Thursday, July 30, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Here are a few I saw along the way when in Spain, in no particular order or importance. But all featuring green colors. I liked this one with the dog, lazily guarding a shop front. What a relaxed attitude !
More soon, I will be catching up on the weekend. This week has been a whirlwind of work !
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Hi All, moving on tomorrow...leaving UK and bound for Montreal. Another new destination. I continue to collect photos for the photo library and for editing for art compositions.
Meantime, I leave you with a real life practical puzzle of sorts. What is the street number of this house/doorway ?!
Bye now--have a great day. More next post ;)
Sunday, July 12, 2009
And I saw a few things that were expected, lovely old buildings, Eastern Orthodox cathedral, and churches. It was a nice walk and I enjoyed the weather, after being cooped up indoors over meetings and work all day (even if they were very productive).
But one thing I did not expect and found utterly charming--a huge painted egg ! It was in a stand that had a small placard announcing it as the Egg of Happiness. And it did indeed look happy, plus had the ability to cheer a person up instantly. Tell me you would not find this egg a cheerful thing to see, there in the middle of a city, as you walk by along the sidewalk. The placard on the egg's stand said to touch the egg and make a wish to come true. (so I did, as one should take all good karma and luck opportunities one can find in this journey of life). The egg is painted by an artist named Pavel Mitkov, and it stands in front of his Sofia city gallery. Apparently this is the egg of St Paul. The gallery wasn't open when I was by, or I surely would have gone in. His website is found at http://www.mitkov.com/ and you can see his vibrant and colorful paintings there. I liked his work I saw online though (and check out the link on this website to web pages for his Berlin gallery to see more of it, including some nice abstract pieces). I loved the Egg. What a surprise and delightful find amidst so-many-meetings all week.
With that I moved on and traveled to the UK, where I am now. More next post !
Another thing I saw in the town of Aviles was this huge statue that was engraved with the name 'La Monstrua.' I did not write down the rest of the inscription, but perhaps I should have. What I understood is this is a statue in tribute to a lady who may have cut a fearsome figure ! I have posted the profile pic, which shows the scale of this statue. She is a bit scary !
Aviles also has an awesome rainbow bridge, very pretty to see as you drive by.
Speaking of statues, shown below is my favorite seen in Asturias. I was told that years ago these were advertising mascots...but that over time they became popular and there are several in various areas of Spain. This one is overlooking the hill near Aviles. Check out the near by power towers to get a good idea of this guy's scale and size ! I really liked this, it has a certain presence that is very agreeable. As well as amusing too.
Loved the visit in Asturias, what a great place. There is lots more I could say, but for now, hope you enjoy the pics :) See you next post...
Monday, July 6, 2009
So I looked around this town of Aviles in Asturias region of Spain instead. It is a quaint town in the old parts and it is quite pretty. Featuring old terrace buildings and iron balconies, railings, doors, window grates. And old churches and stone buildings. This building to the right was not ancient, but it was very attractive, built in early 20th century as a modern style (for the time ?) palace of a wealthy resident here, it is now the Municipal Conservatory of Music 'Julian Orbon.' It looked quite well looked after too, and perhaps freshly painted. The decorations on the building were very ornate, in subtle muted tonal colors that were very attractive. Building trims in a warm grey midtone, with some mauvey grey colors too. I rather liked this lady with her eau de nil color face, grape leaves and grapes that featured over one of the upper door arches. Many of the windows were covered in interesting (timber ?) rolldown shades as you see underneath the lady's face.
Locals eat lunch around 1 - 230PM here. I have struggled a bit to get adjusted to the timetable that food is served here, and being from another timezone probably did not help. I skipped lunch and took a walk. I had the sketch stuff and also my paint box along. At 230P I found a place to sit and paint. Did that for awhile, nothing too flashy...just some quiet practice painting a few scenes I could see. Watercolors are not my medium of choice, but they are convenient for travel. My skill with them is not strong, I am still learning how to get them to do what I want ! The curiosity of my painting captured a few locals' interest...and they came to see what I had painted (and comment on it too !)
I sat and did my painting under some pretty trees with a dense canopy, like a tall grape arbor (and they may have been grapes if grated on tall growing trees I suppose ?), near a church. The church is called Iglesia de San Nicolas de Bari and was originally a Franciscan convent in the 13th century, and apparently the only building outside the city walls in the Middle Ages. The church has an old bell tower I could see also from my hotel room window, shown at right. And the bell is very loud when it rings, which it did today in the morning, when I was sitting in a sidewalk cafe too near at the time, having some coffee and reading the paper.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Last weekend I was in Lithuania and got to get out and see a bit of the city and surrounds of Vilnius. Here is one of the fabulous old churches in the old part of Vilnius. We were there on a Sunday and did not want to interrupt services in progress, so did not see the inside of this one, but we looked inside one nearby and it was old and had to have been a truly grand sight to see in its former day. The friezes on its ceiling were very faded (and they did not photograph overly well, as no flash was allowed inside).
Below right are a couple more pics of the old part of Vilnius city, on a brilliant sunny day with good warmth too. The city is very pretty and some of the buildings have been re-done like the peach and white panted one here. I am told that now, buildings that are renovated and redone are keeping a small patch of their original exterior somewhere, which is a charming way to be sure that some small piece of the original character is preserved !
I find myself drawn time and again to photograph doorways, gates and also windows on building facades. The gate at left was of an old timber, arranged in nice mitred corners for some good diagonal movement. I really liked this small gate of wrought iron set into it, allowing a view of a patio and garden beyond. The stones on the patio beyond were set in a pattern that carries the eye around too.
We went to a national musueum and saw an exhibition of a Lithuanian painter Mikalajus Konstanias Ciurlionis. Most of his paintings were from early 1900s. He was prolific, even in the course of a short life (died in his mid 30s). The exhibition showed an impressive number of his works (paintings), also sketches and his drawings inspired by and of his musical composing (he did that too, a busy guy !) Photography was not permitted and I don't have anything to show of them from my photos. But I can recommend looking up his work if you are curious, there are some really top notch abstract aspects. I quite liked a series of 8 paintings called Winter, from 1907.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
First, to add to the previous post about my visit to the Forbidden City, on the right is a photo of characteristic and very cute glazed yellow miniature guardian statues of sorts. These guys are found on roof tops, at the corners. Important people apparently had a long line of them guarding the corners of the roof. On each corner too. Their glaze seems to match the bright yellow glazed tiles of the roof tops and the round shapes you see below them are front facing edges of some roof tiles. also glazed yellow, which is quite pretty. These animals' backdrop is a red building. I zoomed the camera lens to get a closer up shot and more detail. I like them, so cute and great detail in them.
And check out the gorgeous detail of the painted eaves of roof tops, left. I thought these were really very beautiful. Bright green and blue against reds. This one looks like on that is older, so colors are a bit faded, some others are freshly revived and renovated with bright and fresh paint. I actually like these faded ones just as well, they have a genuine character I appreciate. The detailed of the door ways and shapes of the painted timber panels is lovely and these are featured on all the Forbidden City temple and pagoda or palace buildings, there are also simpler versions on the garden buildings.
And the following image is a charming one, taken at a lovely little restaurant with a garden patio near a popular park. I liked this for the red bird cage under the tree by the table. It was empty, and I think I prefer it that way, over the alternative ! (though I do find bird cages very pretty things, I like that birds can fly free !). But still, it is very pretty hanging under this lush tree showing good summer foliage.
Despite my choices of charming imagery shown here, I found Beijing to be a very modern looking and behaving city. An amazingly large place too, with a big population, I am told it may be 15 million or more. That is truly astounding to consider and think about. Modern progress has definitely arrived and the service and business is pretty efficient. With much to be proud of for making such a modern city, I also find the old images to be very quaint and charming. While I appreciate the modernity, I really found the rich and traditional colors and designs most inspirational. I hope those remain and thrive.
More soon, next post will be Eastern Europe, a few photos from my visit to Vilnius in Lithuania. Meanwhile my business travel continues, and I am soon to board a flight to Spain, where I will visit an office in the northern part of the country. Hope you will check back and look at my posts about the travel. Bye now :)