New Orleans Scenes

A bit delayed, but here are a few shots of the characters and character of New Orleans.

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Great people watching–anything goes! 
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Louisiana Loom Works has a myriad of cats, working looms, and amazing pieces.  Worth a visit!
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Daytime street view of never-ending live music. 

IMGP4859Next trip I should have better plan of what to focus on.  We were so busy with varied days this visit it was hard to have a single shooting goal….other than the pre-wedding pics from last post.

The journey continues.

C

Biking in the Woods…of Memories

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©Cindy Kennedy

The leaves crackle under our bike tires, burying the path underneath the trees.   There is a sense of golden aura, with splatters of rust and green throughout, as we wind along the trail flanking the river. The geese chatter, the slight scent of decay emanates throughout.

As we ride past the mirrored lake, the swing set adjacent, I am transported immediately to my past. I remember coming to these same Captain Daniel Wright Woods often as a child. We would spend the day with our neighbors, the boys and dads fishing, the girls running, laughing, chasing dragon flies, moms relaxing with a smile.

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Afterwards all we kids played together with new friends, made up games on the jungle gym. The picnic was unpacked onto long wooden tables, my mom offering up delicious pans of fried chicken still warm in foil, bowls of cut fruit, homemade chocolate cookies, the rare treat of a can of soda.

When I was in high school, my dad taught me to cross country ski on these snow filled paths. The woods turned magic, covered with sparkling snow, as we careened through the forest.

As we continued on our current bike ride , those memories morphed into later visits, when we brought my kids, their cousins, and our dogs to enjoy that same playground. We clomped over the bridge to a hidden pond for the kids to catch frogs, skip stones, and throw bread bits as the fish broke the surface again and again.

I hope that someday my kids will come visit here, and they will remember all the times we came to the forest preserve with poignant smiles. And better yet, I hope that they can create their own memories here with their friends or family.

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A Welcoming View

They all congregated around the towering spitting Crown Fountain, gazing up at giant eyes or to the puddles or to their friends with selfie sticks, digital cameras with ginormous lenses, iPads, iPhones. Some skipped capturing the moment but were laughing, pointing, hugging, ignoring, whispering a sweet love word, lost in music, chasing, resting, reading, working.fullsizerender-2

One small blond girl in a mint-colored swimsuit was oblivious to everything but the changing mosaics and the handprints she formed on the dry pavement. She alone made people gaze, hunger for their children to slip back to innocence for one day, or to reminisce in their minds about a secret day in their life of such abandon.

They were of every ethnicity: grandparents, families, students, hipsters, business women, runners, homeless, parents, children, a dog, tourists. Heads were topped with neon orange hair, purple hair, no hair, hats, braids, head sets. They spoke multiple languages, looked to be from a wide swath of backgrounds and economic stratospheres, walkers, strollers, painters, dreamers, rappers.

And you know what? Despite the never-ending sorrow we hear in the news, the horrible daily stories of lives cut short, in this group of people milling around, brought together on Michigan Ave, there was peace, smiles, exchanges. No one cared about the differences between us. We were One, if just for that snapshot in time.

We all enjoyed the art, the destination and this swampy, summer-like Chicago night, the moment. A smile, a nod, a wave to those around. I wish for more lovely moments like this, slowing the undulating motion in the city.

C

As Seen on a Bike Ride

These are photos from yesterday’s bike ride along the Des Plaines River Trail in the Lake County Forest Preserves.  Our path took us through some happy memories of places we took our kids when they were younger and a few unknown miles. We traversed through woods, fields, a hotel, abreast a subdivision,  and along the Des Plaines River on a glorious Chicagoland morning.  All pics taken on my iPhone, since it was the only camera I had.

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Field of golden joy. (Half-Day Preserve)
Same spot as above, opposite side of path. Fall colors starting to arrive.


Captain Daniel Wright Woods. Buckthorn cleared out here–amazing.


Double-crested cormorants (I think).  So cool–wish I had the DSLR. 

  

Along the Des Plaines River Trail

Goal: Increasing the Fun Level

This past weekend my goal was to do at least one fun, unexpected thing each day. Mission accomplished. It is too easy to fill free hours with errands, busywork, chores.   Recent life events made me realize that I need to grab a hold of my time when I can, not let my life slip away.  Some weekends are scheduled from start to finish, some productive, but hopefully there is some time to explore, enjoy.

I spent an evening socializing with friends, saw Bad Moms with a neighbor (very funny, from someone who endured the PTO Primadonnas), gardened, walked my dogs, went out to eat.

One of the highlights was biking in the Lake County Forest Preserve. It was a gorgeous morning and so reminded me of my childhood. Eight friends on bikes, riding for miles while laughing, reminiscing, planning, joking, only one getting lost for a brief few minutes. No real schedule, no set plans, other than to enjoy our morning, leaving all responsibilities behind.

 

 

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Can you spot the 3 sandhill cranes?   

And the weekend is upon us again. So I shall set the same goal—do one spontaneous thing each day. Try it.  And let me know what new experiences you have!

C

Nancy the Creator

No matter what talents are born within ourselves, we need to discover and nurture them to help them expand, morph, breathe, grow. That could not be more physically true than for these amazing sculptures created by my high school friend, Nancy Pirri. Once a nameless block, they became these varied women (and one man) with the guidance, hard work and amazing hands of hers.

They are on display overlooking The Art Institute and Lake Michigan. I walked into The Cliff Dwellers Club at the perfect time to view them. The dining room was empty, so I could enjoy them in silence. Lovely details, varied expressions, I think they are beautiful.

My favorite is the ethereal Genevive, resolutely posed facing onto Michigan Ave and the lake, rather than into the dining room. She looked so proud, and the feminine details like the flower on her skirt grabbed me.

I am honored that I have one of Nancy’s sculptures in my home. I bought it several years ago, and I can really how her style has changed. She has a true appreciation for the woman’s body and form.

Her sculptures are on display at 200 S. Michigan Ave 22nd floor, Chicago until July 23.

C

3 Bedrooms

I recently saw the Art Institute’s of Chicago’s excellent “Van Gogh’s Bedrooms” exhibit.   The piece de resistance is all 3 of his very similar “Bedroom” paintings side by side, with a unique video display comparing them in detail. img_4800The exhibit also shows works of other painters who inspired him and how those mentors influenced his painting style changes.

This exhibit truly showed how much Van Gogh tried to improve his technique by learning new styles, testing  different materials, and how observant he was of the world surrounding him. Like Claude Monet’s haystacks or lily pads paintings, one might find the final results repetitive. However, the hours and details to create such similar works in different lighting and seasons amazes me.

Remember that these are not photographs that can be taken 30 shots per second—these are oil paintings that take days and months to complete. The thought process, the changes a stroke style or layering makes can change the whole feeling of the work.

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I was impressed with how his painting styles were also transformed over the years by his surroundings, his interests, as he learned from his contemporaries, and by his uneven mental health. From his works and personal letters on display, it seemed the essence of the subjects he explored remained similar.

Not only did I admire his paintings, I was able to compare the 3 bedrooms paintings; owned by 3 different museums, this was a rare feat.

We can all learn from this exhibit to keep expanding our knowledge and abilities. Test, change, absorb, improve, modify, test again in our daily work and home routines  will open our minds to unexpected opportunities and results.

 

P.S. If you have never been to the Art Institute of Chicago, I highly recommend it! Voted #1 museum in the world by Trip Advisor last year, I am lucky to be able to visit a couple times annually.