Admiration

The front of the San Francisco de Assis Mission in Ranchos de Taos is less familiar than its anterior counterpart, which was made famous by a Georgia O'Keefe painting

The front of the San Francisco de Asis Mission in Ranchos de Taos is less familiar than its posterior counterpart, which was made famous by a Georgia O’Keefe painting. photo by author

The San Francisco de Asis Mission

The San Francisco de Asis Mission is the formal name for the old Spanish mission that takes most of the space in the central plaza of Ranchos de Taos, a small town in northern New Mexico, which is situated right outside Taos. More commonly, the old church is often referred to as the Ranchos de Taos Mission or simply the Ranchos Church. This is one of the few buildings in the world, where the posterior view is better known than the anterior view. The culprit in this case are several early 20th century artists, such as Ansel Adams and Georgia O’Keefe, who made stunning images of the backside, which happens to sit almost adjacent to a major NM state highway. Here is one of the oil paintings of the rear side of the church that Georgia O’Keefe made back in the 30s.

One of several paintings done by Georgia O'keefe in 1929 & 1930 of the Ranchos Church.

One of several paintings done by Georgia O’Keefe in 1929 & 1930 of the Ranchos Church.

Adobe

Adobe is nothing more than mud (with a heavy clay content) mixed with straw. It is common building element used in the third world, but used much less so in a modern industrial society. The ingredients are inexpensive, easy to apply and durable, especially in drier climates. Adobe churches are still found in Northern New Mexico, where every 5 to 7 years, workers gather to apply a new coat of mud and straw to these structures. This old-fashioned type of adobe should not be confused with the numerous cement-coated structures that are painted an earth color in order to resemble a real adobe building. The adobe structures are not limited to churches and can be found all over the region. Original adobe walls are built with mud and straw bricks that are air-dried in the Southwestern desert sun and then covered with a mud and straw stucco mixture. This stucco breaks down after awhile , so it has to be re-applied every six years or so.

My Admiration

My admiration comes in the way that modern builders and craftsmen are able to keep an old building tradition, despite the advances and onslaught of modern civilization.
Admiration

Prince

Prince on the Mountaintop, artwork and photo by artist

Prince on the Mountaintop, artwork by author

Prince

Prince Rogers Nelson died last week and it wasn’t til his death that I realized that Prince was his real name, not a stage name. Though he looked many years younger, Prince Nelson was actually 57 years years old, approximately the same age as my youngest brother, who happens to be a big Prince fan. It’s always sad to see someone younger pass away, especially someone who probably had a lot of creative music left inside him. Nonetheless, his musical output was prodigious and plentiful and as a result there will be lots of Prince recordings and videos to enjoy for years to come.

About The Drawing

Done primarily with art markers, this quick sketch depicts PNR standing on a mountaintop holding a traveler’s umbrella to shelter himself from the “purple rain”. It is meant as a tribute to a talented artist, who was able to ascertain a certain amount of greatness which his fortuitous skill and talent. Not many are able to do this, thus Prince is pictured alone.

Future

Future

Here is an image of one possible future.

In this poster, a wooden car negotiates the wide canals of Venice, photo by author

In this poster, a wooden car negotiates the wide canals of Venice, photo by author

About the Artist

This is a photograph (taken by the author) of a popular poster, commemorating the work of Livio De Marchi, an Italian artist and woodcarver, who enjoys building floatable cars and driving them around the canals of Venice, Italy.

Global Warming In Our Future

Many scientists predict dire environmental events in our near future. Here is one possible scenario, where rising coastal waters, make life at sea level unpredictable or perhaps impossible.
Future

Wisdom

Wisdom, marker drawing by author

Wisdom, marker drawing by author

Wisdom

Only after putting to good use one of the great technological developments of the 16th and 17th centuries, was this stargazer able to achieve a greater understanding of the cosmos of which our planet is just a very small part.

Half-Light

Old hotels are filled with many stories and tall tales. This grand ole hotel is located in Portland, Maine, birthplace of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Stephen King. Maybe this place hols a ghost tale or two.

Old hotels are filled with many stories and tall tales. This basic brick hotel is located in Portland, Maine, birthplace of both Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Stephen King. Perhaps this place holds a ghost tale or two. The eerie quality of light at nightfall suggests that it might.

Half-Light (Proceed with Cautionn)

As day transitions into night, the human mind comes alive. If the conditions are right, our mind can imagine all sorts of things that may or may not be present. Evidence of things not-quite-seen can consist of noises, moving shadows, sudden microbursts of wind or a change in air temperature. All of these events are evidence that supernatural may be present. Please proceed with caution.

  Half-Light

Dance

Two billboards in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia

Two billboards in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia

Dance

These companion billboards in Ljubljana, Slovenia, depict a dozen women in various forms of movement.

Where Is Ljubljana?

Ljubljana is the capital city of Slovenia, a small Balkan Slavic-speaking country, which borders Italy in the East……not too far from the noted city of Venice. Like Venice, Slovenia has a window on the Adriatic Sea and also a border with Austrian located high in the Alps. As a result this place is a topographically diverse nation with a population that in the past, has often been associated with the city-states of Venice and Vienna. In recent years, the women of this small nation have often gained more recognition than the men. One such woman, Melania Knauss, is married to a major U.S. presidential candidate, and could possibly become the next First Lady of the United States.

A Few Words On Outdoor Graffiti

To anyone who has traveled in Eastern Europe, one consistent image that might stick in the traveler’s mind is the abundance of graffiti, such as that pictured in the photograph above. It is everywhere in the East, at least in the cities of Ljubljana and Prague, which constitutes my major travels in the region. The stuff is an eyesore to most who visit and also to many who live there. The streaks of spray paint mar the many fine examples of European architecture that abound in the area and often predate the creation of the U.S. Upon reflecting about this widespread cultural phenomena, several things come to mind. The first being is that the spray painting is very basic (not that good painting would be any better) and second is that the government of these far-off places seems to have neither the money, the will or the desire to remove the paint marks.

The Berlin Wall

Another point of observation is that in these Eastern places there is little sanctioned outdoor art, like one might find in Berlin or other Western European cities. In fact, in Berlin, one of the great recipients of the renegade spray can artists was the Berlin Wall, which is defunct, except in a few preserved locales. Even now that the Soviets are gone and wall is down, modern-day visitors can still view numerous galleries and colorful outdoor murals, where younger artists can express themselves.

Dragon

A drawing of a modern-day dragon

A drawing of a modern-day dragon

Dragon

Dragons still exist today. In fact, you may even encounter a sign or two while driving around the countryside, advising you to be aware of this possibility. If you do happen across such a scene, the best advice may be to simply turn around and leave the dragon alone. These beasts are dangerous and they are nothing to mess around with. Leave this task to the professional dragon-slayers.