Gyre, NC Art Museum

Gyre is a sculpture by North Carolina artist Thomas Sayre.  The three huge rings were created on site in 1999, using reinforced concrete.  Circular trenches were dug, the reinforcements were placed and the concrete was poured.  Once the concrete was dry and cured, the rings were lifted into place by crane. You can still see the circular depressions where the rings were formed before being raised in place.

Gyre is one of the centerpieces of the NC Art Museum Park.  The sculpture is especially striking when, beginning at sunset, the rings are illuminated by flood lights.  It’s quite a sight.

Gyre 1

University of Coimbra, Portugal

The University of Coimbra is one of the oldest universities in the world.  Once the royal palace, the Velha Universidade, or Old University, is the oldest part of the school and is a beautiful place.  We were able to tour the university, starting with the Joanine Library, and working our way through the buildings.  If you visit Coimbra, the Old University is a required stop on your journey.

This photo is from the wide Paço das Escolas, the main square of the Old University.  On the left is the famous bell tower and straight ahead is the Via Latina, which is the entrance to the part of the University that was the royal palace.  As beautiful as the exterior is, the interior is stunning.  The Joanine Library, the Capela de São Miquel, and the Sala dos Capelos are just three of the many beautiful spaces in the Old University.

University

Ulalu, NC Art Museum

Ulalu is one of two sculptures by abstract artist Mark di Suvero in the North Carolina Art Museum Park.  Di Suvero makes huge works of art using a crane and an arc welder.  Steel H-beams and plates are his material of choice. Di Suvero was the first living artist to have his art shown in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris.

It amazes me how a material like huge steel beams can become such a beautiful work of art.  The sculptures are huge but still are quite beautiful.  Ulalu sits along the road running beside the museum and is a wonderful attraction for the art museum.

Ulalu 2

Charles Bradley Mural, R.A.D., Asheville, NC

The River Arts District in Asheville is a fascinating place.  Until the mid 1980s the area was an industrial area, when Asheville artists began looking for inexpensive studio space and found it in the neglected warehouses along the river.  Today it’s home to over 200 artists.

One of the coolest aspects of the River Arts District is that the buildings have been turned into works of art. Murals and graffiti cover the virtually every surface of the buildings.   Some of the murals are quite beautiful.  One of my favorites is this tribute to the late “screaming eagle of soul”, Charles Bradley.

Bradley found musical success late in his life, with all three of his albums being released when he was in his sixties.  Bradley released three critically acclaimed albums and was a popular performer at festivals.  Unfortunately Bradley succumbed to cancer in 2017 at the age of 68.

This mural, outside the Summit Coffee Company, is a beautiful and fitting portrait of the man.

Charles Bradley

Whaling Wall, Anchorage, AK

In 1981, American artist Robert Wyland set out to paint 100 murals celebrating ocean life.  The first wall, in Laguna Beach, California, was dedicated in August of that year.  Twenty seven years later, Wyland’s 100th wall was dedicated in Beijing China.

Anchorage’s Whaling Wall, officially titled “Alaska’s Marine Life”, was painted by Wyland in 1994 and was his 54th wall in the series.  The huge mural, 400 feet long and 50 feet, high, depicts whales and seals that are native to Alaska.  It’s an impressive work of art and one of Anchorage’s best known landmarks.

Whaling Wall Mural HDR Deep 1

Flatiron, Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville has two iconic flatirons.  The first is the Flatiron Building, designed by Albert Wirth and built in 1926. It’s reminiscent of Manhattan’s Flatiron Building.

The second is the Flatiron sculpture, designed by artist Reed Todd, and located at the end of Wall Street.  It’s a giant replica of the kind of irons used by laundries and housewives at the turn of the 19th century.

Asheville is one of my favorite places to go. Art and music are everywhere in this great little city.  It’s also known for it’s food and many great local breweries.  To top it off, it’s a very progressive city, friendly to people from all walks of life. All in all, Asheville is a great place.

Flatiron Sculpture

Collapse, NC Art Museum

Collapse is a piece by South African sculptor Ladelle Moe.  It’s a huge work of concrete and steel and measuring 30 feet long.  I love the way it seems as if a giant being simply collapsed and has become a part of the landscape.  It’s an impressive work.  The NC Art Museum Park is full of great works of art like Collapse.

Collapse I

Blue Heron, Florida

Florida is a wonderful place for photographing wildlife.  This beautiful bird is an example.  I love the focus of the bird.  Even at rest he’s looking for his next meal.

Blue Heron

Rossio Square, Lisbon

Rossio Square has been a major gathering point in Lisbon for centuries.  Officially named Praça de D. Pedro IV, the square was virtually destroyed in the 1755 earthquake, fire, and tsunami that devastated Lisbon.  Marques de Pombal, the famed statesman who took control of the recovery and rebuilding of Lisbon after the earthquake, had a city plan developed.  At the center of the plan was a rebuilt Rossio Square, connected to Praça do Comércio by two straight streets, Áurea and Augusta Streets.  This area became known as the Pombaline Downtown.

I like this photo because you see the beautiful calçada portuguesa, the patterned pavement of the square, as well as catching a glimpse of two of two major landmarks of the area, the Santa Justa Lift and the Carmo Convent.

Rossio Square

Creek Street, Ketchikan, Alaska

When is a street not a street?  When it’s Creek Street in Ketchikan.  It’s actually a boardwalk on that follows Ketchikan Creek.  When prostitution was outlawed on the city side of Ketchikan Creek in 1903, the enterprising owners figured the way to get around the ordinance was to build a boardwalk on the opposite side of the creek.  From 1903 until 1954, Creek Street was Ketchikan’s red light district.  These days it’s a tourist stop and one of the most photographed streets in America.

This photo highlights several aspects of Creek Street and Ketchikan.  First, you can see how the street is actually a boardwalk.  Second, you can see the street’s most famous bordello, Dolly’s Place, to the right of center.  And third, you can see that Ketchikan is one of the rainiest places on Earth.  It rained the entire time we were there, but we didn’t let the rain keep us from exploring.

Creek Street