Friday, January 31, 2014

A Return to Tohono Chul

"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all."

(This blog is still a problem with all kinds of error messages.  But I took the computer to the library for a few hours and was finally able to load the photos.  Their Wifi is better than my Verizon hotspot.) 

Last week I took another visit to Tohono Chul.  The park is one of the most interesting places I know to walk and it is less than a 10 minute drive from my house.

The sculptures throughout the park are created by an artist from Kenya, named Kioko.

They are all made from 'scrap metals' and every sculpture is a delight.

Some of the parts are very recognizable….

others, not so much. 

The really interesting thing about his creations are that some are made from 'animal traps' that he scavenged in Kenya.  The traps were set out by poachers and Kioko is finding a way to make sure they are not used that way again. 

Knowing that, made me appreciate them even more.

Nature's sculpture.

Ancient artist.

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."  John Muir 

This morning, as I was sitting by the kitchen window having breakfast, a very large hawk settled on a branch, not 10 feet from where I sat.  He cocked his head to the side and looked straight at me through the open window before he unfolded his wings and glided away. He was easily as large as Sigh Me and I wondered if I should be worried because I often let her out into the backyard to bask in the sun.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My Back Yard

Arizona has the most incredible sunsets.  These photos were taken in my back yard.  Okay, I know these intense colors are caused mainly by the sun reflecting off of pollution in the air but I try not to think about that when I have such a spectacular display right outside my back door.  Actually, I believe this one was due in part to the forest fire that was in Southern Calif. last week.

I hope there are still a few of my readers left out there.  This blog has been on hold for a week now because the photo program (Picasa) has refused to transfer any photos to the blog.  Once again I turned to son Ron, who helped me out but there is definitely a glitch in the program somewhere.  
However, there has not been much to chronicle anyway.  I am hard at work trying to get the house ready to put on the market but find my energy level to be way below what it was 15  years ago when I moved in here.
(A friend sent me this:  "Old age is when it takes longer to rest than it does to get tired.")

The simplicity of RV life is sorely missed but I am determined to get back to it.  Sadly, I am so spoiled now that I may never adjust back to a house that has no wheels. Even Sigh Me has not settled down.  She paces and yowls until I pick her up and cuddle with her,  then she follows me from room to room as though she were a puppy.

Something to share:  I found this young Russian lady's photography on line and think it is just lovely.  The photos are of her family.  She has only been at it a few years and her work inspires me to learn more.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ted DeGrazia's Garden

There is something I love about the "back-to-nature" vibe in Ted DeGrazia's garden.


It is not easy in the desert to landscape, or to grow anything at all.  Without sufficient rainfall, without a plentiful water source and, for 6 months of the year too much sun, it requires a different and persistent personality to create a restful garden.

 His is not the best I have seen, but it is very good and I can just imagine life here before paved roads and nearby shopping centers.

There are only rocks and native plants with touches of discarded whimsey.

These metal flowers are all from aluminum cans.

My friends that knew him said he loved to entertain and often had barbecues here.

This old stove was fitted to connect a propane tank--perfect for a pot of beans.  

These loose-hanging limbs of dried cactus are actually a wind chime.  A slight breeze sets up a pleasant, natural, non-intrusive harmony.

These sun protected areas are called 'Ramadas'. (Now you know where the hotel chain got its name)

The little courtyard was perfect to eat my sandwich.  The only thing missing was a hammock.

"The Corn Dancer"

He often had visiting artists that would stay for a while and he built small studios for them to work.

This is a "Sahuaro Shoe".  It is caused by a hole or injury being formed in the side of a sahuaro cactus.  The cactus repairs the breach by surrounding it with a hard coating (like a scab) and as the hole enlarges (caused often by birds or insects) it creates this shoe-shape.  Cactus wrens love to build nests in the shoes.  Then, when the cactus falls over, dies, and disintegrates, all that is left will be the skeleton ribs and a shoe.

There are many discarded instruments in the garden and I remembered that he had been a musician; music often accompanied his barbecues.

DeGrazia was born in 1907 and died in 1982.  His parents were Italian immigrants who settled in Morenci, Arizona where he was born.

During the height of his popularity he was known as, "The world's most reproduced artist."  Today I suspect that title goes  to Thomas Kincaid.

Uh Oh, I take back what I said.  I don't think nasturtiums are native plants.

photo by Sonoflightning
I found this photo on Wikipedia and it was much better than any I had taken of the chapel.

And this was his home.

His first wife divorced him and I would bet it had to do with this house.

Back-to-nature is fine…

Until you start having large dinner parties ….

And someone has to do the dishes.

I think my little RV might have been easier than entertaining here.

The bedrooms were okay...

but there were lots of gaps under the doors that led me to believe the desert critters might have been a problem.  And there was a vast expanse of desert right out the back door.

A friend recently asked me to describe what I thought  was "good art".  To me it has to be something that invokes an emotion, a mood, a memory.  And it has to continue to do so for the length of its life.  Gardens should do the same.  Mr. DeGrazia's garden did that for me.

Between the house and the gallery is this cairn….

and people have left money all over it.

Right beside it is his grave.

(Once again I am struggling with this blog.  The pictures are smaller than I would like them to be.  They can be enlarged by just clicking on them.)