Monday, November 13, 2006

On the Road Again

Hi all you cats and kittens!

Just a brief note while I wait for the second leg of this latest journey (a Greyhound from Atlanta to Tallahassee), to say... I'm headed to the land of plantations and beaches. =)

Pictures and adventures coming your way soon!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Great Pumpkin

There are times in life when one is required to be a grown-up. Happily, they are few and far between.

In recent years, I've missed out on the festive holidays which pepper the end of the calendar. (That's what happens good, little boys and girls when you are working relentlessly on a PhD.) Following a bit of nostalgia last fall and the carving of my first pumpkin all by myself (see picture), I spent a bit of dosh stocking my DVD collection with some of those holiday classics.

There is something special about watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" regardless of how old you are. Maybe it's the quirky gang of Charles Schultz' creation. Or, the depth of Snoopy's imagination. Or, poor Charlie with his holey ghost costume and bag of rocks. Like a doorway back to childhood for a few minutes, when the world was a bit simpler, you could eat the candy you got from the neighbours, and parties ended with an innocent goody bag rather than spiked punch. (If you haven't seen it in a while, or missed it on the networks, I am ashamed to admit, it is available for free on After Linus' tears, I opted not to kill a pumpkin this year. (Besides, it would just have to go in the bin as I get ready for the road.)

After seeing Sponge Bob Squarepants riding a Lothian bus, rather than a pineapple under the sea, I thought I'd see what the rest of the world was up to on Halloween night. To my delight, CNN posted a wonderful little story about a small town in Colorado which awoke to the sight of pumpkins everywhere. Call me sentimental, but thats pretty sweet. If you are interested in the story, I've included the website below.

Boone, Colorado - Nobody knows who, but someone with a lot of Halloween spirit decorated this small southern Colorado town with hundreds and hundreds of pumpkins. Residents woke up Tuesday to find virtually every surface covered with the orange holiday icons. There were pumpkins left on front porches and at front gates, on the front and back steps of a church and all along the boundary of the city park. –

With winter's arrival pending, I'll be heading to warmer climates in a few weeks time. Yippee! But, watch this space, there are a few photos from my fall rambles around Edinburgh waiting to be developed for your enjoyment.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Arts Round-Up!

The circus has packed up, the actors have taken their curtain calls, and the tourists have stumbled back onto trains, planes, and automobiles. Hurray!

Usually home to a shade over 400,000 students, politicians, etc.; the ‘Athens of the North’ swells to over 4x that number in August. And for those of us ‘natives’, you either rent your flat or bolt the door. On the surface, that may appear to mean missing some of the greatest art on the planet. In reality, the best shows are held over.

I had my doubts about this years offerings – Adam Elsheimer, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, Ron Mueck, Albert Watson, Robert Mapplethorpe, Harry Benson to name a few. But, a number of hidden gems have emerged:

Ron Mueck
Dubbed the “must see show of the season,” it was hard to get excited about hyper- or hypo- realistic nude sculptures. However, 90 minutes later Mueck’s process and attention to detail had me wondering – Would a survey of sculpture juxtaposing Canova’s ‘Three Graces’ (1819) and Mueck’s ‘A Girl’ (2006, pictured) invoke a re-examination of art? I marveled at the attention to detail - the wrinkles next to a subject's eyes down to the tiny follicles on a big toe. Amazing!
For more information:

Jamie Primrose
Up and coming Scottish artist, Jamie's third exhibition this year, ‘Secrets of Venice,’ was a mystical journey to one of my favorite cities. I’ve been following his career since I wandered into the Dundas Street Gallery one rainy afternoon three years ago and was immediately transformed by the depth of color and vivid horizons. (We're even on a first name basis.) I may even max my ‘happy plastic’ and bring one home in the coming months. Check out my favorite, unsold, work ‘Tuscan Farmhouse’ (pictured) or his website:

Albert Watson
Not particularly one for fashion photography, I thought I’d give this exhibition a try because it was in the same building as a Toulouse-Lautrec poster exhibition. Talk about dumb luck. I was struck by the versatility of this Edinburgh-native and the scale of the works exhibited. Usually you go to a photographic exhibition and expect to see 8x10 or similar sized works. Of the over 200 on display, none was less that 2ft x 2 ft, most were at least 8ft x 8ft. My favorites were from his "Maroc" work (pictured), specifically ‘Hands of a Orange Orchard Workers’ (1998) and “Flower Sellers Hands’ (1989). They harkened back to the days of Dorothea Lang in their honesty and ability to tell a story. Absolutely brilliant transformation of black and white into tones which made you feel like you were experiencing the angst of his subjects’ existence.

An anecdote:
I was admiring Mueck’s attention to detail in the hypo-realistic sculpture ‘Two Women’ (pictured) when I observed two elderly women both dressed in knee-length woolen coats; one in pants with the beige trainers your grandmother wears; the other a navy skirt and black patent leather heals. We've all seen this scene. As they discussed the exquisite detail of the work, I noticed that down to their nylons, bunched at the ankles, Mueck had beautifully captured the scene. Upon commenting to the middle-aged woman standing next to me, “Does life imitate art? Or, art imitate life?” we both eyed our elders and quietly chuckled.

As the seasons change, I’m reminded that life is mystifying. The simplicity of the human experience is joyous; something to be celebrated; and most of all, alive and well despite what we hear and see from the ‘talking heads’ on a daily basis.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

"Life is...

what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
- John Lennon, from 'Beautiful Boy'

There is truth in John Lennon’s woefully understated advice to his son, Julian.

After spending the better part of three months at leaving dos for mates and coworkers, I find myself reflecting on the passage of time. When I arrived on the soggy shores of Scotland five years ago, I had a simple objective – see the world on someone else’s tab. Well, ok, it was actually to complete a PhD in 3 years without teaching undergraduates, on a secure salary, with six weeks vacation. What could be better for a girl born under a wandering star?

True to form, almost everything went wrong. Rather, life took over while I was busy making high-flying plans. Having always found solace in adventuring, I’ve spent the time meandering through life, discovering how small our world is, and challenging my opinions through experience. And, as always, you’ve come along for the journey either as companions or tucked inside my camera case.

As much as I dislike the invasiveness of the digital era, (Will children remember what paper and pencils are in a generation?), its time to bite the bullet and replace hand-written letters and real photographs with this chronicle of my adventures. I hope to share these adventures, both in Edinburgh as well as further a field, once a fortnight. So, pull up a comfy chair and a wee dram as the adventures of the roaming gnome continue…

(image courtesty of travelocity)