Sunday, September 26, 2021

Sculpture Garden Near the Sea


I made a new discovery on this recent trip to California, the Newport Beach Sculpture Garden.  It's located directly across from the Newport Beach Civic Center and City Hall.  My friends and I took a walk through the garden to admire the sculptures scattered around.  Above is a sculpture called "Individuality" by artists Dominic Panziera and Daniela Garofalo.  They work under the business name of Arteclettica.  I looked at their site where I found this quote that I immediately fell in love with: "Always remember that you are absolutely unique just like everyone else."

The sculpture to the left is called "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" and it is by Patricia Vader, another creative artist who works a lot with wheels of all shapes and sizes.

The colorful sculpture above is called "Fractured Peace" by Nancy Mooslin. I love all those shapes and colors.

To the right is a sculpture called "Marble Shooter" by Ron Whitacre.  It makes you think of childhood games. 

Apparently, the circle of bunnies above is referred to as "bunnyhenge" by locals.  It is actually there as a whimsical place for children to play.  I read something that said that some people find this circle a bit menacing.  I don't see that at all.  I think it's kind of cute.

To the left is a sculpture called "Talking Heads".  Isn't that a great name?  It's by artist Oleg Lobykin.  He works in both metal and stone and creates some very large objects.

The sculpture to the right is called "Woodpeckers" by Michael McLaughlin.

My friend Julie is admiring Steven Rieman's sculpture called "Chairman of the Board.  

At the top of hill I found this sculpture of former president and California native, Ronald Reagan.  I read that this sculpture has been located in several places around Orange County before being moved to the sculpture garden.

Behind the very first photo in this series you get a glimpse of this blue bridge. This blue railed bridge spans a large arroyo in the wetland where this park is located.  This area is close to the beach so the ground is sandy and hilly.  There are paths to follow through the garden so that you can locate all the sculptures.

I'm glad I found this place.  I'll add it to my list of places to visit whenever I'm in California.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Green House

Every year when I go to California, I plan a visit to Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona Del Mar. It's a beautiful garden and for the last few years, they've been featuring some kind of art exhibit.  This year's exhibit is called greenHOUSE and is described as "Lavish living rooms with a botanical twist".  

Above and to the right is the dining room all set for a large dinner party.

Here is the study with it's bookcase and comfortable chair.

The parlor was enjoying some time in the bright sunlight.

There was even a lavatory. 

It was fun exhibit and it was all created by the Sherman Garden's own horticulture team.  

They did a great job.  It was fun to wander the garden and discover the different rooms.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Send In the Clowns


Running Cars

Just last week, I finally got to travel again to California and the areas of Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.  As I usually do when I visit this area I made a trip to the Laguna Beach Art Museum once again.  It's a small art museum but I've found over the years that they have some fantastic exhibits.  They specialize in California artists and I've learned about some very talented painters and sculptors by viewing some of their wonderful exhibits.  This trip was no exception because I was introduced to Wayne Thiebaud whose more commercial work I recognized immediately.  However this show was dedicated to paintings he's done over the past seven years and the subject is all about clowns.

Dancing Clowns

What makes these works even more special is that Mr. Thiebaud is 101 years old!  Back when he was a boy growing up in Long Beach California, he sometimes helped out behind the scenes at Ringling Brothers Circus in exchange for tickets.  He became fascinated with the costumes, faces and antics of the clowns and these paintings almost 90 years later are based on those memories.

Suspended Clown Cars

Clown in Silvered Wig

Mr, Thiebaud's early career was as an animator and cartoonist.  He is a celebrated artist most known for his depictions of cakes, desserts and candies.  Take a look at this Google search and I'll bet you will recognize his distinctive style and an image or two.

Clown on Fire

Clown Behind Bars

Clown Rescue

In 1962, an exhibition of his work consisting of the cakes, ice creams and desserts was made in New York City and the show got rave reviews making his name known in art worlds and giving him a solid footing as an artist.

Clown and Beast

Clown with Suitcase

Also included in the exhibit was this self portrait of the artist.  He looks like a very happy-go-lucky fellow with a great sense of humor.  I'm so glad I got to see this collection of his works.  I was smiling the whole time I was viewing this show.  Reading that he was born in 1920, also put me in awe of his continuing talent and work.  There are not too many centenarian artists around.

Sunday, September 5, 2021



Several years ago, I was on a road trip in Southern Arizona when I came upon this small town of Patagonia.  It's a very small place with a population of around 900.  The town is about 18 miles from the Mexican border and a little over an hour's drive south of Tucson.  Above is the historic train depot for Patagonia.  As you can see, the train no longer stops here.

For such a small place, I found lots of interesting things to photograph.  These two doors caught my eye.

This two story, adobe brick building was also of interest.  I haven't seen many adobe buildings that are two stories tall.  

This colorful gate made a very appealing photograph.  I'm not sure what was behind the gate.  I'm going to assume a house was back there somewhere among all those trees.  

I stopped in to a little cafe to get some lunch.  It was the only cafe in town and everyone else in the cafe all knew each other.  Even the sheriff stopped in and visited with some other guests.  I was the only stranger in town and I sat quietly and enjoyed my lunch.  

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Through the Decades


I've been to the Grand Canyon many, many times and not just after I moved to Arizona.  I visited the canyon at least twice before I moved to the state.  Above is a scanned slide that dates back to the mid-60's.  I was probably still in school when these were taken on one of our family vacations.

Here is one of my dad posing as he gazes out over the vast expanse of the canyon.  

And here is another shot showing the touring helicopter.  I'm wasn't sure they did these helicopter tours any longer so I checked and sure enough, you can book a ride over and through the canyon if you want.

These next four photos were taken one Thanksgiving Day when I joined my sister and her husband for Thanksgiving dinner at El Tovar Lodge at the Grand Canyon.  

It had been snowing already at the canyon so it was fun for me coming from Phoenix to get a little taste of winter.  There was even enough snow for someone to have made a snowman.

There was so much fog in the air, it was difficult to make out all the different layers the canyon usually displays.  It also gave the canyon a mysterious, shrouded look.

The last time I was at the canyon was a couple of years ago on a very hot day in July.  It was easy to see all the layers and colors of the canyon on that visit.

Standing on the rim and looking into the canyon is a unique experience.  I remember my very first visit, it took a few minutes for my young mind to grasp the sheer size of the place.  In fact, I think my very first, teenage thought was "what's the big deal".  About 30 minutes later I was just as speechless as everyone else staring over the edge.

On this last trip, my dad wasn't around to pose while looking into the canyon.  However I did spot this young lady posing for shot.  I hope that photo turned out well and she keeps it over the years to come.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Sanctuary Hidden in the Desert


I can't believe it's been seven years since I visited St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery.  That visit was both fascinating and inspiring and I am determined to make a return visit.  The monastery is located in the middle of the desert about seventy miles southeast of Phoenix.  In fact on the drive to it one wonders how anything so beautiful could exist in such a harsh environment.  

The monastery consists of one main chapel for daily services and other smaller chapels dedicated to various saints.  The top photo is inside the main chapel.  The photo above shows the grounds from the steps of the chapel.  You might notice that the ladies occupying the benches all have head coverings.  That is a requirement to visit the monastery.  Women must wear loose skirts, long sleeved and high necked blouses and a scarf on the head and around the neck at all times.  Men must wear long pants and long sleeved shirts and their heads must be uncovered at all times.  Sandals and other open toed shoes are not allowed.  Because of these requirements, any visits I make have to be done in the cooler months.  

I posted about my visit to this place in March of 2014. If you click the link you can see the photos I posted at that time.

The architecture of the many chapels on the property is exquisite.  Wandering the grounds provides beautiful views in every direction. 

As you might imagine, visiting this place is very peaceful and relaxing.  The only sounds you hear on the grounds are the chirping of birds.  All of the visitors are respectfully quiet.  

There are nine chapels on the property that serve as shrines for the holy relics of the named saints as well as for smaller services and quiet places to pray.  The saints honored here are:
St. Nicholas
St. George
St. Demetrios
St. Seraphim of Sarov
St. Panteleimon
St. Menas
St. John the Forerunner
The Holy prophet Elias

St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery has become the largest Orthodox Monastery in the Western Hemisphere.

The harsh conditions of the desert environment have not deterred the monastery's growth.  

I hope I can make another visit sometime this coming winter.

Anyone planning a visit to this beautiful place should visit their website for directions and specific requirements of attire.