I ♥ d’Orsay.

TripAdvisor just announced their list of top museums in the world, ranked by their travelers.  At #1 is my favorite, the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.  I’ve visited Paris on four different trips, and hope to make it a few more before I’m through.  And when I do, I will walk through the entire d’Orsay again.  It’s beautiful – a restored train station, the Gare d’Orsay, that was built for the 1900 World’s Fair.  It opened as the Musee d’Orsay in 1986.  Its exhibits are diverse and gorgeous.

Here is a pic from my last visit, it looks just like any other taken of its expansive great hall, around and through which its galleries are placed.

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And another pic of the old clock, with a bit of my own artistic treatment (using the Brushstroke app).

You simply must visit on your next trip to Paris.

From my mind’s eye.

I saw a white ceramic boot at a thrift store last week.  It gave me a flash of inspiration; a vision of what it could be.  It would become a colorful planter.  Yes.  That’s it.  I brought it home.

First, I drilled a drain hole in the bottom. Slowly and carefully with my Dremel tool.

Then I popped over to Michael’s craft supply store for paint. I have a lot of acrylic paints, but I wasn’t sure what kind would work on already glazed ceramic. After shopping a bit I found one that sounded like it might.

Craftsmart multi-surface paint pots; you let dry for 72 hours and then bake in the oven.

I also grabbed a pen to help outline the design.  I thought it would be easier than using a paint brush.

I chose a clear acrylic glaze spray-on finish to seal it from the elements.

I used rubbing alcohol to clean the surface first.   I sketched a design on paper to plan it out.  Next I drew it on the boot.  Pencil worked great on the shiny finish.  Then I let loose with color.  I was trying to mimic Mexican glazed pottery designs, though not with real kiln-fired glazes.  I was extra-pleased that it didn’t crack in the oven. After it cooled I sprayed on the glaze. Voila!

 

Now to get a lovely flowering plant.

Colorful.

We popped over to free Thursday at the Blanton museum today. Ellsworth Kelly is an American artist who designed “Austin,” a stand alone art gallery, and artwork in its own right, for the Blanton art museum. He died a few years ago, but his building was recently finished. We visited the museum today to see this exhibit, and the other rotating collections on display.

Afterwards we celebrated National Margarita Day at Chuy’s. Cheers!

Artcycles.

Today Monte and I took a trip downtown to see the recently installed visiting art exhibit Forever Bicycles, by Ai Weiwei.   It is sponsored by The Contemporary Austin and the Waller Creek Conservancy.   Their material doesn’t cite an end date for the exhibit – it just says “ongoing.”  But get yourself down there to see it.   It is located at the “Waller Creek Delta,” which happens to be about where Trinity St runs into Lady Bird Lake.  The Waller Creek Boathouse and its cafe are nearby, so you can catch a bite as well.  And it is located right along the hike and bike trail.

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I found the exhibit of hundreds of stainless steel bicycles to be teeming with motion, from every angle.  Very cool indeed.

An overdue visit.

I made it to Laguna Gloria today.  It’s remarkable that it is only my first visit, after living here over 20 years.   It is the home of The Contemporary Austin, an art consortium.    The grounds are beautiful, full of trees, and trails that will take you down by the (glorious) lagoon, as well as Lake Austin.  A sculpture garden is spread throughout the grounds and trails.  It made for a lovely afternoon of hiking, birding and art appreciation.

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Texas Historical Marker for Laguna Gloria Villa
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The lovely Villa
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Looking towards Lake Austin from the Villa
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Miffy Fountain – Tom Sachs
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Looking Up – Tom Friedman

 

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Canopy Tower – John Grade
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Iron Tree Trunk – Ai Weiwei

The Blanton museum, revisited.

In a post earlier this year, I shared a visit to the Blanton Museum that we took, to see an Andy Warhol visiting exhibit that ended in January.  When we went, we didn’t know that the museum’s permanent exhibits were temporarily closed, due to a total revamp of the permanent gallery areas upstairs.   Even so, we enjoyed the visiting exhibit.

The museum’s permanent collection galleries are now open again, so I stopped by this week to check it out.  They have an interesting mix of art – Latin American, early American Western, Contemporary, European, Native American, Modern, Spanish American, Ancient Greek and Roman, Film and Paper/Documents.   The gallery remodel was nicely done.

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I recommend a trip to the museum.  I enjoyed it.  Check out their website for days & hours.  And keep in mind that every Thursday admission is free, and every 3rd Thursday the museum is open late – until 9pm.  Parking is easy at the nearby Brazos garage.  If you bring your parking stub into the museum, they can give you a discounted parking rate.

 

A busy two weeks and a new find.

I have been challenged in posting the last two weeks.  We are in the middle of a 3 week set of back to back visits from family.  Which we absolutely love, but it means a little less time to tend to my photoblog.   The real challenge though is that the WordPress for iOS app that I use primarily for quick posts is broken and completely useless since the last 2 updates (both updates ver 5.4 and 5.4.1) of the app.  So I’m using the browser version of the app for this post.   I hope they get it together and fix the problem in the next update.

One set of guests were unaccompanied minors, so I had to get a pass to go through security and accompany them to their gate to pick them up and drop them off at the airport.   As I was strolling along the concourse on the west end of the ABIA terminal, I spotted some lovely, colorful prints on display from a Texas artist that I hadn’t seen before.  The artist is Margie Crisp, and her prints are simply beautiful.   I took a picture of one – couldn’t avoid the reflections from the lights in the airport.  This one is called In the shadow of Buchanan Dam.   Inks Lake is in the foreground, with images of all the things I love about the Central Texas Hill Country.

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I googled her to learn more about her and found that she has produced a book called  River of Contrasts: The Texas Colorado, which features many of her river prints.  As I’ve come to love the Colorado myself, I’m going to order one.

You might want to check her out, too.

As for me, i need to get moving… we are headed to the lake to raft-up overnight.

Stained glass trilogy.

I’ve enjoyed playing with the iPhone app called Brushstroke. It’s a pretty versatile app for adding water-color / oil painting effect to photos.

These are three shots I took in different cathedrals on my birthday trip to France, with a little post-processing with Brushstroke.

Notre Dame. Paris:

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Cathedral Notre-Dame de Chartres. Chartres:

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Sainte-Chapelle. Paris:

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Tacoma.

On the way back from taking Monte to the airport today, i stopped in Tacoma to go to the Museum of Glass.

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IMG_4363I enjoyed this interactive exhibit with dozens of lighted letters, just waiting to spell something.

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On the way home I checked out a few different vantage points.  This is a shot of the old (left) and new (right) Tacoma Narrows bridges.  Mt Rainier is lurking behind the old bridge.

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Faces in open places.

The weather this winter has been a roller coaster of sunny-and-70s then sleet-and-20s-and-30s. About three or four turns so far and one more on the way tomorrow. It was a beautiful day today, so I threw open the windows and took a walk through the greenbelt.
Along the way I came across this rock and saw a face in it (sort of). If i squint a bit i think i can make out Jay Leno…

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In Texas. Not in Texas.

I made it to Seattle last night 3 hours late but safe and sound. Today Noreen and I shopped for a while then headed over to mom’s. Two of my nephews, Jake and Aaron, are spending the day with her. So I got to enjoy time with them as we’ll.
Aaron came down to Austin for a visit about a year ago. He is lobbying heavily with his mom and dad to come down again soon. This is a picture he drew that he showed me exactly 3 seconds after I walked through the door today. 🙂

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Hydroluminous.

I finally made it out.  I took the monorail up the Strip to see the fountains out in front of the Bellagio.  Then I walked back to the MGM Grand.

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It was well worth the trip, even with a sore back.  I hit Walgreen’s on the way back and picked up some heat pads.  Hopefully that will help.