Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Salvador Dali in St. Pete

Salvador Dali  <<< click on the name to watch some movies !

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marqués de Dalí de Pubol, known as Salvador Dalí, was a prominent Spanish surrealist painter born in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain.

·         Lived: May 11, 1904 - Jan 23, 1989 (age 84)
·         Height: 5' 8" (1.72 m)
·         Spouse: GalaDalí (m. 1934 - 1982)
·         Periods: Surrealism · Dada · Cubism · Modern art
·         Founded: Dalí Theatre and Museum · Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation
·         Education: Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (1922 - 1926)

What can one possibly add to above? The few lines above are the barest synopsis of a life lived so far removed from my life that I have come to realize how unimportant I have been and will be. Dali was just a man, yet he showed us in visual ways how mentally puny most of us are. His mind was different. His artistic abilities were way above the norm and he was unique. Do I admire him? In a way, yes! I am not sure I would want a life that seems so ‘tortured’. I feel sure his life, as strange is it looks to me, was not an easy life. In a way he was very lonely. How could he not be, living above the rest, on the pinnacle of mental existence? Years back I went to visit his museum in Figueres, Spain. I liked what I saw then.
So when I had to have my bike serviced (new rear tire, oil change, incl. final drive) I chose the BMW dealership in Tampa, FL to do the work.
Camera's Everywhere 
Stairs full of People 
St. Petersburg is close by and is also a town that loved Dali. St. Pete’s is where the Americans (Morse Family, made their money in early plastic) built a Museum just to show Dali’s works. It is a very modern building, and has the latest of the latest gizmo’s to watch Dali’s paintings, sketches, busts, films, and whatever else he dabbled with. The lines to get in to the museum are long. Only a limited number of people are allowed in. Go early to be admitted quickly, I am not kidding, this is a sold out show, almost every day.
Dali was a true artist. He was extraordinarily flamboyant, self-assured and just plain weird. He knew it, played it up, too. Yet, he was good, a genius.

I have no idea how high is IQ was, but I am sure it was up there. His wife, Gala, was a perfect match for him. Having looked at photographs, listened to how he was enamored with her, I believe it was a good marriage.

I am not sure if Dali made fun of the viewer of his paintings by using his far out descriptions that are hideous and sound insane. The picture named “Anthropomorphic Echo“, for example.
Anthropomorphic Echo 

Full Definition of anthropomorphic
1. 1:  described or thought of as having a human form or human attributes <anthropomorphic deities>
2. 2:  ascribing human characteristics to nonhuman things <anthropomorphic supernaturalism

The Ghost of Vermeer Van Delft - Dali Salvador
is this a Vermeer ?  Hardly !
I don’t use the word Anthropomorphic in my daily use. I had to look up the meaning of the word. I am still having trouble thinking in terms of words like that. I wonder why he named pictures “Portrait of my Dead Brother” or the name “Ghost of Vermeer of Delft”. Was Dali’s thinking into the                               supernatural?

Dali painted in 1969/70 a painting called “HallucinogenicToreador” reminds me of the Hippy Drug Culture. Some of it anyway. 
Was Dali under the influence?

He read Sigmund Freud’s “The Interpretations of Dreams” in 1925 and as we can see, that reading produced some far out ‘dream scrapes’ and ideas.

After he was introduced in 1929 to Joan Miro and the idea of Surrealism, Dali’s thinking sure took a very different turn.

Because when I look at the painting of his sister (1923) I can still see ‘reality’ in her face. 
Dali's Sister
One can clearly see what his sister looked like. Yet already, on the upside down image, things start to change.
Dali’s subject matter to me was:  The Irrational    -    the world of dreams.
Dali loved Vermeer, I read that someplace. Yet when I look at the picture titled GHOST OF VERMEER (1934)   I do not see any comparable ideas.  I don’t even see any ‘Vermeer’ in the picture at all. Was Dali sane? Did he just ramble when he chose titles for his works?
The Ghost of Vermeer which can be Used as a Table 
Then the idea of the picture: “THE GHOST OF VERMEER OF DELFT WHICH CAN BE USED AS A TABLE”?   Strange!
I am not sure how you would see his exhibitions, his artwork if you were to go. I cannot tell what would impress you, what would get to you, but for me I am impressed with a lot of his works.

I know how difficult it is to draw a bicycle 

Mmmm, so much to see 

I can see much better on my iPhone 

yes, some is hard to understand 

Many things Dali worked on or showed are way above my head. The Lobster Telephone, as an example, I do not understand at all. I find it ugly and useless.
And yet, I see Dali as an artist with mostly great ideas. He shows me a reality that is not like mine. His pictures make me curious, I want to see and explore them. I am amazed how another human being sees the world and looking at the pictures depicted leaves me puzzled, sometime even a bit upset.  Mainly, however I see strangeness, unexplained lands, motifs, partial visions that I have never had.
Sodomized Piano ?
I never used any kind of drugs, so maybe that is why I cannot identify with the subjects. That is how I explain it to myself right now, but I really don’t know. Can you explain to me what the 1934 painting “ATMOSPHERIC SKULL SODOMIZING A GRAND PIANO” means, or what Dali meant by painting it ?

Melting Clocks ? 

Chain Reaction Shooting 

I never Dream like This 

Dali Titles this 'Woman', Do you get it ?


What is it ?

Crawling Ants looking for Bread ?

Time Runs Away Like Water and we get Old ?

Deserted Desert 

While sitting in the Gallery I watched some of the people and took some photographs.
Ordinary Shoes
I wanted to just watch them, see how they responded to the visual impacts Dali created.  As you can see by the shoes, they were ordinary people.
The Baby is Excused
And I excuse the fat baby, because he/she has not yet developed an eye for the fine arts; but all the other people?
Look at That !  
What do you think of my comments below the pictures?
Dali left Spain in 1940, after only one year of him deciding he was no longer a Surrealist. Yes, he just decided that in 1939.
Dali lived in the U.S. between 1940 and 1947. I would have thought that Spain had little to offer him after having lived in the States. But…….no, Dali went back to his Catalan roots.  His work, his paintings changed in his older years.
Columbus Discovers America 
One day, in 1939 he woke up and no longer painted his dream world but now painted visions like “THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA BY CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS” 1958/59. He became a very Catholic believer and painted Modern looking pictures.Dali called this period of his painting Nuclear Mysticism. 
Made in America 
Dali is a mystery to me, but I respect him as a great artist. He was one of the few who truly was different from society and who could translate his world into a visual presentation. He had visions, had a different brain and St. Pete’s Museum is a great place to get to know him.

After the museum, with a new tire on the bike and the oils changed, the world was, at least for a little while, a different place to ride in. A bit Dali like!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Pirates of the Conch Republic

The winters are long in Canada. Most days we get freezing temperatures, snow, rain and conditions unfit for outside activities unless you are into snow activities. Not good days to ride extensively on a motorcycle. Many Canadians travel to the Southern U.S. for better, milder weather. We call them Snowbirds. Like Canadian geese they travel south in winter and return to Canada for the wonderful, cool summer days. So I asked myself, when is a good time to start riding a motorcycle in Canada. There is still snow on the ground in February; even March has days when it snows heavily. To just watch my motorcycle sitting in the garage is discouraging. I really, really want to ride.
Riding a motorcycle is an addiction. I could not wait any longer and finally decided to chance a trip to Florida starting on March 5th, 2016.
A Cold Day to Start Riding
I can only go so long without riding my bike. No matter the weather, I need to ride.

So off we went, freezing weather (20F) or not. Carol and I wore all the clothing we could fit under our riding suits, including heated jackets, gloves and pants, double layer underwear, etc. Still it was cold. It is not only the cold temperatures but riding at 70 Miles per hour also gives us the wind chill effect to deal with. The wind blows right through the zipped up closing, no matter how we try to ward off the cold.
All Bundled Up
Brrrr, it sure was chilly. The heated grips on full blast, double gloves and all did not prevent cold fingertips.
Snow Yes, But The Roads Are Clear 
The perfect excuse to ride south was the annual Pirates’ gathering in the Florida Keys. Yes, I am a member of the Pirates of the Conch Republic and I earned my membership with a 2 year probation. Not just anybody can come along and decide they want to be a Pirate. We have strict rules and some of the initiations are not that easy. For 2 years one has to be a slave to a Pirate and do the bidding of your ‘Master’. That sounds easy enough but I have seen slaves walk behind their ‘Masters’ holding up an umbrella to shade his/her Master from the sun for the week of the gathering. I have heard slaves had to do their Master’s laundry too. Yes, that includes undergarments! To be a slave for 2 years is not an ‘easy’ job. It all depends on whom you get as a ‘Master’ for the 2 years you have to serve. I have never had a slave; I would be a terrible ‘master’. I would have no mercy on wannabe Pirates so it is a good thing nobody asks me to take them in. Carol, however, makes a great ‘Master’. She is gentle and forgiving. I know, because I served as her slave.

Hamburgers in Paradise

 The initiation ceremony, at the end of the week-long rally and after a meal "Hamburgers in Paradise prepared by the slaves, is always the highlight of the meeting. Secretive things are taught and you would have to kill me to reveal them. We, the total group of attendees, are very serious about what is allowed to be revealed and we do have our own, secret rites of membership.

Twilight in Kentucky

But first we need to get to the Florida Keys. For the first few days, Carol and I left about mid-morning so we could be assured that the roads were frost free and the commuter cars had eliminated some of the ice patches that are on the roads in the early morning. Snow was on the ground when we left, but the roads were plowed and the tarmac was reasonably free of snow. We rode mostly on interstate highways and tried to get as far south as quickly as we could. From Toronto we headed west towards Detroit and then rode due south on I 75. For the first day, after about 6 hours of riding we made it to Ohio. Not bad for a short day’s run. Yes, it was cold. Yes it was not much fun but we had to at least try to get as far South as we could. The farther South we went the warmer the day temperatures were for us.
The next day we made it to Kentucky and then the daytime temps were not that bad. We could at least unplug our heated clothing and just ride bundled up, but not plugged in. It was a nutty ride, we did not see another motorcycle for days and we were very lucky because it did not rain much. We had just a few showers on one day that did not even slow us down. Our mileage per day was not great but we were limited to riding between the hours of 9 AM and 4 PM because the temperatures were just too cold before 9 AM; and again, too cold after the sun started to go down. So our average miles per day were only around 300 Miles.

Viva la Mexico (they have colorful ideas)
We planned well, because once we were south of the Mason/Dixon line, we felt like we were home free. Spring was in the air, trees were sprouting, grass was green, and cows were in the meadow already grazing contently. Ah, the joy of riding a motorcycle. Layer after layer of warm clothing came off the further south we went. We were in search of the warm sun and we did catch up with it. Our first indication of warmth and sunshine were the carvings on the bench in a Mexican Restaurant. El Sol shined down upon us.
RIP Ida 

Carol had a serious mission to perform while passing Bradenton, FL. The ashes of her recently deceased mom (105 years old) needed to be spread near the condo she had for over 25 years near Bradenton. Carol chose the pond in the center of the small village as a focal point
A Walk Down Memory Lane at Her Parents' Condo
for this duty. Her mom, Ida, had wonderful memories of FL, of her times there with her late husband Al, and all the friends she made while lawn bowling, square dancing and playing in bridge tournaments, where she was a Life Master. Rest in Peace Ida. Ida was one of the snowbirds I mentioned earlier.

The Pirate’s Rally was on Knight’s Key this year, in a campground setting that did not over charge us for our attendance. I understand the property has been sold to a developer so this might be our last time at this location. This sale of the property might dissolve our total Pirate setup, the Conch Republic is changing rapidly, and Profit from Real Estate before preservation of the camp ground seems to be the motto. Carol and I just had to attend this rally.

Rest up Ken 
Sundown, In More Ways Than One!

The weather in the Keys was wonderful. The waters were warm enough to swim in, the whole of the Florida lifestyle was so very different from the Canadian way of living we had just left. No more heavy clothing, just shorts and a t-shirt.

We reacquainted ourselves with the people in attendance, visited the No Name bar, had lunch at El Siboney (wonderful Cuban food), sat on the pier in Mallory Square in Key West at sundown and in general enjoyed Florida to its fullest. I do understand why people want to spend the winter in the Keys, rather than in the snowy north. It is a marvelous way to
spend time literally doing nothing.

Watching the Sunset From Mallory Square

Even Helmuth Came All The Way From Germany 
Pirate Duds at the Initiation Ceremony
I spent my time reading, relaxing and watching the local wild life and the sunsets. Most Pirates are now close to my age and they joined me in being ‘old’. A smile spreads over my face when I write this……yes, age has its privileges. Florida is truly a perfect retirement place. If I were not so restless, so curious, so stubborn, I could spend lots of winter time in Florida.

Bob Brought Tennessee Moonshine, The Real Thing 
Local Wildlife

Blow That Conch Shell, Tom!
The Pirates had their celebrations, with conch shell blowing, lots of drinks and long talks deep into the night. Some folks swam, some played music and some went kayaking. We had our performers, had our speeches of remembrance for men and women no longer able to ride and for folks who have passed on into the Great Unknown.

We spent a week just enjoying the camaraderie, teasing each other a bit, and initiating the latest, newest bunch of Slaves into the Pirates of the Conch Republic.

Carol Celebrating St. Patrick's Day With "Sassy Lassie" Sticker

The time flew by, it was a great trip, starting off very cold but ending in tropical splendor

End of The Day

Coming Into Home Port

Good Night!