Inspired in Yorkshire: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

There are so many photographs from this summer that self can use to illustrate this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: INSPIRATION.

But she’ll stick to her most recent album: photographs of Yorkshire.

Which means the Hockney gallery at the Salts Mill in Shipley.

Café in the Salts Mill, Shipley, Yorkshire

Café in the Salts Mill, Shipley, Yorkshire

An old high school chum (who self hadn’t seen since high school graduation) drove her around. Fun!

The Salts Mill is a massive place. But the man who owned it was an enlightened being who built subdivisions for his workers and kept them off the drink with strict supervision.

The Salts Mills, Shipley

The Salts Mills, Shipley

And the Hockneys! Incredible. A whole floor is devoted to the first release group of his “The Arrival of Sprint 2011″ – David Hockney Editioned Works.

Close-up of one of David Hockney's editioned

Close-up of one of David Hockney’s editioned “The Arrival of Spring 2011″ at the Salts Mills, Shipley, Yorkshire

Self had NO idea there was such a museum in Yorkshire. Of course, she knew Yorkshire = the Brontes. And that is reason enough to go and pay homage.

But throw in David Hockney? And a converted mill? Priceless.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Close Up 2: The Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, London

Today, dear blog readers, London was actually crammed with people. Tourists, mostly. It was not so fun.

Nevertheless, self summoned the necessary mojo to go exploring, and she found herself in another leafy square, confronting the great splendor of Hertford House, in Manchester Square.

And here are three photographs she took in the museum housed within, The Wallace Collection. She considers them suitable for the theme this week — CLOSE UP — because she had to go closer than she normally would, and left out the frames.

All three subjects are rather risqué, if the museum guide is to be believed. Especially the first one: Fragonard’s “The Swing.”

Fragonard's

Fragonard’s “The Swing” Originally, the lady was to have been pushed by a bishop. But this was evidently too much. So, instead, we have an elderly gent sitting on a stone balustrade, in the shadows behind.

But the lady is swathed in layers of clothes! Where, self wonders, is the provocativeness?

Next, a marble bust (Bad Pun?) of Marie-Louise Thérese-Victoire, daughter of Louis XV and aunt of Louis XVI, who was, according to the museum materials, “noted for her piety and appetite.” Rather an odd combination of words. When you look at this marble bust, and think that this lady must have been middle-aged when it was executed, well holy smoke, just look at that shelf she has!

Marble Bust of Maria-Louise Thérese-Victoire, Aunt of Louis XVI

Marble Bust of Maria-Louise Thérese-Victoire, Aunt of Louis XVI

Finally, a beautiful oil painting, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, of Margaret, Countess of Blessington (of which self has much to say, for this painting has a prominent place in the novel she is currently reading — no, not Clockwork Prince, the other one: Howard Jacobson’s wonderful and satirical The Act of Love, which is about an antiquarian book dealer who haunts Great Russell Street and museums.)

Margaret, Countess of Blessington, painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence

Margaret, Countess of Blessington, painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence

More, later. Self is famished and needs to hunt up dinner.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Door: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is DOOR.

The Daily Post prompt: “publish a new post with a photo of a door.”

To which self says, QED!

Because doors fascinate her almost as much as windows do.

The First Door:  Mendocino Village, California

Sweetwater Gardens is a Bed & Breakfast with a fancy restaurant and spa. One of the rooms (someone told her) is in a water tower.

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The Second Door: Entrance to the Ceramics Studio at the Mendocino Art Center. Self took the picture during Second Saturday (January 2015): Every second Saturday of the month, Mendocino’s galleries hold little wine-and-cheese receptions and people can stroll in and out of various art galleries.

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The Third Door: AMC Ontario Mills Shopping Center, Southern California

Well, technically that’s not a door. Just a representation of one. Apologies!

Actually, that’s not even a representation of a door. Whatever. It’s a portal.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Off-Season 5: South Bank, London

OFF-SEASON is still the theme for these photographs.

OFF-SEASON is partly nostalgic. A looking back.

It’s also a phase.

Her last fulll day in London, Joan McGavin took self walking all over the South Bank. Where Shakespeare’s Globe used to be is now a modern apartment building. Signs mark the location of the old Globe, however. It’s a parking lot, around the corner from the new Globe:

The Old Globe is a Parking Lot Adjacent to a Modern Apartment Building in London's South End.

The Old Globe is a Parking Lot Adjacent to a Modern Apartment Building in London’s South End.

Signs show the layout of the old theatre complex. Self likes to muse on the contrast with the current surroundings: cars, vans, box-like buildings.

Signs show the layout and orientation of the old Globe. Self didn't know about bear-baiting.

Signs show the layout and orientation of the old Globe. Self didn’t know about bear-baiting.

Part of our perambulations involved a visit to the Tate Modern Gallery of Art. The building is huge. It dwarfs everything alongside. The building used to house the Bankside Power Station.

The main entrance is cavernous. The lower level was practically empty, except for this greatly ambiguous piece. It felt unfinished but perhaps that was the point?

An Art Installation on the Lower Level of the Tate Modern on London's South Bank. Self doesn't know what it means.

An Art Installation on the Lower Level of the Tate Modern on London’s South Bank. Self doesn’t know what it means.

It’s “Off-Season” because it is so isolated and random, occurring in the middle of what evokes a warehouse setting.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

St. Bride’s on a Monday Afternoon: Off-Season 4

It’s a quiet little church just off the hustle and bustle of Fleet Street.

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The church is mentioned in an appendix to Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Prince.

Clare used the church as the setting for the Shadowhunters’ London Institute.

Since self has decreed that this London sojourn will be devoted to examining places that appear in The Infernal Devices trilogy, she couldn’t possibly have skipped the headquarters of the London Institute, now could she?

She was hoping to get to Blackfriars Bridge as well, but couldn’t make it that far. It was a cool day, and self was wearing a sleeveless cotton blouse. Plus she’s going to be watching a play tonight, so rest is required.

The Crypt Beneath St. Bride's -- It's a very interesting exhibit space.

The Crypt Beneath St. Bride’s — It’s a very interesting exhibit space.

In a small chapel off to the side, self found the most amazing altar, and etched glass hanging art.

St. Bride’s is also known as the “journalists’ church”: hence the quill and ink etched on this green glass panel, another of which flanks the altar’s other side.

Two Etched Pieces of Glass flank an altar in a side chapel of St. Bride's.

Two Etched Pieces of Glass flank an altar in a side chapel of St. Bride’s.

The church was practically empty today, so self was free to explore to her heart’s content.

There were photographs all around, and also a memorial plaque to Marie Colvin. Self recognized the name instantly, but for the benefit of dear blog readers, Marie Colvin was a foreign correspondent who was killed in 2012, while reporting from the Syrian city of Homs. On the plaque is a quote: “It has always been a hard calling, but the need for front-line, effective reporting has never been stronger.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Off-Season 2: Dandelions at the Victoria & Albert Museum

Self loves London. Absolutely loves, loves, loves. If she were to spend her last farthing, she’d want to do it in this city.

It’s not the most beautiful (although there’s plenty of beauty around). It’s not even the most affable. It rains a lot. But it has a hold on her heart (all the more so now because — hello, Victorian Steampunk! The London Institute of the Clave! Shadowhunters! The Infernal Devices! Will Herondale!)

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is OFF-SEASON.

OFF-SEASON as in: Umbrellas in winter? Balaclavas in July?

The Hunger Games has been very much on self’s mind.

Why? Because yesterday, in Cambridge, friend Dodo told self that another former classmate had visited Cambridge, and she and Dodo had gone to the Harry Potter museum just outside London.

And self wondered when that much-ballyhooed Hunger Games theme park was ever going to open?

Anyhoo, today self went across London to the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was crowded, of course, but not off-putting.

Self decided to go see the WHAT IS LUXURY exhibit.

The exhibit includes a fabulous artwork made out of real dandelion seeds, embedded with LED lights to make a chandelier.

Self associates dandelions with The Hunger Games because of Peeta Mellark (one of her all-time favorite literary characters). Katniss, for those who are completely out of the zeitgeist, ends up with Peeta in the end because he is her “dandelion in the spring.”

And, hello, it is summer. Or, anyway, past the season for dandelions.

So here’s a shot of a fabulous chandelier at the Victoria and Albert:

At the Victoria and Albert Museum: Real dandelion seeds were harvested before opening into

At the Victoria and Albert Museum: Real dandelion seeds were harvested before opening into “clocks” and then were individually applied to LED lights to make this chandelier.

In keeping with the rather soggy weather, here’s the London Eye ferris wheel. Ferris wheels symbolize summer (at least they do for self), but because of London’s grey skies, the symbolism today (Self took this picture while meandering across the Waterloo Bridge) felt rather muted. So, here’s a most somber-looking ferris wheel:

The London Eye Viewed from Waterloo Bridge

The London Eye Viewed from Waterloo Bridge

Anyhoo, yesterday in Cambridge, it was rainy. Dodo took self on a punt ride on the river Cam. It was so wet that we had to bring umbrellas and hide under blankets. Self even had to buy a raincoat for the occasion. Here’s a shot of the inside of our punt. A great time was had by all:

Dodo (who lives in Cambridge) and Self in a Punt! On a Rainy Afternoon in Cambridge, UK.

Dodo (who lives in Cambridge) and Self in a Punt! On a Rainy Afternoon in Cambridge, UK.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Vivid 2: 28 Chinese Artists at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is VIVID.

To self, “vivid” is all about color. Or warmth. Or illumination.

Self spent yesterday afternoon at the Asian Art Museum (The traffic heading into San Francisco is just horrible, UGH) and saw many vivid pieces of art from the current show, “28 Chinese Artists From the Ruddell Family Collection” :

Tattoo 11, 1994 by Qiu Zhije (b. 1969, Fujian China)

Tattoo 11, 1994 by Qiu Zhijie (b. 1969, Fujian China)

“Darkness Illuminates Me” by Qiu Zhijie, 2009

The artist Zhang Huan covered his body with honey and oil and sat in a public toilet (Size: 12 square meters) and waited for the flies to land, then had someone take his picture:

“12 Square Meters” by Zhang Huan (b. 1965, Henan, China)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Vivid: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is VIVID.

The Daily Post cites the Vivid Festival of Sydney, Australia, which opened May 22 and closes June 8. This year, the festival features “over 60 light art installations, illuminations, and 3D artworks . . . a kaleidoscope of color and light art.”

Sounds fabulous.

Here are self’s takes on VIVID:

Orchids are so vivid!

Orchids are so vivid!

From April through May this year, self participated in the Banff Writing Studio. She loved Banff, and being surrounded by artists. Here’s a picture she took during her first week in Banff. The red structure is something that immediately caught her eye.

The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada: April 2015

The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada: April 2015

The Canadian sky was a vivid blue, that last week of April:

Banff, Alberta: late April, 2015

Banff, Alberta: late April, 2015

And that’s all she has for VIVID at the moment, dear blog readers!

Stay tuned.

Broken: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is BROKEN:

  • Capture something broken:  broken windows and tools, an old window, a toy never fixed, and so on.

Each of the pictures below depicts something “broken” — whether it’s Anthony Burgess’s disturbing novel of social dysfunction in an England of the future ruled by thugs, A Clockwork Orange (the book was in a visual art exhibit at the Walter Phillips Gallery here in Banff), a preserved dinosaur head, or an installation representing America’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan:

Anthony Burgess's CLOCKWORK ANGEL

Anthony Burgess’s CLOCKWORK ANGEL — Ooops! Self means A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Self’s got too much Infernal Devices on the brain, dear blog readers!

Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum at Drumheller, Alberta

Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum at Drumheller, Alberta

Harriet Bart, American:

Harriet Bart: “Enduring Afghanistan” – map of Afghanistan rendered in dog tags, at the Walker Art Museum, Minneapolis

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Forces of Nature 2: Around Banff

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is FORCE OF NATURE. Since arriving in Calgary several weeks ago, self has been truly awed by, to borrow a phrase from The Daily Post prompt, “the sheer scale and power” of the physical surroundings. And even more since getting to Banff, which is in the Canadian Rockies.

Self had signed up for a one-day tour to Lake Louise, today. But she got the meeting place wrong, and by the time she found the Eric Harvie Theatre, the tour was long gone. Anyhoo, self was all right with that, because she ended up doing more work on her novel-in-progress (Working Title: That Wilderness).

Apologies for her photographs being smaller in scale than she was expecting to post today. But the human imprint is also a “force of nature,” isn’t it?

A path leading to the Eric Harvie Theatre

A path leading to the Eric Harvie Theatre in The Banff Centre. Well-traveled. Clearly.

Bridge Over a Gully -- Stumbled Across During A Walk This Morning

Bridge Over a Gully — Stumbled Across During A Walk This Morning. Puts new meaning into the phrase “river of stones.”

And this was the view yesterday, from the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. One of the other writers, Sheila Stevenson, asked if she’d like to go there for a fancy drink. We were joined by writer Jill Frayn. And self had her first Canadian beer. The three of us shared a huge appetizer of Nachos with Flatiron Steak. The beef here in Alberta is really good.

from the Rundle Lounge of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

from the Rundle Lounge of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

The hotel was crowded yesterday: full of families and wedding parties. There was live music. And many Asian tourists.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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