Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Joy Of Life

Joy of Life (1930) Robert Delaunay

Source: Abstraccionismo
Robert Delaunay  1885-1941

What is the joy of life?  It is  a wonderful gift of birth,  a state of mind, a tiny motor that adds color to life and probably may seem to be an abstract idea which every one can visualize with a design of his own.  With colors of red and green, yellow and violet, blue and orange that can compliment and attract.  Others disturb and oppose.  Warm colors of red, yellow and orange in contrast with the coldness of blue, violet, and green  that are soothing and calming. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Leave A Lock If You Love Me

Milvio  Bridge of Rome

Soraya Melguizo | Milán
24 August, 2011

Rome, Florence, Verona,and now Venice. The love couples all over Italy have made a ritual by placing a lock in the main bridges of the big cities to profess their love for each other.

And not only in Italy.  In Paris, Lithuania, Hungary and even in the Great Wall of China, there is a similar demonstration. But this time the city of waterways has determined that this is enough against a fashion that does not seem to know any frontiers.

For this reason, Venice is looking into the possibility of imposing a fine to those who dare to "mess up" with the aesthetics of the city.

Venice is not the only one against this public declaration of "eternal love". The ex mayor of Florence, Leonardo Domenici, imposed a fine of up to 50 Euros to whoever places a lock in the Vecchio Bridge after removing over 5,000 locks.  But soon after, new locks started to appear.

The fashion of leaving a lock in a bridge or a representative monument after which to throw away the key as a promise of eternal love came about thanks to the book for adolescents "Three meters over the sky" written by Federico Moccia, writer and filmmaker.

In this book, the main characters hang a lock in the Milvio bridge of Rome. The international success of the novel, that was carried over to a film in Italy and recently in Spain, converted the Roman bridge into a symbol for loved couples although such anecdote results in a real problem for the local administrators.

Source: El

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Travel With Your Imagination

In the XIX century, Phileas Fogg and his assistant Jean Passpartout, travelled in 80 days with two means of transport, ship and railways. Seven cities in three continents. This was "Around the world in 80 Days" as related by the brilliant Jules Verne in a captivating work that allowed us to travel with our imagination from generation to generation.

XXI Century. Three guys - Rick Mereki, Tim White y Andrew Lees-, in 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38,000 miles, a volcano in eruption, and two cameras. The result: Three amazing videos, with the titles: Move, Eat, Learn. Or Around the world in one minute.

For them, it was the trip of their lives. For us who now view these videos, it is a motivation to continue travelling, even if only in our imagination. There are things that do not change.

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo

Source: El Mundo

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A New Hanging Garden In Madrid

Madrid’s Newest Hanging Garden

A spectacular hanging garden that covers 1,000 m2  of an interior patio wall of  Hotel Santo Domingo located barely a few meters away from Gran Via in Madrid was  presented to the press last June 25.

The wall garden is home to more than 2,500 plants from more than 110 species, as well as a 20-meter waterfall and cypresses standing almost six meters tall.

Just as their horizontal counterparts, vertical gardens also contribute to cleaning up the atmosphere, trapping carbon dioxide, emitting oxygen, and maintaining temperature. The Hotel Santo Domingo garden aims to absorb 25,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide each year.  And its 20-meter waterfall,  has the same cooling effect as 50 air conditioning units. It also offers a refuge for  sparrows, a familiar Madrid resident, which have already begun nesting. And most of all, "guests in interior rooms will now have something nice to look out on".

An imaginative way to make use of the vertical spaces as horizontal spaces become scarce.

Source:  Jardines Verticales
         El País

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sand Castles

by poeticpenguin

We build
From each grain of sand
We build

And just like life
Our world comes tumbling down
And they laugh
And they laugh
Sand castles. This is a technique used by thousands of children as they play in the beach where sand of the area is used to create castles. This technique has become very popular that it has been catalogued as a new form of art, where many people of different ages make different forms, such as faces, statues, and sand castles, the latter being the most popular.  Too bad they do not last.

Source of image: Boracay Sand Castles   (Philippines)
Source of poem: Helium
Created on: August 20, 2008

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Visit to Museums in Madrid

This famous painting of Leonardo da Vinci "Lady with ermine"  portrays "Cecilia Gallerani, mistress of Ludovico Sforza (Duke of Milan) believed to be 17 at that time when Renaissance women contrived to look middle-aged before they were twenty".  As to be observed,  the Lady is looking elsewhere from the public, she seems to be listening to someone, or probably absorbed in her own fantasies. She turns her eyes away, that's why the painting conveys a certain air of tension and mystery emphasized by the enigmatic presence of the ermine.

"The delicate little animal has been identified as an ermine in its winter coat; according to legend these animals died if their white coats became dirty". It has also been said that "the ermine does not eat other than once a day, and it will rather be taken by hunters than escape into a dirty lair." It is interesting to note that this painting has inspired a lot of interpretations of both lady and ermine.

Source of quoted text:   Lady with ermine
Source of Image:  Wikipedia

Rembrandt was mostly interested in painting people. How they laugh, how they cry. He painted life, so to speak," Peter-Klaus Schuster (general director of the Museum of Old Master Paintings) said. Rembrandt's painting entitled Girl in a Picture Frame, which spent years in a private collection and was only recently donated to Warsaw 's Royal Castle collection. "She has an exotic look and a mysterious presence" just like  the Lady with ermine.  The outstanding feature of this painting is how the girl's hands seem to be touching the frame itself.  It also called my attention how she seems to be following my eyes as I observed her from different angles.

Source of image:  Wikipedia

Both of the above paintings are part of the temporary exhibits in the Royal Palace, Madrid courtesy of the Warsaw 's Royal Castle collection.  I was lucky to have gone to see them. Two great works of art worth seeing a thousand times or more!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Knitted Bollards

Efe, Valencia
August 12, 2011

In the heart of the town of Carmen, along the square "Negrito", 10 bollards are protected from the heat as perfectly covered with cheerful colors.

These bollards,  decorative metal posts used to control pedestrian and vehicular traffic,  have  recently been decorated with  colorful crochet covers.  This idea came from a group of Valencian weavers and knitters belonging to the Urban Knitting Association. Although there are diverse opinions as to the decoration of the bollards, the crochet covers certainly add color to the streets of the old town of Valencia. 

Source:  El Mundo

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Origin Of Impressionism

In the late 1860s, Claude Monet (1840-1926), Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) and others painted in a new style, called Impressionism by contemporaries. The name was first used by critics, viewing a new exhibition held in 1874, and was directed precisely — and derisively — at a painting by Monet of a harbor at dawn, which he titled Impression: Sunrise. The view of this painting looks over the Le Havre harbor in France.
Source:  Color Vision & Art

Source:  Art Quotes

I love Monet's painting of his wife, Camille in Japanese costume.  La Japonaise, 1876.

Source:  Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Filipino Customs

The Philippines is not only known for its 7,107 islands but also for having some customs typically adherent to their culture.

Below are a few unique customs seen in most Filipino interactions depending on how 'traditional' the Filipinos are that you encounter as published by Cavi as Yahoo Contributor Network in November 6, 2007.

1. "Mano po"
"Mano po" (pronounced mah-noh poh) refers to a physical gesture of taking the hand of an elder and bringing it towards your forehead. This is a sign of respect for the elder and is usually done at the point of greeting or farewell. Children are expected to perform this gesture towards adult relatives & adult family friends. Failure to perform "mano po" would be considered as disrespectful.

2. "Kuya" or "Ate"
The Filipino culture is very big on respect. The older an individual is, the more they call for respect. The term 'kuya' (pronounced koo-yah) refers to an older male person; it means 'big brother.' Its verbal usage indicates that you respect the older male and recognize the difference in age. The feminine form is 'Ate' (pronounced ah-teh) which is directed towards an older female person; it means 'big sister.' Children are encouraged to use these terms with their older siblings. Adults can use these terms to address friends or co-workers regardless of whether or not they are truly related. It simply demonstrates a form of respect for the older individual.

3. The power of the eyebrows.
In other cultures, the eyebrows usually convey emotion via a variety of facial expressions. In Filipino culture, raising your eyebrows can also communicate a positive affirmation of "yes" when a yes/no question has been asked. So, should a Filipino fail to verbally answer your question, look at their eyebrows before feeling like you were being ignored. Without you knowing it, they may just be answering you non-verbally through the raising of their eyebrows.

Raising your eyebrows accompanied with strong eye contact can also serve as a greeting or farewell to an individual you can not physically touch.

4. The lips give direction.
Again, a non-verbal expression performed by Filipinos. By puckering their lips and facing a certain direction, they are using their lips to point to communicate a certain direction. Instead of wasting physical energy by lifting their arm/hand to point, they conserve energy by using their puckered lips.

5. Food at every gathering.
Whether it be a grand party or just an informal meeting, Filipinos express their hospitality & friendship through the serving of food. The more grandiose the cuisine, the more 'love' they are trying to convey to those at the gathering. Instead of asking, 'how are you?' Filipinos will ask, "have you eaten yet?'

6. Take your shoes off when entering a Filipino home.
By taking your shoes off when entering a Filipino home, you are conveying utmost respect towards the owners of the property. You are showing them that you care about their property and have the desire to maintain its cleanliness. More modern Filipinos who have tile or wood floors may not expect you to take your shoes off because of the coldness of the floor, however, if you do adhere this custom, then you will surely make a favorable impression.

7. Hellos and Goodbyes cannot be taken for granted.
You must greet everyone "hello" at every meeting and say "good-bye" at each farewell. For anyone present, you can either offer a 'mano po,' a kiss on the cheek, or offer eye contact coupled with raising your eyebrows to those you are unable to physically reach or those you do not know very well. Failure to offer a greeting or farewell would indicate that you are disrespectful, and a snob. So, be attentive to those present as you do not want to offend anyone.

The minimal verbiage in Filipino Culture could be best explained through a silent adherence to the common expression: "actions speak louder than words."

Source: Associated Network from Yahoo

Note on video:  A video showcasing the beauty of the remarkable places & people of the Philippines set to the music of Freddie Aguilar's "Bayan Ko", which sometimes gets mistaken as the Philippines National Anthem because of its popularity.

Here is the translation to the lyrics of this moving song.

"Bayan Ko (My Country)"

My country the Philippines
Land of gold and flowers
With love in her palms
She offers beauty and virtue.
And of her modesty and beauty
The foreigner was attracted
O, my country, you were enslaved
Mired in hardship.

Even birds that are free to fly
Cage them and they cry,
Much more a beautiful country
Shall long to be free.
Philippines my beloved,
Cradle of my tears and poverty
I'll aspire,
To see you truly free.

***Tagalog Lyrics***

Ang bayan kong Pilipinas
Lupain ng ginto't bulaklak
Pag-ibig na sa kanyang palad
Nag-alay ng ganda't dilag.
At sa kanyang yumi at ganda
Dayuhan ay nahalina
Bayan ko, binihag ka
Nasadlak sa dusa.

Ibon mang may layang lumipad
kulungin mo at umiiyak
Bayan pa kayang sakdal dilag
Ang di magnasang makaalpas!
Pilipinas kong minumutya
Pugad ng luha ko't dalita
Aking adhika,
Makita kang sakdal laya!

My acknowledgement to Cavi.

A Bird's Life

A yellow-vented bulbul feeding her chicks fruit berries in their nest on Panglao Island, Bohol. The bird is the most common in the Philippines and is found almost everywhere. EDWIN BACASMAS…

By Saleh Badra

Little bulbul at my window,
To what purpose are you singing?
Can't you hear the noise and clamour?
Can't you sense the disaccord?
Who, amid this blare, will ever
Hear your gentle mellow tunes?

Go blend with the glens of calmness:
Here's no place for birds that tweet;
Here's a place for birds of prey
Whose essence is to tear and eat.

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. - A Chinese proverb.

Source of poem :  PoemHunter
Source of image:  Inquirer