There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts

10 August 2017

Palacio de Bellas Artes

A random conversation being had in Spanglish leads to me overhearing about a place called "Palacio de Bellas Artes", located somewhere in the historic district of Mexico City.

My only problem was that everywhere in this massive city (one of the ten largest cities in the entire world) seems to be a historic district.

I take a chance and have my cabbie take me to a district where I think this place may be, and I start wandering the streets....I turn a corner and find the building staring at me in ominous fashion...
The artwork and photography displayed inside once again amazes me. More from Diego Rivera and Freda Kahlo, plus many, many other Mexican artists. There is so much beauty inside that I can barely contain my excitement as I try and take it all in.
Come with me on a trip fantastic through the artwork on display during my time in Palacio de Bella Artes.

You won't be disappointed.

04 August 2017

The sculpture gardens of Minneapolis

If you find yourself in the downtown area of Minneapolis with some free time to kill, might I suggest making your way to the Sculpture Gardens. You may just be pleasantly surprised with what you find, and the money that you'll save (it's free).
Minneapolis has a bike rental system like most metropolis's where you can get super cheap transportation. Two dollars later I'm riding through downtown over to the park. The clouds almost seem touchable up here in the North land as they pass over the rising steeples of the Lutheran churches.
I find a bike docking station and make my way to the park. I'm met with a giant colored giraffe and the quintessentially iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry.
The art is quirky, fun and thought provoking all rolled into one artistic burrito. It's the perfect place for families to enjoy the day outside as well as couples in love, the weird and wonderful alike.

I fit in like a lonely princess trying on the perfect glass slipper.
If you are in the area, perhaps you should try the park on for yourself and see what fits you....

27 July 2017

La Casa Azul de Frida Kahlo

This adventure started from the television show "American Pickers", of all places, in which a person had some old furniture that appeared to have belonged to the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

This got my curiosity going, as I was heading to Mexico City in a couple of weeks. I found that her home was now a museum, and one the the top places to see in Mexico City. I wanted to learn more about this artist.
On an early weekday morning my cabdriver drops me off in front of Casa Azul. The vibrant blue walls surrounding the home already have a large line outside, and it is nearly one hour before the place opens. I find that I have plenty of time to relax and reflect as I'll be waiting a few more hours in this line before finally entering Frida's home.
After the madness at the entrance, a calm is found inside amongst the gardens. I start exploring the life of Frida and her husband, Diego Rivera.
The pain of Frida's life from her constant battle with polio and her devastating bus accident as a teenager are on vivid display through her self portraits and artwork.
Her tumultuous relationship with Diego is also on display, as they had married twice, both having multiple affairs, including one in which Diego was sleeping with Frida's sister. The intense love and loss is on full display in Frida and Diego's art.
You also learn about their relationship with Russian author Trotsky, whom was given asylum in Mexico after being banned from Russia. Their relationship with the USA and the world regarding communism, fascism, capitalism and democracy are all eye opening tales that cause one to look at the world from a different angle, a new perspective.

Which I think is one of the greatest gifts that travel and exploration can give.

02 June 2017

Printers Alley

Back in the early days of Nashville, the printing and publishing industry was thriving in the downtown area. Between 3rd and 4th avenues and stretching from Union to Church streets, Printers Alley was born.
Today the work of this industry is only a remembrance in the signs and victorian architecture that still remain. It still has that Bourbon street feel though as you walk along the bars and restaurants. 
I find open art galleries and street singers during my wandering that delight my fancy in the cool Spring of the evening. Hearty beers and crazy women celebrating upcoming wedding nuptials seem to be on Nashville's menu tonight.

I disappear into an old bank building, find a bar stocked with library shelves of old books stacked from floor to ceiling.

I order a moscow mule, then another, finally melting away to the sounds of country music.

29 April 2017

Swashbuckling Spanish Pirates & Muddy Wyld Men

The final weekend of the Arizona Renaissance Festival was here. My Saturday Huzzah was filled with two hilarious shows, the Spanish pirates and the muddy Wyld men.
I've come to really appreciate "live theatre" more than ever before while attending the AZ Renfest. It's truly an art form that stands the test of time, and an artistic gift that these actors pass down to their children, which makes me think their talents have been in their families for generations.

Perhaps going all the way back to the original Renaissance times.
In so many ways these performances showcase the truest and simplest form of entertainment, which makes it all the more real.
and what's not to love about that?

03 April 2017

The Carefree Art & Wine festival

Sunday morning and the television was on the local news. I was sipping coffee and really paying no attention, the sound keeps me company.

I hear about a sand sculpture artist that will be in Carefree, Arizona, working on his newest project. That information alone was enough for me to take a road trip. North of the town of Scottsdale and world away from the hubbub of Phoenix I find the Carefree Art & Wine Festival.
I pay my three dollar entrance fee and am handed a glass of wine to accompany me as I stroll down the art walk.
Local artisans showcase work in different mediums; film, bronze, oil based paints, watercolors, clay....
Local flair and flavor highlight the event, from Southwestern themes to Native American culture...
Carefree represents these artists in fine fashion.

19 March 2017

Shen Yun

Shen Yun means the beauty of divine beings dancing. China's ancient culture is deeply spiritual and based on the idea of harmony among Heaven, Earth and Humankind.

The Chinese Communist Party doctrine however teaches just the opposite, officially atheist, it sees spiritual culture as a threat to its power. For decades it has tried to destroy the ancient heritage, and it nearly succeeded.

In 2006, a group of artists in New York formed Shen Yun and have brought this culture back from the brink of extinction. Shen Yun is not allowed to perform in China, but their message will not be stopped, with five different groups traveling the world simultaneously bringing their message to the world.
The imagery screen on display truly immerses you into the stories unlike anything I've experienced before. You are taken to magical and mystical worlds, as well as given a glimpse into the real world under Communist China.

You also never know what you may see with each show, as no two are alike. This performance gave us a chance to see an amazing soprano opera singer, and a chance to hear Xiaochun Qi play the two string Ehru, or Chinese violin, and the music that came from this instrument still sends chills down my spine.

Become one with Nature, and embody the spirit and message these young performers are giving to the world by carrying out their cultures ancient traditions.

17 December 2016

Santa Fe's Canyon Road

As the winter solstice nears, I aimlessly walk the dark night of Santa Fe. Holiday cheer and luminaries light up the empty streets. It's only 7pm, but most people are already snuggled inside, enjoying wine with loved ones, hot cocoa for the littles.

I find Canyon Road, a street full of artists from around the world that make Santa Fe their home. 
I stumble into a Tibetan art garden, decked out with a Holiday theme among the Buddhist statues and spinning metal wind chimes.
I find the perfect Christmas spirit here as I walk alone up the street, peering into the window displays, gazing for an indeterminate amount of time at the beauty within.
At the top of the street I cut across a small bridge and follow the Santa Fe river back to town. Along the way, I spot something in one of the trees, and slowly make my way for a closer look.

The virgin Mary has been painted onto a stump of a tree branch....
which fittingly signifies everything that was right about this evening.

11 November 2016

The Last Supper

Crop circles formed in front of me as the sun started to set in the Mojave desert. Mosaic couches and broken doll faces are scattered in amongst the tumbleweeds.
The ghosts stand eerily erect for their eternal Last Supper. I walk next to them, touch their white skin, ponder the meaning of the tableau that is somehow perfectly positioned out here.
A colorful artists palette is extended outward, seemingly beckoning me to grab a paintbrush and give life to these haunted and colourless ghosts. I can almost hear their cries in the night wind.
The gas mask is pulled out and strapped on, my own art, if you will, is being shown. I wrap myself in against the figures and rest my head. Lightning pierces the clouds overhead and illuminates the night sky, thunder shouts down it's mighty roar. The broken doll faces turn their eyes towards the heavens in response.
The Belgian artists that came from Europe in 1984 to create this mysterious place of inspiration should know that they have succeeded on every level.

21 November 2015

The Fremont Troll

A light rain was falling as I mapped out the route. Four miles round trip to the proclaimed "center of the universe".

Started by Scandinavian folklore, and characterized as being ferocious and ugly creatures that hid in the shadows and lived off human flesh, I went out to find the Fremont Troll.
The streets are a sweet smell of individual freedom, the pungent aroma of Rastafarian's. Autumn's colorful leaves drape the sidewalk as the rain starts to pick up.

Bright balloons defiantly sway and fly, letting their beauty brighten the day of those passerby's.
I cross the Fremont bridge and crisscross quaint coffee shops and art galleries. People are scarce on an early weekend morning, only runners and those hidden under umbrellas. I take a turn up a side street and see a foreboding shadow looming ahead.
With each step closer I take, the eye of the troll never wavers, staying focused on my approach, as if deciding my fate..
"Fee Fie Foe Fum"

The words rattle and hum as I slowly circle the great Troll. Alas, his benevolent nature allows me to live, and I graciously walk home, letting the rain soak me to the bone.

27 September 2015

an artist's view

I don't fancy myself an artist per say, I just like taking images that I hope are unique and see if they happen to strike a chord within.

Manipulating light and shadows for a dramatic effect, trying to capture thoughts and feelings onto analog film, complete with scratches and imperfections.
Being brave and using Black & White film from conception, not during a post process extraction. I like to see how the images came out in their own naked skin, like a baby from a Mother's womb.
I wonder, will a chord be struck within you?

21 July 2015

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

"A white man opened fire in a historic black church, in Charleston, South Carolina the night of June 17, 2015, killing nine people, including a pastor, during a prayer meeting. "

As I heard this news, I stopped what I was doing and bowed my head in a moment of silence. It's hard to love a country that is so filled with racial hatred.

I found no coincidence in finding the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center later that week along the banks of Ohio river in downtown Cincinnati. Like a moth to a flame, I was drawn to this place.

"We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated."

I come to a section that has artwork that represents "freedom" to the youth of our country today. One of my personal favorites is from Kayla Savage, 10th grader from Michigan :
 Here is her piece:
The diversity of baseball exhibit is yet another example of of how people can come together under the bond of sportsmanship and play through skin deep differences toward a greater goal.

"I raise up my voice not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back."

03 September 2014

Keeper of the Plains

It was a cloudless summer Saturday as I found my way along the banks of the Arkansas river. No real destination in mind, just a few hours to kill before my flight home from a long week of work.

I stumble upon the Keeper of the Plains, a statue built by Native American artist Blackbear Bosin and donated to the city of Wichita in 1974.
You can feel the Great Spirit whirling around in the reeds along the river, in the feathers of the hungry ducks, in the ridges on the rocks.

The circle of life : Water.Fire.Air.Earth.
Who knew that Wichita had this to offer? I was pleasantly surprised.

04 June 2014

the hidden gems of art found in Salinas

It's an adage that holds the test of time.

"you find the most amazing things when you aren't even looking."
The town of Salinas, California, is one you do not find easily off the Interstate. Yet with determination I navigate the lonely streets and empty vegetable and fruit fields to town. It's Memorial Day weekend, and so most businesses are closed so families can enjoy the day together.

One place is open though, the National Steinbeck Center. It is here that I stumble upon the artwork of four generations of Easton.
Think about that for a moment...four generations of artists from the same family. From oil paintings to black and white nude photography, this family covers the gambit.

Between this and the charm, warmth and hospitality of the mostly Hispanic community, my love for Salinas grew quick and fast, as great unadulterated love often does.

18 May 2014

how avoiding Twisters threw me into the new Big O

Sunday night and the wind is violently shaking the hotel windows and snapping tree branches across corn fields and empty streets. I flip on the television before the the power is lost, and see tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings across Kansas and Nebraska.

I pull the bed sheet covers over my head and close my eyes to another sleepless night in Wichita.

The next morning the wind has abated. Driving along the Midwest highway, signs of last night's storm still linger. Driving rain falls without warning, telephone poles are snapped in two and scattered along the road. The remains of a silo is twisted and lays in an empty field. A friends house is struck by lightning, another family's home is completely destroyed by the twister.

It's brutal reminder that Death is random, it can pass you by, or strike with a vengeance.

I move onto Omaha. The ominous clouds threaten more destruction. One watchful eye is on the sky, the other is moving through the city's new, revitalized downtown. Old buildings have been refurbished into art galleries, taking the discarded and turning them into something new, akin to the Twisters.
Rain falls yet I do not seek shelter. There is a part of me that wants to welcome death, to see if Mother Nature has chosen me this time. I sit and patiently watch the clouds.
Death is nothing to be afraid of, it is shown in the sinew muscles of my body, aging with the passing of time. I will capture life the only way I know how, write how I feel, continue on until my time to speak ends.

I love the sculptures and brick mortar of the Midwest.

30 April 2014


Jimmy was just a boy when I first met him in 2009. Shy and working on improving his English, he approached my side, held my hand, and asked me my name. When I told him, he gave me some small bracelets to take home.
" for your Mum".....
Jimmy and I in 2009
Each year since we have become closer, developing a true friendship. He has grown into quite the young man, studious, thoughtful and creative.

His desire is to become a professional photographer. I helped him with a camera last year for him to develop this talent. He has taken the initiative and found free lance work doing what he loves. He is also an artist.
He surprised me last year with a couple of art drawings he made by scratching the wood to outline the picture, then filling in the cracks until he gets the desired effect.
It is a painstaking process he goes through, but the end result is a true piece of art, and something I cherish deeply.
Jimmy Mukundi is almost an adult now, and when I see him in a few weeks we will rekindle our friendship and set goals for the future, which for him is very bright.