Archive for the ‘gardens’ Category

The Garden

May 25, 2017

My tiny vegetable garden is very happy with being watered twice a day.  There are three tomato plants (closeups of the large tomatoes and the cherry tomatoes, which will no doubt ripen when I’m in Berlin next week; the housesitter can enjoy them) and an eggplant in the back.  The cucumber and squash vines completely cover the carrots (which take a long time to grow) and spinach (from which I’m harvesting the largest leaves, leaving the plants to continue producing.  Yesterday I got half a bag for a salad.)  One spinach leaf had a caterpillar encased in what looked like plexiglass on a leaf; I moved that leaf to another part of the yard in case it becomes a beautiful butterfly.

My neighbor was out the other morning (in short shorts – and she’s older than I am!) taking photos of her blooms.  The red birds of paradise (the left is hers, the right is “mine”) look gorgeous, even in front of lavender Texas ranger flowers, about the shade of  “my” purple prickly pear cactus on the right.  But the star of the show was her night-blooming cereus, which hadn’t faded out yet, and blooms only once a year!

Amazing that some plants love the heat.  My bulbine frutescens (a plant from South Africa), sends out long stalks with tiny yellow flowers.

Must mention that I have another pair of mourning doves raising two chicks, farther down the wall from the last dove family.  One of the parents sits patiently on the nest as I water my potted plants under it, but the other flaps noisily out of the nest when I just open the back door!

Summer is here!

Yes, we had one day over 100° a few weeks ago, but yesterday it was 102°, and in another week the serious heat will start; the temps will no doubt be in the 100’s for months. The rest of you in the northern hemisphere may start summer on June 20, but we start with those 100° temperatures!

Looks like Berlin’s not going to be as cool as I had hoped.  (Going with the Contemporary Art Society – CAS – from the Tucson Museum of Art -TMA.)  However, my daughter got me a tiny umbrella (something we rarely use here in the desert) for Mother’s Day, which fits in my purse, so I’m set for Tuesday and Friday.

In the Pink

April 21, 2017

Palo verdes are still flowering, but the desert ironwood (top) that I pass every day on my way to work or the Y is in gorgeous bloom.  And the almost-dead desert willow in my side yard, which I severely trimmed, with the help of my son-in-law and his chainsaw, is in bloom, although not as dramatic.

Critters

I love the view from my computer.

A common kingsnake just glided along my fence, on the inside.  Don’t know how it got in, but it kept testing the welded wire along the fence, so I figured it wanted to get out.  Opened the gate and edged it along with a rake handle.  It then slithered away into the desert in those S-shaped curves.  By the 4½ inches  between the posts, it appeared to be three feet long.

Yesterday it was a bobcat, a wriggling quail in its mouth, which stopped at my fence to peer in.  I did not go outside to take these photos, as it would have disappeared.  (The snake just became stationary.)  I had thought a couple of quail had nested under a huge Texas ranger in the side yard a week ago, as whenever I went out the gate, in a rapid flurry, one flew out.  But the next day it didn’t happen, and there were a few feathers about.  I couldn’t figure what had gotten the bird until I saw the bobcat.  It could have easily jumped the fence.

Taxes

I got some money back on my taxes – enough to pay the accountant!

But let’s consider tax reform.  How about if we had no deductions? (This list mostly from Five Tax Deductions that Favor the Rich1.)  No charitable-giving deduction.  If you want to give your Picasso to the art museum, do it, just don’t deduct it.  Same goes for your church, or UNICEF, or your kid’s school.  If you believe in it, donate to it.  (Bill and Melinda Gates do, although they have gotten a small tax break, they could probably do find without it.  From 1994 to 2006, Bill and Melinda gave the foundation more than $26 billion. Those donations resulted in a tax savings of less than 8.3 percent of the contributions they made over that time.2) Long-term capital gains, which derive from the sale of investments such as stocks and bonds held for more than a year, are taxed at 15 percent.  They should be taxed as part of your income.  Eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, which encourages people to scrape more of our biome (a large naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat) to build large houses, thus making our earth less habitable.  No deductions for children.  If people want to have children, they should pay for them.  The government already provides schools.  No deduction for yourself or whomever you care for, as head of household.

No

  • State sales taxes. …
  • Reinvested dividends. …
  • Out-of-pocket charitable contributions. …
  • Student loan interest paid by Mom and Dad. …
  • Moving expense to take first job. …
  • Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. …
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) …
  • State tax you paid last spring. …
  • Refinancing mortgage points. …
  • Jury pay paid to employer. …3

(I don’t consider tax-deferred retirement plans a deduction, as you end up having to pay tax on the money when you take it out.)

Then everyone who makes at least $31,200 (52 weeks of 40 hours at a logical minimum age of $15/ hr, married or not, old or young, dependents or not) pays 20%.

So for Trump’s 2005 return where

According to the Form 1040, Mr. Trump paid $36.6 million in federal income taxes on $152.7 million in reported income in 2005, or 24 percent…  Significantly helping matters back in 2005 was the fact he reported a $103.2 million loss that year…4

Without his deduction of losses, he’d pay on $152.7M + $103.2M = $255.9M, of which 20% is $51.18M.

Sure, that would hurt me.  I’d be paying almost 4 times what I paid, as an old person with deductions.  (But I wouldn’t have to pay an accountant.)  However, if that happened to everyone, we could take a bite out of the national debt, which is presently $20.1 trillion5.  Kay Bell in 8 tax breaks that cost Uncle Sam big money says that there’s a $4 trillion giveaway in tax breaks.6

I have a feeling that most of my friends will disagree with this proposal…

1http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2011/12/07/five-tax-deductions-that-favor-rich.html
2http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Who-We-Are/General-Information/Foundation-FAQ
3https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Tax-Deductions-and-Credits/The-10-Most-Overlooked-Tax-Deductions/INF12062.html
4http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trumps-tax-return-leaked-rachel-maddow-what-accountants-think-alternative-minimum-tax/
5https://www.google.com/search?q=national+debt+today.&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
6http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/8-tax-breaks-cost-uncle-sam-big-money-1.aspx#ixzz4eqKyTARS

Easter 2017

April 17, 2017

Dyed eggs with my three grandchildren.  It’s trite, but they do grow up so fast!

Spring Flowers

Some of the palo verdes in the wash behind my house have turned yellow.  One of mine is now in flower.  The tiny backyard is looking beautiful.  A friend gave me a yucca and two prickly pear cuttings to fill in around the huge barrel cactus and rocks (see photo).


I think the quail have nested under a large Texas ranger in the side yard.  “Dad” was patrolling along the wall.

There is 18″ of 1/4” welded wire wrapped around the backyard wrought iron fence, and I assumed, when I planted a vegetable garden in a corner of the yard, that no rodents would get in.  Then I spied a rabbit, frantically trying to get out, until he realized that I was watching him through the window, and he froze. When I went out to open the gate to shoo him out, he was gone, and a dent in the top of one section of the welded wire.  He was so scared that he didn’t eat anything!

 

I enjoy seeing neighbors’ yards in bloom when I walk to the mailbox.  My next-door neighbor has this cactus in a pot, where it’s happily blossoming in fuchsia.  Orange flowers on a cactus down the street.  And this purple prickly pear is squeezed between an ocotillo and a saguaro.  My own prickly pear flowers.

 

Art

Can’t remember what I was looking for when I found Erwin Wurm’s One-Minute Sculptures on the Net. Check out all three websites – there are lots more.

 

http://publicdelivery.org/erwin-wurm-one-minute-sculptures/
http://www.stuk.be/en/one-minute-sculptures
http://sculpture.artapsu.com/?p=1581

Smoke Bomb Photos

Then I somehow got into these smoke bomb photos.  Above, by Julie SmithAviphile, “Lover of Birds.”

And this one: Se me escapan las ideas by Marina Gondra
http://marinagondra.com/

But that’s enough for tonight. http://myportraithub.com/smoke-bomb-photography/  And you can google for hundreds more…

Equal Pay Day

March 24, 2017

The next Equal Pay Day is Tuesday, April 4, 2017. This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.1

I just got this email from the American Association of University Women:

April 4 is Equal Pay Day, and to mark this powerful day of action AAUW is offering a discounted introductory membership rate of just $21, of which $19 is tax deductible.
Right now the pay gap is so wide and closing so slowly that women will have to wait 135 years to receive equal pay. If we don’t step up now, the gender pay gap won’t close until the year 2152! I know you think that’s unacceptable, so please join.

This link has my code for your discount:
https://ww2.aauw.org/national-join/?appealcode=D17CEL1003A

Seen This Month

A woman driving a small silver BMW convertible with the top down, a tiny gold glitter Mickey Mouse cap at the top of its aerial.  It is cool and threatening rain yesterday, but a few days ago, when the weather was in the 90’s, I also saw two other convertibles with their tops down.

Then there was the young man leaving the Y with his two-year-old daughter on his arm, explaining why the car in the parking lot had no roof.  Why doesn’t it have a roof? He replied, So the wind can blow through your hair.

A dove made a typically flimsy nest near my kitchen window.  It laid two eggs and now has two young’uns.

I’ve been here a month and the lizards are just coming back into the yard.  The previous renters had a dog and the lizards have just figured out that the dog’s no longer a threat.

Lambert Lane, my east/west artery, is closed for three months, to widen it from two lanes to four.  But before they closed it, we were driving 25 mph as construction workers played in the dirt on each side, scraping away any plant life, moving dirt, concreting a hillside, and so on.  Was checking out a house right next to the construction – three coyotes were on the steep driveway, checking out something in the lot further on.  Usually when you see three together, it’s a mother and two pups.  These pups were well-grown.

There were a few items in this “new” house that had not been cleaned in a while.  One was the small storage shed.  Found, in addition to all of the screens that had fallen off the windows (’cause they had been velcroed on, and the velco had dried up), three desiccated pack rats, what looked like a mother and her pups.  Plus all of the stuff they had chewed up, along with the droppings.  Yuck!  (No – I did not take a photo, but here is one of my potted flowers, grass, and herbs, very happy to have morning sun.)

STILLNESS

The Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery, at the Pima College West Campus, had a showing which ended at the beginning of this month, STILLNESS. Our Contemporary Art Society went to the reception.  I love these descriptions from the Tucson Weekly.  (My photos were just taken with my phone.)

Kate Breakey, an internationally known photographer, lives in the desert outside Tucson. She makes gorgeous photos of desert moons and of the ocean waters of her native Australia, but most often, as she does here, she zeroes in on lifeless animals.

Constantly trying out new media, this time she has used waxy encaustic paint and pencil atop the black-and-white archival digital prints of her new series, Taxonomy of Memory, a wall-full of 34 works. The encaustics add a creamy texture to her views of the desert’s dead… a vermillion flycatcher…  She lays out small corpses that she finds on trails, and makes haunting pictures of them, blowing them up to grand proportions. As she writes, “A thing fills with exactly the radiance you accord it.”

Colin Blakely, newish head of the UA School of Art—he started in 2015—makes his community debut with an elegant suite of landscape photos…  Blakely’s “Yosemite Valley” is after an 1875 oil by Bierstadt, who painted Yosemite over and over. Both painters helped mythologize the monumental landscapes of the new American nation; in their art of the sublime, the grandeur of a thundering waterfall or a soaring western peak suggested the greatness of America.

Blakely contends that these mythical place exist in some ways only in “our collective cultural imagination.” To “disrupt” those familiar landscapes, he switches the medium from classic oils to archival pigment prints spit out by a computer printers. He ratchets up or tones down the color, and even shifts some elements in the compositions.

…a fairytale forest of golden trees.  In this dazzling installation by Sean-Paul Pluguez, no fewer than 100 “trees” are lined up neatly, row on row, planted into low birch platforms. Bending slightly, as real trees do, they curve upward toward an imagined sky, reaching about six feet into the air.

The trees are actually grape stakes, rough wooden posts that normally would be used to hold up grape vines in a vineyard. But they’ve been transformed by glimmering 24-carat gold leaf, painstakingly applied by the artist over the course of a year. The gold catches the light, and it’s thick and textured, dipping into hollows in the stakes or pushing outwards into lines and patterns.

“The Genetically Modified Forest” is a thing of beauty—who can resist the allure of gold?—but it carries a warning. The stakes are sharp and pointed at the top. And as many fairytale heroines have found, all that glitters is not really gold.

As Pluguez notes in an artist statement, the piece “speaks of man’s limited abilities to deal with his own planet.” We may think we can clear-cut our real forests with impunity or that we can dump coal dust into our streams, a practice lately authorized by our new leaders in Washington.

We can’t disobey the laws of nature for long. When we pollute our rivers, we lose our drinking water, and when we ax our trees, we lose their life-giving abilities to filter out carbon dioxide from the air and provide us with oxygen. A pretty fake forest is no substitute for a real one.

Even so, Pluguez’s meditative installation is a paean to the beauty and stillness of the natural world, properly preserved. It’s the anchor for a group show about nature aptly called Stillness; all four of its artists create a sense of calm in works that cover landscape, animals and the human body.2

1https://www.pay-equity.org/day.html
2http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/all-that-glitters/Content?oid=7599592

Labor Day 2016

September 11, 2016

My daughter’s family and I were going to have a picnic on the back of Mt. Lemmon, at the Peppersauce Canyon picnic grounds.  The elevation is 4,000 feet, so this northeastern corner of the Santa Catalina greenMountains is definitely an escape from 100-degree heat, even without the forest. Beautiful sycamore trees (18 feet and more in circumference and up to 40 feet tall!1) there, with lots of shade.

But my youngest grandson was sick (germs from the jumping castle at the birthday party he went to yesterday?), with grey circles under his eyes, so he slept all day, we had our picnic lunch inside at my daughter’s, as the high was 102°, then spent the day in the pool, peppersauce-entrancealthough the water was “chilly” (below 80°).

When my children were young,  we went to Peppersauce Cave, a mile and a half up the road from the camp. It is just upstream from a stone bridge and has its own dramatic appeal1. The cave is not lovely, like Colossal Cave, which is beautiful.  (I would highly recommend it.)  You have to crawl through a small opening (photo from the Net, with opening circled in red), and the cave is pitch black, and muddy.  No marvelous looking stalactites and stalagmites, just mud and rooms to explore.  The kids loved it, but we had to have a change of clothes to get back into the car afterwards.

Next Day

Hurricane Newton was supposed to sweep up from Mexico with 75 mph winds and two months of rain in hours.  Not a drop.  But dark clouds billowed in from the west, covered the sky, and ate the mountains.  Nothing past the flat landscape of low trees but grey.  If it had been green you’d have thought that a movie was being made and the background hadn’t been added in yet.  Then a cliff poked out from the clouds and you realized, the mountains are BIG!

The view cut off reminded me of staying in an apartment my brother had rented in San Francisco, before he had a wife and kids.  It was on the second floor, and the windows looked out to a ventilation shaft, with facing windows about six feet away; most rain didn’t even penetrate.  You had no idea what the weather was like (this way before cell phones), and SF’s weather varies greatly from day to day.  So I had to run downstairs and out the front door to see if the sun were shining or if it was cold.

Day After That

Early morning (4 am?) I woke to the light patter of rain on the skylights.  Most of the day there was a mist we used to call Hawaiian mist (in Hawaii), or light rain, more like Michigan than our summer monsoons.  Good for our plants, which need daily watering in our hot, hot, hot weather, but not lasting in the sand this housing development is built upon.  (If I had been planting the garden, I’d have dug huge holes in the sand and filled them with topsoil before planting.)

My Desert

Antelope-squirrelA chipmunk in my yard this morning, but we call them Harris’s antelope squirrels.  Rarely see one in Tucson.  He was cornered (and really cute), so I had to herd him out under the gate (which may be how he got in).  I, of course, didn’t think first to grab my camera.  The photo and this from the Desert Museum’s web site2:

  • It is not unusual to see these squirrels in a plant such as barrel cactus eating the fruit. It is not know how they avoid the sharp spines of the cactus.
  • These squirrels practice what is known as “heat dumping“. When their body temperature reaches its upper limits they will get into a cool shady spot and lay down spread-eagle with their belly pressed against the cool ground. This releases the heat from its body to help cool the animal down.

1http://tucsoncitizen.com/morgue/2007/07/16/57157-it-s-cool-shady-in-peppersauce-canyon/
2https://www.desertmuseum.org/kids/oz/long-fact-sheets/Harris’s%20Antelope%20ground%20Squirrel.php

Pause from Politics

June 30, 2015

OK, a few notes on Tucson’s weather and wildlife.

The monsoons started a few days ago.  No deluge at my house, but, being able to see the whole basin that is Tucson, surrounded by mountains, I could see rain in the northeast corner of town at one point, the northwest corner at another.  This morning a few sprinkles as I drove to work – not enough for the windshield wipers, but enough to bring the humidity up to 57%, such a nice contrast to the desert sun baking all of the moisture out of one’s body.   Even though I am now visibly sweating when outside, veggie garden 006the cloud cover keeps the temperature down, and the sun at bay.  (It still is supposed to reach 102° today.)  The humidity has encouraged the native whitethorn acacia to produce its little yellow balls, which pass for flowers.

This morning a large roadrunner dashed across the yard.  It must have been after a lizard; they often pose for me.  Yesterday a sole javelina peeked around the wall, peering longingly at my vegetable garden when I was in the shower.  The evening before, washing dishes, I enjoyed the site of a deer posing under the mesquite tree.

The cicadas were trilling like crazy when I left work yesterday, but only crickets chirped in my yard.  I noticed that cicadas get louder when you approach – since there are so many of them you can’t find an individual one by noise.  Crickets, by contrast, stop chirping as you move towards them.  I read the description of cicadas in Wikipedia1, and found out that they create their “song” differently than crickets.  (Read up on it if you’re interested.)

garden
Speaking of my vegetable garden, I had a couple of Japanese eggplants and miniature red bells from the garden for dinner last night (barbequed with Italian peppers and red LaSoda potatoes from the CSA).  The green bell pepper and full-sized tomato that are not covered by leaves have sunburn.  The cherry tomatoes are halfway to ripe.  Finished the spinach the other night.  It had bolted.

Because I had planted sage (the culinary herb, not the desert variety, bursage, which is not edible and has nasty burrs) in my vegetable garden this year instead of in my herbal pot on the deck by the kitchen, it is deliriously happy with all of the root room, so I guess I need to deep-fry a bunch of leaves, as I learned in my cooking class it Italy many years ago.

Salvia Fritta ~ Choose large, very fresh leaves for this recipe. Either offer them along with a nice glass of red wine, or use as a garnish for grilled meats or seafood.meats or seafood.meats or seafood.2

This just in (June 30, 5:45 pm): Just as I was pulling into my garage I heard crashes.  Then I saw the hailstones, 1″ in diameter, bouncing into my garage, pelting the front of my house at a 45° angle, and the assault started – I thought they’d break a window!  It was over in 10 minutes, and the hailstones melted fast on the hot driveway.  Luckily my potted plants are in the back of the house, so they didn’t get ripped to shreds.  But the fig vine climbing up veggie garden 010the front of the house, and the agapanthus took it badly.

In the vegetable garden the peppers, eggplant, and sage were close enough to the wall to be sheltered, but my volunteer sunflowers and tomatoes, which I had photographed just hours earlier, were partially shredded, and two sunflower heads and three cherry tomatoes on the ground.

Watching

Because my TV is broken (the cable connection), I watch a lot of DVD’s.

CumberbatchI was watching an old PBS, To the Ends of the Earth, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.  I remembered him as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, but forgot the others, so googled.  He is so versatile!  He’s played a good guy, a bad guy, a dragon.  He played Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness3:

Khan in 2259
Gender:           Male
Species:          Human Augment
Affiliation:        Section 31
Rank:              Commander
Occupation:     Agent
Status:            In Stasis (2259)
Born:               mid-20th century
Marital Status:  Single

smaugand of course, Sherlock.  But Smaug!  How could he play Smaug, a dragon from Lord of the Rings.  Googled and found these two great video.  You must see!  (This first is one of many.)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1  Then this one is just funny – watch it through to the end (and ignore the annoying commercial at the beginning).  http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/509747/smaug

The captain of the ship in To the Ends of the Earth looked familiar, so I googled Jared Harris.  Ah yes, has been Lane Pryce in Mad Men.

And To the Ends of the Earth was based on William Golding’s trilogy.  He was…

…best known for his novel Lord of the Flies, he won a Nobel Prize in Literature, and was also awarded the Booker Prize for literature in 1980 for his novel Rites of Passage, the first book in what became his sea trilogy, To the Ends of the Earth.

1https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicada
2http://www.italianfoodforever.com/2008/11/fried-sage-leaves/
3http://en.memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/John_Harrison

Tucson Art

June 10, 2015

Last Saturday went to two art events.  First, to the Davis Dominguez Gallery1 for a reception for Small Things Considered.  Great show – you must see it (May 7-June 27)!  These are just a few of the over 80 artists represented.

Below, a cunningly framed photographic print by Regina Heitzer-Momaday and the next by Carrie Seid,  silk stretched over copper, which she bends into curves. Her description (emphasis mine) follows:

The pieces are constructed using a hardwood base, cut and formed sheet metals (copper, brass and aluminum), and silk. The metal forms an understructure which supports a stretched layer of silk. Modulated color (in the form of under-painting or dyed silk) is sometimes used to enhance depth, structure and dimension. The additional step of oiling the fabric “skin” creates various degrees of translucence, allowing the outer layer to be visually penetrable – a watercolor rendered in three dimensions.

art & birds 013

art & birds 011A marvelous dish of clay by Gary Benna.  (You must click on it to see the detail of the bodies in the center.)  Oil on paper by Danielle Neibling.

art & birds 017dance 001
My absolute favorite, Golden Doves on Cholla Ribs by Thomas Kerrigan, done in clay!  And this bronze jackrabbit by Mark Rossi. You may have seen his javelina in the entry to the Desert Museum.

art & birds 019art & birds 023

One of my favorite artists, Gail Marcus Orlen, has done this oil (which includes the bird), and one of our CAS members, Barbara Jo, has created More Filipinos Than Fish (photographed in front of handwoven linen by another CAS member, Claire Campbell Park; both women taught at Pima).

art & birds 025art & birds 027

An oil by another CAS member, Moira Geoffrion, from a photo which she took when we were in Venice, and cast glass by Katja Fritzsche, whose studio we (CAS) had recently visited2.

art & birds 037

art & birds 031

Another piece of art that I wish I could afford, this Nest by Phil Lichtenhan in metal with ceramic eggs.

dance 005

After that reception a few of us went to the Raices Taller 222 dance 011gallery for a dance performance by ZUZI! Dance4 to conclude the Mujeres, Mujeres, Mujeres exhibit. A snippet from their website:

The Guerrilla Girls5, a women’s artist coalition, has discovered that only 3% of the artists in the Metropolitan Museum’s modern art sections are women and that 90% of the solo exhibitions were of work by white male artists.3

dance 056dance 007The gallery was small, so we squished against the walls to allow the dancers room.  This woman’s tats were distinctive.

Crazy Weather

Tucson has had unusual weather this June.  May was beautiful, with high temperatures 78°-83°, then you blinked, and while your eyes were closed, it was 93°, and when the blink was finished, in June, it was 103°.  Reminded me a a young child playing hopscotch, jumping over the squares with stones in them.  Last week we got a bit of rain and the temperatures abated slightly (to the 90’s).  Night before last another splatter of rain (if you scratch the dirt, you can see the dampness is flycatcher 009only 1/8” thick) and it has “cooled” to the high 80’s.

A month and a half ago the palo verdes had bloomed6.  With this unusual rain they’re blooming again.  And my agapanthus look great.

agapanthus
flycatcher 001Mating Season

Birds crash into my windows at this time of the year because their brains aren’t fully functional during mating season.  And I have a flycatcher who has been attacking his reflection in the window for a few days.  Same reason.

 

1http://davisdominguez.com/
2https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/art-and-the-desert/
3www.raicestaller222.org/CurrentExhibition.htm
4http://www.zuzimoveit.org/dancecompany/upcomingshows.html
5http://www.guerrillagirls.com/
6https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/earth-day/

Art and the Desert

May 28, 2015

A week and a half ago TMA’s CAS (Tucson Museum of Art’s Contemporary Art Society) visited The Barrio Collection, the glass studio of Katja Fritzsche1 and her husband, Danny Perkins, who recently moved from the Seattle area, Whidbey Island.  Pilchuck Glass School2, where Danny was a guest lecturer, is right there.bobcat + purple 007

Danny Perkins is considered by critics to be one of the most innovative glass artists working today. His works are considered to be masterworks of contemporary sculpture. Each of Perkin’s pieces demonstrates his great skill in the use of both color and form. Perkins consistently translates his unique vision into great art.

Perkin’s glass art is represented in major public and private collections in the United States, Europe and Asia including:
* National Museum of American Art, Renwick Gallery, Washington DC
* Corning Museum of Art, Corning, NY
* Oakland Museum of Art, Oakland,CA3

My photo shows two of his huge glass works flanking one of his paintings.  This photo doesn’t really show off the glass.  See the Duane Reed Gallery web page for marvelous photos4.

Katja does cast glass, much in the same way I did bronze in the lost wax class I took. (See my blogs from a year ago re the lost wax process.4)  Her present work is influenced by Sumi-e.

glass 003glass 010glass 002In the first photo you can see the wax bird and the plaster cast, in the second a wax composition on plywood, in the third, a finished work, the light shining through the glass.

Bobcat

bobcat + purple 016

The large bobcat visited early the morning of Memorial Day, before I had even made my coffee.  My cat acts as a pointer; although she doesn’t hold her tail upright and lift her right paw, when she comes to attention, I check out what has appeared in the yard.  This bobcat came into the yard from the back and rested on the bridge over the small wash in the yard, behind the rosemary, so I couldn’t get a photo.  Then it took off, muscles rippling, and I rushed to the guest bedroom for this shot unfortunately in shade.

young bobcat 009Then in the evening the cat perked up again – a very young bobcat walked onto the bedroom patio.  I slid off the bed and started to take photos.  When it finally turned towards us, it didn’t even bother looking at me  (it acted as though I, with camera, was just a piece of furniture) but its eyes got large looking at my cat with her hair sticking up and her tail poofed up.  Then my cat started growling, and the small bobcat slunk out of the yard.

young bobcat 012young bobcat 013

 

Blooming, May 24, 2015

bobcat + purple 019

bobcat + purple 021The Mexican primroses are joyfully flowering pink, the texas rangers, happy with the increased humidity we had last week (and that tiny bit of rain),  have burst out in their dark violet blossoms.  The gaillardias add a nice touch of red-orange to my wildflowers.

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And some blue flowers volunteered in my vegetable bobcat + purple 024garden, so I dug them up (along with a couple of the volunteer snapdragons) and put them in a pot on the bedroom patio. I think they’re veronicas.  Maybe I had bought some for a pot years ago, and the seeds got into my compost.

Birds

I haven’t seen the western screech owl that my neighbor says lives in his yard, but I hear the call after dark.  (This web site has the call: http://www.owlinstitute.org/western-screech-owl.html)

It’s mating season and the birds aren’t thinking right.  A goldfinch bounced off my kitchen door, but it was still alive, just woozy, so I put it on a twig in the acacia tree.

bobcat + purple 014This one (a house sparrow?) didn’t make it.  It had smacked into the bedroom sliding door, where I do not have those decals which reflect ultraviolet sunlight. (This ultraviolet light is invisible to humans, but glows like a stoplight for birds.)  I have decals on my kitchen windows and the windows for the living and dining rooms.

1http://www.katjafritzsche.com/
2http://www.pilchuck.com/
3http://www.glassart.net/artists/perkins/
4http://www.duanereedgallery.com/Artists%20Pages/Perkins/perkins.html
5https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/wax/

Earth Day

April 22, 2015

Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which day events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.

earth dayIf you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.  -Carl Sagan.

I shall celebrate Earth Day by looking at flowers, contemplating national parks, and appreciating the wild animals around me.

The desert continues to bloom beautifully.  The brittlebush which edge the roads are finished with their yellow blossoms, but the palo verdes have taken over.  The Desert Museum palo verde that I have in front is a dud.  Don’t buy one!  Here are the palo verdes down the street:

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But even though my palo verde is a dud, the blackfoot daisies, yellow lantana, and aloes are blooming attractively out front.

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Today I braked for a roadrunner; yesterday it was quail.  Neither bird likes to fly.  The roadrunner loped across the road; the quail skittered.  And there was a coyote checking out my yard outside the fence this morning.  Have not seen any bobcats, deer, or javelina recently.

The White House blog is following Earth Day: This morning, the President is heading to the Florida Everglades along with Bill Nye the Science Guy and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. 
https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/04/22/follow-along-earth-day-2015

Yosemite

John Muir’s birthday was yesterday.  I remember “meeting” him.  We had taken the kids to Yosemite many years ago, and the theater there had a one-man show, an actor playing John Muir.  Excellent.  But even better was the same actor, in character, giving Yosemite tours during the day, pointing out spots “he” liked, talking about “his” cabin and the rattlesnake which lived under it.  Marvelous!

The naturalist John Muir is so closely associated with Yosemite National Park—after all, he helped draw up its proposed boundaries in 1889, wrote the magazine articles that led to its creation in 1890 and co-founded the Sierra Club in 1892 to protect it…1

john muir

1http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/john-muirs-yosemite-10737/?no-ist

The Cost of Beauty

March 2, 2015

rita hayworthThis week in my Scandalous Females in Film class at the U we’re studying Rita Hayworth.  She was born Margarita Carmen Cansino, of an English mother and a father who was a Spanish classical dancer.

To anglicise her, her first name was abbreviated and she took her mother’s maiden name, but the electrolysis was the worst.  This is from a journal article we read: Being Rita Hayworth: labor, identity, and Hollywood stardom by Adrienne McLean:

hayworth
The half-moon eyebrows were all the rage then.  My mother plucked hers too (she lived in LA and wanted to look like the movie stars), and they never grew back.

In a previous week we read in an article that, In the United States more money is spent on beauty than on education or social services.  (Can’t remember which article; this quote from the NY Times1.)

We watched the movie Gilda, 1946, supposedly Hayworth’s best.  She had learned dancing as a kid and Fred Astaire, who co-starred with her in two movies, said in his autobiography that she was his favorite dancing partner.  Life magazine called her The Great American Love Goddess.  She was married five times and had a rainchild each by Orson Welles and Prince Aly Khan.

Rain

It’s pouring outside, and there’s a science lecture at the U tonight.  Bet they’ll be a bunch of empty seats.  Think that instead of parking at my friends’ house six blocks away and walking, I’ll cough up the $4 to park in the Tyndall Avenue garage, only a block away.

Also a 1932 film, based on a short story by  W. Somerset Maugham that I had read years ago, with Joan Crawford, another scandalous woman.

Blooming

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My feathery cassia hedge is in bloom, about two weeks behind the rest of the city.  The quail love my wildflowers out back.

Kehinde Wiley

kehinde wiley
Raphaël_-_Les_Trois_GrâcesAt the end of January the Sunday New York Times had an article on Kehinde Wiley and his giant portraits and I realized that the collectors we had visited in Phoenix2 had a huge Kehinde Wiley taking up an entire wall, similar to this one, and I tried to get my head around it.  Now I understand.  This one is based on Raphael’s The Three Graces.

He is known for vibrant, photo-based portraits of young black men (and occasionally women)… their images mashed up with rococo-style frills and empowering poses culled from art history.3

This is a show at the Smithsonian, and you can tell how large the paintings are by the size of the people.

smithsonian
Here, a portrait of Ice T based on Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne by Ingres.

napoleon Ice TNapoleon_on_his_Imperial_throne
1http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/e/etcoff-prettiest.html
2https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/phoenix-art-2015
3http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/01/arts/design/kehinde-wiley-puts-a-classical-spin-on-his-contemporary-subjects.html?_r=0