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Presidential Portraits

Posted by on Feb 19, 2018 in Craft, Travel | 4 comments

A new portrait of President Obama was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery last week. It was met with mixed reviews.

Obama portrait unveiled

Critics compared the unconventional painting by Kehinde Wiley to portraits from the White House collection, implying that the new work – and, by extension, Obama himself – was less dignified or presidential than those that came before.

Washington portrait by Stuart

But it’s a flawed comparison. This is not his White House portrait. (Also? Judge presidents by their actions, not by artwork created of them.)

Nixon by Rockwell

There are two collections of portraits that include all (except the most recent) former U.S. Presidents: the 43 paintings in the White House and the more varied collection in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery (NPG), which also includes sculptures and photographs.

Gerald Ford by Oliphant

The portraits in the White House are often more formal and official-looking than their NPG counterparts, especially in recent decades, when artwork has been veering away from tradition, widening the gap between the two collections.

Truman, Kennedy, Bush portraits from White House and NPG

Wiley’s painting has been installed in the National Portrait Gallery, where I’m sure it stands out as unique, but not out of place.

President Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley


PS Obama’s portrait has been re-created on a cookie.  

Photos via the White House and National Portrait Gallery.

 

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Black + White Love #ColorStory

Posted by on Feb 14, 2018 in Craft, Travel | 0 comments

Red isn’t the only color of love.

The classic combination of black and white can also have a romantic feel.

You can see it in this month’s color story with elegant DIYs, destinations, art, interiors, and objects in black and white.

Mailboxes Venice

Branches

Stairs

1. Venice mailboxes 2. L’amour print 3. Printable geometric heart gift wrap 4. Boyce Thompson Arboretum 5. Black steps

 

Sandnes Norway Tote Bag

Black sesame cappuccino

inger sodergren ceramics

Bridge of Sighs Venice

Stay true

6. Sandnes, Norway manhole cover tote 7. Black sesame cappuccino 8. Ceramics by Inger Södergren 9. Bridge of Sighs, Venice 10. Stay True poster

 

Black Cloud by Carlos Amorales

DIY heart card

Barn

DIY wardrobe

Bee mine

11. Black Cloud (Nube Negra) detail by Carlos Amorales at Phoenix Art Museum 12. DIY eraser heart stamp 13. Windmill Winery, Florence, Arizona 14. Traditional bookbinding patterns 15. Minimal open wardrobe DIY 16. Bee Mine card

 

Peggy Guggenheim museum cafe in Venice Italy

Hand carved stamp

Nightstand

Thank you

17. Peggy Guggenheim Museum Café, Venice 18. Hand carved block printing stamp 19. Farmhouse in Woodend, Victoria (Australia) + rental cottage  20. Punkpost thank you card

 

Bear hugs to all of you! (Illustration by Daryl Hochi)

Amor bear hugs

 


Images via respective sites.

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Getting a Taxi in Rome

Posted by on Feb 8, 2018 in Travel | 0 comments

Groggily standing outside Rome Ciampino Airport our very first hour in Italy, I suddenly felt unsure how to get into a cab. Even though I had read up on the do’s and dont’s of taking Italian taxis. Even though I was actually at the taxi stand and staring at a couple dozen of them.

I guess I had expected to see available taxis all lined up or at least a designated spot to wait for one.

Vatican taxi

Instead, cabs were parked haphazardly around different curbs and corners of the parking lot. Some were idling with their green (available) lights on, others had drivers (without passengers) just sitting there with their lights off, and still others were just empty with no driver in sight.

They were all mixed together, and I couldn’t make any sense of it. Ambiguity is rough when you’re sleep deprived.

Rome street corner

After deliberating way too long, I just picked one with a green light and a good vibe. We walked over to it, and I leaned towards the passenger window.

While I intended to say buona sera (“good evening” in Italian), I may have actually said buena suerte (“good luck” in Spanish).

The driver, understandably, looked confused.

Rome hotel Address

So I gave up on attempting any non-essential Italian and cut to the chase, saying the name of square we were headed to as if it were a question.

“Piazza Salerno?”

“Si.”

“Mastercard?”

“No problem!”

I still am not sure if that’s how it’s supposed to be done, but it worked for us!

Rome Taxi

– More Italy Taxi info –

Our Tips:

Write it down! I stuck a post-it note in my wallet before we left with the name of the first hotel we’d be going to, the address, and the piazza it was in. I had practiced saying the address, but the driver didn’t understand me, so it was good I could just hand him a piece of paper with the information.

MyTaxi – One of our Airbnb hosts told us about this app, and it worked great for our trip back to the airport! We scheduled a pick up the night before and paid via the app.

Florence taxi in traffic

Taking a taxi…

Throughout Italy.

  • Only use registered taxis.
  • Don’t trust a driver who approaches you or wants to haggle.

In Rome.

  • Official taxis are white with a green light on the top.
  • Prices are fixed by the city. Certain destinations (airport to the city center, for example) have a set price. Otherwise, they go by the meter.
  • Uber has been basically shut out of Rome. (Good for Rome!)

From Ciampino airport – There’s a taxi stand right outside the airport, and you shouldn’t go elsewhere to get a cab.

From Fiumicino airport – Terminals 1 and 3 have taxi service.

Taxi app

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December’s Last Sunset and 2017 Photos

Posted by on Feb 5, 2018 in Life, Travel | 2 comments

The sunset the last evening of 2017 was gorgeous – nature’s fireworks to celebrate the New Year.

A couple of the year’s other beautiful sunsets showed up on my Instagram Best Nine, fitting neatly into its unintentional bright pink/purple/royal blue color scheme. All of my most-liked photos were taken in Arizona, so, of course, they include some desert scenery.

Only a few coincided with my monthly photo picks.

1. #LOVE sign at airport protest 2. Star Wars Capacitance Electronic Disc (CED) 3. Sunset behind palms 4. Tovrea Castle, Phoenix 5. Buildings in Old Town Peoria 6. Hotel Congress sign, Tucson – July 7. High Desert Trail, Black Canyon City – August 8. “Let’s Be Better Humans” campaign bus – March 9. View from Picacho Peak – en route from Tucson


I thought the photos I’d picked for 2017 were more varied than the automatically-generated Best Nine list. But, looking back, almost all are plant- or architecture-related. I guess it was a good year for both those categories.

I wonder what 2018 will bring.




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This February Share Your #LocalArtLoves!

Posted by on Jan 29, 2018 in Craft, Travel | 0 comments

Let’s celebrate local art and artists!

BTA art by Bud Heiss

Since we had fun sharing Local Art Loves last year, I thought we could keep the challenge going throughout the month of February this time!

Local Art Loves

Just look for art in your community and share photos using the hashtag #LocalArtLoves on Twitter or Instagram. I’ll post some of your finds here on the site.

Keep an eye out for public art, local galleries, neighborhood art walks, and rotating art displays at coffee shops or libraries. You can also share favorite art spaces, street art, or your own work.

Round sculptures by Peter Skidd at Renee Taylor Gallery

Can’t wait to see some art from where you live!


First photo: Paintings by Bud Heiss on display at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

Last photo: Round sculptures by Hidden in the Hills artist Peter Skidd at Renee Taylor Gallery, Sedona.




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The Pinball Hall of Fame

Posted by on Jan 18, 2018 in Travel | 2 comments

 

Growing up, I thought it’d be awesome to have an arcade game in my house.

Even though I wasn’t nearly as into video games as my brother, I enjoyed an occasional game of Ms. Pac-Man or Tetris or pinball. When we were waiting for our pizza at my family’s favorite spot, we’d both be bugging our parents for quarters.

I’m not sure where the idea came from that I needed one in my house, but, apparently, I’m not the only one who thought about that.

The majority of people who responded to my Twitter poll also thought that would be cool. I think it was a 70s/80s kid thing. A few people responded they just wanted console games, so I assume they’re a bit younger, growing up when that was a viable alternative.

 

Playing pinball

The Dream of the ’80s is Alive in Vegas

And then there’s Tim Arnold. He took that dream to a whole new level, collecting and repairing pinball machines and vintage arcade games until there were too many to fit into his house.

As his collection grew, his dream became to find a place to fit his hundreds of machines under one roof.

He created the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas – now located about half a mile from The Strip and across from UNLV. Not only can you visit and see the games, you can play them!

Pinball machine

Fat Stacks (of Quarters)

Phillip and I checked it out when we were in Las Vegas last year. We weren’t sure if they had change machines there (they do), so we showed up ready to go with like $20 in quarters. I’m sure Kid Me would have been jealous of Grown-up Me walking around with all that change in my pocket. There have to be some perks to being adult.

All the Games

There were games we remembered from childhood, newer ones with elaborate digital displays, and older analog ones.

In fact, there were all kinds of quirky old mechanical games that weren’t like anything I’d seen before. Some of them had handwritten signs taped on that told their story or had warnings of how not to break the game.

One looked like a miniature bowling lane, complete with little wooden pins. There was a two-person hockey game. Phillip played “Space Pilot,” which had a little metal spaceship you move up and down with a joystick, as well as one where you make a clown dance. And it appeared to be called “Hey kids, play with Peppy!” Yeah, that’s not creepy at all.

Of course, we played pinball. Lord of the Rings pinball and Indiana Jones pinball and Gilligan’s Island and Atlantis and probably others I’m forgetting. There was this Corvette one that I think my brother used to play at the pizza place.

OUT OF OЯDER

One game I didn’t get to play was Tetris.

When I told a volunteer it wasn’t working, she opened it up and tinkered with it a bit. When it became clear it wouldn’t be a quick fix, she refunded the quarters I had put in the machine and hung an “out of order” sign on it. Oh well.

While the majority of games are in working condition, vintage machines do break down, and it’s getting harder to find replacement parts. Tim Arnold and his team of volunteers get creative, buying busted machines for replacement parts and figuring out ways to make their own when they can’t order them.

 

– More info –

The Pinball Hall of Fame is a not-for-profit, volunteer-run arcade of working (mostly) vintage pinball machines and games like Pac-man, Tetris, and Star Wars.

Where: 1610 E. Tropicana, Las Vegas (North side of Tropicana between Maryland Parkway and Eastern Avenue, about 1.5 mi from The Strip.)

Parking: Free lot on-site.

Hours:

Sunday – Thursday: 11am to 11pm
Friday – Saturday: 11am to 12am

Cost: Free entrance. Games are 25 cents to $1.

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