IMG_9087Driving a bit above the speed limit eastbound on I-4 and anxious to get home after work, I sometimes drive a little further on I-4 and take exit 41 to the Polk Parkway.  My attention is often drawn to this particular building that is home to Florida Polytechnic University. It has baffled me since I first saw it being constructed. Santiago Calatrava is the architect who designed this building. I had never heard the name before but when I googled him I was impressed! He is a world renowned, award winning, architect.  How courageous of the local business men and women, and Senator J.D. Alexander for their selection, and for convincing Governor Rick Scott to sign the legislature that allowed Florida Poly to separate from USF. Lakeland is an interesting city that has a small-town,  unassuming image but is home to many talented artists, musicians, and boasts two major works by big gun architects, Frank Lloyd Wright and now Santiago Calatrava.

IMG_8947Yikes! 60 million dollars for this little college campus in Central Florida. Calatrava has a controversial and much maligned  reputation for going way over budget on his pricy, overly complicated usually white designs. He is  the same architect who designed the 4 billion dollar transit hub on the new world trade center building in New York.  Looking at his designs I think the man is a genius with an incredibly refined artistic sense of balance, and symmetry.  So what if he is not good at projecting costs. He is not an accountant after all, he is an artist.  Truly he is in a class of his own. A very refined architect who began his studies as an art student and then transitioned to architecture and also studied civil engineering. I can see all these disciplines reflected in his work. Click on the word student in the previous sentence to view a youtube video about Calatrava.


Tom was invited for a private tour of the Florida Poly Technic facility while it was under-construction but we were out-of-town at the time and didn’t make it. A few weeks ago, they had an open house for the public which again did not work with our schedules.


Recently, Tom attended an A.I.A. conference at the facility and the attendees were treated to a private tour afterwards. I was invited to the tour but as usual, I was stuck in grid lock traffic on I-4 and never made it.


The images above and below are of the library / media center which has stirred quite a bit of commentary because it does not contain a single hardcopy book. It’s all about virtual reality here. Everything is digital and robotic.


We both wanted to photograph the building because of its curious design. I encourage you to visit Calatrava’s website and view his featured works.  In my opinion they are amazing. As an architect he is now  one of my favorites, besides Tom, of course.


This is not the first time Lakeland has recruited a famous architect to build a college in its city. A few miles west of the Florida Poly Technic University Campus is the Florida Southern College campus, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  I captured these images at Florida Southern in 2013.

Last weekend, after breakfast, we drove by Florida Poly and Tom suggested we stop and let the girls explore the building. The kids were not all that thrilled to be at the school until they saw what was taught there. Gaming, Robotics, Super Computers, that kind of got their attention. In the spirit of dramatic play they then roamed the building pretending they were college students.

Rarely do we not have our cameras with us but, this day we left them home so I resorted to iPhone photography.  The images are not the quality I get with my nikon but they work for posting on this blog.

Aesthetically, this is a very cool building with an ultra modern,  futuristic-minimalist design.The bone like architectural features of the building remind me of the back bone of a dinosaur or an exoskeleton. The roof has robotic / mechanical elements that open at different elevations, depending on the location of the sun, which provides shade for the skylights.




Ella spotted a baby alligator in this pond. Watch out! There must be a mother alligator nearby.   Enjoy!.


Downtown Art, Lights, Riverwalk

Designed by: Leo Villareal. The lighted installation on the Tampa Museum of Art is titled ” Sky” it is an LED light program that showcases movement and light in a sequence of patterns created by the artist’s custom coded software program.

Friday, October 16, 2015


After work I met Tom and the girls downtown at the Tampa Museum of Art. We had dinner at the Sono Cafe and then did the Art and Design Tour sponsored by the Architecture Institute of America (A.I.A.).


The tour started at 7:30 p.m. It began at the Tampa Museum of Art and proceeded eastward around the Glacier Children’s museum it  then followed along Ashley Street and westward by the railroad tracks towards the riverwalk.


Our guides drew the crowd’s attention to several large art installations along the way. One particular project is still in process and the girls were able to see the artists working from their scaffolding.  The artist is Bask and Tes One. The piece is titled ” Stay Curious”. This piece is a horizontal modern abstract mural that covers the exterior south wall of the Poe Parking Garage.

The Tampa Museum of Art and The Glacier Children Museum are located across the street.


This piece is a  vertical installation on the exterior wall of the walkway leading to the Glacier Children’s Museum. We then walked southward along the riverwalk listening to our tour guide as she described newly added art features and smartly designed walkways along the waterway.

Our tour continued on the riverwalk, past the colorfully lighted bridges.


We walked around downtown’s Whiting Street and Franklin Street,  to the convention center, past the Riverwalk – Riverwall by artist Bruce Marsh. It serves as an iconic entrance to the Riverwalk and contains hundreds of images of the Hillsborough River.



We continued on past the Amalie Sports Arena to the Tampa Bay History Center, then to Cotanchobee Park and back to the riverwalk returning to the Tampa Museum of Art. It was about 9:30 p.m. when we arrived at our car and headed home. The tour was quite enjoyable and I was really impressed with the way downtown is developing into a walkable community.

A selfie moment for Mallory.

Tom didn’t take the tour with us, he decided to stay at the museum. Here are a few images he captured. Outstanding as usual.



Mystical Sunday


Tom and I had a busy Sunday today! We started our day off by indulging in lunch at the Columbia Restaurant. It is one of my favorite places for lunch. I had my usual 1905 salad and a cup of Spanish bean soup, along with a delicious glass of red sangria of course! Can you say yum!

Afterward we drove over to the Dali to see the M.C. Escher exhibit. I was dazzled by his work. He uses a technique  called TESSELLATION, which is a fancy word for tiling.  Here is the official definition: A tessellation is created when a shape is repeated over and over again covering a plane without any gaps or overlaps. Wow! I was impressed. Escher’s work communicates a certain calm within chaos that resonates with me. We were not allowed to take pictures of the exhibit but, I found these images of my favorites of his work online:

We followed the Dali with a visit to the Buddhist Temple in Tampa. This is a place I have been wanting to visit for a photography opportunity. One word sums this location for me: serene.


The Wat Mongkolratanaram Buddhist Temple is located at 5306 Palm River Road in Tampa


By the time we got there we had missed their Sunday Market. It starts at 11 a.m. and is over by 2 p.m. I’ve heard their food is amazing and that you should arrive early because the good stuff sells out quickly. I caught this monk as he was closing up for the day.


There was such a peacefulness on the grounds. A stark contrast to the external chaos  of the city that surrounds this area. It also made the internal noise that resides inside my head quite noticeable. I wanted that peaceful quietness. I wanted to feel grounded. In the hour we spent there, I was compelled to find a way to calm down my pace and my thoughts. I always feel that when things like this occur they are a message from somewhere outside of me. I will call the messenger by the Latin translation VERE REALE – or as Anne Lamontt refers to it in her book Grace Eventually, THE REALLY REAL!  In Spanish it is called “lo realmente real“. It’s the awesome mystery of life, that voice inside that nudges one to pay attention.

imagesI am sure that it is a special form of ADHD that keeps me busy looking for items I’ve misplaced. Within a few inches of movement I can totally loose things, which then throws me into manic-panic mode. This is because my awareness is often dispersed onto several places at once. I rarely pay attention the first time I hear or see something. Usually, my interest is ignited only after a second, and at times even a third repeat.  Like Escher’s tessellations – I need repetition  before I say “hey someone is trying to tell me something.”


That was the kind of day I had today.  It began with the hot tasty Cuban bread and softened butter that accompanied my lunch. The minute I broke off a piece of bread, a thought surfaced from my subconscious reminding me, or encouraging me, to be thankful. I was! That bread tasted delicious.


Later at the Dali, as I viewed Escher’s work and heard his story, again, there was an uncanny feeling that there was a message in this for me.   I was intrigued by the way he marveled at the perfect order in the mathematics of geometric forms. This, even though, he was not particularly interested in, or good at math. He felt that we are drawn to chaos because of a desire to create order. His words: “We adore chaos because we love to produce order.” M.C. Escher. 

When I revisit Dali’s exhibit I find new interest in works I didn’t pay attention to on previous visits. There is so much to take in. I enjoy the humor in Dali’s work.


I know the message on this sign is about the etiquette of respect, but to me the sign communicated more. As I removed my shoes I felt a private invitation to relax. As if someone was telling me to step out of the traffic jam in my thoughts, step away from my stress and step into peace.

Here are my images of our visit to the temple:

The third and final call for me to pay attention came from my daughter who texted me to watch a documentary titled “from Neuron to Nirvana” on Netflix. It was about the use of psychedelics such as psilocybin and acid in the treatment of various disorders such as addictions and anxiety both of which were fully loaded into my my DNA 🙂  The interesting theory explored was that the government and pharmaceutical companies quickly move to prohibit things for which a patent can not be obtained. No patent no financial gain. Since the patents on synthetic  psychedelics (such as acid) are now  in the public domain and organic psychedelics (such as mushrooms) can’t be patented then the government’s response is no patent – prohibit .  I am not advocating drug use. I am advocating that laws should be amended to allow clinical testing of psychedelics. Lets not kid ourselves, Prozac, Clonazepam, Xanax, and other legal dopamine and serotonin manipulators are DRUGS! They are just patentable drugs that are monetized, regulated and monitored as are the patients taking them and this makes them safer. I wonder if the psychedelics mentioned above, especially the organic ones, in a similarly controlled setting where users can be monitored, would not be of equal or better benefit to all those self-medicating patients using them.

Yes, watching this documentary certainly confirms the importance of being open minded and thinking for oneself. Don’t immediately assume because something is “legal” or trending that it is the best or only choice.

Magic mushrooms video worth watching:
The Huffington Post article that appeared on October 12, 2015.

Neuron to Nirvana contains controversial and thought-provoking stuff. I loved it! You know how Netflix gives suggestions of flix for you to watch based on what you just viewed? Well, this led me to watch another documentary about Alberto Villoldo, PH.D. titled Shaman Healer Sage. The message I read into his story was that we can all benefit from a spiritual clearing, or smudging. Guess what I will be doing soon:-)


EVERYONE ELSE IS WAITING FOR ETERNITY AND THE SHAMAN IS SAYING HOW ABOUT TONIGHT? TONIGHT IS A GOOD TIME TO STEP OUTSIDE OF TIME.  A quote from Alberto Villoldo, PH.D, who transitioned from a successful career in modern medical science in the U.S. to study ancient energy medicine of the legendary Inca and Q’er Shamans of South America  He has a book titled ” Shaman Healer Sage” 


The chaos rages on. Peace, like happiness, is a choice. I heard the message.  I will begin to wag more and bark less in my journey to make order out of chaos.


Summer into Fall

An important part of creating graphics is knowing your style.

A shot taken at an airport I think in DC I love the Specialized Color effect I achieved here. This was taken with my old canon point and shoot that I used while touring in England
A shot taken at an airport I think in DC I love the Specialized Color effect I achieved here. This was taken with my old canon point and shoot that I used while touring in England

MY STYLE is more like these projects I created in 2009 – 2010 when I first began to learn how to make collages in paint shop. The problem with paint shop images of this type is that they are not vector files.  If you scale a non vector image to larger dimensions ( non vector files are called raster files) they pixelate. To avoid this using a vector program like ADOBE Illustrator is necessary. So here I am determined to become proficiently able to create whatever I want in illustrator. Here are my old printshop pro college / inspiration cards.

Learning means going all the way to the beginning of something and producing very elementary work, at least that is what I am experiencing. Awful! Painful! Ouch! It bites!


The image above is a combination of a shot I took of a squirrel this morning, and several rectangle,squares and circles created in illustrator. Various colors, and effects applied to edges gives this interest.  Not my favorite but I am committed to an exercise everyday in order to become more proficient in illustrator. It is hard not to jump right in to the creative “develop my own style” phase. I am concentrating on baby steps.

Here is  my squirrel. It was a lovely picture. I was out shooting and felt something was watching me. I look at a nearby tree and this squirrel caught my eye. Sure as the sun was shining, he was looking at me.



Determined to crack ADOBE illustrator I spent the entire day listening to tutorials and doing practice exercises. Why? That’s just how I am. I am relentless about learning something that interests me. The key is that it must interest me otherwise, well I’m just not interested and will not learn it. I’ve been that way forever and it isn’t going to change. It’s who I am, how I think, and how I learn. I’m cool with this.

The first two projects I did were the results of so many mistakes I have to laugh. I use several ADOBE applications and their all similar in basic ways but Illustrator is quirky. For instance, there is no crop tool in illustrator. What??? And when you click on pieces on the art board, sometimes the objects don’t move as expected, instead they streak. Well it makes for interesting effects.

mini poster

mini poster2

See what I mean?  So illustrator became quite an involved learning curve to swing on.  I stuck with it and was able to make a couple of elementary logos.

black and white logo Testi Art Board

Not bad for a first attempt.

Just to challenge myself I went for one more practice using crazy effects.

one more try

I will share the knowledge when I achieve it 🙂 Until then, I will post updates on my progress.

Enjoy and Soar!