February 18, 2014
Look at that grumpy guy. I interrupted his reading. We were supposed to meet Jim’s friend, Bill Dob, but that fell through so we again enjoyed the weather and the park. I walked the two miles in 30 minutes at the recreation center with the Leslie Sansone video. I like it. It also gives some upper body movements that are beneficial and definitely gets your heart pumping.
This park is really beautiful with so many palm trees. Painting them will be a challenge but I took 40 pictures of palm trees yesterday with that idea in mind.
And this morning, I’m blogging on my new system 7 computer. I spent several hours learning the difference between the old one and the new one. This computer has programs that came free with the computer, some interesting stuff that I explored as well.
The palms have such individual character when you really look at them.
My friend Pam says you have to think of them as living beings, which they are.
Today is laundry day, and packing to return to Murphys. We move to within range of the airport at Ontario tomorrow. Hope we have a signal.
February 11, 2014
I love art and have always been a wanna-be artist. Pam at one time taught art and offered to give me two lessons. She said, pick a picture you like and I’ll teach you. I’m always attracted to paintings of people, so she suggested I choose from one of the homeless people pictures I took. I have a homeless brother and I tend to do that wherever I am.
I took two the day we were downtown Palms Springs, but, they make me sad. We considered could I turn my interest into a political statement by painting homeless people? No, the pictures make the statement. I want to paint something happy and beautiful.
I like my bird picture I took.
I thought the saxophonist made for a fairly simple people painting.
Among people photos, this is the one I liked best, the woman taking a picture of her friend modeling a hat.
Hedging the bet, I chose a simple desert scene as probably an easier place to start.
The night before my lesson she said think of the tree of life, your life. And see if you can look around and find 20 different shades of green. I thought maybe I could do some palm trees and mountains. When in the desert paint desert pictures, that kind of mentality that I’ve heard from various artists over the years.
She loaned me a book on color charts.
In my long ago past, (early 60′s) I tried painting with oils and it was enjoyable, but not very successful. Recently, I tried a papier mache’ sculpture and couldn’t understand how to use acrylic paints and gave up and put the thing in a box.
After talking it over, she decided I should paint on a student canvas a person, not a tree, not a desert scene. We chose a picture of her’s of a little boy. He has a long way to go, but the palette board for acrylics is very different. The brushes, too. I learned gobs and came away energized. I’ll try and finish this painting today, or at least get it in better proportion. Not only did I get a lesson, but lunch.
Pam made this killer soup with mushrooms, peppers, chicken breast and fennel sausage with a small amount of noodles. Delish.
On a different note: In the morning, Jim and I walked the park, looking to find my bike, both of us knowing that this is a park full of mature people, unlikely that we would find our bike lurking under someone’s canopy. It was our morning exercise anyway, and we learned from talking to people we met that bike theft is very common in this park, especially men’s bikes, which mine was. It seems, the thieves jump the fence, choose an unguarded bike, and ride out through the gate. The next weekend it will be for sale at a flea market. We went to find a White Sheet, (sales paper) but it didn’t list flea markets. We might try a regular newspaper today. But, I’ve mentally given up the idea that I might find that bike. There must be 300 in our park alone. And, another 70 parks like ours. It is probably a very lucrative business.
February 5, 2014
The “slabs” is called a city because it was one for about 5,000 people at one time. Now, it serves as home to about 200 people, and for them, it is their city. Amenities include a place of worship.
A few businesses. The Mechanic, Linda, the news editor, and solar Mike are old timers of 25 years or so.
Various clubs regularly meet and/or stop at the slabs. Loners On Wheels, Jim’s former club, the WINS, Travel’n Pals. Leo, who we came to see, left early. He told us most of his friends from the Oasis Club are gone. In his early eighties, the newcomers and he don’t have much in common.
There is a free shoe shop and a pile of free clothing should you be in need.
A coffee house, organic espresso near the library.
The library hasn’t changed much.
I donated a couple of books. They have a two-seater cafe inside, now.
In the morning, after we learned that Leo was okay, we took a walk past the pet cemetery.
I didn’t count them, but there is probably 150 graves here. And a lot of love.
We took the same walk we would have taken with Leo and his dogs, had he been here, out by the pits. The first time I visited the slabs, these huge cement bunkers were plain concrete, now all graffittied, and people live inside of them. There are three huge ones like this one.
Whoever lives here roofed over and has an outdoor toilet and septic system and a garden on the right nearby.
One thing Randy complained about and Jim, too, is that Slab City has failed to do something about trash. Gathering it and making trash art is not a complete solution.
But Sandi Andrews has built it into her mud wall. She is allowing it to dry thoroughly.
This is her mud oven where she cooks as much as she can without fuel.
This is her God phone. It helps to have a sense of humor.
She makes her living off of her art work. She has two signs, this one is an effigy of herself.
Her paintings are soft and flowing. She showed me her technique and how she works.
I liked her work and bought a painting. Her work can be described as happy. She worked as a gold miner for seven years before settling in at the slabs. She sells CD’s of her mandolin and guitar music.
She has three painted vehicles out front. This is Sandi with “Hannah,” mostly driven by her son. She says, I don’t go much of anywhere. She invited us to share happy hour with her but when Leo wasn’t there, we left early.
We stopped in at Solar Mike’s to have him check our battery set-up.
He adjusted it and we decided not to get another panel. Jim had boondocked for six weeks straight and he was worried about the low voltage. All’s well. Mike says about three people cause 99% of the trash, here. He calls them strippers. We pushed on and spent the night under a starry sky at The Overlook, near Borego Springs.
September 17, 2013
Driving from Kelispell to Libby yesterday morning brought us through 9 miles of road work much of it really, bumpy gravel.
Elevation rises, more trees and stump farms with scraggly second or third growth. One plot had about 3 scraggly trees and nothing but stumps. This is lumber country obviously and the twigs we see everywhere that pass for trees is disheartening even if it is private land.
Libby is called the City of Eagles. We didn’t see any flying around or nesting spots along the roadway, but there were plenty of them around town.
We had expected to see the Museum and Nordic Heritage Center, but it was closed.
We missed by one day the Nordic Heritage Days annual celebration. This sign was left on the street. We pulled in to stay at the VFW in town and just walked the downtown area and took pictures.
I judge the health of a small town by its art or lack of it, good beer, buildings that are well cared for and if you see a nice child care center, a drug treatment center, senior center, plenty of doctors offices, a hospital and good looking schools you know you are in a progressive community. Libby qualifies. The main street was only about four blocks long and two blocks deep, but it was full of murals and they are expensive.
They still have a working theater in town. Nice.
The Libby Cafe claims to have the best huckleberry flapjacks in Montana. I liked their sign.
This one too.
Libby has an Amtrak Station so you can get where you want to go. Country living, small town, pretty nice place to live.
September 1, 2013
After a gorgeous sunrise in Superior…one of the loveliest things about living on the road, we see the sun go down each night and the sun rise each morning. We left Superior, WI about nine, crossed this unique curving bridge into the State of Minnesota right at Duluth, and parked practically in an alley in Grand Rapids, MN. In fact, we are parked between signs, one reads, No Overnight Parking and another Overnight Parking Violators will be towed at owners expense. We actually got permission from a bank manager to park here in our constant hunt for free parking. Thank you Wells Fargo.
We are parked in “Old Town” Grand Rapids. Old fashioned light posts, beautifully festooned with flower baskets so full I could reach then with my nose,though petunias are not particularly fragrant. To the left of this photo is an open lot with a farmers market just closing up as I started my walk about town. I bought delicious cherry tomatoes of every color. My goal was to visit Central School on the corner of 169 South and 2 West. We are beelining for Washington State and sticking tight to Highway 2.
Central School is on the National Register of Historical Places. The wooden central stairway and hardwood floors, are a thing of beauty. Four classrooms upstairs, four downstairs and a basement that once held offices and a cafeteria. The building now rents to shopkeepers, with a bakery, a quilt shop, antiques, quality wood work and jewelry and unique gifts. A lovely stop.
No matter how many times I see this sign, it brings me a chuckle. The other one I like is: “She who dies with the most fabric wins.” I guess you can tell I’m a quilter.
I’d never seen this pattern before. It is called stepping stones. ABC’s of Quilting carries some neat quilt kits along with the usual fabrics and quilting supplies.
The owner of Whispering Woods Gallery displays the work of many artists. These lovely items above are placed on a basswood plinth. He makes furniture, beds, desks, benches and uses various woods including basswood, which is unfamiliar to me.
He demonstrated the cambium layer of bark of the basswood tree because it is known for its strength. He uses it for bucket handles, it can provide rope for a bunk bed, or braided hanging ornaments or lamps. The wood is soft like pine but very strong.
I loved that you can stop here for a game of checkers, another little area is set aside with floor pillows and a children’s reading library. Too fun. You can sit and enjoy a treat from the bakery. Gifts, antiques, old and new items. A lot to offer.
I left the school and directly across the side street was a line-up of nice shops, Hopperton’s Moccasins and gifts. Nice stuff.
MacRostie Art Center where Ashley Kolka was in the process of setting up a new exhibit.
Fine arts, sculpture, jewelry, fine paintings, multiple medas. this chair is exquisite with a price tag to match at $6,000.
Next door, a clothing store with wearable art, bags, shoes, scarves.
At Stained Glass With Class, I asked, “Are you the glass man?” George Berkholz answered: look at my hands, I’m always full of cuts. You really can’t tell, they are more like scratches. He and his wife Lisa work the shop and also host classes. I watched him work for awhile. He cuts glass so fast you can’t get the action with the camera.
He makes some unusual items.
Nice Shop, friendly people.
The Yarn Gallery was my favorite stop, well, a toss up with the wood gallery. The yarns are varied and pretty amazing, but I loved, loved, loved the yarn chair.
I’m goofy about art chairs. I don’t know quite how or why I’ve come across a bunch of objects turned art with yarn. My photos include a yarn bus, a cab, a bench I think an elephant or a giraffe. Too fun! For a quick stop, this was a nice area of Grand Rapids to be in.
August 11, 2013
The Lyme Academy of Art is in the village of Lyme which is typical of what I’ve been seeing here. Neat white houses, white fences, beautiful trees. A lovely, peaceful village. Typically, if you are visiting the coast, you’ll see coastal paintings, boats, seascapes etc. In New England, I expected some neat white houses. An academy has a different perspective. But, I’m ahead of myself. The first gallery is the faculty gallery in which I found the painting above.
The only painting of flowers we saw was also faculty.
It didn’t take long to realize that the human figure is emphasized as a starting point in the academy and that is how it should be.
These two lesson drawings by a student show the intensity of studying every muscle, limb, joint, and gestures and how they interact under clothing.
The students draw from live models. Two student’s paintings of a woman sitting in a chair.
How different they are.
The students are encouraged to each do a self-portrait. This woman discovered her mother in her self-portrait.
This self-portrait was pastel and under glass so the picture has some interfering glare.
Also under glass. They are all so different and quite fascinating to me.
One thing that bothered me about the exhibit was the number of macabre paintings like this: bloody dead bodies, hazmat figures, holocaustic.
Faceless. I find them unpleasant and wonder? Art reflects society, and these are our young people. Is this a reflection of what they subconsciously think about as a future?
This curious painting has so much going on. A woman swimming while pulling a boat with an unfriendly looking chap in the boat. A kid sticking his tongue out at an older woman walking with a cane. The girl behind her maybe assisting the boy with the blanket as though they are ready to toss it over the woman. It makes the viewer question the subject with an angelic figure on an island in the background. It fascinated me as well as puzzled me.
Even this bucolic campsite scene has a woman looking kind of brazen and out-of-place, smoking her cigarette in the woods.
There are a lot of tasteful nudes in the exhibit.
I particularly liked this one.
There were few happy paintings, but this garrulous, fantasy crowd was appealing. We are probably looking at a future children’s book illustrator. Some of the paintings begged the questiion. How are they planning to make a living with their art?
Compared to 2010, when I visited the academy, I guess I would have to say I was disappointed with the new crop of student’s work. I would loved to have had such an opportunity this academy offers. It is a four-year degree program and costs $22,000 to attend for one year.
May 31, 2013
I needed an art fix. The Allentown Art Museum has a wonderful collection of American Art that you can photograph without flash. Perfect. There were some surprises here, because many pieces resemble old European masters. Like this portrait and the ornate frame.
There are many portraits with ornate frames, but I dwell today on pieces that tell a story, like this look like European village scene. It is a set-up of course, but the artist added the characters that might have had a meeting there. And, I love the details.
The local curs attend these gatherings, spoiling for a fight.
And, in a similar vein, the spoils of the hunt and harvest on display with the dogs growling and challenging each other for morsels.
And what are they snarling over? Not meat, with a pig’s head hanging right next to them, but a piece of pumpkin.
And the little pups are already learning the language of snarl and growl to defend their food.
Scenery, for the sake of scenery has to be very special for me to enjoy it. I really liked this snow scene because it brings back pleasant memories of snow from my native Michigan without having to live there and endure the endless cold. The memories of that cold, crisp, clean air with the quiet that snow brings to the woods. Lovely.
The museum had a variety or artifacts, with some clothing…
A beaded purse. These artifacts are high quality, though artful, are still kept to a minimum. You can see those same things in many museums,
The wonderful paintings star, here. This flag touching the ground set up and uproar when this painting was first displayed, and almost got the artist banned.
A zoo lion enjoying a feast is about the closest an American would get to a lion. Those old boy was named Bartholomew and died before the painting was finished. But, isn’t he magnificent?
It covers the ages, from this Pilgrims, a dinner prayer..
…with that detail, of the cat on the steps…
…the years when kids had to work. This shoeshine boy is juggling a shoe brush on his chin to attract customers.
A street urchin with a Jughead hat, praying for a good roll of the dice.
And more modern scenes, of girls visiting on the steps. One with a news paper delivery bag. Perfect detail.
Still life can be informative. Where would we find such a small cabbage with a long stem? We don’t grow our own food for the most part. We take for granted what we have.
A painting of a bad accident is such an unlikely subject, truly American. Today is a travel day, but let it be said that this museum has so much of value. I really enjoyed it. And the museum is so well lit that you hardly ever find glare on your photos. I’ll post more of them down the line.
We went to Fegley’s Brewworks and I have suffered for want of a decent beer these many weeks. Here was a porter so rich and good, it was as good as Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery, my favorite beer. The Waitress took us to their garden setting where giant posters of their special beers line the walls. Insidious Imperial Stout, Always Sunny Pale Ale, Hop Solutely India Pale Ale, won beer of the year. Rude Elf’s Reserve a Belgian style ale. So many choices. It was so good, and the weather so hot, I drank TWO pints of porter. Wow! What a lovely day.
January 16, 2013
Another cold, wet and rainy day. I wanted to see some art and Selena’s memorial. Selena was a young Texas girl who was destined to become the Hispanic Madonna; beautiful voice, talent, an already star-studded singing career at age 23 when she was gunned down by her fan club president. There is a brief story of her life at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selena
I’m not even familiar with her music, but there is a sample of it at the Wikipedia link. I just remember the anguished messages I would read on passing cars after her death, signs painted on their windows. Justice for Selina. We love you Selena. Selena lives. Her fans were heartbroken. I promised myself I will download some of her music someday soon.
The shoreline drive was grey and wet and we stopped into the Art Center of Corpus Christi with their clever motto being: Life Is Short, Art Is Long.
They have several galleries featuring local artists, a nice lunch spot and the exhibits change every month. Quality work, here. One artist, Ty Heintze stood out from the rest. A small charcoal drawing sells for $5,000. He has won many awards. (No pictures allowed in the galleries.)
You can photograph in the student rooms, a huge area featuring middle school and high school artists. I found the most interesting, three portraits made by different students, using a disciplined method of rendering the whole drawing with a finger pressed in ink.
The portraits themselves are quite compelling, but the method is unique, and great practice for students.
Much harder than it looks, as you can imagine.
The art center clay studio was closed this day, but the frame around the gallery was also a treat. Eight inch tiles, each about an inch thick, formed the trim around the door. Each tile done by a different student.
Surprisingly innovative and three dimensional. The Art Center suggests to me that there is a very vibrant arts community in Corpus Christi.
We moved on to The Texas Surf Museum out of curiosity.
It is mostly walls and walls of various surfboards. Various types and styles from the past and present.
I found that surf boards can be as personal as their owners.
The museum is a combination shop and museum about people who love, love, love their sport. There are tender messages, and eulogies to those notables who inspired others and passed.Autographed boards, many,many pictures and three different videos to watch.
The only place you are likely to see a surf board dressed in a shirt and outfitted with a video player. There are three places to watch surfing adventures on video.
This is a meeting,or class, surfboard style.
Surfing can be individual or competitive or just part of a social club.
But the most endearing photos were of disabled and blind adults and kids being guided through the joys of surfing by club members.
The sheer joy on their faces tells the tale.
Avid surfers will enjoy this museum much more than we did. It is a special community. But, the joy in these photos warmed me.
It was a great way to wait out the rain.
And, the shop owner recommended Kikos Mexican restaurant as a family owned, distinctive and delicious place to eat. And, it was. My order was chicken enchildadas with chili gravy, (raw onions came on the side) and a guacamole cup. The chips and salsa were superior, no salt on the chips and the salsa distinctively different, and good. It is located on Everhart St. just blocks off San Padre Island Drive.
You won’t be disappointed.
December 5, 2012
Fish should be fresh but these ceramic fish are downright cheeky. On the phone, Jim talks excitedly about the unique opportunity to take close up deer photos at his current place at Thousand Trails in Texas. I’m bummed because I can’t be there, but I’ve got plane tickets to join him. And, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Jim. (Today we are the same age.) X0X0.
I really love ceramics but traveling as we do, and now, with medical problems and therapy, I have no time for ceramics except to enjoy other people’s. It is even tougher to get pictures of fresh fish, Jim. Your next challenge.
I once had a pond full of goldfish, but the raccoons discovered it and that ended that.
After that octopus and shark video yesterday, these art pieces are just too cute.
November 17, 2012
Mary remains at home in California tending to medical issues. She had successful carotid artery surgery on Wednesday, returned home Thursday and is in the process of recuperation.
The motorhome is parked at VFW Post #1815. I expect to depart later this morning.
Concho Street was the first street in San Angelo, Texas. Yesterday I showed some photos of Concho Street. Here are more and some other nearby alleys…
As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…
Enjoying old historic places is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!
If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…
All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
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