contrast between the 60’s modernism of this annex and the Victorian splendor of the other is always worth a picture or two.

More October. The real trick of photographing reflections is to avoid having the photographer appear as well. So I was considering this as I lined up the shot of this temporary exhibit of elephant statues.

November. For some reason I was parked on the street. It was a mostly overcast day, but there was this break in the clouds that illuminated a distant quarry on the side of the mountain, and I thought it beautiful. Tis the season for reflections, and this is how I remember it.

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.