Boy Scouts, Gargoyles, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

I wasn’t prepared to find a surprise tucked behind the last row of Bob’s boxes on the shelves in the basement …

Detail: Vintage Boy Scout backpack

Vintage Boy Scout backpack, lesson: “Be Prepared” for anything (especially surprises)

It’s big… did kids really carry these? There’s no knowing now if it was his own backpack or if he just collected it at some point.

Vintage Boy Scout backpack

Vintage Boy Scout backpack – 1950-something?

I’d never thought to wonder whether he’d been a Boy Scout. I don’t remember him talking about it. But, right after the backpack surfaced, I found this.

Astronomy Merit Badge

Get your Astronomy merit badge here…

And the morning after that I found a photo of Grade-School Bob in his scout uniform. Synchronicity strikes. But alas, I’ve already misplaced the scout photo. Since I am temporarily out of proof of that instance of synchronicity, I’ll submit the following instead.  Here’s a photo of Bob’s father that I found the same day. I first met him just before we three took this trip to Paris in the 1980s.

Ted (Bob’s father) with Notre Dame gargoyles — Paris, mid-1980s

Later on my same day of unpacking, this mouse pad showed up (remember mouse pads?).

Mouse Pad - Notre Dame Gargoyle

Do you recognize this face?

Little surprises like this keep me going. And, now there are only a few basement boxes left, then I’m moving on to closets and file cabinets.

Wish me luck on finally finishing?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

Art Museum Eyes, A Jackson Pollock in the Wild? — and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Dense

A walk in Central Park, and one look out across the little lake and into the trees. The branches were dense, with a tracery of white among the dark.  Something started to look familiar.  Here’s a progression…

Central Park, first sight: Trees across the water

Central Park, first glance: Trees across the water

How do you know you may have been spending too much time in art museums? —  Everything looks like a painting. Zooming in…

Central Park: Trees across the water

Central Park: Trees across the water.

And a little closer, it’s getting more abstract…

Life imitating art?

Life Imitating Art?

One more time, adjusting the color balance a bit.

I’m sure it’s just a case of “art museum eyes” on my part, but here’s the painting I thought those trees were channeling. The dense pattern of branches, dark and light, makes a nice allusion to the meandering surface lines in the painting. Or, is it just my art museum eyes tricking me again?

Pollack at MoMA - One Numbber 31

Pollock at MoMA – One Number 31  (photo from MoMA)

How about it, have you seen life imitating art lately?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Dense

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Patina, Qin & Han Dynasty Bronzes at the Met Museum, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: It IS easy Being Green

Home from traveling, I’m catching up on last week’s photo challenge. For green, I’ll take verdigris. If you’re bronze, it’s plenty easy being green. All it takes is time for the “bright bluish-green encrustation or patina” to form by atmospheric oxidation.

This elegant green goose is from the Met Museum show Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties. Don’t you love the way that curly little foot is tucked underneath?

Age of Empire, Qin and Han Dynasties, Bronze Goose

Life-size bronze goose from the Mausoleum of the First Emperor, Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE)

The note on this bronze warrior indicated that the attention to anatomy is characteristic of the work that Alexander the Great introduced to Central Asia, perhaps to the Sythians, in the 4th C. BCE.

Age of Empire, Qin and Han Dynasties, Kneeling Warrior - China or Central Asia, 5th-3rd century BCE.

Kneeling Warrior – China or Central Asia, 5th-3rd century BCE.

Next is a water clock — the note on this piece indicated that it once had lines marking intervals of time, and a gauge that floated on the water.  “As the water drained at a constant rate through a tube at the bottom, the gauge sank steadily, allowing the time to be read at each mark.”

And get this: “Water clocks were kept at every office throughout the empire. Beginning in Qin times, officials were required to note the date and time of all incoming and outgoing correspondence, and to record this information on the documents themselves.”

Age of Empire, Met Museum. Water Clock - Western Han Dynasty, Bronze (206 BC - 9 AD)

Bronze Water Clock – Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – 9 AD)

Thinking of the time it takes bronze to patina, I realized it’s probably not much more than the time it’s taking me to get my house cleared out. Now that I’m home again I’m back on the job, even if am still in that just-back-from-a-trip mode of catching myself thinking about where to stop for coffee.

One more photo — is it sacrilegious to say this beautiful ancient bronze horse reminded me just a little of Donkey from Shrek?

Met Museum - Age of Empires - Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties - Horse and Groom - Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25 - 220)

Horse and Groom – Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25 – 220)

More on the Met Museum exhibition Age of Empires

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Brussels, Art Nouveau, Musical Instruments Museum, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

I’ve been downsizing travel books this week.  They’re some of the hardest to let go, maybe because I equate releasing a travel book with releasing the possibility of going back to a place I loved touring.  This week I listed Rick Steves’ Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp and Ghent on Amazon and it sold by the next morning. I love it that someone is going.

In honor of releasing books, I’ll post some photos from our 2015 trip to Belgium. That’s October 2015, in the days of innocence BB, Before Bombing.

On the first morning there, we walked up to the Musical Instruments Museum.

Brussels Belgium

Brussels, looking up the hill toward MIM, the Musical Instruments Museum…

Brussels Belgium, up the hill toward MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

It’s the one with a tower and a turret, on the left.

Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Art Nouveau splendor: MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Art Nouveau splendor: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments MuseumNow that we’re here, we can go atop —

Art Nouveau: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Here’s a view out from behind those Art Nouveau curves…

This Art Nouveau building was originally the “Old England” shops. It was designed by Paul Saintenoy, built in 1899.

View from atop: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

The view from atop MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

There’s a restaurant up top. Sam had the crème brûlée, and I became a person who takes pictures of our food.Crème brûlée at MIM, Brussels Musical Instruments Museum

Art Nouveau: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

More on MIM: gorgeous elevator and stairwell

Art Nouveau: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Sam checks out the bagpipes… I’m still gaga over the architectural details.

Brussels Belgium, night view

What goes up must go back down the hill. This is a popular view… I love taking pictures of people taking pictures, especially when I can see their phone screens glowing…

Here’s the picture we all took from atop the steps —

Brussels Belgium tourist view

… and now it’s noon on a Wednesday, time for the next photo challenge. Why am I always late with the Weekly Photo Challenge?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

More on MIM, and panoramic photos of the interior

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Hardwood Floor Repairs, Life Imitating Art, and Catching up on the Weekly Photo Challenge: A Good Match

A mistake was made on my dining room floor installation. Then came the next day — a sunny morning, open window blinds, hardwood floors, and work starting again… does this remind you of anything?

Channeling Caillebotte's The Floor Scrapers...

Channeling Caillebotte’s The Floor Scrapers?

I had to bite my tongue to keep from asking them to pose. They were already unhappy with the need to re-do. Still, there was something about the light, the floor color, the figures semi-silhouetted… I hovered and tried to catch them kneeling, but one kneeling pose was all I got.

Channeling Caillebotte's The Floor Scrapers...

Channeling the Floor Scrapers…

I’d never seen The Floor Scrapers until I went to an exhibition that recreated some of the Impressionists’ Salon de Refuses exhibitions. Gustave Caillebotte exhibited The Floor Scrapers with them in 1876.

Gustave Caillebotte: The Floor Scrapers

The real thing – Gustave Caillebotte, The Floor Scrapers (image from Web Gallery of Art)

Is it a good match? Well, maybe not, but it reminded me of how, if we watch closely, life is constantly imitating art.

Have you had an art/life moment lately?

More on the past Weekly Photo Challenge: A Good Match

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American Painting at the High Museum in Atlanta, just a little late for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

There’s a new exhibition opening at the High in Atlanta: Cross Country, the Power of Place in American Art 1915- 1950. Some of these mid-century works are so evocative of solitude that I had to do an extra post to share them. This one could have come straight out of my hometown…

George Ault - Bright Light at Russell's Corners, 1946

George Ault – Bright Light at Russell’s Corners, 1946

Artist John Rogers Cox is from Indiana, but this wheat field would seem familiar to most of us who grew up anywhere in the midwest– it’s the alien-looking cloud I’m worried about.

John Rogers Cox - Wheat Field - 1943

John Rogers Cox – Wheat Field – 1943

“A wheat field has a whispering sound and an awe-inspiring quality like deft music, like an ocean. It gives you a lonely feeling.”  John Rogers Cox in Life Magazine, 1948.

Are you feeling the solitude?

More on Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950 (Feb 12 – May 7, 2017

More on (last week’s) Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

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Warm Winter, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

Nothing contributes to a little outdoor ambience like a 70-degree weekend. Out for a walk last Sunday, I finally stopped to appreciate the design of this raised walkway in Piedmont Park…Raised walkway in Piedmont Park, Atlanta GA

Looking  back, and back again ….

raised-walkway-piedmont-park-atlanta-dsc00029

And here’s a little Atlanta Beltline ambience from Saturday…

Sign painting, restaurant on the Beltline, Atlanta GA

Touching up, sign painting on the Atlanta Beltline: New Year, New Food

And on the home front: outdoor ambience from yesterday. This squirrel found something tasty on the rim of a flower pot in my back yard. This pot-licking went on for several minutes.

squirrel-dsc00054

Or maybe it was some kind of new squirrel-yoga?

squirrel-dsc00046Of course warm days in January can affect our feelings in less positive ways too — waking thoughts of climate change. There’s always a niggling fear beneath the delight with warmer temperatures. But this is the South, so there’s some chance it’s not that unusual. I’m hoping it’s just what we Mid-westerners used to call the “January Thaw”.

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience and the January Thaw

P.S. – what should I be feeding that squirrel?