Kid Sculpture Shopping area in the Fountain Hills Park

Art, in many localities, is given a budget by city hall. On behalf of the residents, artists are commissioned to produce public art for public consumption by all.

This sculpture, with kids climbing a rock feature, is close to a little shopping area in the Fountain Hills park.

The boys and girls in the installation could be yours,

The boys want to climb.The girl cradles her baby sister and admires a flower.

Boys and girls were never made to be the same.

We all climb, but climb for the tops of different mountains.

Roots Building a storage shed

The things of man start with an idea.

Either you are hungry, uncomfortable, scared, envious, or in love.  Sometimes you are just bored and want to change because you can.

Chip and Lori want to live simple and live free. 

” It’s an experiment, ” Chip says, and, thankfully, his wife is going along with it. Moving in a different direction than your spouse is like trying to row a boat with oars going in opposite directions.

Planting seeds is the first step in growing any project.

The posts go in for a storage shed that will give Chip a place to store his tools out of the weather. He can put his generator inside and have electric to run power tools, keeping his hand tools handy.  

We don’t get much else done than set their idea into motion, but that is enough. It took several years to get this far on the dream. 

I will return to help when materials are on site and we can put the shed together in a couple of  days.

Sitting around a campfire at night under more stars than we can see, the place feels like home, even if the wind whips up and the cold sneaks in under the bedroll and makes me wake up in the middle of the night.

This isn’t going to take twenty five years, like Richard’s cabin.

In a few years, you won’t even recognize the place.

 

 

Arizona Cows On a dirt road to nowhere

Where country starts is ” when you start to see cows. ”

We are not in prime cow country in this part of Arizona.There is better grazing in Texas and, even better, in Uruguay.The grass here is sparse amid the cactus,juniper trees, washes and ditches. This area is open range so we watch as we drive through because cows have the right of way.

These two give me the eye when I stop to take their portrait.

If they could talk they would be asking me what I was doing here, how long I intended to stay, and what my intentions are.

They grow tired of me quickly and amble off.

When you get out of the city you see more clearly the things you are getting away from and the things you miss.

I could survive out here but I’m still a city boy.

When I start talking to cows I know you have been here too long.

 

Figures on front and back gates Cathedral, Zona Colonia, Santo Domingo

The front and back metal gates to the massive Cathedral, in the center of the Zona Colonia, are not four hundred years old. They look that old, however, and the faces sculpted unto them look eternal and primordial.

There are the faces of Luke, Mark, Matthew and John from the Bible. There are faces that show basic human emotions that continue, regardless of time. There are insignia of the Spanish Crown, familial and political dynasties. The faces remind me of Gothic figures peering down from old churches in Europe telling us we are not perfect and will be rewarded for our sins in terrible ways I cannot imagine, even in my most harrowing of dreams.

Each art form tries to convey human emotions with its own materials and methods.

Music uses sound to suggest romantic interludes, fierce battles, fear invoking scenes. Art uses color and line to show the three dimensional world on two dimensional surfaces. Sculpture, as done by old masters, uses clay, bronze, marble or stone to show us who we are and who we should be. These weathered faces on the gates convey anger, remorse, pain, love, tenderness, regret, hope, betrayal.

These faces draw me closer instead of pushing me away.

I would like it better of one of these guys was laughing.

Even back then, people liked a good joke, even if it’s telling sometimes got them locked up in the dungeon.

 

Delicia de la Juan Restaurant Breakfast today

This little restaurant is one street north of the D’Beatrice Comida Criolla.

Passing by, at lunch yesterday, there was a line almost out the door and all the tables inside were occupied.This morning, the doors are open for breakfast. It is quiet and a cool breeze rushes through the room from the Caribbean Sea, a few blocks to the south of us.

Regulars are finishing, talking, joking, getting ready to go to work, all men in their forties and fifties going to jobs to support their families.

The bill is one hundred pesos.-  less than what I pay for morning coffee and a cherry pie back home at McDonalds.

The beauty of the Zona Colonia, to a newcomer, is that you find new twists and turns every day. As a traveler, everything is new, and by the time it stops being new, you go home. When you get home, the travel spirit carries over and you see your own home with new eyes and a new heart.

Keeping your spirit open is a daily responsibility.

I don’t want to have a dead spirit in a live body.

Bacon,eggs, and travel are good for the spirit most anywhere in the world.

 

Juan Voight-Artis Plastic @instagram Juan Rodriquez Artista

Just off Colon Plaza, straight east past the Pizzerella pizza parlor, Juan shows up to work every day.

He says he has been an artist since he was a little boy, teaches at the college just behind his little outdoor work space, and makes his living as a full time artist. He works deliberate. Watercolors demand precision, a good sense not to let the brush stay too long in one place, be too wet or have too much color in the bristles. Watercolors can be quirky, like water itself.

Juan’s items for sale include originals, but, also popular, are postcards he runs off in series of 100 and sells three for $10.00 U.S. His prints are of scenes one sees in the Zona Colonia – the Cathedral, the Plaza Espana, the Parque Colon, the Alcazar de Don Colon.

Juan remembers me from an earlier conversation and takes the time to make me a special carrying pocket for my postcards, carefully recording his name and instagram gallery url on the outside.

I think of Carlos Paez Valario, the Uruguay artist and Roberto Ibarra, in Montevideo.

I think of the Cerulean Gallery in Amarillo.

I can see my mother’s works on every wall of our house in various stages of completion.

I visualize street art of the world.

Juan’s works are a combination of creative spirit tempered by the hands of a draftsman.

The medium you work in makes demands and helps determine your process and product.

Scotttreks postcards average two hundred words each.

You can’t say too much in two hundred words but you never want to say too little.

 

Basilica Cathedral of Santa Maria le Menor Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

There are, according to the web, 1.2 billion Catholics in the world today. 

This number, of course, changes every second because people are born and die every second and because counting anything is never easy. 

This Cathedral, in the middle of the Zona Colonia, is striking and was the first church in the New World, built in the early 1500’s. It is a huge structure with thick fortress walls, high arching ceilings and carefully laid stones.There are stained glass windows high in the interior of the Cathedral and the worship area features a huge open sitting area used for mass plus six chapels on each side of the common hall. At one time, the remains of Christopher Columbus were interred here and the tomb of Archbishop Merino is still displayed in one of the twelve chapels inside.

The Catholic church itself is one of Christianities monuments and, at one time, was a glue that held much of the world together. Religion tends to transcend country and the binding power of the church is well known to many of my friends who got their hands struck by a ruler when they didn’t learn their ABC’s in Catholic School or talked out of turn. 

The Cathedral inside is so big, so tall, so heavy, so forceful, it makes me catch my breath.

Watching it being built would have been a sight. Working on it would have been a special honor. The best workmanship went into making the stones rise like fireworks to the top of the Cathedrals roof, positioned just right so balance and counterbalance would keep the whole structure together.

This is a must see for anyone visiting the Zona Colonia whether they are Catholic, or not.

In this Cathedral, history speaks without speaking and the Church makes its strongest statements.

 

Plaza Billini and Duarte, Zona Colonia Sunday evening,dinner time

Shadows begin to form in the early evening, thick stones in old city walls seem less heavy and ancient, a softness wraps itself around the Parque Colon, the Santo Domingo Cathedral, the bars, restaurants and hotels in the Zona Colonia.

This is a well visited area, picked by Unesco to celebrate because of it’s culture and history. In the evening, the light switch turns down in slow degrees and people come out to sit on benches, visit, watch tourists, and enjoy the feel of a place where Christopher Columbus once walked.

Plaza Billini recognizes the efforts of a well loved and respected Catholic priest who founded hospitals and orphanages in Santo Domingo. Plaza Duarte celebrates one of the founders of the Dominican Republic who was, ironically, a poet, writer and activist instead of being just a military man brandishing a sword and riding a horse.

Tonight, there are bursts of life coming from all directions. There is the Chu Chu train passing our two plazas taking visitors for a tour, explaining dozens of important locations where important people in Dominican Republic history lived and played their part on life’s stage.. When you walk the streets here there are plaques on the walls of residences everywhere that remind you that these blank faced, neglected buildings once contained living breathing hero’s and heroine’s.

In the Billini Plaza this evening, professional photographers take wedding pictures, diners order at Lulu’s Wine and Tasting Bar, and visitors stroll as it cools down. The Padre’s statue, in the middle of the Plaza, shows him with one of his orphans. 

In Plaza Duarte, a group of seniors sit on green crates visiting as a hip hop group dances to raise funds to go to Phoenix, Arizona for an International Hip Hop Tournament.

The coolness of the evening is welcome, the softening of the hard edge afternoon a pleasure. 

Staying in the Zona Colonia, even a few days, lets you forget International Airports, freeways, Interstates, sky rise apartments, business complexes, urban scrawl and our modern world. 

Our modern world has gotten too quick, large, and complicated.

 

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