“Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi Mural by Eduardo Korbra” New York City
I was walking along the Highline in New York on a quiet drizzly morning admiring the wonderful landscape design on the old railroad tracks. I looked up and was stopped dead in my tracks when I saw this huge mural painted on the side of a nearby building. I stood frozen for minutes, just gazing, admiring the art, and contemplating how much these two people have given to the world. In our troubled world today, why can’t we all take a lesson from these two and make it a better place to live.
I have been in the Capitol several times. Each time I enter is a new experience. I don’t know how to explain the feeling that engulfs me. It’s a combination of wonder, awe, respect, excitement, humility, pride, and much more. The above two images were taken looking directly up from near the center of the Capitol Rotunda. I was shivering with awe when I took these images and had a very difficult time trying to be steady enough to get a decent shot.
The Apotheosis of Washington was painted by Constantino Brumidi in 1865. It depicts George Washington rising to the heavens in glory. The fresco is 180 feet above the Rotunda floor.
‘Washington, Liberty, and Victory/Fame’
George Washington is flanked by two female figures representing Liberty and Victory/Fame. Thirteen maidens, symbolizing the 13 original states, surround the three main figures. Six groups of figures are painted around Washington, Liberty, Victory/Fame, and the thirteen maidens. These represent war, science, marine, commerce, mechanics, and agriculture.
‘War’ is depicted by Armed Freedom and Eagle defeating Tyranny and Kingly Power.
“Astronomy Grotesque” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
Astronomy is a topic that I have always been interested. During my years at the University as an engineering student, I did not have much of an opportunity to take elective classes outside of engineering-related disciplines if I wanted to graduate in 4 years.
I had to wait until I graduated to take a couple of astronomy classes at the University of Washington “Experimental College”. Subsequently I have taken on-line classes through the “Great Courses” to satisfy my curiosity. There is always opportunity to learn something new. Now, I need to learn how to apply a little creative photography to it.
And we are now laying the foundation to a manned landing on Mars!
“The Fish Teacher” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
In this grotesque on Miller Hall, the Roman god Neptune is depicted with a fish over his head. I have spent a couple of hours trying to research the connection between Neptune, a fish, and teaching. No luck so far…
This Fourth of July will be different that any other. The Fourth of July has always been a special time when I’ve celebrated with family and friends. I remember growing up and having family get-togethers at Sportsman’s Park in Yakima and watching fireworks at the Selah Park. I’ve been lucky enough to spend the Fourth in Washington, DC four times. I’ve watched fireworks over the Capitol Mall … what a glorious experience. Our University of Washington college group (the Whizzies) have gotten together for the Fourth every year since the the mid 80’s. For the past 30+ years we have joined together at Sunriver Resort in Oregon. We have watched the Whizzy children grow up and have children of their own. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed all our lives but not our spirit. Though we will not physically get together, we will have a collective Zoom event to celebrate the Holiday and our friendship.
In these difficult times, let’s all take the time to reflect on what this special holiday represents. It is a time to be grateful for what others have given to insure our independence and freedom. It is a time to give back to our Country and peoples and to make our Nation stronger.
Remember the “Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” TV sitcom back in the late 50’s and early 60’s? Each episode started and ended with a little soliloquy of Dobie talking in front of “The Thinker.” Dobie was always contemplating on what the important things in life were: Girls and Money (used to get Girls). Things were much simpler back then. I decided to make good use of my “social isolation” time and did a little searching and found season 1, episode 1 of the show. It made me smile as I thought back to those simpler times and the start of the “beat” generation.
Fifty plus years later, I found myself standing along Rodin’s “The Thinker” in downtown Philadelphia. It was a difficult time for me then. I took the time to admire Rodin’s sculpture, clear my mind, and refocus my thoughts on what was the most important thing I could do moving forward. The answer was simple, live each and every day to its fullest.
Today was one of those days. I started sharing coffee and breakfast with my dear wife. We had a nice discussion, then went out to work in and enjoy our developing landscape. Later I came in for lunch and a nice afternoon nap. I woke up, did a little reading, then reviewed some of my older photography work, including this image of “The Tinker.” It triggerd old memories and I watched the episode of Dobie Gillis. Enjoying time with my wife, enjoying nature and getting a little exercise, reading to stimulate my mind, studying some classic art through my photographs, and watching a little past history … it was a simple, wonderful, and full day.
Whitman College Library Mobile Walla Walla, Washington
Color, color everywhere. The central skylight and abstract mobile spreads light and color through the central area of the Whitman College Library. It provides such a warm and energy charged feeling that a student could not help from absorbing the surrounding stacks of knowledge.
I’m missing traveling. I am afraid it will be a while yet before we will feel comfortable getting on an airplane and flying to some distant location. So until then, I will review some of my past trips and do a travel post for a change of pace.
When in Los Angeles, I try to make a special trip to the Getty Museum. There is always something new on exhibit. The architecture of the buildings is fantastic and the gardens are gorgeous. Plan on spending at least a full day when visiting.
Below is a photograph of Manet’s original painting of Jeanne which is replicated on the stairs leading to the exhibit.
The “Painted Church” is a must see little gem in the heart of Hawaii’s Kona coffee plantation area in South Kona. The church is on a peaceful hillside overlooking the coastline below. It was built by Belgian Catholic missionary Father John Velghe from 1899 – 1902. Father Velghe painted scenes of biblical stories along the church interior walls. He used the scenes to deliver his messages since most of his native Hawaiian parishioners could not read.
A history of the church can be found at the following link: https://keolamagazine.com/art/painted-church/
Photographs by Xiong Tom Tan, Capital Art Capitol Hill Eastern Market, Washington DC
Every market also has its artists. The images of Xiong Tom Tan caught my interest. In particular, his images around the Capitol Mall area were beautiful. He photographs the area throughout the year. Several of his images were of the same scene taken from the same specific spot during the four seasons. The compilation of the images took several years to get them in the optimal light. We spent several minutes talking about his work and what it took to get what he was after. As always, I learn things from every photographer I talk with.
Thank you Tom for your insights!
Tom may be contacted at (703) 785-1488 or (703 995-0841.