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Posts from the ‘Travel & Places I’ve been’ Category

3-D Images and Biology

While at Texas Weslayan University in Fort Worth for the solar eclipse earlier this month, my son suggested a stroll through the nearby Biology building to view the artwork displayed on the walls there.

The artist wanted to connect visual ideas with biology and while her methods were intriguing. Unfortunately, I with my advanced Biology degree found the lack of anatomically accuracy distracting.

For instance, this piece had an outline of the head but with the lines going straight from the front to the back–Our visual experience is much more complicated than a straight line–and there is auditory and olfactory senses involved also.img_6351-m

The eye was made of rolled up papers but there was no sclera or pupil–the only part was the wire eyelashes tha informed the idea of the eye.img_6345-m

The workmanship of these pieces was immaculate showing attention to detail and perhaps she wanted a very simple representation of what she was thinking.

One piece used a number of straight pins stuck through plexiglass–an interesting project–but she did not use the shadows cast by the pins in the piece.img_6348-m

While I do like to work a bit to understand a piece of art, this was too simple. Perhaps her next series will be more challenging intellectually.

As usual more photos on smugmug at https://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/Art/Sculptures-in-Biology-Building-at-Texas-Weslayan-University/

Eclipsing the Sun with Froot Loops and Rice Krispies

Viewing the solar eclipse has been on my calendar for several months and the only concern was figuring out where I was going to be. I thought of going to Wyoming or even Oklahoma where one small town set up a chicken coop in the center of town so people could watch the chickens roost. But then I had to work and the dogs would not be particularly interested in a long drive nor hanging around while we stared at the sky with our special glasses.

My oldest son is a professor at Texas Weslayan University in Fort Worth Texas–a mere five hour drive from here. I called him and asked what he was doing–he thought he would drive to St. Louis but then decided it would not be good to miss the first day of class. He talked it over with the professor of Physics and they decided to put together an event—in just three weeks. The library director also assisted in the project.

Husband decided to drive down from Wisconsin and I drove from home—and we met at his house–still unfurnished and getting painted before getting the floors done and his furniture moved in—his dog, Rosie, met me with great enthusiasm–she is still a puppy at 18 months–and did a lot of mouthing–I had to have bandaids so I wouldn’t drip on the really ugly carpeting that Rosie would then chew up.

Monday was bright, sunny, and clear with a bit of a breeze. We were assigned the task of making pinhole cameras from cereal boxes–a scramble to find aluminum foil, and pins in an office building but secretary there was quite resourceful. Mike made a point of pointing out the cheap project to his education majors.

Here is Glen working on a pinhole camera from a Froot Loop Cereal Box1-20glen20making20pinhole20camera20from20cereal20boxes-m

We proceeded out to the quad where I practiced using the camera so I could demonstrate–we took pictures through the eyepiece–a bit of a challenge, I tried a solar dye on paper–but there was too much ambient light–and took photos of the eclipse shining through the leaves of a tree on the nearby sidewalk. About six hundred pairs of eclips glasses were handed out–I shared mine with dozens of people. Faculty, students, football team, and even housekeeping showed up to look—it was a spectacular success===amd the universal responses were…..WOW!!!!!!!!! or AWESOME!!!!!!!!

2-20checking20out20solar20dyes-m Solar dye by Jaquard–I picked that leaf off a nearby shrub–hope the garden crew doesn’t mind.

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shooting through the eyepiece at the full sun prior eclipse—Froot Loop box. I held the box, husband held the camera.

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here we are setting up. The library director, her mother and husband also assisted.

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More set-up. Husband is wearing the camo bee veil in foreground, Son is in the black Tshirt and ball cap talking to the studen with a backpack on far left. That T-=shirt is from the telescope in Hawaii–where he and we had a private tour—not at the same time–something few visitors get to see. The man with the blue shirt and khaki pants is the physics professor.

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partial eclipse as seen through tree leaves on the sidewalk beside the quad.

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Glen cut a somewhat ragged hole in a very large piece of cardboard and we directed it at a plastic wrapped piece of poster board.

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a nice smooth hole yielded a better image

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compared to this one.

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here is my attempt with solar dye–it was purple–on my sketchbook–but there was too much light. I should have put the paper inside the cereal boxes.

Next event is in 2024 where we will be in the total eclipse zone.

 

 

 

What I did on My Summer Vacation

School has started around here and teachers always seem to like to assign this topic as the first English essay of the year. This time of year is one of my favorites–new beginnings, new things to explore–a second New Year so to speak.

Since Harvey is pouring down rain around me outside and there isn’t much I can do outside except get wet and the newspaper is unlikely to be delivered this morning, I thought I’d get this essay out of the way for the school year—although it has been many years that I’ve had to worry about this.

I have a farm in Wisconsin–not Africa as Karen Blixen did–and we don’t go hunting wild animals–unless you count the raccoons that seem to show up every year. Rabbits are bountiful although my friend’s adopted dog—abandoned at our dog park here in Texas–does his best to annoy them, capture them, and mostly play with them but they don’t seem to want to play much after a few minutes. Ditto the wood-chucks.

I make a point of returning home around the Fourth of July every year–to watch the annual parade, visit with cousins and my aunt–dear lady who is in her 90’s and still quite sharp, and work on my farm. We are remodeling the farm-house where I grew up and I wanted to make it my house–not my parents or my grandparents. One of my brothers–designed two additions–a much larger bathroom and a beautiful breakfast room with huge windows. We are doing the majority of the work now but it is slow going.

My first task each year is to clean up the raspberry patch. Here it is before and then after. I do this twice a year but it would be better if I could do it monthly—but I still have to work. Usually I am there to pick the raspberries and have picked enough to make several jars of jam.1-20raspberry20patch-m2-20raspberry20patche20weeded-m

Next task was to clean floorboards, These were taken up after the original porch was torn off and replaced with a wonderfully wide and inviting porch open to the outside and facing west, north, and east–a nod to our now Southern roots. It is hard and dusty work to scrape away the dirt that accumulates in the crevaces from all the people that have walked on those boards. The farm sits on a crossroads of sorts and is a frequent stop for people asking directions. In the distant past there was a stage coach stop just over the hill from the Windmill and there is a faint track of that past trail.3-20cleaning20floorboards-m4-20my20chisel20to20clean20the20crevaces-m5-20cleaned20floorboards-m

A trip to Prairie yielded several boxes of tiles for the downstairs bathroom floor. I did most of the work, handing the tiles one by one to my husband who was on his hands and knees setting them in. I’m sure he will protest my effort as mostest–but I’m writing this–not him.8-20assisting20in20laying20floor20tiles20in20bathroom-m9-20completed20floor20tiles20in20bathroom-m

Final project was to start to hang the corrugated tin (steel) on the ceiling of the living room/dining room. I wanted to have an interior that would require the minimum of upkeep–no painting of ceilings or hanging of wall-paper or washing walls–simple–simple–simple.10-20starting20to20hang20corrugated20metal20roof20in20great20room-m

And not to forget—my daily task–every morning and afternoon I spent about twenty minutes or so pulling ragweed. It is bountiful and grows rapidly and my husband is dreadfully allergic to the blooming rageweed. It is also a high pollen count for honey bees who use the pollen for their winter stores. I didn’t make much of a dent but I gave it a good try.6-20ragweed-m7-20a20field20of20ragweed-20i20pulled20ragweed20every20morning20and20afternoon20for20twenty20minutes20and20made20a20small20insignificant20dent-m

See the scattered ragweeds in the oats and then the wide band of dark green near the trees. Maybe someone could make it into biofuel or something useful.

Tomorrow, maybe I’ll write about the Solar Eclipse–as it is far too dark outside to take photos of the rain although I could try for my dogs lying forlonely on the floor thinking it is bedtime three or four times a day as it is so dark outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Austin Bound

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Spring in Texas lasts a long time with bluebonnets and paintbrush and firewheels on the roadsides and pastures. I didn’t see many bluebonnets but the firewheels were out as well as the paintbrush–none here at this little picnic spot on route to Austin.

I usually prefer the smaller roads–less traffic and more lovely scenery to view. I had never stopped at this particular spot before but it was quite lovely. Only one other vehicle was there–who left within a few minutes of my arrival. Fish swam around in the pool, hoping for a meal but I disappointed them–yogurt and a banana aren’t really great fish food.

A few more photos are here: https://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/Texas/Austin-Bound/i-TF2Rh9d/A

Holus Bolusing on Bolivar

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Holus Bolus celebrates ten years together—-we first met at Los Fuentes restaurant in LaGrange Texas after a fiber filled weeked at the Creativity Center–the dream of Karey Bresenham. Seated at the end of a very long table we began chatting and Sherry read the fiber book I had made for her about her mother’s pretty yellow dress. One thing led to another and we began round robin fiber books–and then we decided to meet more often than just at Quilt Festival and so the adventures began. In May we will go on a quilting cruise.

We have seen each other through health issues, hurricanes, and hilarity bonding together with Cissy’s deviled eggs, Suzanne’s gourmet meals, Jeanelle’s creative use of group projects, Sherry’s patient teaching, and my penchant for solitude. We have shopped at Goodwill for blonde wigs and sparkly jackets, the Treasure House for just looking for funky stuff, and have traveled to Camp Allen, Tomball’s Cabin Too, and Stonewall where I assigned myself the task of filling the hummingbird feeders—they were hungry little critters!

Sometimes we get together as five, and sometimes as three or four or even two–but it is always a joyful thing.

This past week I joined Cissy, Sherry and Jeanelle at the beach cabin (now there is an oxymoron for you–it was anything but a cabin) of her daughter for a day on the beach. We took handwork projects–I worked on my stitch every day silk sampler and finished up all the precut hexies I had. Cissy made two wonderful salads and then it was time for the beach and the sunset.

I took a lot of photos but chose just a few to represent our time. We toasted to friendship and the wonderful world with blueberry champagne.

If everyone had a group of friends like this—and spent their time so wonderfully–what a wonderful world this would be.

As usual more photos are here on smugmug: https://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/organize/QuiltGroups/Bolivar-2017-at-Ocean-Blu

Improvise and Make do

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Here I am in front of my second assignment in Improvisation with Ricky Tims (https://www.rickytims.com/) in lovely LaVeta Colorado. (http://lavetacucharachamber.com/ )

Note the pile of tiny slivered scraps behind my machine keeping that coffee cup warm. And all that thread which I will not use during this week. And underneath my table is the canvas and backings I brought to finish up small pieces—that I thought I would be working on this week.

I brought my two laundry baskets full of solids and prints that I dyed for Nancy Crow workshops in the past(http://www.nancycrow.com/artworkshops.html) —I am still using those fabrics but have added some prints–and as you can—vibrant ones. The question is always=-==will I have enough of this one to use in this project or should I choose something else. I picked out some fabrics that I knew I had at least a half yard or more to begin.

Tomorrow I start the next piece.

And I’ll see something like this on my way to the workshop.

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On the way to beat the heat

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On the way to Colorado quilt retreat, I stopped several times as I had allotted three full days for travel. My first stop was in Fort Worth at Texas Wesleyan University to visit with my oldest son and see his office space, labs, and his hopefully new house in Burleson. Then on to Clayton Texas where I had a meal at the Rabbit Ear Saloon and noted all the dinosaur imagery–and contemplated a trip to the dinosaur tracks.

But I decided to drive on—and found Capulen Mountain National Monument. This is an extinct volcano and I managed to walk around the rim and captured the above photo among many others.

Arriving in Colorado I had several hours free and decided that perhaps a visit to the Sand Dunes might be in order. That meant driving about 2 hours and a mountain pass of 9200 feet—no problem for my truck even when on biodiesel. Photos of that are on my next photo card—tomorrow–

It has been an interesting trip so far–I was surprised at the amount of rain that has fallen–and long lines of rail cars in New Mexico—snow fences in Colorado–and tire chain stations on both sides of the mountain—and of course all the notices regarding snakes at all the rest stops.

Here are the remaining photos: https://photos.smugmug.com/Blog/Blog-2016/i-dmP2fKW/0/M/IMG_3279-M.jpg

 

Condensing to the essence

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I’ve often wondered what it is about the simple figures in cave paintings and the stick figures of children that is so appealing–at least to me. The above image is from Diablo Canyon just outside of Del Rio. These paintings are slowly fading away but they retain the energy and vitality of their origin.

The canyon itself is magnificent with sweeping views of a tributary to the Rio Grande, lots of rocks, and dry weather adapted foliage sparsely arranged on the hillsides. Our tour guides detailed suppositions about the life led by the people who created these images–always male but can you not imagine the determined little girl who snuck out at night and painted a figure or two.

More photos of the paintings, the canyon, Amistad Resevoir and downtown Del Rio are on my smug mug site here: https://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/Texas/Del-Rio-and-Amistad-Reservoir/

I was asked to return to Del Rio in a few weeks but I had to turn them down–September sounds a better month and I can return to the canyon to see it again.

The question remains–how do you condense a feeling, an experience, an event to the very essence of it–and should it be a piece of visual art or maybe it should be a song.

Beyond Crazy from the Heat

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James Houston Evans has made a career of photographing Big Bend for the past thirty years or more. He had a commercial studio in Austin but moved to Marathon, and took a job as a cook at the Gage Hotel–knowing little or nothing about cooking. He spent his days off hiking in Big Bend.

He also worked for Keith Carter, a local photographer who teaches at Lamar University–and was one of my mentors during my master’s degree in Visual Art at same institution.

McFadden Ward House Museum hosted the event and their first ever art show. I don’t really have permission to post his photos here–the above photo is one of mine taken minutes before we were deluged in a rain storm. Here is his website; http://www.jameshevans.com/

We have been to Big Bend several times–the first time thinking we would be done with it in three days and ready to move on—but it fascinates us and we have been back many times. Although James Evans thinks living there lets him have a special knowledge of the place and the light over the mountains—but the familiar can soon become commonplace and new eyes may take a fresh new look at it all.

 

Here are more of my photos from Big Bend—taken at a time when I didn’t really sort through them and delete a lot–maybe that will be a project in my older age.

 

 

 

Poppies at the Franch

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A workshop at the Franch in LaGrange Texas is always a treat. This weekend was with Melinda Bula http://www.melindabula.com/#!about-melinda/c240r   with our project of Poppies. Most people bought her kit–which included all the fabrics needed to complete the piece except for the background, batting, and backing, binding and so forth. I had intended to bring my large box of reds and three smaller ones of green but at the last minute decided to cull my choices to fit into just one little box and work from that.

box20of20red-m Yes this used to have apples in it.

boxes20of20geen-m and those are Tide boxes with a small basket of yellows on top of the greens.

two20backgound20choices20here-m this box is bigger than a shoe box but not much. I could not fit in the fusible webbing or the vinyl.

I also opted to stay in the Dorm—freezing cold the first night, wrapped up in two extra blankets from two people’s cars–and then really needed earplugs—the snoring was quite daunting—might think about camping out in the bed of my truck next time. The only drawback to that is that there is no coffee in my truck unless I buy one of those semi truck driver’s coffeepots—might seriously consider.

I got about four pieces cut on my project–and will work on it more here at home with my large box of red and three smaller ones of green.–see above photos-

Solitude and few distractions are needed for me to feel creative–if someone else is nearby I feel I should be attentive to their possible needs. It feels rude to not work on the assigned project but gathering up enthusiasm to work  elbow to elbow–even when it is your dearest friends–just does not work for me.

 

I did get a lot of nice photos—and you may enjoy them here: https://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/TripsandEvents/Poppies-at-the-Franch-July-216/

don’t miss the bling we bought for the birthday celebration.