Thursday, June 29, 2017

He's Ready for His Close-Up


Mr. Mallard was kind enough to stay perfectly still while took this close-up shot of him as he sat at the edge of the fountain in the Scottsdale Civic Center Park.


His friend on the other hand, jumped in the water and swam away.  He doesn't know I got the shot anyway.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Casa Blanca Style Living


There is a place in Scottsdale where you can live like a sultan if you want.  This condo complex known as Casa Blanca has a long history in the area.  It was built in the 1920's as a home for the Donald Kellogg family and in the late 1940's it was converted into a corporate retreat for the Warner Borg Company.


In the 1950's it opened to the public as the Casa Blanca Inn and it remained a resort all the way through the 1970's.  That's how I remember it.  I would sometimes go there just to use the buildings as a background for photos.


Today, the whole complex has been turned into condominiums and some of them are quite unique.  Several years ago I got to visit two of them that happened to be on a home tour sponsored by a non-profit organization.  I actually got to visit the home with the huge dome over the top of it.


Unfortunately, the day of that home tour was a chilly and rainy day so when I tried to take photos of the exterior, all that white just blended in with the misty sky.  So, a few weeks ago I went back to get some photos with blue sky.

Back when it was a resort, there was a restaurant there called "The Sultan's Table".  I sure wish I would have gotten a chance to experience it.  It just sounds like a place I would have loved.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Surprise Inside


Continuing from yesterday's post, we started the home tour in the kitchen/family room.  Everything was sleek and modern with cabinets that had no handles but opened to the touch, a stove top that disappeared into the counter and a refrigerator that looked just like the cabinetry.


It was all very sleek and modern looking.

We toured the master bedroom and bath and both were just as modern looking as the this area.  Then the salesman encouraged us to check out the lower level.  We didn't even know the place had a lower level.
























The lower level had a theatre style entertainment room with a wet bar.


And, a big surprise, the garage!  On the lower level!  
We knew we were in trouble when we saw this room and realized that the garage operated as an elevator.  You drove in at ground level, push a button and go down to the lower level.  In addition to this phenomenon, there were three more bedrooms each with it's own bath and a lovely wine storage facility that you can see a tiny corner of to the far left.  There was even a small elevator to take people down to this area in case you didn't want to use the stairs.  So how much does all this luxury cost?  $3,595,000.00!  Obviously, we were way out of our price range. 

I have to admit, the house had some pretty amazing features and decor but really, why do you need your garage to be an elevator?  Are there people out there who want to look at their cars while entertaining guests?  And, what happens if the power goes out and your car is on the lower level?  So many questions.  It boggles the mind! 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Little Did We Know


I filed these photos away and then forgot all about them.  Last January, I went with friends to look at some houses.  One of my friends was looking for a new place to live and we started looking at all the places near where she was thinking of moving.  We stopped at this brand new development for a look at their models.  This single story house was the only model on display.  We stepped inside and boy were we surprised.  Tomorrow I'll show you the inside and tell you how much these were selling for.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mountainside Homes


Yesterday I mentioned driving around the mountainous streets of Paradise Valley, today I'll show you a few of the mountain side homes I spotted on my drive.  This one was perched high with no other houses overlooking it.


This one also has a high perch and so far no other homes have been built above it.  It makes me wonder if the land above is preserve land of if it just hasn't been built on yet.


This one has a rather grand looking entrance and gate and I do love that round tower in the background.


This one has a pueblo style to it that I quite like for this desert setting and those trees along the driveway give it just a touch of Tuscan styling.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I have some more adventures in the Andes Mountains.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Urban Mountainside Drive


Where I live in Phoenix is only a short distance from the city's border with the town of Paradise Valley and the town of Paradise Valley sits in a pocket of mountains between the north side of Camelback Mountain and the east edge of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.  Last Sunday, I took a drive around some Paradise Valley "mountain" streets that twist and turn along the northern edge of the town.  I was on roads I'd never been on before so I had a great time exploring.  I found this house with a tropical look and with a pretty cool looking truck sitting in the driveway.


I also saw this house with six garages!  Good heavens, how many garages does one family need?  Maybe Jay Leno owns this place.  He has a bit of an obsession with cars.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Allan Houser Inside the Museum


That last time I was at the Heard Museum, I found two Allan Houser pieces that I had never seen before.  They are located on a second floor landing and since its a staircase I seldom use, I hadn't noticed these pieces.  This one is a bronze wall hanging called "We will soon be home".


The top photo focused just on the bronze itself.  This view will give you an idea of it's size. 


On an adjoining wall was this piece called "Ancient Chant" and it is also bronze.  

They are both wonderful pieces and small enough that they could hang in a home.  

Thursday, June 22, 2017

What's For Dessert?


I was at my friends Julie & Dave's house last weekend and dessert was this fantastic fruit tart.  It tasted as good as it looks!  I'm kind of wishing I had a piece right now!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Shadow Play


I've been meaning to get a photo of this functional art piece near downtown Phoenix for a while now and I got a chance to take some shots from my car not long ago when I was stopped for a traffic light.  It's situated on a traffic island that divides the street so it's not easy to get to.  It's called Shadow Play and it's the work of artist Meejin Yoon.


The artist calls these cloud-like structures that create shade at the hottest time of the day.  Given that we are experiencing some excessive heat warnings this week, shade is a good thing.  The "clouds" are coated with a heat resistant paint and also allows the easy removal of graffiti.  That sounds very smart to me.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Facelift


While I was downtown locating "Melinda" the mural of yesterday, I noticed that the Renaissance hotel has gotten a bit of a facelift.  Remember when In posted a similar scene a few years back?  I'm not sure I like this new "white" face.  It will take some getting used to.


Here's a full view.  It blended in with it's neighbors when it was that southwestern sandy tan.  Oh well, I guess that's progress!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Melinda

There is a new mural in downtown Phoenix.  It's just gone up in the alley behind the Renaissance Hotel.  It's called "Melinda" in honor of the woman who inspired Melinda's Alley, a speakeasy style bar in the basement of the hotel.

I've never been there but according to several reviews, it's fun place to visit.

The rest of mural depicts what this corner used to look like 100 years ago.  It is the work of Darrin Armijo-Wardle and Hugo Medina.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

This Car is Green


I saw this car in the parking lot of my local Whole Foods grocery store.  In case you can't read the message, it says "The carbon emissions from this car are absorbed by a seawater forest growing in Sonora Mexico"  I tried the "seawaterfoundation.org" web site listed at the bottom of of the message but, all I get is a holding spot for a web site.  I'm curious about his one!

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  It's about a climb into the Andes.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Color on Gold


One last painting from my last visit to the Phoenix Art Museum.  This piece caught my eye the minute I saw it.  It reminds me so much of something that Frank Lloyd Wright might have designed.  It's a painting by Gabriel Orozco and it's called Samurai Tree 2 H.  It's done in tempura and burnished gold leaf.  I love it!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Old Friend, New Location


This spectacular painting by Paul Pletka has had a place of honor in a large gallery in the museum for many years.  Recently, the museum put together a special show called "Border Crossings" and brought together many works that represent a cultural conversation between Mexico and the United States.  Paul Pletka's masterpiece entitled "Nuestro SeƱor el Desollado (Our Lord, the One Who is Flayed)" is the star of the exhibit. The painting is a done in brilliant acrylic paint on canvas and every inch of it masterfully painted.


The painting depicts a mix of Mexican and Spanish Colonial images with pre-Columbian heritage as well as a mix of contemporary Mexican-American culture.

There are so many things to look at in this painting that it's hard to see it all.

For example if you look closely at the priests robe you can actually see the threads in the embroidery.  And, speaking of the embroidery, notice the juxtaposition between the two panels on the robe.  One shows missionaries preaching to the Aztecs in front of a cross, the second scene shows conquistadors stabbing those same Aztecs.







The large crowd of worshiping people are all dressed in a variety of attire ranging from historic and native costumes  to contemporary clothing.


And the artist, Paul Pletka painted himself in the painting as one of the onlookers.  It's one of those paintings you can look at over and over again and always see something new and interesting.  It deserves to be the focal point of this exhibit that makes a friendly handshake with our Mexican friends across the border.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Art that Inspires


Here are two more art pieces from the exhibit I saw last weekend.  Both of these artists were also grant winners for their works.  The one above is called Biophilia (leaves) by Mary Meyer.  I like this one.


This one isn't for decorating the home but for making a point.  It's called The Impermanence of Forests by Bryan David Griffith, the same artist who did the "smoke circles" I featured two days ago.  Since we have several forest fires going on in the state right now, this one makes an important statement.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Flag Day


I'm taking a little break from the intriguing art because today is flag day in the U.S. so it only seems appropriate that I offer up a flag.  I created the artistic framework for a little added pizzaz.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Art That Make You Wonder


The artist I featured yesterday (Patricia Sannit) received her award for a sustained degree of excellence and commitment.  There were five other artists recognized by the group and awarded grants for their efforts.  One that intrigued me were these pieces by Bryan David Griffith.


According to the information, these three panels were named Discover (top), Convection (middle) and Encompass (bottom).


The description of the art medium used is as follows:  "petroleum smoke accumulated in encaustic beeswax on wood panels."  What??  I have no idea how these were created.  That certainly gave me something to ponder.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Art That Makes you Think


I escaped the house on Saturday after a week of nursing a terrible cold and visited the Phoenix Art Museum.  Every time I go there is something new to see and admire.  I happened upon an exhibit of the art of Patricia Sannit, the winner of the 2016 Arlene & Morton Scult Contemporary Forum Artist Award.  (I've feature work of Patricia Sannit before here.)


Her art piece is called "Rise Fall Rise" and it's described this way:  "The culmination of a process that began last year in which the artist began connecting her practice to unfolding political and cultural events."  Ms. Sannit is an artist and instructor at Phoenix College who uses clay and other materials to explore connections within our shared humanity.



She created these head forms that contain oblique references to specific events.

I spent a lot of time studying the forms to try to see if I could decipher the meanings.

This one makes me think of an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh.























This one definitely makes me think of the horrible acts of violence happing all over the world.

































This one looks like someone willing to say anything to further his own agenda.
































And this last one made me chuckle a bit.  I think it looks like a certain leader of the free world when he gets caught in the wind.

I'm probably way off base on all my interpretations but, the important thing is, it makes me think.

The artist says that "Rise Fall Rise plays with notions of the 'anti-monument' and chance to exemplify a collective vulnerability in challenging times."

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Hibiscus


A week ago I posted some photos of some young ducklings posing for photos at the Japanese Friendship Garden.  I totally forgot that I also had these photos of the Chinese Hibiscus in full bloom.  There were loads of blooms on the plants so I took a few shots.


Wouldn't a handful of these lovely blooms make a gorgeous bouquet?

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm talking a walk through a very quiet Tuscan village.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Crane Woman, Heron & Turtle


Here are two more sculptures from the Heard Museum sculpture garden.  These two are tricky to photograph with the glass behind them.


I tried it from two different angles.  The sculpture on the left is called Crane Woman and the one on the right is called Heron and Turtle.  You can see the heron is standing on the turtle in the top photo.  Both of these pieces are by John Hoover.


After taking a photo of them from the garden, I went inside the museum to take a shot through the glass and the sun screen.


After I snapped the first shot, these two walked up to admire the sculptures so I snapped them to.  After I took these two shots, I thought they'd probably get deleted but, I kind of like that filtered look.