Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Far From The Familiar- The Amazon River in Peru

Far From the Familiar 1- mixed media

Far From the Familiar 2- mixed media

Far From the Familiar 3- mixed media

Far From the Familiar 4- mixed media

Far From the Familiar 5- mixed media

Far From the Familiar 6- mixed media

This series of mixed media prints was inspired by a trip to the Amazon River in Peru in the winter of 2013. It was very far from what is familiar to me. There was little personal space when we went to see how people lived. They did not have windows or doors. The roofs were made of tin or thatched with palm leaves. The land was lush; the flowers grew everywhere. Leaves on trees were enormous! We traveled everywhere by river. I haven't posted my pictures or written about it yet, but here is one series I made and I am working on another. The colors and images were unforgettable.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Transforning Journey: Art Inspired by Trip to Myanmar

Cinnamon Memories 1

Cinnamon Memories 2

Cinnamon Memories 3

Cinnamon Memories 4

Bagan Discovery 1

Bagan Discovery 2

Saffron Memories 1

Saffron Memories 2

Travel transforms you, changes how you see the world and how you see yourself. Going to Asia, but especially Myanmar in 2012, was a transcending experience. The place is spiritual and the journey was too. Here is a series of my visual impressions of what I experienced there- the landscape, spice markets, fabrics, stupas, golden Buddhas, and especially, the people.

This series of one-of-a-kind monotypes with gold collage is my visual reflection and my visual memoir of a voyage (both external and internal) I will never forget. The art was inspired by my trip and the journey inspired me in so many ways, visual and others. I finished the series in late 2012 and then edited it more in 2013 as I thought about it more and added and subtracted  as it took a while for the images, ideas and memories to percolate in my mind's eye and manifest themselves more fully. Does the process ever really end? At some point, I say enough! I am ready to call it finished and let the public see it.

I showed some of these first in my solo show at Da Vinci Art Alliance in May 2013. Several of them are now available at the Accent Gallery in Ocean City, New Jersey. Contact me at for more details.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Ice and Blue Inspired by Antarctica

Ice and Blue 6

Ice and Blue 5

Ice and Blue 4

Ice and Blue 3

Ice and Blue 2

Ice and Blue 1

Colossal Sea 2

Colossal Sea 1

This series of monotypes and monotypes with collage was inspired by our travel to Antarctica in the winter of 2012. Pristine, white, wild and wonderful! Silent and gorgeous, the seventh continent is a place of great beauty and spectacular scenery. Itis a special and unique place and I feel privileged to have been there. The ocean is clear blue- no pollution at all!

I tried to capture to majesty, the color and the spectacle in these one-of-a-kind prints .

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Quark Expedition- The Gift of White!

Glacier at Neko Harbor

Snow with the magical blue glow of glacial ice

A zodiac full of explorers

Antarctica rarely gets precipitation but we got snow and rain

More fabulous scenery on the White Continent

The beautiful scenery, combine with the peace and silence of Antarctica makes it such a special, almost holy, place. Only around 40,000 visitors go there annually. Small-scale "expedition tourism" has existed since 1957 and is currently subject to Antarctic Treaty and Environmental Protocol provisions, but in effect self-regulated by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). Not all vessels associated with Antarctic tourism are members of IAATO, but IAATO members account for 95% of the tourist activity. Travel is largely by small or medium ship, focusing on specific scenic locations with accessible concentrations of iconic wildlife. We were told the numbers are capped to protect the environment.

Nothing grows there since all there is is rock, snow and ice. All that lives is dependent on sea life, especially krill, which was described to be like small shrimp. Antarctic krill, which congregates in large schools, is the keystone species of the ecosystem of the Southern Ocean, and is an important food organism for whales, seals, leopard seals, fur seals, squid, icefish, penguins, albatrosses and many other birds. We actually saw the three types of penguins who nest in the peninsula of Antarctica- Gentoo, Adélie  and Chinstrap, two types of seals- Leopard and Weddell, and whales- not sure what kind. We also saw birds- petrels and skuas mostly. The skuas also eat the eggs and chicks of the penguins. The adults protect them as best they can, but it doesn't always work. The rules of the jungle apply even is this freezing climate!

Emblem of the Antarctic Treaty since 2002

Signed in 1959 by 12 countries, The Antarctic Treaty  now has 49 countries on board. The treaty prohibits military activities and mineral mining, prohibits nuclear explosions and nuclear waste disposal, supports scientific research, and protects the continent's ecozone. Ongoing experiments are conducted by more than 4,000 scientists from many nations. There is also a treaty about whaling to protect the whales and all countries, except Japan, do not kill them. I understand Japan still kills whales for experiments in science, but not as much and might not do it much longer since younger people in Japan do not eat whale as the older people did.

If you look at the map of the continent above, we visited the top left peninsula sticking out which is closest to South America. We left from Ushuaia, Argentina (the southern most city in the world) where 95% of the visitors leave from because it is only a 2 day ship ride across Drake Passage to get to the continent. It is the closet departure point. What we saw was amazingly big and impressive and yet, looking at the map, you see it was only a small part of the entire continent. It gives me pause to realize just how vast this amazing continent is! Huge! Massive!

I felt it was such a privilege to visit Antarctica. Not that many people go there and it is so special and unusual a place to be. So different from real life. I am so glad I got to see how simple and elegant and cold! nature can be. It was truly a gift and I am so grateful.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Quark Expedition Continues- Antarctica!

Gentoo penguins on the crest of the hill

Bloody leopard seal- Law of Nature- kill or be killed!

Leopard seal on ice- whales are coming!

We watch seal for whales!

We continue to go out on the Zodiacs twice a day to discover what thee is to see on the White Contient. Theere are only 3 kind of penguins, 3 kinds of seals, several  kinds of birds and several kinds of whales who thrive down here. Nothing grows on the land of white!! Living things eat sealife- krill mostly.

Today we see gentoo penguins. With flamboyant red-orange beaks, white-feather caps, and peach-colored feet, gentoo penguins stand out against their drab, rock-strewn Antarctic habitat. These charismatic waddlers, who populate the Antarctic Peninsula and numerous islands around the frozen continent, are the penguin world’s third largest members, reaching a height of 30 inches and a weight of 12 pounds.

Gentoos are partial to ice-free areas, including coastal plains, sheltered valleys, and cliffs. They gather in colonies of breeding pairs that can number from a few dozen to many thousands. Gentoo parents, which often form long-lasting bonds, are highly nurturing. At breeding time, both parents will work to build a circular nest of stones, grass, moss, and feathers. The mother then deposits two spherical, white eggs, which both parents take turns incubating for more than a month. Hatchlings remain in the nest for up to a month, and the parents alternate foraging and brooding duties.

Like all penguins, gentoos are awkward on land. But they’re pure grace underwater. They have streamlined bodies and strong, paddle-shaped flippers that propel them up to 22 miles an hour, faster than any other diving bird.

Adults spend the entire day hunting, usually close to shore, but occasionally ranging as far as 16 miles out. When pursuing prey, which includes fish, squid, and krill, they can remain below for up to seven minutes and dive as deep as 655 feet.

Gentoo penguins are a favored menu item of the leopard seals that patrol the waters around their colonies. On land, adults have no natural predators other than humans, who harvest them for their oil and skin. Gentoo eggs and chicks, however, are vulnerable to birds of prey, like skuas and caracaras.

Gentoo numbers are increasing on the Antarctic Peninsula. They are protected by the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 and received near threatened status on the IUCN Red List in 2007.

The leopard seal is named for its black-spotted coat. The pattern is similar to that of the famous big cat, though the seal's coat is gray rather than golden in color. This seal is sometimes called the sea leopard, and the resemblance is more than skin deep. Like their feline namesakes, leopard seals are fierce predators. They are the most formidable hunters of all the seals and the only ones that feed on warm-blooded prey, such as other seals. Leopard seals use their powerful jaws and long teeth to kill smaller seals, fish, and squid.

These effective predators live in frigid Antarctic and sub-Antarctic waters, where they also eat penguins. They often wait underwater near an ice shelf and snare the birds just as they enter the water after jumping off the ice. They may also come up beneath seabirds resting on the water surface and snatch them in their jaws.

Shellfish are a far less dramatic prey but still an important part of the leopard seal's diet.

Leopard seals are earless seals. They have long bodies (10 to 11.5 feet) and elongated heads. Like most other seals, leopard seals are insulated from frigid waters by a thick layer of fat known as blubber. Though the leopard seal is known for its coat, it has not been commercially hunted for its skin like its fur seal relatives. Leopard seals eat the gentoos and whales eat the seals. It's a jungle out there!! ( so to speak)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Quark Expedition- The White Continent!

Iceberg sculpture with blue glacier ice

More iceberg sculpture

Water and wind make beautiful sculpture of the snow and ice

Pristine beauty!

Land ahead!

Here are two chinstrap penguins

I wonder what the penguins think of this yellow creature!

After 2 days on the Drake Passage, even though it was mild, I am ready for land! No sailor am I!! After all, I am a Taurus, earth sign through and through. We have seen great iceberg sculptures on our way and throughout the water going to the South Shetland Islands.

Our first landing, on Zodiacs in groups of 10, is to an Island on the archipelago closest to Argentina. It is not really on the mainland of Antarctica proper but is considered part of Antarctica- the South Shetland Islands.

Here we see chinstrap penguins. The chinstrap penguin is a small species of penguin which is found inhabiting the rocky land and islands of the Antarctic Ocean. The chinstrap penguins name derives from the narrow black band under their heads.

Chinstrap penguins are one of the most easily identifiable of all of the penguin species, mainly due to the marking on their chins. Chinstrap penguins are also known to congregate together in their millions on small Antarctic islands. There are believed to be more than 7 million breeding pairs of chinstrap penguins.

Chinstrap penguins spend their lives hunting for krill and small fish and crustaceans in the surrounding waters, coming onto land to breed, rest and to escape the large ocean predators. Chinstrap penguins are carnivorous birds, and catch numerous species of fish,, crabs, shrimp, squid and krill in their strong beaks. Parents hunt for food in the ocean to take back to their chicks on the land.

Due to the fact that there are few large animals inhabiting the frozen South Pole, the chinstrap penguin has few natural predators. Leopard seals, killer whales whales and the occasional passing shark are the main predators of the chinstrap penguin.

Female chinstrap penguins lay 2 eggs in a nest made out of stones on one of the rocky Antarctic islands in November or December. The male chinstrap penguin and the female chinstrap penguin both take it in turns to keep the eggs warm, with the eggs hatching after about a month. The chicks stay in the nest until they are about a month old and are fed by both the female and male penguins.
We see many rookeries on the landings, more photos later.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Quark Expedition- Day 1- Sunnies Skies & Quiet Sea

Our ship the Ocean Diamond

Ushuaia, Argentina, the southern most city in the world

Along the Beagle Channel

Iceberg in the Drake Passage

On the first two days of the trip to Antarctica, you have to cross the dreaded Drake Passage, whose rough seas are legendary. Drake Passage is the body of water between the southern tip of South America at Cape Horn, Chile and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. It connects the southwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean with the southeastern part of the Pacific Ocean and extends into the Southern Ocean. The passage receives its English language name from the 16th century English privateer Sir Francis Drake. Drake's only remaining ship, after having passed through the Strait of Magellan, was blown far South in September 1578. This incident implied an open connection between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The 800 kilometres (500 mi) wide passage between Cape Horn and Livingston Island is the shortest crossing from Antarctica to the rest of the world's land. The boundary between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is sometimes taken to be a line drawn from Cape Horn to Snow Island 130 kilometres (81 mi) north of mainland Antarctica). Alternatively the meridian that passes through Cape Horn may be taken as the boundary. Both boundaries lie entirely within the Drake Passage.
The other two passages around Cape Horn, Magellan Strait and Beagle Channel, are very narrow, leaving little room for a ship, particularly a sailing ship, to maneuver. They can also become icebound, and sometimes the wind blows so strongly no sailing vessel can make headway against it. Hence most sailing ships preferred the Drake Passage, which is open water for hundreds of miles, despite very rough conditions. The very small Diego Ramírez Islands lie about 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of Cape Horn.

There is no significant land anywhere around the world at the latitudes of the Drake Passage, which is important to the unimpeded flow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current which carries a huge volume of water (about 600 times the flow of the Amazon River) through the Passage and around Antarctica.
Ships in the passage are often good platforms for the sighting of whales, dolphins and plentiful seabirds including giant petrels, other petrels, albatrosses and penguins.

On the two days we crossed, we were luck to have calm seas!! I was prepared with Dramamine and other devices but had no problems! We had sunny skies and quiet waters.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Weekend in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Entry to Evita Museum

Portrait of Evita Peron

Collection of Hats in Museum

Central Hall in Opera House

Main Reception Room

Main Floor and Balconies of Opera House

On Friday, we took a tour of the Evita Museum,  the Opera House (Theatre Colon) and MALBA Museum. They were all fascinating visits. The MALBA Museum was great and a repeat for us. What was so great was the visiting artists were Jose Roca guest curating Oscar Munoz's fabulous show! Remember they were here in Philadelphia for Philagrafika2010 which I was also a part of!  In fact, Jose Roca was the curator of the entire event! Buenos Aires is a happening place. this is our third visit and we are always happy to return to the city.

We spent a lovely Sabbath with the Oppenheimers. He is the Chief Rabbi of Buenos Aires. Early Sunday morning we are off to Ushuaia, the most southern city in the world in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

First Stop- Punta del Este, Uruguay

Suitcase broken by airline!
Hugo and Norman on patio of Hotel La Bluette

Hotel La Bluette entry

Beach right in front of our hotel

Bikini Beach and rocks

Clean beaches and beautiful scenery

Just what the doctor ordered! Sunshine, a happy host and a beach-front hotel! Finally after a rocky start, we arrive in Punta del Esta, Uruguay, resort town par excellence! We are staying with Hugo at Hotel La Bluette, a boutique across the street from Bikini Beach.

Half our luggage arrives broken and the other half doesn't arrive so Hugo takes me shopping to buy a few things in the town. The luggage actually arrives the day before we leave but I survive on a bathing suit, underwear and a few things. Very low key for me, but Hugo says people go dancing and dress up and stay up very late. He serves breakfast until 1 PM! We are not the late dancers, but I do meet a few younger folks who are.

The beaches are pretty, the waves okay for body surfing which is Norman's passion. He has to go down a few beaches to find better ones. At night we go into several art galleries to find where the artists are. One, Mercedes Lasarte, had also been showing her work in Barcelona, Spain, when we were there last year!

After 4 nights, we moved on to our next stop, Buenos Aires, Argentina!