Last week, I shared some photos from a recent tour my husband and I took of the property owned by internationally renowned artist, James Hubbell.
When I booked the tour, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was confident there would be a lot to see and tons of photo opportunities. At the end of our 1 ½ hour tour, we were happily tired, and I had taken over 100 images.
Since I wrote a bit about the compound’s history in last week’s Thursday Doors post, I’ll skip right to sharing more of the marvelous doors, windows, and art that we saw.
I hope you enjoyed the tour. If you’d like to learn more about the artist and his amazing property, visit ilanlaelfoundation.org.
Dan Antion hosts door lovers every Thursday on his blog, No Facilities. Check out this week’s Thursday Doors submissions from around the world.
Several weeks ago, I saw an announcement about upcoming tours of a local artist’s compound. After closing the property to outsiders for two years due to Covid, they were once again opening it up to a limited number of visitors. In the past when I had read about these tours, I was interested but, for whatever reason, hadn’t gone. There was always an excuse, however, if I’m being completely honest, it boiled down to “Maybe I’ll go next year.”
If Covid has taught us anything, it is that “next year” isn’t guaranteed, and that things can change seemingly overnight. Even though this is true for everyone, at every age, it is especially true for those of us with more years behind us than in front of us. With this in mind – and not wanting to risk my inner procrastinator taking over – I went straight to my computer to reserve two tickets. I am so glad I did.
The compound, designed and built by James Hubbell, sits on a 40-acre ranch near the mountain town of Julian, California. An internationally renowned artist, poet, and architectural designer, Hubbell is widely known for his organic-style buildings which are works of art. His hand-crafted doors, stained glass windows, gates, and sculptures using wood, stone, metal, glass, and clay can be found throughout the property. Although most of the structures were built in the 1950s and 60s, several had to be rebuilt when a wildfire raced through the area in 2003. Now in his 90s, Hubbell no longer lives on the property, but his sons and the foundation he created, carry on his vision and his legacy.
Here are a few of the fabulous doors and windows I saw during the hour-long tour. I will share more next week.
I hope you enjoyed this peek at James Hubbell’s compound. Please come back next Thursday to see more of this incredible artist’s work. In the meantime, check out Dan Antion’s Thursday Doors post and see the doors that others have shared.
One of my favorite times to scroll through the photos on my phone is at the end of each year. I find that it’s a great way to remind myself of things that I’ve done, the fun I’ve had, and what I’ve accomplished (and, if taking a lot of pictures is an accomplishment, I’m a rockstar) over the past year.
For this week’s Sunday Stills theme, Rear-View Mirror, I chose one picture from each month in 2021 to remember what brought me joy – and there was a lot – during this very strange year.
Our first vaccinations! It felt monumental… like we were really, really going to beat this thing.
Despite some activities being curtailed, we still enjoyed getting out to explore our beautiful city.
Less actual grocery shopping and more experimentation with kit meals shipped to our home.
Good times and interesting conversations when friends Kathy (SMART Living 365) and her husband Thom came for a visit.
Our blueberries begin to ripen.
More good times and interesting conversations when we visited Kathy and Thom at their mountain get-a-way.
Sunflowers and bees with pollen booties… is there anything better?
We crossed the Canadian border the first day it opened. A month of blogger buddy meet-ups, hiking, and experiencing the beauty of Vancouver Island commenced.
After our stay on the Island, we ferried over to the city of Vancouver for more exploration and fun.
Our local Dia de los Muertos celebration. Maybe not as elaborate as in Oaxaca, but very colorful and no plane trip required.
‘Tis the season for festive blog link ups. Two of my favorites are Terri’sSunday Stills photography color challenge, Metallic, and Festive Bonbons holiday question challenge hosted by Donna, Deb, Sue, and Jo. I am going to do my best to combine them both into a single post.
Christmas Tree? We haven’t had a Christmas tree for years, mostly because there isn’t a good place in our house to put one. At first, I missed the tradition, but now I’m relieved not to have the mess and bother. Even without a tree, we decorate to make the house look Christmassy. I don’t particularly like the traditional red and green combo, favoring instead blues and silvers.
Christmas Carols? My all-time favorite is O Holy Night. Even though I’m not religious, it never fails to bring tears to my eyes when the singer hits those lovely high notes.
Christmas Books? I love A Christmas Carol and How the Grinch StoIe Christmas, although I admit not having read either of them for many years.
Christmas Movies? Love Actually, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Bad Santa come to mind but I’m sure there are more.
Fruit Cake? A friend and I passed one – yes, the same one – back and forth as a gag gift for many years. Do people actually eat them?
Chocolate, Nuts or Fruit? Yes.
Christmas Traditions? So many throughout the years (do they count as traditions if they change?). Boat Parade of Lights, my father’s springerle cookies, Grandpa’s Eggnog (not my grandpa, but a much-loved holiday contribution from a friend), nighttime strolls to enjoy the lights and decorations, to name just a few.
What’s on your Table? Tamales on Christmas morning. Most likely a roast of some sort, potatoes, and roasted veggies for dinner. Our tree is bursting with oranges, so maybe a citrus dessert or cocktail… or both?
Christmas Memories? I have so many great memories, many from when I was young. My parents always made a big deal about Christmas for my two brothers and me.
All I want for Christmas Is? For everyone – across the globe – to get vaccinated. Let’s get this done!
At this time in 2019, my husband and I traveled to Oaxaca City, Mexico to experience the celebration of Dia de los Muertos.
Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday where the souls of deceased relatives join their families for a brief reunion. From October 31 through November 2, the border between the spirit world and the living world opens, allowing the spirits to cross over. The holiday is filled with beautiful symbols, traditions, and imagery. It is a joyful time: the spirits are treated as honored guests as they feast, drink, dance, and play music with their families. Many believe that if you remember them, they never cease to exist.
One of the most recognizable symbols are the alters or “ofrendas” (offerings) that can be found in public places and private homes. Although each colorful alter is unique, they all are decorated with specific components that honor loved ones and provide what they need on the journey to rejoin their families.
Every ofrenda includes the four elements: water, air, earth, and fire. Water is provided so the spirits can quench their thirst after their journey. Air is represented by colorful paper banners. Earth is represented by food, especially bread. The light from candles helps the spirits find their way. In addition, alters are decorated with pictures of the departed, their favorite foods and drinks, sugar skulls, and marigolds (whose scent and bright orange color help attract souls to the alter).
All of these pictures were taken of ofrendas in public places. The alters created in private homes tend to be much less elaborate, but equally beautiful.
I’m sharing these images from our trip as part of Terri’s Sunday Stills photo challenge, whose theme this week is Indoor/Outdoor Decorations.
Two years ago this month, my husband and I were in Oaxaca, Mexico. It was our second visit to this vibrant and colorful city, but this time we were there to experience the celebration of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Although the official holiday spans just three days (October 31 – November 2), Oaxaca starts to prepare for the big event early. By arriving in mid-October and staying until the end of November we had plenty of time to not only enjoy the celebration but to experience Oaxaca before and after the crowds descended.
Images of skeletons could be found all over the city, many of them adorned in pink.
Some were whimsically pink.
Some were a worrisome pink.
Some were cute-as-a-button pink.
Speaking of pink, the City Centro Hotel located in the barrio of Jalatlaco, is all about pink. Because we weren’t paying guests, I was only able to access the ground floor, but I had so much fun poking around and taking pictures. The next time we visit Oaxaca, I would be tickled pink to book a room for at least a night so we can explore more of the hotel, including its colorful rooftop pool.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge is The Pink Side of Life. Click here to enjoy Terri’s photos and see how others responded to the theme.
We’re lucky to live in an area that doesn’t have too many bugs… at least the type of bugs that bug us.
We have insects:
… and we have arachnids:
But buggy bugs? Not so much.
I was at a loss when I saw that this week’s Sunday Still photo prompt was Summer Bugs, until I thought of my first car: a 1972, chartreuse, Volkswagen Super Beetle. I loved that car, not only because it was as cute as a bug, but because of the sense of freedom it gave me.
Although that car is long gone, I still love VW Bugs, as my photo archives will attest. Here are just a few pictures of VDubs that I have taken over the years while traveling.
Bugs found along Route 66
The Bug Farm in Conway, Texas has a permanent crop of five Volkswagen beetles planted nose-down in the ground. It is a parody of the more famous Cadillac Ranch in nearby Amarillo.
In Holbrook, Arizona, just down the street from the Wigwam Motel (yes, each “room” is shaped like a teepee, and, yes, we stayed there), is Kester’s Bug Shop. where they have bugs of unique shapes and sizes.
Bugs of Mexico
Vintage VW Bugs are everywhere on the streets of Mexico… some are in better shape than others.
These bugs were discovered in our neighborhood.
This week’s theme for Terri Webster Schrandt’s Sunday Stills photo prompt is Summer Bugs. See Terri’s photographs on her blog, Second Wind Leisure. If you have some favorite bug images, please join in!
I have had a photograph sitting in my archives for a few years, with vague plans to share it in some future Thursday Doors post. When I read that Dan Antion (No Facilities) had created a Writing Challenge based on door images, I figured this would be a good time.
Writing Challenge, you ask? Yes – Dan, the keeper of all things Thursday Doors, came up with the brilliant idea of having door photographers provide inspiration for writers.
I found this door about three years ago while on an artists’ studio tour in Southern California’s high desert, not too far from Joshua Tree National Park. It was on property owned by artist Snake Jagger, who often includes a door very much like this – standing slightly ajar, alone in the distance – in his whimsical surreal landscapes. I love that he built a three-dimensional door that looks just like the doors in his paintings. The structure is no deeper than a sheet of wood. The illusion of depth is created with perspective.
Please join in!
If you want to participate as a photographer: create your own Thursday Doors post and share your images. Be sure to link to Dan’s post.
If you want to participate as a writer: plan to post your door-inspired writing on your blog anytime between now and May 29th. (I’d be thrilled if you used my door as inspiration but, if space aliens or portals to other worlds aren’t your thing and you’d like to select another door, there will be plenty of others to choose from.) Include a link to Dan’s site and attribute the door image to the photographer.
If you want to participate both as a photographer and a writer: get busy!
Although I almost never photograph anything in black and white, sometimes I find that certain images become more interesting when they are stripped of their color. Patterns, shapes, and textures become more pronounced, and the mood of the photograph can change once the color isn’t competing for the attention of the viewer.
Succulents and other plants that have interesting structure and contrasting lights and darks work well in black and white.
Black and white can emphasize the bold, straight lines of architecture.
You can change the mood of a photograph by removing – or fading back – the color.
Strong shapes and textures translate well into black and white. Pronounced shadows can add even more interesting patterns to your image.
And, not all black and white photographs are really black and white. Although these are color images, the blacks and whites are what first caught my eye.
I think most of us love photographs that are rich in color. Every once in a while, though, try adding shades of gray to some of your images and see if you like the results.
Do you have black and white images? Join the fun on Terri’s Sunday Stills photo prompt and see what others have shared.
Most often, to find images for Terri’s weekly photo prompt, I look in my files for existing pictures that match the theme. This time, I decided to use the week’s prompt, “Things that are White” as the inspiration for a scavenger hunt.
My husband and I woke up one day last week to glorious blue skies and temperatures that were predicted to reach the low 70s. Although it seldom gets too cold in Southern California, a winter day like this – especially one in the middle of the week – begs to be enjoyed outside. We decided to take a quick drive up the coast to the beachside community of La Jolla, to search for things that are white.
Right away, we saw a whole flotilla of kayakers. There are several local kayak rental companies that offer tours, and each has their own hull color for easy identification. This group, on this day, happened to be in white kayaks. I felt that we were off to a great start on our hunt.
A little bit further on our walk, we came across cliffs covered with white bird… ummmm… poop. The pelicans and sea lions are fun to watch, but the smell made us move along quickly.
The ocean was relatively calm that day, but we still saw a lot of waves with whitewater foam. If you look closely at the first picture, some of those “rocks” in the foreground are actually sea lions basking in the sun.
A black and white gull is more interested in treats someone might throw to him than he is in the view.
A white rescue surfboard is at the ready just in case someone gets into trouble out in the water.
White shells embedded in cement.
More white sea spray in the distance. It was an especially low tide this day so there were a lot of tidal pools to explore.
Back up on the main street, we passed by the historical La Valencia Hotel, which was built in 1926. Black and white umbrellas and window awnings are set off against the hotel’s iconic rosy exterior. (Oh, and look: a white SUV!)
And, finally, the white and red hat made famous in the book, The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss (a.k.a. Theodor Geisel) was a long-time resident of La Jolla and several local galleries carry his work.
Do you have pictures of things that are white? Join Terri’s Sunday Stills photo prompt to show us your images and see what others have shared.