The 12 Days of Christmas

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is one of my favorite places. From the spring spectacle of a bazillion blooming tulips of Dallas Blooms, to the summer perennial beds bordered by annuals, through fall and the amazing Pumpkin Patch, there is something for everyone at any season. Winter tends to be less colorful, which means the lines and shapes of the huge trees can be better appreciated.

The spare landscape was enhanced this winter by the addition of twelve 25-foot Victorian gazebos depicting the 12 Days of Christmas. The original idea was suggested by Phyllis and Tom McCasland and executed by Dallas Opera production designer Tommy Bourgeous and Greg Blackburn (Dallas Stage Scenery). Two years later, here it is!

Nighttime was the perfect time to view the exhibit. The lights in the trees cast a soft glow along the paths of the garden as we wandered from #1 to #12. Music added to the charming scenes.

We got lucky, getting tickets for a night with balmy 60degree temperatures. You never know what December will bring in N.Texas.

Spectacular does not begin to describe the gazebos. The colors, the gem-like settings and the life-size costumed-figures, many with mechanical, moving parts, take your breath away.

Here they are!

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me,

A Partridge In A Pear Tree

A Partridge In A Pear Tree

A Partridge In A Pear Tree

On the second day – Two Turtle Doves

Two Turtle Doves

Two Turtle Doves

On the third day – Three French Hens

Three French Hens

Three French Hens

On the fourth day – Four Calling Birds

Four Calling Birds

Four Calling Birds

On the fifth day –  Five Golden Rings

Five Golden Rings

Five Golden Rings

On the sixth day – Six Geese A-Laying

Six Geese A-Laying

Six Geese A-Laying

On the seventh day – Seven Swans A-Swimming

Seven Swans A-Swimming

Seven Swans A-Swimming

On the eighth day –  Eight Maids A-Milking

Eight Maids A-Milking

Eight Maids A-Milking

On the ninth day – Nine Ladies Dancing

Nine Ladies Dancing

Nine Ladies Dancing

On the tenth day – Ten Lords A-Leaping

Ten Lords A-Leaping

Ten Lords A-Leaping

On the eleventh day – Eleven Pipers Piping

Eleven Pipers Piping

Eleven Pipers Piping

On the twelfth day – Twelve Drummers Drumming

Twelve Drummers Drumming

Twelve Drummers Drumming

 

The exhibit will be up through January 4, 2015. I can’t promise snow, but I can promise you will enjoy this magical display.

Asia In Dallas

The Crow Collection of Asian Art sits squarely in the Dallas Arts District, a neighbor of the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center. The collection, amassed by Trammell and Margaret Crow, is housed in the office building that bears his name and contains art and artifacts from China, Japan, Korea, India and Indonesia.

The recent opening of the Sculpture Garden at the Crow Collection upped the ante in the district quite a bit. Many years in the making, the new garden contains twelve artworks from the 9th to the 21st centuries. They are outdoors in the newly landscaped and very beautiful Japanese inspired garden, which winds around the exterior of the building one level above the street.

The blending of old and new is evident as soon as you approach the Flora Street entrance. Off to one side, on the sidewalk, is one of three commissioned sculptures by contemporary Chinese artists. Liu Yonggang’s “Buddha” is an in your face, 18-foot-tall, lipstick red steel sculpture that shows a connection to traditional calligraphy without depicting a particular “character.” It’s a marvelous interplay of solids and negative spaces, a simple, yet commanding, presence.

Buddha

Buddha

Buddha - detail

Buddha – detail

The “Deified Laozi”, sitting at the foot of the entrance stairs, is a bronze sculpture from 17th century Ming China. It is quite a contrast to “Buddha.” You pass it as you ascend the stairs leading up to the sculpture garden where you begin your leisurely stroll among the other sculptures.

Deified Laozi

Deified Laozi

Deified Laozi - detail

Deified Laozi – detail

This bronze “Bell”  from Japan’s Edo period is struck with a large piece of wood instead of a clapper.

Bell

Bell 

I wound my way around the building, enjoying the well thought out areas of plantings, rocks and stones and came upon another striking contemporary sculpture by Qin Feng. His “Shi of East & West” is massive. It relates to the traditional use of pairs of carved stone lions as guardians outside entrances in China. These stone lions have been cut in half and separated, each half attached to a piece of plate glass etched with calligraphic brushwork. Looking through the open areas of the glass I could see the cityscape beyond. Simply magical!

Shi of East & West

Shi of East & West

Shi of East & West

Shi of East & West

Shi of East & West

Shi of East & West

Shi of East & West

Shi of East & West 

The sculptures are placed on either side of the Ross Avenue entrance to the building, itself a striking piece of architecture.

Trammell Crow Building

Trammell Crow Building

The third commissioned piece is “Sweepers” by Wang Shugang, another Chinese artist. Three life size bronze sculptures depict Tibetan monks in the act of sweeping. One is bright red and two are black. They are anonymous and meditative.

Sweepers

Sweepers 

Sweepers

Sweepers

There is a specially commissioned (non permanent) piece inside the building, which is not to be missed. Ma Jun is a Chinese artist, who comments on the consumerism taking hold in China in his “New China” series of objects, including cars. He paints the surface in a detailed style traditionally used for ceramics. “china.porsche”, a Porsche 911 carved in wood, then cast in fiberglass has incredible detail painted all over it. Catch it while you can (to May 24).

china.porsche

china.porsche

china.porsche

china.porsche 

The Crow’s Sculpture Garden can be enjoyed any time of year. It is a respite from the hustle and bustle of downtown Dallas and is FREE and open to the public. Nice!

 

 

 

 

Ring In The New

#1135 Untitled acrylic, collage on panel, 13x13" 2006

Another year has sped by and here I am again trying to capture those moments, all of which have added up to make 2012 a memorable year. Big moments, like celebrating my 70th birthday in San Francisco with my family, small ones like finishing the Neef’s baby blanket before baby Kate was born. Most of the moments are modest in size but added together they speak to my life, active, inquisitive and hopefully creative.

I’ve always believed the journey is more important than the end, for what is there when the “end” is reached?  As I enter the next decade of my life I hope I will continue to explore and try new things, possibly (probably) failing here and there, but always moving forward. I have no doubt that some of the books on my shelves will go unread (I’m good about putting only one at a time on my iPad), there will be canvas left unpainted and my yarn stash will be diminished only to be replenished. I’ll hope for patience in these and other matters. The tragedies that abound in this world makes us realize how little is in our control. We must experience joy in the things we do and with the people we love right now, as we may not get second chances.

This was the year I started my ArtEveryday blog. I have a tendency to drag my feet when it comes to new technology (just ask my man), but with encouragement (pushing?) and help, eventually come around to embracing the new “new.” Sharing my passion for making art and my love of all things artistic with a wider audience has been fun and rewarding. Once a month seems to work out well. More to come in 2013. Stay tuned and keep re-tweeting!

My family’s blogs have helped me keep up with the world of healthcare, fashion, business, technology, travel, food, books and education. Dan, our non-blogger, has kept me supplied with pictures and videos of granddaughter Sabrina’s activities, which makes the time between visits bearable.

We’ve traveled a lot this year, here and abroad. I would dearly love to finish working on January 2012’s Chile/Argentina pictures before our trip to Iceland in June. Keep your fingers crossed.

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions (too much guilt associated with not keeping them) but I recently saw the following list (author unknown) and thought it expressed my desires for the New Year beautifully. I’ll call it my list of good intentions. Maybe it will be your list, too.

Dream             more

Complain        less

Listen             more

Talk                less

Love              more

Argue            less

Hope            more

Fear              less

Relax            more

Worry           less

Believe         more

Doubt          less

Play            more

Work           less

For all of you I hope that 2013 will be a year of great expectations, successes large and small, and many joyous moments.

I’ll begin the New Year with this poem with words of wisdom by Shel Silverstein.

HOW MANY, HOW MUCH

How many slams in an old screen door?

Depends how loud you shut it.

How many slices in a bread?

Depends how thin you cut it?

How much good inside a day?

Depends how good you live ‘em.

How much love inside a friend?

Depends how much you give ‘em.

 

From me, remember to make your life a work of art.

This Must Be Your Lucky Day collagraph collage, 8x11" on 15x22" paper, 2009

 

Bowls For A Cause

Fall has finally arrived here in North Central Texas. It actually felt more like winter when the early morning temperature at our farm hovered around 32 degrees.

Soup weather! How fortuitous that Grayson College, in nearby Sherman, sponsored an event called “Empty Bowls” to raise money for Visions of Sugar Plums, a local charity that provides meals for kids in need.

Ceramics students at the college created more than 200 thrown and glazed bowls which were sold for $10 each.

As a bonus, you got to choose one (or more) of a selection of four soups prepared by students in the Culinary Arts program, under the direction of chef instructor Joanna Bryant. A perfect cold weather lunch!

We filled up with delicious onion soup (Stan) and chicken noodle (me), then took our unique creations home, happy to know we helped fill a child’s tummy.

Art comes in all shapes and sizes.