Vibrant 4: 2016 Daily Post Photo Challenge # 5

The past week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is VIBRANT. Self has been having so much fun with it. In the past week, she’s posted pictures of Mendocino and Venice. Now, she’s posting photographs she took during an exhibit of Chinese artists that she and her niece, Irene, saw when we were in Florence, November 2015.

The weather was glorious: it never rained. And Florence, self doesn’t need to tell dear blog readers, is enchanting.

We got ourselves a Museum Card (Would you believe, there are 64 museums in Florence?).

As we were walking towards the Duomo on one of our earliest days in Florence, we noticed this museum and went inside.

Now, self can no longer remember which museum it was, but there was an exhibition of Chinese paintings which totally blew self away: International Tour of the Works of the Twelfth China National Exhibition of Fine Arts.

The oil painting below is called “Scenery with Six-Tusked Elephant.” The artist is Lin Jianfeng.

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Lin Jianfeng, Artist From China: Seen on the International Tour of Chinese National Artists, November 2015, Florence

The second painting, self has featured on this blog before. It is by Liu Kongxi: “Hello, Birch Forest: The Records of Youth (No. 18):

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“Hello, Birch Forest: The Records of Youth (No. 18)” by Liu Kongxi

And the last painting: Wang Ke’s “Passing on Lamp”

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Wang Ke’s “Passing on Lamp”

As Jen H. says on The Daily Post, “Let’s wash the web with a rainbow of colors to keep the winter gloom at bay.”

Self thinks these three paintings do fit the bill.

Stay tuned.

Circle 2: 1st 2016 WordPress Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is CIRCLE.

Here are a few circles self encountered in the latter half of Year 2015:

Thanks to Niece Irene L, who invited self to come along on a trip to Florence in early November!

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The Cathedral at Siena: November 2015

Self had a wisdom tooth pulled in October; a friend made her this malted milk drink for after:

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When self had a wisdom tooth pulled in October, she couldn’t have solid food for a day. A friend made this malted milk drink for her.

Self collects buttons; she pins them on her jackets and blazers. Here’s one she bought in the new Whitney Museum on Gansevoort Street, Chelsea, New York City:

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Button Humor!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Final Post on TRIOS: the New Whitney Museum, Cork, the Lake at Annaghmakerrig

It is the day after Thanksgiving. Snap out of your food comas, everyone!

Self must say, this year’s Thanksgiving was brilliant. Self ate more than she’s ever eaten in her life. Her friend was up at 6 a.m. because she and her daughter are going to the mall. But self has an on-line class to get caught up on, so she chose to stay behind.

Before delving into her student pieces, however, self peruses her archives so that she can make one last post on WordPress Photo Challenge this week:  TRIO.

Self took the first picture in a museum she considers one of the best in the entire world: The new Whitney Museum. On exhibit right now: a retrospective on Frank Stella.

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On the 6th Floor of the New Whitney Museum (Didn’t take down the name of the artist, boo)

The second picture is from one of self’s happy places: Café Paradiso in Cork, Ireland.

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From a Book on Dublin-born Artist Sean Scully, which was in Self’s Room in Café Paradiso, Cork

And finally, a picture of the Mother of All Happy Places, a place that signifies peace, happiness, mindfulness, inspiration: the lake in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

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3 Metal Bars Sticking out of the Lake in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland

More Trios in Florence

Lovely, lovely Florence.

Self encountered the city for the first time, early this month.

Today, self is browsing through her photo archives to find pictures that fit this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge: TRIO.

The first picture is the display window of a bakery that faces out onto Piazza della Repubblica. Look at the piles of pastry on the three plates! In Florence, self was able to indulge her sweet tooth to the max!

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Florentine Bakery Near the Piazza della Repubblica

According to the tourist brochures, Florence has 62 museums. Niece got the idea of purchasing a 3-day Firenze card, which lets you into any of the museums, free of charge, for 72 hours (Be advised: They calculate down to the very last minute: say, you purchase the card at 10:56 a.m., it will expire at exactly 10:56 a.m., three days later.)

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Three columns in some museum or other (Self will add the name as soon as she has a little more time to browse through her notes from the trip)

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Approaching the Uffizi Gallery on the Piazza della Signoria: The front loggia boasts three arches!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Trio: WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is TRIO.

The image posted by Cheri Lucas Rowlands on The Daily Post is a picture of three buttes jutting out of the arid landscape of Monument Valley. Magnificent!

Here are some of self’s takes on TRIO:

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New York City MOMA Sculpture Garden: There are three painted figures in this art installation. (Possibly, there are more, but from this angle, only three were visible. Which is great because she could then include the photograph in this post!)

Regular readers of this blog know that, in early November, self went to Florence with her niece. The weather was amazing, barely any rain.

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View of Florence from the Palazzo Vecchio’s Arnulfo Tower: See the three structures towering over the city’s rooftops?

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One morning, while self and her niece were walking towards the Uffizi Gallery, we passed a Biblioteca and decided to explore. The Biblioteca turned out to house hundreds and hundreds of opera librettos.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ornate 5: Siena’s Duomo; the Loggia of the Uffizi Gallery

Self’s niece was so organized that we got to see three small towns around Florence, all on the same day: Siena, San Gimignano, and Pisa.

Self’s favorite was Siena.

The beautiful Gothic cathedral has a magnificent interior (striped columns! Who would have thought!) but it’s the exterior self will focus on for further examples of the “ornate.”

For instance, all kinds of creatures proliferate, including a roaring lion sticking out of a buttress in the front:

Stone lion on the front of the Cathedral in Siena, built in the fourteenth century

Stone lion on the front of the Cathedral in Siena, built in the fourteenth century. The lion represents one of Siena’s 17 districts.

Here is the facade of the Cathedral, or as the Italians refer to it, the Duomo:

The Duomo of Siena is decorated with animals representing each of the city's 17 districts, which compete twice a year in horse races called the Palio.

The Duomo of Siena is decorated with animals representing each of the city’s 17 districts, which compete twice a year in horse races called the Palio.

For the third picture, self goes back to her archive of Florence photos. This is a shot of the loggia of the Uffizi Gallery. On Sunday afternoons, the stone benches are lined with people.

The Loggia of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence: a great spot to people-watch!

The Loggia of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence: a great spot to people-watch!

The last shot isn’t related to the Photo Challenge but is one of self’s favorite pictures from her trip.

On self’s last afternoon in Florence (a Sunday), she took a picture of this adorable creature, whose owners kept calling him “R2” which self thought was a kind of homage to R2D2 of Star Wars, until a young man told her that the dog’s name was “Artur.” Oh. How adorbs!

Artur, who self met on the stone benches in the loggia of the Uffizi Gallery

Artur, who self met on the stone benches in the loggia of the Uffizi Gallery

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Self Is Learning New Things Every Day! Today, at the Palazzo Vecchio

Self has seen a lot of museums in just three short days in Florence.

This morning, she found her way to the Palazzo Vecchio. Well, it’s not as if she had any actual destination in mind this morning. She simply pointed her steps toward the Dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore and, armed with her Firenze Card (Irene’s idea, of course. Thank God for Irene!), she stopped at:

  • the Cathedral of San Lorenzo (the oldest church in Florence, consecrated by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, in 393)
  • the Palazzo Vecchio

She paid 5 euros for an audio tour at the Palazzo, and boy, was it ever worth it.

Before entering the Museum proper, she wandered around in the lobby, noticed posters for a conference celebrating the 10th anniversary of the death of Monsignor Luigi Giussani and, out of sheer nosiness, asked a woman wearing a name tag who Monsignor Giussani was. The woman told self that the Monsignor was a highly respected teacher and member of the Church, whose writings were very influential.

She also gave self a brochure about the man.

Self began to read the brochure, and she found the man’s teachings exceedingly interesting. Here’s an excerpt from a section called LIVE REALITY INTENSELY.

“There is an experience, hidden yet implied, of that arcane, mysterious presence to be found within the opening of the eye, within the attraction reawakened by things, within the beauty of things, within an amazement, full of gratitude, comfort, and hope — how can this complex, yet simple, this enormously rich experience of the human heart — which is the heart of the human person — how can it become vivid? How can it become powerful?”

Self loves that he used the word “vivid” to describe the intense experience of reality.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Treat 4: Still More Florence!

It was another beautiful day. Self explored the church of San Lorenzo, Florence’s first cathedral (consecrated in 393 by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan) and the magnificent Palazzo Vecchio, on the Piazza della Signoria.

The Monument to Cosimo de Medici in the Piazza della Signoria

The Monument to Cosimo de Medici in the Piazza della Signoria

The dome of Santa Maria del Fiore was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. Self took this picture from the second floor of the Palazzo Vecchio.

The dome of Santa Maria del Fiore was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. Self took this picture from the second floor of the Palazzo Vecchio.

View from the Arnolfo Tower in the Palazzo Vecchio

View from the Arnolfo Tower in the Palazzo Vecchio

The weather forecast was for rain, but not a drop fell.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Treat 3: Still Florence

Florence is a beautiful city. It is beautiful, and yet worldly, and the people are so warm.

Today, Irene directed our steps to two museums. The first one was a kind of natural history museum, with dinosaur bones and the like. But since self has already seen the Mother of All Dinosaur Exhibits, in the Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada, she was not much interested in the ones on display in Florence. We moved on quickly to the second museum, which happened to have an amazing exhibit: Works of the Twelfth China National Exhibition of Fine Arts, Italy.

These featured large-scale oil paintings by Chinese painters, the likes of which self had never seen. Thank goodness there was no Ai Wei-Wei. Because he is trotted out at every major exhibit of Chinese painters, and his work doesn’t speak to self at all. After two decades of hearing nothing but praise about him, she is frankly bored by his ubiquitous presence.

Irene and self decided to stop for pastries and coffee at a café called Gilli (founded 1733), which has outdoor seating facing a lively piazza:

Café Gilli, a Florentine landmark

Café Gilli, a Florentine landmark

The Piazza next to Café Gilli, Florence: Self loves the carousel (which strangely had no riders)

The Piazza next to Café Gilli, Florence: Self loves the carousel (which strangely had no riders)

Self had to try the meringues. This one was light and airy and absolutely delicious:

Never had self tasted an airier meringue!

Never had self tasted an airier meringue!

It was wonderful to stroll along the streets by the café, as evening fell.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Treat 2: Florence!

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge theme is TREAT:

  • Maybe you’re a savory food lover, or you’ve gone on a beautiful vacation to treat yourself. Perhaps some quiet time alone with a beloved novel is your greatest treasure.

As luck would have it, self is traveling again. And self does love traveling. It is one of her greatest passions.

This time, she is traveling with her niece Irene, who’s from Glendale, California. It was Irene who proposed the trip, something of a first for self!

Today was our first full day in Florence. We walked all over the city. Irene has tons of energy! We also picked up a Firenze Card which, according to Irene, gains us entry into 62 museums.

But, honestly, who wants to go to 62 museums???

This is the first time self has ever done anything like this, though, so what the hey! She is being very “Zen” about everything.

Found a tiny restaurant overlooking the Arno River and tried some Florentine beer: very mellow!

Found a tiny restaurant overlooking the Arno River and tried some Florentine beer: very mellow!

It was a gorgeous, sunny day. Warm, almost like spring!

Overlooking the Arno River. There were lots of boaters out today!

Overlooking the Arno River. There were lots of boaters out today!

We stumbled on this piazza lined with statues, just off the Uffizi Gallery:

We stumbled upon this square by accident, and -- Whoa! Irene met a cute carabinieri!

We stumbled upon this square almost by accident, while heading for the Arno River. And — Whoa! Irene met a handsome carabinieri!

Someone had told Irene that November in Florence wouldn’t be as crowded as it gets in other months. But it was still crowded.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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