The Art of…

…Monet.

Water Lilies by Claude Monet. Photo courtesy of Discover Walks Blog/Matthieu

I’m supposed to be in Paris. Today. I should be there right now. It’s been the plan for 5 years to go to Paris in September of 2020. It’s the year a friend retires (she has) and the year I turn 60 (I will soon), and we were going to celebrate both milestones in Paris. We’ve read every guide book twice or thrice and have well-organized lists of what we want to see, do, and eat. We’ve talked endlessly about the trip, and the promise of it has helped us both through some difficult days. Covid doesn’t care about any of that, though, and so we had to cancel our plans.

This Water Lilies mural by Monet is one of 8 panels that grace 2 rooms at the Musee de L’Orangerie and I was very much looking forward to seeing it in person. Instead, I took a virtual tour today which only increased my desire to actually go there. The tour is nice though, and if you’re interested you can take it yourself. The link for the musuem will take you directly to it. The link for the photo has a nice walking tour if you’re looking for a bit more of Paris.

What Remains After

Because I have so many links about art saved (>200), I’m trying to group them by themes. Today’s theme is abandoned spaces, and although the title seems a bit dark, it’s not a commentary on current events in the world. 

What remains after we are gone? After the life industrial has faded and transformed into its modern, shiny, robotic cousin? (Well, that’s how the moving pictures show it…)

The end of everything? The slow decay of silent things, with no one to witness their passing? The carcasses of once-great buildings, now uncertain in their unstable uselessness and sharp aura of danger? There is potential in these abandoned and lost spaces – but a melancholy potential, the complete opposite of new beginnings, a potential that is meaningless and only full of the possibilities of what could have been, what never was, what never will be. A lot of never will be.

From THE END OF EVERYTHING, by Jan Erik Waider.

Still, what it can be is a whole lot of art.

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More Barcelona

It seems that Giliell’s photos of Barcelona have inspired Opus to share a few pictures of his own.

I was struck by the Sagrada Familia pictures and dove back into my picture files. These are from long before I purchased my first ‘real’ camera, but the nighttime shots of Casa Batlio are still among my favorites. If you need one for the front page I’d suggest Casa Batlio 2, but I’m biased: too much time with this as a child:

Reptiles and Amphibians Familiar American Species

Casa Batlio 2 ©Opus, all rights reserved

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Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 16

It’s time to put away your worries for a while and take a walk with Ice Swimmer. Today we’re going up.

Chapter 16 – Top and Around

Odd Spruce Revisited ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The spruce is odd because it has an even number of crowns. The deciduous trees behind the spruce are hiding the wetland.

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Surrounded by Rocks: An Exploration Series, Chapter 6

It’s time for the next chapter by Nightjar and today we’re looking up to see the vast landscape around us.

Chapter 6 – East Hill: The Views

 

I’m always searching for rocks, fossils, flowers and insects, and often I have to remind myself to look up at the views. But let’s look up from the ground now. The first thing we see are some windmills in ruins. There are several here and they were made with limestone, of course.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

Looking down south we can see the vineyards in their full autumn display and some green fields. The round trees in the foreground and among the vineyards are olive trees. There are still many people here that produce wine and olive oil for their own consumption and to share with family. My family’s vineyard is a little bit more to the right and not shown in the photo.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

On the foothill there is the village’s soccer field. A match was about to start!

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

Let’s look west now. Those houses are the northern part of the village and in the background we can see the West Hill. It looks very different in terms of vegetation density, doesn’t it? Can you guess what those trees are?

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

In the next chapter we will explore the West Hill and see this one from the other side!

Thanks, Nightjar.

A Little Snow

Well, actually a lot of snow. These breathtaking photos are from DavidinOz.

…here are some photos from when I lived in New Zealand. They are from Tekapo in McKenzie Country on the South Island.

1 & 3 are the Church of the Good Shepherd exterior, while No 2 is the view through the window behind the altar. How could anyone listen to a sermon with that view? I am sure they must have drawn a curtain. The last 3 are taken from the top of Mount John, site of an observatory. The sky at Tekapo is so clear it is now listed as a world heritage area to protect it from light pollution.

It is a magical place, one I was pleased to see in all seasons.

Tekapo 1. ©David Brindley, all rights reserved

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Bauska – Part 2

As promised, a quick visit to the old castle in Bauska! Basically it’s a small uneven field of stones surrounded by red brick walls. Its piece de resistance? The old tower still stands and has been fortified for climbing.

Now back in the day (the ’90s), they used the old ruin for an outdoor nighttime performance of Hamlet, and actors were placed on the crumbling walls, making entrances and exits in dramatic lighting (mostly open fire, what can I say) and apparently the show was really something else. Would love to have seen that, alas – I am left only with my imagination, as today’s many, many safety standards would prohibit even the attempt of something similar (and thank goodness for those standards).

Anyway, here’s the soundtrack, and enjoy the bricks!

A peek back to the ‘new’ castle. Watch out, there might be intruders approaching!
©rq, all rights reserved.

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Bauska – Part 1

I have two posts for the town of Bauska – the castle of Bauska (you’ve seen the grand tree out front), actually: Old Bauska and New Bauska. Well, “New” Bauska, since the new castle still dates back to the 17th century, I think. Old Bauska is from the 15th century or so. Since WWII, when it was destroyed with the German retreat, both parts lay in ruins – reconstruction was begun in 2008, and as always, is done mostly by serious and seriously dedicated hobbyists. Strategically located on a peninsula between two rivers, it was geographically convenient for both defense and trade, and is now a wonderful place to spend an afternoon with overactive children, since the territory is perfect for some educational wandering, followed by rambunctious running around in the former park-slash-dendrarium.

We visited at the end of summer, and I was very pleasantly surprised by the tourist-friendly reconstruction – and even more, I was impressed by the craftsmanship that has gone into creating a historically informative experience.

But I think what stays in my memory the most is the amount of light these rooms get – a lot of movies with castles portray them as dark and smoky, with little natural light. Granted, this was summer, full sunlight, and nary a smoky torch to be found. In any case, have a look and bask in the light and craftsmanship of the new Bauska castle:

Courtyard, angle 1 – the brick towers in the background are the remnants of the old castle, saving that for part 2.
©rq, all rights reserved.

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Jack’s Walk

Today you get voyager’s walk without Jack. I was in Toronto over the weekend to visit a friend so I thought I’d share some shots of Front Street. Everywhere you look the city is gearing up for all that mindless and debt-inducing Christmas shopping and this year it looks like Union Station is going all out Lego. So far they’ve placed 3 giant Legos in the square along with a totally Lego fireplace complete with Lego stockings hung with care. The large white board is also going to be all Lego and it has mind-numbingly small numbers. Lots of numbers, each one waiting for an individual normal size Lego block. It must take a crew of several people days to put it all together. I’ll ask my friend to send me photos of the finished project and I promise to share.

Front Street, looking east, ©voyager, all rights reserved

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