Monday, July 26, 2010

Art with function

Recently friends of mine had to close their gallery and move away. Before leaving we bartered for each other's art. I am pretty sure I got the better end of the deal on this one. This vase stands about 12" tall and is made of Redwood Burl with one simple copper strip inserted within the natural figuring of the wood. Their work enhances the natural beauty of the wood and the finish is so amazing you just can't keep your hands off of it.
Yesterday my daughter brought me flowers because she said the vase looked too bare:) She chose well...the flowers accent the vase perfectly!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Travels part 3

We live in such a small world now due to technology and my world became just a wee bit smaller when I was able to meet up with the wonderful artist Robin Pedrero whom I had met a year earlier on Twitter. Robin graciously took time out of her busy schedule to play tour guide to me and thankfully we were able to do a few things she had never done so she wasn't too bored:)

First she took me to one of the galleries that shows her work- Gallery 1792. Tommie was fun and I also got a sneak peek at the Red Chair piece they were all working on.

Then we were off for lunch to the Ravenous Pig. I realize that the name may not sound appetizing but the restaurant itself had a wonderful comtemporary setting with some rustic qualities like tin tile ceilings and a brick wall. The food was fresh and eclectic. We both enjoyed our meal while getting to know each other and finding out we had more in common than just our name:)

Our next stop was the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Garden. These gardens are set right on one of the lakes I had just toured so there is a water view as you stroll through the vibrant flowers and sculptures.
Our view as we stepped through the gates into the gardens.
I know that this sculpture is stone but it has such an organic feel to it in color and in it's depiction of leaves.
More statues along the path. He liked to do human forms and busts.
I have always been enamored with the large trees of the south covered with spanish moss. Maybe one too many romance novels as a young girl:)
A close up of the moss from the tree above.
This is heading back to the Museum building. They have different exhibits from time to time.
Next Robin took me to the Maitland Art Center in Maitland, Fl. The grounds are gorgeous and the galleries are set up beautifully. There are additional buildings for classes and artist studios.....I was so envious.
The outdoor gardens contain this chapel where they hold weddings. The gardens are full of beautiful mayan style tile work....I was in love!

This picture is the peaceful garden outside of one of the gallery spaces. It really was a magnificient center. By the end of the day I was on complete beauty overload and my brain was swimming with so many ideas. Robin was a terrific ambassador for her hometown of Orlando and I feel she will be a lifelong art friend.
It felt great to get out of my world for a change of pace and scenery and to do it all with a companion that saw the beauty around us in the same way. On more than one occassion we both said, "look at that" at the same time with the same enthusiasm. This is what I was refering to in my earlier post about sharing the experience. These moments sparked a conversation about color and composition that is one dimensional when I am alone even when the other voices in my head are chiming in...LOL :)
As I drove back to the hotel, I was on the phone and so I pulled the car over to finish my discussion. It was then that I noticed this family of birds...I don't know what they are but it was sweet to watch the three of them. At first the mom was with the baby in the shade and then they all wandered off together pecking through the grass as they went.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Travels part 2

On my travels I snapped over 200 photos. Since it isn't feasible to share all here, you will have to survive with these peeks into other worlds. Hopefully they will be enough to wet your appetite so that these destinations go on your bucket list. I firmly believe everyone should have one of these lists. Of course I am a list maker by nature and even when everything on the list doesn't get done, I still feel a wonderful rush and sense of accomplishment for the items that get crossed off. Even though I can now cross off the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I wouldn't mind putting it back on the list:)
After we walked under the sign from yesterday's post, we were in the village of Hogsmeade complete with a Butter Beer Keg, wonky chimneys, and the turrets of Hogwart's rising over the rooftops in the distance.
I have been asked what Butter Beer tastes like. I really enjoyed it even though I found it very very sweet. Imagine butterscotch candy in liquid form topped with this wonderfully buttery sweet cream to represent the foam of a beer. It was terrific on a hot day:) They also sold Pumpkin Juice and as a lover of just about everything pumpkin, I had to try that too. It tasted like pumpkin pie in juice form. I liked it but again too sweet to drink a lot of.
While we stood in line at the castle for the BIG ride we were walked through various parts of the castle. The first being the greenhouse where they took their classes for Herbology, I believe. This is a picture of Caged Mandrakes. When you look closely you can see their little eyes just above the soil. As I said yesterday, I relished in the attention to detail of the whole experience.
Here we waited in a portrait hall with 30-40 foot ceilings. There were even openings to other places...who knows where they lead. There were 4 (digital) portraits of the Namesakes of the four Houses that carried on a running dialogue as you stood in line. There were many areas where there were moving pictures and you had to pay attention or miss something.
Here is a close up of one of the store fronts. This is SPINTWITCHES Sporting Needs. I took this close up for the snitch that hangs in front of the shop. Their window display had the trunk that contained all the balls and it was jumping around as the balls tried to escape. The bookstore had moving pictures of Lockhart in little frames along with copies of all of his books. The music shop had music sheets flying around behind it's windows. You couldn't go into all of these shops but they were so much fun to study.
My next adventure was to the town of Winter Park, Fl.
It was the first time in probably 20+ years that I had been completely alone while somewhere else. I was very intimidated at first but was prepared with a list of places to see thanks to QA member Pat Schaer. I began at the Morse Museum where the majority of Tiffany glass is displayed. You would think it would be easy to be alone when surrounded by so much beauty but I really love to share experiences. I wish my mom had been with me so we could ooh and aah together over all the shiny stuff:) We tease that we are like magpies. A couple of times I found myself jumping into others' experience by commenting on something we were all looking at. I knew I needed to stop that, feel and see the art around me, and learn to be alone in the moment. Eventually I just stared at each peace in amazement. The quality and creativity of this artist in that time was just stunning. I didn't realize how prolific he was and the variety of mediums he pursued. I was on creativity overload when I walked out the door.
Lunch was at a terrific Turkish restaurant named Bosphorous in the downtown area. I had never had Turkish food before and I was not disappointed. The Chicken Adana came with julienned carrots, pickled beets and red cabbage, and dilled onions. I truly enjoy savory dishes like this. I have never walked into a restaurant and been asked, "table for one?"....a little daunting but the food made up for that!
Then I was off for a boat tour around the lakes of Winter Park. Yes, I said lakeS. I wondered how that would work and soon found out they are connected by these quaint canals where you feel like you are on a jungle cruise.
Of course all the lakes are bordered by glorious mansions. Love the boat house with this mansion below.
Here is a picture of one of the canals and one of the 'boat' garages that line the canals.
The landscaping of the house below is so exotic feeling...can I just move into the boat/guest house?????
I can't even imagine vacationing somewhere like this let alone living there everyday....but it is fun to dream:) Can I add that to my bucket list?
Stay tuned for tomorrows travels to a sculpture garden........

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Travels part 1

Last month I had an opportunity to travel to Orlando, Florida. While there I forced my husband to go to Universal to see the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter . I knew this was terrible timing being the height of tourist season and only one week after opening but that little voice of warning was quickly squashed because I knew this would be my only chance to go. We would never make a specific trip just to do this. We were piggybacking this onto a business trip and you do what you can.

The tree above is in the first section of Universal-Islands of Adventure. I have never seen such a cool palm tree and am sure this will make it's way into my art at some point. There were many wonderful architectural details that I snapped photos of for inspiration.
The weather was hot and sticky and may have helped in my argument against moving to Florida on our next military transfer (he has always wanted to live there) since he was just as miserable as I was. The lines were excrutiatingly long- 1 1/2 hours just to make it to the picture below....
Welcome to Hogsmeade

The bottom of the sign states: Please Respect the Spell Limits....the 'spells' were moving sooooooo sllloooooow.

Lines and weather aside, the whole place was amazing. I know I am not the only adult to be totally entranced by this fantasy world and being able to walk through areas from the movie was wonderful. The attention to detail was fantastic and inspiring and I so wanted to be able to walk across that bridge in the picture.

I was very happy to be able to walk through the town and have a Butter Beer and be a part of something that has entertained my whole family for a decade now. Then we got on the ride....they did a phenomenal job of putting you into that world via a 4D ride that allowed you to feel like you were flying, and brought you through a few of the frights we have all read about and seen on screen. If the lines had been shorter, I would have ridden this multiple times. There is something to be said about finding your inner child from time to time. She was there with me and we had a ball:)