More from the Getty Villa!

It’s one of my favorite places, so on my recent trip to California (my first since the start of Covid in 2020) of course I had to revisit the beautiful Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades. Here are a few random images of art that impressed me inside the building — something different, since I usually focus on the gardens and beautiful views.

An archer made of glazed brick from the reign of Darius I, 522-486 BC. He was one of many decorating the walls of the palace at Susa in Iran. Beautiful colors!
Persian Guard from Persepolis in Iran. 486-465 BC
Awesome and dramatic marble sculpture of Mithras standing on the back of a bull and sacrificing it with a dagger. This Roman sculpture dates from AD 150-200.
Great view of the Outer Peristyle Garden and pool from second floor balcony. It was HOT the day I was there, 95 degrees by noon, and I really wanted to sit in that pool for a while.

The Getty Villa is smaller and more serene than the big Getty Center museum in Los Angeles. Here’s a link to their website for info about visiting. If you’re in the area it’s worth a visit!

A Couple of Banksy Images

Saw this article in the Guardian today about how Banksy is occupying himself during the coronavirus lockdown.

It reminded me of our visit to Amsterdam last year, when we saw an exhibition of Banksy works at the Moco museum. (We went there right after our visit to the Van Gogh museum, so it was a huge perspective shift!) These two images particularly stuck with me:

Gasmask Boy, Banksy, 2009

Forgive Us for our Trespassing, Banksy, 2010

Street Art in LA’s Arts District

I’m back from a trip to Los Angeles, tired but without coronavirus I hope (crosses fingers for luck). While there I was lucky enough to go on a DTLA Walking Tour of some of the murals in the LA Arts District. Here are just a few samples I really enjoyed!

Actually, this one is from Santa Monica! It’s by Ruben Rojas and Cloe Hakakian.

By Ricky Watts, at The Container Yard

By Chris Shim at The Container Yard

By Wrdsmth at The Container Yard

By Solomon Souza at The Container Yard

Pictures from Basel

Here are a few images from my recent trip to Basel, Switzerland. Basel is located on the Rhine and has a beautiful Old Town and Basel Minster, a Catholic Cathedral (now a Protestant Church) that was built between 1020 and 1500.

Georgsturm and Martinsturm, the two towers of Basel Minster.

St George and the dragon on the facade of Basel Minster

Basel Minster courtyard

Rathaus Basel, or the Basel Town Hall, in the Marketplatz (with bonus Piadina Stand!)

Guy with an attitude, Old Town Basel

Basel’s heraldic animal, the basilisk. To be seen in several places around the city.

Lovely homes along the River Rhine in Basel.

My Favorites at LACMA

I love art museums. In the Los Angeles area, I’ve been to the Getty Center and the beautiful Getty Villa, the Norton Simon Museum, the Huntington Library Art Collection, the Bergamot Station arts complex and more. This time I visited the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). We only made it through a small section of the museum, but I found some personal favorites.

Of course everyone who visits takes pictures of “Urban Light” by Chris Burden. Here are some of the 202 street lights that make up the installation. They turn on at dusk, but they’re still wonderful during the day.


Here is a beautiful Archangel Raphael from 17th century Naples:

And some pop art by Idelle Weber, a fun piece called “Jump Rope”.

More pop art, a fun wooden sculpture by Joel Shapiro called “Dancing Man”. I also like “A Lawn Being Sprinkled” by David Hockney behind the dancing man.

My sister particularly liked this one. It’s called “Balloon Monkey (Orange)” by Jeff Koons, and it’s located outside the Ahmanson Building at LACMA. It sits in a reflecting pool, apparently at least partly to keep people from touching it. (I’ve linked an article below about the reflecting pool.)


Here’s a little more info about some of the pieces and artists above:

Everything You Didn’t Know about Urban Light, from the LA Times

Idelle Weber, “Jump Rope” from LACMA UnFramed

David Hockney (painter of “A Lawn Being Sprinkled”)

Koons Monkey Business at LACMA

The Monkey Gets a Moat

The LACMA Website

A Few Images from Florida

A few memorable images from my recent trip to Florida:

Sunset over St Augustine, FL from the deck of the Schooner Freedom

Rigging. One mast of the Schooner Freedom, St Augustine.

Magnolia Ave, St Augustine, on a misty morning.

Sand dollar. Treasure Island, Florida.

Cool sign on the Thunderbird Hotel, Treasure Island Florida.

The Dingle Peninsula

The Dingle Peninsula is in County Kerry. It’s the farthest west you can go in Ireland. It’s a place of steep cliffs dropping into the sea, sandy beaches, and green pastures dotted with a lot of sheep. There are archaeological ruins, including ogham stones and Dunbeg Fort, an Iron Age promontory fort built right above the sea. We were blessed with warm weather and sun our first day, then rain and a blast of wind the following morning.

One of many views from the Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula. July 2017.

The Slea Head Drive is a circular route around the edge — in some places the very edge — of the peninsula. It’s traveled in a one-way manner in a clockwise direction, because the roads in some places are narrow enough they won’t fit two cars. If you do encounter someone going the opposite way, one of the vehicles must back up until there’s a wide spot. This happened twice while we were there, once while we were a few feet away from a low stone wall on the edge of the cliff. That was unnerving. I’m glad I wasn’t the driver!

There were a few bicyclists as well, on what must be an extremely demanding ride.

A seagull at Slea Head.

Inch Beach. It has a surf school — see image below.

Dingle Town itself (An Daingean) — permanent population about 2,000 — is crowded with tourists in the summer. It’s got a harbor with a permanent dolphin resident named Fungie. We didn’t take a boat trip to see Fungie, but his statue is in the town center, so we feel we know what he looks like. Fungie was first seen in the harbor in 1983, and is known for being friendly to humans. Is it still the original Fungie? Here’s a link to a story in the Independent on that subject.

Part of Dingle harbor, July 2017.

Dingle Town itself is the base for tourists wanting to explore the region. In spite of being a Gaeltacht, a place where Irish is the official language, English is commonly spoken in town. The Gaeltacht was created to preserve the Irish language. I’m told schoolchildren from around Ireland spend time here in the summers, learning their native tongue. It seems the use of Irish is declining, though. Here’s a link to a 2008 article discussing the challenges of trying to preserve the language.


Paudie’s Bar, Dingle.

Murphy’s Pub, Dingle.

In July, Dingle was full of flowers. Fuchsia, in particular, bloomed everywhere.

And below, a last look at the green hills of Ireland. The sheep had mostly been shorn when we were in Dingle. Many were marked with blazes of color — bright reds, blues, greens — so the owners could distinguish their own sheep when it was time to retrieve them again from common fields on the mountainsides.

The green mountainside pastures of the Dingle Peninsula.


A Museum Full of All the Cool Things about Flying

This should be a post about writing, but it’s not! Instead it’s about my visit to the Stephen F Udvar-Hazy Center, which is part of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. This is a separate facility from the one on the National Mall, located near Dulles Airport. And it’s full of amazing things, even for someone like me who doesn’t know much about aeronautics or space flight.

There are two huge hangars for display of hundreds of spacecraft and planes, as well as windows looking into the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar. The Concorde is there, as well as a variety of vintage passenger and military aircraft, a U-2, and space-related items like a Sojourner Mars rover.


“Ascent”, by John Safer, outside the Udvar-Hazy Center.

The space shuttle Discovery is here as well:

Discovery (front)

Side view of Discovery and the Canadarm Remote Manipulator System

Here’s a link to a Washington Post video of Discovery arriving at the Udvar-Hazy Center in 2012.

There are plenty of historical exhibits relating to space flight, including early capsules, a SpaceLab module and Mars rovers.

That old logo, though. 😝

Android built in the sixties to help NASA develop spacesuits. Very early sci-fi.


This delicate-looking thing is a Tracking and Data Relay satellite.


“Sky Baby”. A piloted aircraft that is only 9 feet long.


Langley Aerodrome A, 1903. Not a success, but looks very steampunk.


Another picture of the Langley Aerodrome. Samuel Langley was a physicist, astronomer and aviator. Buildings, an Air Force base and various aircraft and ships have been named after him.

The Enola Gay is also at Udvar-Hazy. The Enola Gay is the aircraft that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. It’s one of the many military aircraft that are at the museum, a reminder that the history of aviation and space flight is about exploration and science, but is also inextricably linked to war.

Enola Gay

Here are links to the museum website, and also the Wikipedia page listing many of the exhibits at the Udvar-Hazy museum.



Cool Public Art Tiles in San Antonio

San Antonio is full of little touches of art. Here are a few examples I saw as we wandered around the River Walk and the Alamo area.

The first two were New Deal-era projects. The artist, Ethel Wilson Harris, was supervisor of the Arts and Crafts division of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in San Antonio in 1939. These mosaics were completed in 1941.

Tile mural at the Navarro Street Bridge on the Riverwalk, San Antonio
Tile mural at the Navarro Street Bridge on the River Walk, San Antonio


Tile mural, San Antonio Riverwalk, north of East Commerce Street near North St Mary's Street
Tile mural, San Antonio River Walk, north of East Commerce Street near North St Mary’s Street


More tiles decorated the trolley station columns at East Commerce street near Alamo Plaza. There are a total of 44 tiles by artist Ann Adams, completed in 2000.

Ann Adams tile, San Antonio trolley station


Ann Adams tile, San Antonio trolley station


Another mosaic was tucked away in a little alcove on the River Walk. I haven’t been able to find the name of the artist.

Mosaic on the San Antonio Riverwalk, artist unknown.
Mosaic on the San Antonio River Walk, artist unknown.

There are a lot more of these, if you’re ever in San Antonio and want to explore. Here are a couple of links to further info:

List of Public Artworks in San Antonio

New Deal-era San Antonio Tile Artwork








Cool Art in New Orleans

New Orleans is a city full of music. But I found plenty of art to enjoy too, in the amazing warm days we had in mid-February. I couldn’t get a good image of all of the works I liked — I tried about ten times to get a decent picture of this fantastic and disturbing spider sculpture by Louise Bourgeois in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden in City Park, but failed. (Link is to a photo by Paul Moline on Panoramio.)

Here are a few of the works I liked.

Karma, a 23-foot-tell sculpture by Do Ho Suh at the Besthoff Sculpture gardens.
Karma, a 23-foot-tall sculpture by Do Ho Suh at the Besthoff Sculpture gardens.

Profile of an Artist with Grandmother Inside, by Lonnie Holley, at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art
Profile of an Artist with Grandmother Inside, by Lonnie Holley, at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

Large Seated Cardinal, by Giacomo Manzu, at the Besthoff Gardens.
Large Seated Cardinal, by Giacomo Manzu, at the Besthoff Gardens.

Large Seated Cardinal, Manzu, side view.
Large Seated Cardinal, Manzu, side view.

Stained glass window at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, New Orleans (built 1826).
Stained glass window at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, New Orleans (built 1826).


Here are links to some of these sites:

The wonderful Besthoff Sculpture Gardens, which I loved!

Ogden Museum of Southern Art

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, New Orleans