A Maze and The Creepy Women of Torrelavega

July 09, 2017 By: erik Category: Art, Family, Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel

Torrelavega SaturdayAfter 12.5 years of living in Cantabria, I must ashamedly admit that today was the first time that I visited Cantabria’s second city, Torrelavega. It was on a brief, last minute, detour after visiting another local attraction, the Villapresente Labyrinth, a pine hedge maze that has gained touristic significance of late. More to distract the kids for 30 minutes than for strategery, I had figured out how to download an overhead map of the labyrinth, invert the photo, so that the paths were white, and printed out two copies to give the kids.

Nora figured the way in to the center by herself, but my a-mazing abilities were required to find the way to the exit. She then drew over the pencil in colored marker, which turned out to be helpful.
(more…)

The Flowers and Faces of Convento de las Dueñas – Salamanca 2015 – Part 2 of 3

October 12, 2015 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel

On the morning of October 11th, we visited several places around Salamanca, but one we had not planned on entering, but just happened upon was the Convento de las Dueñas, a Dominican convent that dates back to 1419, when Doña Juana Rodríquez Maldonado – ironically, as her second surname means “badly donated” – donated her palatial Moorish-style house to the Dominican Order.

There are certain circumstances, based on weather, mood, lighting and other intangibles, when everything seems photogenic. With the ground wet from a night of rainfall, I found myself in one of these states that morning, and I could have spent hours upon hours taking photographs in the beautiful courtyard of the Convento de las Dueñas. Alas, I exercised constraint, but here are only some of my photos.
(more…)

Visiting El Greco – Toledo 2014

April 08, 2014 By: erik Category: Art, Photos, Spain, Travel

Gentleman with hand on breastFor many years now, my wife has expressed interest in visiting the Spanish city of Toledo. Although she’s not much of an art aficionado, if you ever ask her who her favorite painter is, she’ll reliably respond “El Greco”. So when we saw on the news that there was a big exhibition to celebrate the quadricentenary of El Greco’s death in 1614 (yesterday, April 7, was the actual date), in which his greatest works would be shipped from museums around the world to Toledo, it was not a matter of if, but when we would go. When we got an opportunity to leave the kids with my in-laws, we took it!
(more…)

Maidens of Laredo

March 19, 2013 By: erik Category: Art, Photos, Spain, Travel

Maidens of Laredo (cropped)I’m a big fan of clever street art, such as this mural, in nearby Santoña, that spans three buildings. The medieval Old Town section of nearby Laredo is both the most happening social zone of the town, and also the most derelict crumbling part, full of abandoned, disintegrating buildings. Just last month one of them blew over. So there are plenty of abandoned houses with boarded up windows. A year or two ago, some interesting paintings began appearing on some of the doors and windows of the Old Town, depicting women inside the houses looking out. More than once, I’ve done a double-take when walking by, because they seem so real.
(more…)

Nora Riding An Elephant On The Moon

April 13, 2011 By: erik Category: Art, Offspring, Stuff I Found

Nora Riding Elephants On The Moon (cropped face)Late last year, a blogrollmate of mine, Jagosaurus, turned me on to a project by an acquaintance of hers, Dustin Timbrook, an artist, musician, and all around creative guy. As a challenge to himself, he announced that he would attempt to do one drawing each day, of absolutely anything that was requested of him. Jagosaurus submitted this request:

I’d like to see something involving any of the following: hippo, cuttlefish, penguin, octopus, praying mantis. They don’t have to be playing poker and smoking cigars. Really they don’t. I mean, that would just be silly.

Timbrook produced this:
(more…)

Cards by Joyce

December 31, 2010 By: erik Category: Art, Family, Photos, Videos

Marga's Birthday CardMy grandmother, Joyce Rasmussen, has always been interested in arts and crafts. She has made baskets, pottery, needlework, crochet, knitting, paper-mí¢ché, and origami. What she’s really been excelling at recently is making elaborate homemade greeting cards. Ever since getting a personal computer back in the late eighties, she has been fond of printing her own greeting cards, which involves choosing appropriate clipart and writing a nice message. I have always appreciated her cards more because I know that the sentiment comes directly from her, not Hallmark™.

At some point the idea occurred to her that if she cut a perfect circle of just the right radius in the front of the card with an X-Acto knife, then one of her origami chrysanthemums would fit there perfectly and be both held tightly in place and completely cover the hole. This discovery ushered in a Renaissance in Joyce-made greeting cards.
(more…)