Tag Archives: public sculpture

Worth a Pause

You’ve heard the saying “Stop and smell the roses.”

It can be a polite way to request or advise a person to slow down and notice the world around them. When not moving at a blur…little bits of beauty (and scent)… have a chance to be noticed. And the beauty of the natural world, from either side of the building’s window, can have a calming effect.

On a recent vacation, I only took part of this advice to heart. I wanted to see more. A bus tour was great for an introduction to a new city. And while it didn’t really stop at he sight below — it did slow enough in traffic to capture an image.

Second Look Required

Like most tourists, my friend and I sought out lunch. As we walked along, looking for and evaluating restaurant signs in the downtown area, I spotted this bright fellow across the street.

After a fine lunch a block away, we continued with our sightseeing. Hours later, our path again intersected this spot. And I discovered I’d not photographed a Red Bull. No, I’d captured a more elusive creature. A RED YAK!

 

Not a Household Pet

Cats have a reputation. Aloof. Independent. Comical. Hunters.

Social media abounds with photos of felines encountering cardboard boxes, other cats, dogs, and children. Some of them are tender moments. Others bring to mind questions: how? why?

On one of our recent, rare sunny days I took a walk and discovered this cat.

Hugging. Comforting. Cuddling. Not the first words that come to mind. But then, this isn’t a living, breathing feline. Hope he brings a smile to your face.

Careful Additions

When my children were young (and not so very young) they enjoyed building things with plastic blocks. You know the kind – they come in multiple sizes, and come out at night to sabotage bare footed adults.

They built many things with these blocks. Robots. Houses. Spaceships. And one of their favorites – TOWERS. How high could they go with a single style of block. Can I make it as tall as the builder?

My children went on to do other things. College. Jobs. Spouses.

I get the impression the artist of the sculpture below continued with the theme of “how high can I build on the base of a single block”

Fall Flit

Our warm, sunny days are limited now. Each day the sun rises a little later and sets a little sooner. But between those two markers is enough time to warm some air and raise a few spirits.

Today I’m featuring a tiny, helpful animal who takes advantage of warmth, sunshine, and late blooming plants. You’ll find them flitting from one colorful blossom to another. They’re searching for drops of nectar, a last burst of energy, before they need to pass the cycle of life to the next generation. Or, in the case of some species, migrate to a warmer climate.

If you can find a sunny patch of blooms I advise you to stand (or sit) very still and wait for them to appear. They may bring friends – bees and dragonflies. But the star of the show is the colorful, always-in-motion butterfly.

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Bird and Salad Combo

When dining out, one of the items I frequently order is a large salad. Often it will come with grilled or breaded chicken. The combo is delicious. And it has lots of the things dietitians and nutritionists approve of.

It’s good to try new things. New combinations in foods. Perhaps with the addition of one or two unfamiliar ingredients. (Careful. You might like it!)

You can also look at a familiar object or event from a new angle. Ever lay down to watch a dog walk past. (They may stop to investigate you. It might be boring looking at human feet and knees all day.) Or go high – stand on a chair or ladder, or climb up to look down on a lawn sprinkler?

Or you can just go silly — as with this photo of cranes and lettuce.

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Art glass birds in water lettuce salad.

The President and…

…His First Lady.

The phrase is common now. But for the first portion of United States history the honorarium was not used. For example, you would have heard President and Mrs. Lincoln instead.

According to the home tour guide, the newspapers began to use the phrase in the 1870’s. Then it was President Grant and his First Lady. Her name was Julia and from what I’ve read about her, she was a strong and patient woman. And after seeing some of the furnishings which the family owned, I’d add a lady of excellent taste.

In the years between the Civil War and Grant’s election to president, the family lived in Galena, IL. They were gifted a fine, brick house on the hill. (Or one of the hills — the town has several.) While the house is open as a museum now, it’s easy to see how a family with four children would have lived comfortable here. It had all the modern conveniences. At least two of the bedrooms had stoves. A copper lined bathtub sat off the kitchen.

The lawn today is large and extends to the edge of the slope. It’s easy to imagine the area hosting a vegetable garden, flower beds, and of course, the privy.

Today the hostess looks out with an excellent view of the river and the main business district on the other side.

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First to be known as “First Lady”

Julia Dent Grant

No Matter the Weather

Run. Run. Run. For fitness and fun. Ignoring the heat, the rain, and the cold.

My circle of acquaintances includes several runners. Yes, they are a hardy group. Some of them leave warm, cozy beds in the winter to don running gear — including hat and mittens — to jog along a trail or a path in the park. Do they enjoy watching their breath form vapor clouds as they run? Or does the shower feel good and the coffee taste better when they return to their homes?

One St. Louis runner outdoes them all. In warm weather he’s surrounded by splashing water. On special occasions the water is tinted. (On purpose.) Then during the coldest months he runs exposed above his shallow pool.

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Run! Running Man. Run!

Symbol of the City

One short look at the figure and you know where you are.

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The official name of the sculpture is Apotheosis of St. Louis. Informally it’s “St. Louis on his Horse.” Or “The statue outside the Art Museum.”

The artist, Charles Henry Niehaus, was making a statement, not going for historical accuracy of detail. The very name “apotheosis” suggests it. Ascendance to the divine realm is not the sort of thing seen with the eyes. Rather, it’s an image reserved for the heart, soul, and imagination.

This is the second statue. The first, done in plaster, was displayed during the 1904 World’s Fair. The city movers and shakers liked it enough to commission it in bronze. But not from the original sculpture (his price was too high). This one was dedicated in 1906. The Gateway Arch may have replaced it as a city symbol, but it still earns high marks from the locals and many visitors.

Do you suppose Maylee and Dave visited this spot during their courtship? Read the beginning of their relationship in Stare Down.

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Indian Representative

One of the little pleasures when visiting the zoo is to round a corner and encounter a peacock. They roam free, tend to stay in the grassy and/or shady spots. They also delight visitors, young and old, when they “strut their stuff” with their tails in a fan.

You can find them in other places, too. Either the living animal or representations in all sorts of mediums.

Proud import from India

Proud import from India

The above work of art featuring the Indian native, is spending the summer at the botanical garden. You need to look carefully, and I needed information from the tram tour narrator, but this vase is constructed of glass medicine vials.

Hmmm. Who expected container for extracts and flavors and potions to be recycled into a work of art?