Perpetually waiting…

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I love this sad little guy! I’m not sure he knows what he’s waiting for, but he seems to still have hope. And his hair is stylin’!

When art inspires stories, that’s when you take it home. There’s nothing more inspiring to me than original folkart. I found this wonderful assemblage art piece by former Hallmark artist Chari Peak Roberts at Prize Antiques in the Bottoms Up Antique Market. West Bottoms in Kansas City, Missouri. That’s a working seed spreader on his belly!

Now that he lives in my home, I’ve renamed him Lefty McBrush-Head.

 

MY PHOTO GALLERIES

 

Photo LA — Major Inspiration

Anytime you can see this many amazing photographers in one place….do it! It’s too late for Photo LA this year, but mark your calendars for next year. It’s so inspirational. Some trends I noticed — 1) lots of unconventional printing materials – metal, fabric, scraps of wood; 2) several artists displayed encaustic (beeswax) photos – I love this technique and can’t wait to learn it; 3) lots of cool digital collages and multi-media presentations.

My favorite section was the Emerging Focus Competition…

La Posada – A Winslow Oasis

Photo by Stephanie Roberts, http://ObsessiveHobbyist.com

At $155/night (inc. taxes and pet fee), the La Posada Hotel was my big indulgence for the first leg of the trip, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was feeling sad about Route 66, American poverty, and general neglect as I drove into Winslow,  and I was afraid it would be the same as Two Guns, Twin Arrows, and Meteor City — abandoned, neglected, sad. And much of Winslow is exactly that. BUT…

The most impressive place in town, and the best reason to visit Winslow, is  The La Posada Hotel — billed as the Last Great Railroad Hotel, built in 1929 by the Santa Fe Railway, and a former Harvey House, located right on the railroad tracks. Architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter’s southwest masterpiece, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I didn’t realize when I checked in that La Posada means “Resting Place,” and that’s exactly what I did. This beautiful oasis was unexpected and very welcome, and I immediately booked a second night! And I’m so glad I did — it turned out to be the kind of place that feels instantly like home, or like visiting a good friend (with really good taste and a lot of money).

This hotel has to be a train-lovers mecca, but it’s also an art-lovers mecca. It’s the home gallery of funky, eccentric artist (and hotel owner) Tina Mion, whose work is displayed throughout the hotel — make sure you check out the second-floor gallery. I ran into her in the hall one day and enjoyed talking with her, and she gave me some great local photo recommendations — Homolovi State Park and Little Painted Desert, a county park just up the road from Homolovi.

The gardens of the hotel are gorgeous, and I’ve never been to a more pet-friendly hotel! Dogs are welcome in nearly every garden on the property, and there is a huge lawn at the back and on the side that are specifically for dogs, plus a fun hay-bale maze for human children.

You’d think that an active train station would be loud, but they roll by so slowly it just seems relaxing. There’s always a group of folks sitting out back watching the trains go by — and with an average of over 90/day, they never have to wait long. There are still 2 stops per day at La Posada — one from Los Angeles and one from Chicago. I’m thinking that my next trip to La Posada should be via Amtrak!

FOR MORE ARIZONA ROUTE 66 PHOTOS CLICK HERE

Meet the Mural Mice…

While I was taking a photo of a cool old motel sign in Flagstaff, a guy on a buckskin-fringed bicycle rode up and asked me what I was doing. It’s one of the things I love about a camera…people always want to know why you’re taking a photo of whatever it’s aimed at. Sometimes they’re baffled by your interest in a commonplace sign, but mostly they’re flattered that you’re interested in something they’re interested in. That’s why artist R.E. Wall (he likes to be called R) stopped. He and Mural Mice partner Margaret Dewar (Maggie) were working on a Route 66 mural on a building across the street, and he gave me some interesting info about the area.

I didn’t know, for example, that Phoenix Avenue, where we were standing, was the original alignment for Route 66. And when it was moved a block away, to its current location, business owners on Phoenix were offered, as compensation, tall signs that could be seen from the new highway. A couple of those tall signs have survived and can, indeed, be seen from Route 66…

After years of spearheading the mural projects in Prescott, Arizona, the talented Mural Mice have been commissioned by the city of Flagstaff to create a mural of Arizona’s Route 66 attractions. They’re well into it, and should be finished by the end of the summer. Although they normally like to do community art projects, where anyone can contribute to the art, this project has more specific goals, and they’ve carefully researched their subjects. Something to look for in the finished product:  Ruby, the dog, makes an appearance in all of their works!

FOR MORE ROUTE 66 ARIZONA PHOTOS, CLICK HERE

Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Sculpture in Joshua Tree, California

Photo by Stephanie Roberts, http://ObsessiveHobbyist.com

“Born in Snow Hill, Alabama in 1917, Noah Purifoy lived and worked most of his life in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, California, where he died in 2004. He received an undergraduate degree from Alabama State Teachers College in 1943 and a graduate degree from Atlanta University in 1948. In 1956, just shy of his fortieth birthday, Purifoy received a BFA from Chouinard, now CalArts. His earliest body of sculpture, constructed out of charred debris from the 1965 Watts Rebellion, was the basis for 66 Signs of Neon (1966), a landmark group exhibition on the riots that traveled throughout the country. As a founding director of the Watts Towers Art Center, Purifoy knew the community intimately. His 66 Signs of Neon, in line with the postwar period’s fascination with the street and its objects, constituted a Duchampian approach to the fire-molded alleys of Watts. This strategy profoundly impacted artists then emerging in Los Angeles and beyond, such as David Hammons, John Outterbridge and Senga Nengudi, who all worked with him. For the twenty years that followed the rebellion, Purifoy dedicated himself to the found object, and to using art as a tool for social change. In the late 1980’s after eleven years of public policy work for the California Arts Council, where he initiated programs such as ‘Artists in Social Institutions,’ which brought art into the state prison system, Purifoy moved his practice out to the Mojave desert, where he lived for the last fifteen years of his life creating ten-acres full of large-scale sculpture on the desert floor. Constructed entirely from junked materials, this otherworldly environment is one of California’s great art historical wonders.”  — http://noahpurifoy.com

It’s in the middle of the desert and not easy to find…like any oasis or mirage.  But it’s well worth the effort and, if you’re lucky enough to have the place all to yourself, as I did for a brief time, it’s spiritual, awe-inspiring, whimsical, and an amazing testament to one man’s determination and genius.  I spent almost 4 hours there recently (including the 30 minutes my dog decided to go on a big adventure in the desert), and it passed in the blink of an eye.

MORE magical photos here