Friday, September 30, 2016

Museum of Contemporary Arts - Houston Texas

At the end of July my husband and I took a road trip to Houston.  We really have hated Houston all the other times we have gone, but all the other times we were just trying to pass through but stuck on Interstate 20 or going to a doctor's appointment in the crowded confusing medical center.  Plus, it was ALWAYS hot and humid and raining and crowded and smelly and road construction...well you get the point.

We decided to give it another chance and actually check out some of the sights.  Amazingly enough the weather was fabulous while we were there.  I am talking high 70's to low 80's.  This is unheard of in Houston in late July!  It felt like we were in a whole different country!

We really did enjoy our trip to Houston after all and saw some pretty neat things.  This last post about Houston is about the Museum of Contemporary Arts.  It is very close to the Museum of Fine Arts which we visited first then walked over to the Museum of Contemporary Arts.

After going through the fine arts museum this one was very different!  Let me share some of the things we saw.

There were 5000 of these "LIKE" signs that people could pick up and put them by the art pieces they liked.  A physical Facebook, if you will.

Like Signs at Museum of Contemporary Art Houston Texas

There were a lot of stenciled word art.  I am not sure it was all the same artists or not, but there was a lot and it was all weird.  See what I mean??

Ask Me About Death Museum of Contemporary Art Houston Texas

More stenciling and more strangeness but it made me laugh.

Elect A Powerful Leeder Museum of Contemporary Art Houston Texas

These deserve a closer look!  Go ahead and read the morbidness! 

Children No Straw Elect A Powerful Leeder Museum of Contemporary Art Houston Texas

Fertilize Lawn Elect A Powerful Leeder Museum of Contemporary Art Houston Texas

Camping Elect A Powerful Leeder Museum of Contemporary Art Houston Texas

Together Elect A Powerful Leeder Museum of Contemporary Art Houston Texas

Birthday Elect A Powerful Leeder Museum of Contemporary Art Houston Texas

Feed Family Elect A Powerful Leeder Museum of Contemporary Art Houston Texas

All of that was upstairs.  Having no idea what to expect we then headed downstairs.

The entire downstairs was filled with the piece called "Flow" by Jae Ko.  It was massive and actually very impressive.  It wrapped all around the room along the walls with many places higher than I am tall and spilled out onto the floor. There was no way I could get it in one shot.  Here are two photos for your viewing pleasure.

One Part of Flow by Jae Ko Museum of Contemporary Art Houston Texas

Closeup of Flow by Jae Ko Museum of Contemporary Art Houston Texas

Before leaving, we stopped by the gift shop.  There wasn't anything there we couldn't live without but this little bunny light was adorable!

Bunny Light in the Gift Shop Museum of Contemporary Art Houston Texas

That concludes the posts about our trip to Houston and I hope you enjoyed them.  We aren't sure where we are heading to for Christmas yet, but know that I will post about it!  Stay tuned for my next post.

Until then!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Museum of Fine Arts - Houston Texas

On our trip to Houston we visited the Museum of Fine Arts.  We go to art museums on just about all of our trips.  I actually can't think of one place where we haven't.  So you would think that after all those museums I would be a little more art savvy.  But nope, I'm still art ignorant. 

The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston is a great museum, despite my shortcomings on the topic.  It has mix of super famous artists, meaning, I have heard of them, art across the centuries including contemporary/modern (the ones I have a love/hate relationship with), and art from across the globe.  Then there is my favorite topic, the stuff I can make fun of because I am so entirely art ignorant that I can't see the beauty or symbolism in what I am looking at.  These pieces can fall in any category, be from any place, or come from any time in history.

With that in mind, let's start with some of the super famous artists that the museum had.

First off, they had this painting called "The Cottage" by Vincent van Gogh.

The Cottage Vincent van Gogh Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

There was this one called "The Windmill on the Onbekende Gracht" by Claude Monet.

The Windmill on the Onbekende Gracht Monet Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

This last one, you can probably guess who is it by before I tell you.  Look at it and take a guess.  Go ahead and take a guess, I'll wait....

Bust of a Woman Picasso Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

...I am going to assume you said Pablo Picasso, because you are a genius. You are of course, correct.  It is titled "Bust of a Woman", so not the most original title, but that is okay.  Picasso painted and sculpted so many pieces that he truly must have run out of unique titles.  We have seen many of his works titled, "Bust of a Woman".

So those were some of the famous artists.  Let me share some pieces from around the world that struck my fancy.

First up, is an alam from Iran.  An alam is a steel ornamental piece used in ceremonies marking the battle of Karbala that happened in 680 AD!  The detail in them are truly amazing and the shadow really highlights them.

Alam from Iran Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

From Turkey we have this stringed musical instrument called an ud.

Ud from Turkey Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

The final international piece I want to share is this earthenware from Peru.  I am not sure what it is so I will make up something for you.....um....candle holder.  Yes, this is an early some century candle holder. 

Peru Earthenware Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

Now time for my favorite topic, let's make fun of the art!  Yay!

The guy in the bottom right corner is VERY concerned with the guy in the top left corner.  But Old Red Cape on Backwards doesn't seem to give a flip about the other guy.  Then there is the kid. Man, kids are nosy!!  I hate when they just stare.

Whats He Looking At Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

This is how all kids should be dealt with at all times.  Seen but not heard!  I would tell them that this statue can see and hear them and reports all their actions to Santa Claus, that should keep them in line!

Silence Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

I am NOT making fun of Mary and Jesus. I AM making fun of the artist who decided they needed to look like doofwads.

Virgin and Child Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

I mean, seriously....

Face of Virgin and Child Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

In this one Mary looks a little better, but what was the artist thinking when he chiseled the face of Jesus??  He looks like a tired slightly intoxicated middle aged man!  Again, I am NOT making fun of Jesus or Mary, I revere them in the utmost high, but I AM making fun of the artist's decision of how they should look.  

Colorful Virgin and Child Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

This guy. His hat aside, this guy's last name was Baños.  Baños!  As in, "¿Dónde está el baño?".  Where is the bathroom?  This dude's last name is Bathrooms!!  ¡Pobrecito!  (Poor thing!)

Antonio Banos Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

This one has nothing to do with the art. You can try to justify this all you want by calling it a kilt, but seriously?  (Especially, when a Hawaiian shirt is thrown in the mix.)

Man in Skirt at Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

My final category is the modern art.  It is still mostly there for me to make fun of at least that is what I truly believe is its purpose.

I think this artist went into his granny's house and took all her rugs that she had for decades to create this.  I can guarantee you that his granny was NOT happy about it any of it!

Soundsuit Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

I saw this piece at the junkyard the other day!

Old Anson Impact Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

I didn't get this one until I saw the title.  It is called "Giant Soft Fan".  Oh!  Now I see it!  Being from Texas I really appreciate any and all fans!

Gaint Soft Fan Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

Andy Warhol, don't feel bad, my hair can look like that in the morning as well.

Andy Warhol Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

These last two pieces of art are ones that I really liked.  They are both by Roy Lichtenstein.  He is a pop artists and so far, everything I have seen by him, I have liked.

I wouldn't mind having this in my house.  Not sure where I would put it, but I am sure I could find a place.

Archaic Head VI Lichtenstein Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

This last one I am sure with very little imagination you can say it is a naked woman, but I really just like the red and white stripes and the yellow flame at the top.  I like to keep things clean and simple.

Galates Lichtenstein Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

Finally, before we leave this post and before you leave any museum, you HAVE to take a stroll through the gift shop.  You just never know what you will find.  Giant flamingos anyone?  They are only $450 each.  Buy the pair!!  You know you want to!

Gigantic Inflatable Flamingo Museum of Fine Art Houston Texas

I hope you enjoyed the tour of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston with me.  In my next post we will visit the Museum of Contemporary Art.  It was....different.  I hope you will return to read all about it.

Until then!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Texas Art Asylum - Houston Texas

It is finally here!  A post about our trip to Houston, just as I promised.  One place that we went is called Texas Art Asylum.  I will let them tell you what exactly there place is:
Part craft store, part thrift store, part salvage yard and part antique store, our inventory is collected from businesses, institutions and individuals who recognize that their materials are suitable for reuse, repurposing or upcycling.  In the right creative hands, many materials can live second or third useful lives.
Let's take a gander and see what we can find!

There isn't a whole lot marking the door and it doesn't look like a regular store front.  But then again can it really be called a regular store??

Door to Art Asylum Houston Texas

Once in, we were welcomed by a sign.  There was literally nobody in sight for a good portion of our time in there.  Eventually we did see two workers lurking about.  I guess when you are selling what they are selling they aren't too terribly worried about theft.

Sign for Art Asylum Houston Texas

In fact, I saw Johnny Cash, the cat, before I saw any person.  (Once I finally saw a person I asked the cat's name, just like you are suppose to.) And yes, those are doll parts for sale.

Johnny Cash the Cat and Doll Parts at Art Asylum Houston Texas

I saw Shugg as well, but she wasn't still enough to get a photo of her.

There are some i.n.t.e.r.e.s.t.i.n.g. things in this place.  Some extremely weird, which I liked!

Take this deer head for example.  I don't think it was for sale though.

Deer Head at Art Asylum Houston Texas

Then there was this kite and doll combination.

Kite with Doll at Art Asylum Houston Texas

There was "normal" crafty stuff as well, like this alphabet beads.

Letter Beads at Art Asylum Houston Texas

But then there were some not so normal "crafty" items.

Scratched off lottery tickets, anyone?

Scratched Lottery Tickets at Art Asylum Houston Texas

Or how about empty toilet paper rolls?  (I actually have seen some arts and crafts projects on Pintrest that use these!)

Toilet Paper Rolls at Art Asylum Houston Texas

There is actually tons more stuff there, this is just a few and I do mean a few, highlights.  If I had a project in mind this would be my go to place, but just like Hobby Lobby, with no project in mind it was just a fun time to browse but I wouldn't go there often.

Of course, if I were as artistic as the person who made this, maybe I would be there all the time!

Robot Made From Junk at Art Asylum Houston Texas

I hope you enjoyed this post and discovered a new place you would like to visit!  My next post will be about the Museum of Fine Art in Houston.  I hope you will return to read all about it!

Until then!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Teepee Motel And RV Park - Wharton Texas

Since we took the looong way to Houston we didn't want to drive the entire way in one day.  We made plans to stay at the Teepee Motel and RV Park in Wharton, Texas.

"Why?" you may ask.

"Well why not??" is my reply!

First, some history. The motel was open in 1942 and served people traveling in that area for around 40 years.  When a new interstate was built less and less people stopped by until it had to shut its doors in the 1980's.  It sat sad and abandoned for years until Byron and Barbara Woods won the lottery! They purchased the property and reopened it for business in 2006 delighting people for a decade.

Now let's look at some pictures!

I am not sure if this is the original sign, but the neon welcomes visitors today (at night only though....duh).

Sign of Wharton Teepee Motel and RV Park

They have this great big arrows scattered around.  This one just happened to be in an even larger rain puddle.  I like the way that the photo turned out.

Arrow in Puddle at Wharton Teepee Motel and RV Park

It rained a lot of our trip, but that was OK, because it really kept the temperatures down.  I am talking Houston in late July when it is normally hovering around 100 F with 100% humidity.  On our trip it was in the high 70's but still with high humidity, we will take it!!

Now for the actual teepees!  Frankie took this great panoramic shot!  (If it looks strange, click on it to see the full photo in Flickr.)

Wharton Teepee Motel and RV Park

Here is a closer shot of one of the teepees with me in front of it for height reference.  They were not canvas, but rather a stucco or concrete.  I don't know, I teach math, what can I say. 

Jennifer at Wharton Teepee Motel and RV Park

Inside there was air conditioning (very important!), a small bathroom with shower, sink, and toilet, a queen sized bed, and a small living area with a couch, coffee table mini fridge, and microwave.  For the life of me I don't know why I didn't take more photos of the inside (the website has more) but I did get one of the bed.  The only reason for that though was because I really liked the bedspread!

Bed Wharton Teepee Motel and RV Park

I did take one other picture of the inside but it is of the ceiling to show the shape of the room.  I want to say it was octagonal inside and I really really approved of that!  (It's the math teacher in me, what can I say?)

Inside Teepee at Wharton Teepee Motel and RV Park

The final picture is of the postcard from the Teepee Motel.  

Postcard Wharton Teepee Motel and RV Park

We got there after dark and this was the first photo I had to share with everyone about our adventure.  The rest were all taken the next morning before we took off to Houston.

Hey speaking of Houston, my next post will be about something we actually did IN Houston!  I am going to tell you a place called the Art Asylum.  I hope you enjoyed this post and will come back to read all about our time in Houston!

Until then!

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Painted Churches Of Fayette County Texas

In late July we took a road trip to Houston Texas.  I will eventually tell you all about that part of our trip but I wanted to share some of the things we saw while getting there and returning home first. For several years now, we had heard of the painted churches of Fayette County in Texas and wanted to see them but never took the time.  This trip we made the time and I am so glad we did!

While in Houston, knowing we were going to see a few of these churches, we took a tour of the Czech Museum.  It was there that we learned that these churches were built by Czech and German immigrants in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  It was an interesting museum and I do recommend it, especially, if you are interested in Texas history or Czech ancestry.

The term "painted" is used because of the elaborate faux-finished interiors of each of the churches.  The paint seen today is the original and it is still just as bright today as it was at the time painted.  There is an option to take a paid guided tour through the Schulenburg Chamber of Commerce or you can strike out on your own.  We struck out on our own figuring if we really wanted to know the history we could look it up.  We just wanted to see the pretty and move on.

The first church we went to was in Dubina and is called Saints Cyril and Methodius Church. The link will take you to a map of exactly where the church is located. In 1857, Dubina became the first Czech settlement in Texas.  The word "dubina" means oak grove in Czech.

The church was built in 1867 but in 1909 a hurricane destroyed it.  It was rebuilt in 1912 and this is the church that can be seen today.

Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church Dubina Texas

Upon opening the church doors we found we could only stand in a little foyer.  There was a locked metal gate keeping us from going in any further.  So this was the only picture I was able to get of the church in Dubina.  Even so, you can still see the beauty.  

Inside Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church Dubina Texas

For more of a view we would have had to taken the guided tour.  I can tell you that air conditioning was NOT on so in the summer it can be extremely stifling in there.  I am sure they turn it on for Sunday services, at least I hope so!!

The second church we went to was call Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Ammannsville, about 5.5 miles north of the one in Dubina. Again, clicking on the link above will take you to a map of the location.  Ammannsville was settled by Andrew Ammann in 1870.  The church was built in 1890 but was wiped out in the same hurricane in 1909 that flattened the one in Dubina.  They rebuilt only to have it burn to the ground shortly thereafter. The current building was constructed in 1919 and it has stood the test of time.

Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church Ammannsville Texas

We were able to explore more of this church than the one in Dubina.  But let me tell you, there was no air conditioning on in there either!  We made the rounds quickly then jumped back into our car with its precious precious air conditioning!

It is beautiful inside St. John's church!  I loved the ceiling!

Inside Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church Ammannsville Texas

Here is a great example of the stenciling on the walls along with one of the two angels holding holy water near the entrance.

Pink Angel with Holy Water at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church Ammannsville Texas

I liked how the prayer cards that were on the benches were in both English and Czech.

Prayer Cards at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church Ammannsville Texas

We had 10 miles to cool off as we headed southwest to the next church called Saint Mary's Catholic Church in High Hill.  In the 1840's German immigrants established the area that become know as High Hill.  The church was build around 1906 and survived the hurricane that took out the other two churches.  It is amazing how a mere ten miles saved it.  Here is the original church as it stands today.

St Marys Church High Hill Texas

We spent more time inside this church because, guess what, it had air conditioning!!  Wonderful, beautiful air conditioning!  Stepping into the foyer gave our eyes a lovely sight.  Aren't the colors fabulous?  The ropes you see belong to the bells that reside in the tower.  

Faux Finish in Foyer at St Marys Church High Hill Texas

The main sanctuary is breath-taking.  I loved the ceiling!

Inside at St Marys Church High Hill Texas

Here is a closer view of that ceiling.  The detail is so delicate!

Ceiling at St Marys Church High Hill Texas

The stained glass was amazing too.  I really love all the colors in this church!

Close Up of Stained Glass at St Marys Church High Hill Texas

The last church we went to was 12 miles west of High Hill. It is in Praha and is also called Saint Mary's Church.  Praha was settled in the mid 1850's by Czech immigrants.  The word Praha is the Czech word for Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.  The church was dedicated in 1895 and still stands today.

St Marys Church Praha Texas

There was also air conditioning in this church.  (You might wonder why I keep bringing that up...if you are then obviously you aren't from Texas where summers are brutally hot!  Just trust me, it's important information!)

If I had to pick one of the churches as my favorite, it would probably be this one.  The ceiling is the reason.  It and the walls were painted by a Swiss artist named Gottfried Flurry. 

Main Alter St Marys Church Praha Texas

Here is a closer look at the very front wall at the main alter.

Ceiling at St Marys Church Praha Texas

The ceiling color even matched the stained glass plus I just really like this heart!

Heart with Sword Stained Glass at St Marys Church Praha Texas

I just want to leave you with this final photo from Praha.

Candles at St Marys Church Praha Texas

In my last post before actually getting to the Houston posts I will tell you about the Teepee Motel in Wharton, Texas.  It is an iconic part of Texas's past brought back to life.  It was an interesting experience for sure!

I hope you will return to read all about it!

Until then!