Monday, October 17, 2016

Skeletal Remains

I have a neighbor who has apparently lost their mind and believes that any trash you toss off the balcony goes straight to the garbage heap. 

Where it has been going is my porch.

Trash, hair bands, forgotten little toys, plastic cups, miniature marshmallows and on Sunday morning a skeleton. 

A glossy black skeleton. 

Laying on the cold cement, facing my door as though he was watching for me to come to the window or out the door. It is as if some Voodoo is being worked for the benefit of someone else. 

My inspiration this week is the skeleton that still lies on my porch as a warning to others who may decide to send trash and unwanted items out into the great Beyond. 

Enjoy Skeletal Remains.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Isabella l of Castile

Today we celebrate Columbus Day which was a very big deal ages ago when I lived in Columbus Ohio.

Many people are focusing on the Columbus part of this event. But I would like to take a look at Isabella I of Castile.

She was born on the 22nd of April 1451 to John II of Castile and Isabella of Portugal. Isabella became third in line of succession after her brother Alfonso was born.

When her brother Henry ascended the throne her, her mother and Alfonso were banished to Arevalo which was then a remote area of Castile. They were left with little money and basically forgotten. Isabella's mother insisted on educating her two children because the will of GOD was greater than the will of King Henry.

Statue of Isabelle of Castile by Bigarny

Isabella quickly learned the ways of court when Henry moved her to Segovia. She was intelligent, quick witted, deeply religious and artistic. She paid attention to strategy for war, how to compromise, when to give in and when not to. By the time she married Ferdinand she had developed an enormous talent for negotiations.

In 1492 Isabella has agreed to sponsor Christopher Columbus and a year later he returns with gold, natives, and an Island he named San Salvador.

The enslaving of the natives of the Americas was the beginning of the end of Queen Isabella's support of Christopher. In her mind the natives were subjects of the Castilian Crown and therefore could not be enslaved.

In her later years Isabella suffered the loss of children, grandchildren and vowed to wear black the remainder of her life. On 26 November 1504 she died.

This week Isabella I of Castile.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Don Quixote

“...for hope is always born at the same time as love...” 
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote 
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra - Eduardo Balaca

Don't you love this? Don't you wish to believe this? It is true you know... I always started with hope ... but then I always end with hope too. A different hope but hope none the less.

Next week I am going to see Don Quixote. I have loved this character since I was a child and viewed my friends as my Sancho Panza; and since I was a Mother and my children were Sancho Panza and now I am Sancho Panza to one of them.
‘The Adventures of Don Quixote De La Mancha’', illustrated by William Heath Robinson.

I think we are a wee little bit of both of them.

This week enjoy Don Quixote.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Red Tails

Remember I mentioned I was working a Golf Tournament last week. I took my camera just in case I had some interesting or quirky shots I could take. Guess what?

We were chatting with some golfers explaining the rules of the Tiger Drive when we heard a slight commotion in the trees behind us. Alyse went to investigate. It's just a big bird she said. 

After the golfers wheeled off in their carts I went to have a look at the bird to see if it was something I could shoot a photo of.  In the fork of two large branches looking at me looking at him was a huge Red Tail Hawk. I had never been this close to one and I dated the bird handler at a Medieval Times.

I started snapping away and 11 shots later I left him alone. That is until I noticed tufts of black floating to the ground and he was working hard at something. Grabbing the camera I went back in to see what was happening. 

As I looked up a large black feather floated down and landed at my feet. I looked up and he looked down, cocked his head a bit and went back to preparing his meal. A large black Grackle. 

This week enjoy Red Tails.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Golf a Par and Tee

Inspiration this week comes from the fact that today I am working at a Golf Tournament. My Rotary Club (yes, I know my Great Uncles and Great Grandfathers were all very involved in Rotary) is hosting a Tournament today.

René Vincent

Golf is a club and ball sport. It is a progression game and can have 9 holes or 18 holes. Playing all the holes is called a round. Each hole in the course contains a tee box where you hit the ball from and a hole that the ball must end up in. 

Much debate has ensued about the origins of the game. Some say it came from an ancient Roman game and others claim it was created in 15th century Scotland. James II banned golf because more time was spent practicing that than archery. Scotland needed archers not golfers. Mary, Queen of Scots was known to go to France in order to play golf, a game she adored. 

This week enjoy Golf a Par and Tee.

Monday, September 12, 2016


I usually clean my house on Fridays and when that is over the weekend starts. Well, Labor day  weekend was crazy and strange and it never got done. I thought about doing it  during the week.  But.... Last week was all about taking my Mom to her doctor. We had to see her for stress testing and then go back two days later to get the results. My Mother is in extremely good shape. 

I cleaned my house on Saturday. I took my time and put things back in order and rearranged and as I was sweeping the floors, the final chore before I mop, it dawned on me.  I had not planned the art show for this week. As I sat there with no ideas; exhausted yet happy it came to me.

Sweeping. Brooms. What could I find that was about sweeping or brooms that did not involve witches with brooms or witches on brooms. That was my challenge. 

Young Girl with a Broom - Rembrandt van Rijn or possibly Carel Fabritius

This week enjoy.....Sweeps.

Monday, September 5, 2016


Thursday we went on an adventure to Old Tunnel State Park near Fredericksburg Texas.

The tunnel was built for the Fredericksburg and Northern Railway which was a connector line between Fredericksburg and the San Antonio Aransas Pass Railway.  It was in operation from 1913 to 1942.

The tunnel is 920 feet long.  In 1942 after failing to show a profit the railway was terminated and the tracks and rails sold for scrap.

With no activity in the dark confines; Mexican Free-tailed bats 

started moving in and now it is home to over 3 million of them and about 3 thousand Cave Myotis bats.

The tunnel is now under the care of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

May through October you can arrive at the park at about sunset and for a fee a ranger will guide you through an evening of bat emergence. During the day there is a trail to hike and enjoy. If you look through the tunnel you will see hundreds of restless bats moving about.

This week enjoy Bats

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Gentlemen with Glasses

During our Appropriation of Loupgarou in New Orleans #loupgarou we visited the Ogden Museum ofSouthern Art. Why, because we all know Loupgarou are passionate about art.

There are paintings, photographs, drawings and sculptures by artists from Louisiana, Alabama, Texas and several other Southern States.

One painting in particular grabbed my attention. Portrait of a Bespectacled Gentleman by Jean Joseph Vaudechamp 

painted in 1832. 

Why did he not take his glasses off while having his portrait painted? Who was he? What is the Gentleman’s story? Who commissioned the work?  How often had I seen a portrait where a Gentleman wore glasses?

This week enjoy Gentlemen with Glasses

Monday, August 22, 2016

Degas New Orleans

My daughter called me a few weeks ago and tells me we are going to New Orleans. OK!  A friend and I put together a great itinerary on a very helpful web-sight of places we wanted to go, places to eat and things to do. We carefully, or so we thought, planned our three days. 

On the list was to see the Degas house and eat at the little cafe up the street called Cafe Degas. In our excitement we over looked one thing. Neither the house nor the cafe were open on Monday. We tried to rearrange plans but somethings could not be changed so we had our Lyft driver take us by the house. 

In the fall of 1872 Edgar Degas traveled from Paris to New Orleans. He wanted to visit with his mother's Creole family, the Mussons. When he arrived the city was still recovering from the ravages of  the Civil War. He was presented with stark destruction and uncommon beauty from every angle. 

The home of his family was very large and in the 1920s it was divided into two separate homes.

A restoration was completed on the main house and it is open for tours.

Degas in New Orleans

He stayed just 5 months 

Degas in New Orleans
and is known to have created 18 paintings and at least 4 drawings  of his family and their life in New Orleans

This week enjoy Degas New Orleans

Monday, August 8, 2016

Mirror Mirror Here I Stand

Mirror, mirror here I stand.
Who is the fairest in the land?

Wilhelm Grimm wrote this many years ago and it comes from a story we know as Snow White.
It is a German Fairy Tale and was originally called Sneewhittchen and was tale number 53.

There have been several studies done and theories put forth as to the origin of the tale. Was it based on fact or pure fictional imagination.

The “Talking Mirror” at the Spessart Museum in Lohr am Main

I will tell you that in the Spessart Museum in the Lohr Castle is a mirror called The Talking Mirror.

Lohr am Main Spessart-Museum

This mirror is known for its ability to tell the truth. A gift to a new wife who became the step mother of a young girl named Maria Sophia Margarethe Catharina in 1743.

The creator of the mirror was Kurmainzische Spiegelmanufaktur,  Lohr Mirror Manufacture.

This week enjoy what the mirror shows.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Artist's Daughters

I have four daughters. No, I was not trying for a son. 
Let me rephrase. I was gifted with four daughters
They are all very different and yet some are the same.  My oldest and youngest are the more alike and the two in the middle while seeming the same are so vastly different from each other and each sister. 
Sometimes I look at them and wonder "where did you come from? and Whose child are you really?" 
They seem nothing like me yet three of them know more about me, Tamara, the person  than I ever believed could be possible. 
They know how I see my world and they will join me there. They laugh at me and will make fun of me and I have seen them all be fiercely protective of me. 
This week we will take a look at Artist's Daughters.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Earring - Adornment

Exactly what inspired me I am not sure this week but I came across Girl With A Pearl Earring - Johannes Vermeer. 

I got curious about other paintings of people where the story was about the earring.  So I went looking for specifically the word Earring in the title of the work and surprised myself with the number I found in just a short time. 

Vermeer's painting has had several names over the years, Girl In A Turban, Young Girl In  A Turban, Portrait of A Young Girl and a few other. The earring in the painting has even been accused of being a fake. It also makes an appearance in at least 9 other Vermeer Paintings.  But that is all just whispers that increase the mystery and not why I am here today. 

Voltaire said "The ear is the avenue to the heart."  
Jennifer Lopez loves to adorn the avenue. 
This week enjoy .... Earring -  Adornment

Monday, July 18, 2016

Hookah Are Youuu?

Last night we, a few girlfriends and some artist friends went to an event. Henna

and Hookah.
We had wine,
mojitos, food, henna and hookah.
We ate, drank, painted with henna and shared some shisha.

A hookah is a single or multi stemmed instrument for vaporizing and smoking tobacco.
The smoke passes through water in a glass bowl
before inhalation.

In Egypt it is known as a Shisha which translates to glass. In other parts of the Middle East hookah is called argila, hoqqa, nargile, nafas and several other words.

Shahs in Persia and Sultans had staff members whose only duty was to attend to the hookah. The wealthier the person the more elaborate and decorated their hookah was.

This week enjoy Hookah Are Youuu

Monday, July 11, 2016


On our escape from Hades we traveled by signs proclaiming we were entering the Saguaro National Park. We had stopped and examined a few while driving through the Yuma Proving Grounds. 

It is a forest of Saguaros. 

According to a dictionary a forest is: a think cluster of vertical objects 

Well.. that about covered it. There were vertical objects all over with undergrowth, plants  and other  vegetation. A forest. 

Saguaros are found exclusively in the Sonora Desert. We did not see them in Nevada, New Mexico, or Texas.  The older they grow the more likely they are to grow arms. But some never do and though these arms tend to grow upward some grow sideways and wrap themselves around the main trunk. They have protective spines, 

bloom with white flowers in the spring and produce fruit
that is a glorious red and is edible by humans.

                                        Maricopa women gathering saguaro fruits, photo by Edward S. Curtis

Saguaros can live as long as 200 years. They are slow growing. A 15 year old Saguaro may only be 2 inches tall but they can grow as tall as 40 to 60 feet in height. During a good rainy season they can weigh from 3200 to 4800 pounds. 

This week enjoy Saguaro

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Independence Declaration

On July 4th America celebrates Independence Day.  
The day the Declaration was adopted by Congress.  The final copy, after several passages were changed, deleted, and adapted was again presented to Congress on August 2. Most  of the signatures were signed on that day. 5 signed at a later date and 2 members of the Congress did not sign at all. 
There are 56 signatures on the Declaration. 8 of those signers were born in Great Britain. 

One man who signed recanted after months of imprisonment, torture and mistreatment by the British. After he regained his freedom he swore an oath of Allegiance once again. 

The oldest signer was 70
                                             Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Duplessis  

and the youngest was 26. 

             Edward Rutledge - unknown

During World War II  the Declaration was secured at Fort Knox. 

Remember in the movie "National Treasure" Nicholas Cage's character claims there is something written on the back of the Declaration? There is. 


This week enjoy Independence Declaration