Sunday, January 27, 2008

January Family Outing - Part One

It's time again for the monthly family outings!
The past few weeks have been sort of scarce concerning good blogging material - at least that's how I felt. But not this week!! In fact, I had so much to show you that I'm going to divide it into two parts and the rest will be posted next week.
The destination for the Outing this month was the Mitchell Park Conservatory or more well know in the Milwaukee area as "The Domes." I have been going to the Domes since I was a child and they are wonderful.
The Conservatory was first built in 1898 and originally was a "greenhouse" setting and was used until 1955! Not surprisingly by that time it was considered unsafe and was demolished. After a design competition, the winning local architect introduced plans for 3 beehive-shaped (not geodesic) glass domes. They are 140' in diameter at the base and 85' high containing 15,000 square feet of growing space for display.
Each Dome has a distinct climate and exhibits plants in their natural settings. These are Tropical, Arid, and Floral Show domes. It was finally completed in stages in 1967. Although they are showing some wear and like most park systems, need more money, they are still a wonderful and awe inspiring place to visit - especially in the dead of winter!
Today's blog I'll be showing the Tropical Dome. Most plants I can't identify, but the orchids are easy to spot, and palm trees too. As you might have guessed over time, I like to include pictures of signs - so there are a number of them that are unusual and interesting.
Sisters Cindy and Sue were there and Kelly, Maiko, Jess and Guy also came along. After the Domes we went to a great Italian restaurant called "Bravo" (very original Italian name...) ,enjoyed a delicious meal and then checked out Guy's new condo he just bought. What a wonderful time I had!

We had an excellent time and what I've shown is just a drop in the bucket, but you can surely see what I mean. There was a lovely waterfall and two ponds as well as fish and a few birds that had gotten in or had been illegally released. We also saw some cabbage moths!! The other two Domes are very interesting too and you'll see those soon.
Beauty is not caused,
It is.
Emily Dickinson
Bye for now,

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sir Lawrence of Britain

I've decided it's time for another mini art show. The artist I'll be presenting is Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. He was born in the Netherlands in 1836 and died in 1912 one of the most renowned painters of 19th century Britain and is considered a Victorian painter.
Actually he was named Laurens Tadema but to create a "more English" name, he changed it to Lawrence and incorporated the "Alma" (from his godfather) into his surname. This was also done so his name would appear at the beginning of painting exhibition catalogues, under A, rather than T. A rather shrewd man.
Much of his work was that of ancient Egyptian, Roman, and Greek life. The Victorians loved this sort of thing and his superb detailing earned him the title of the "world's foremost painter of marble and variegated granite". He also earned handsome sums painting portraits for wealthy
And about his personal life, here is a quote from Wikipedia:
For all the quiet charm and erudition of his paintings, Alma-Tadema himself preserved a youthful sense of mischief. He was childlike in his practical jokes and in his sudden bursts of bad temper, which could as suddenly subside into a most engaging smile.
In his personal life, Alma-Tadema was an extrovert and had a remarkably warm personality.
[15] He had most of the characteristics of a child, coupled with the admirable traits of a consummate professional. A perfectionist, he remained in all respects a diligent, if somewhat obsessive and pedantic worker. He was an excellent businessman, and one of the wealthiest artists of the nineteenth century. Alma-Tadema was as firm in money matters as he was with the quality of his work.[16]

As a man, Lawrence Alma-Tadema was a robust, fun loving and rather portly gentleman. There was not a hint of the delicate artist about him; he was a cheerful lover of wine, women and parties.
A Self-Portrait

Welcome Footsteps

Water Pets
Vespasian Hearing From One of His Generals
of the Taking of Jerusalem by Titus
The Triumph of Titus
Unconscious Rivals
The Favorite Poet
A Coign of Vantage and The Way to the Temple
A Kiss
A Dedication to Bacchus
The Flower Market

The Finding of Moses
The Egyptian Chess Players
A Birth Chamber, 17th Century

The Roman Potter and Spring

Miss Alice Lewis and Mrs. George Lewis and Her Daughter Elizabeth

These are just a few of examples of his works, but you can see why I like them so much. They are all so interesting to look at and seem very personal in some way. When I view one of his paintings, I want to know the story behind it and guess at the symbolism or just enjoy their sheer beauty. I hope you do too. (And there is just something about that Roman Potter . . . . .)
Art is a shadow of Divine perfection.
Bye for now,
P.S. My favorite of the pictures I've shown is "The Finding of Moses". Notice the delphiniums in the foreground of the painting. Close up, they look real - all of his flowers do.