Saturday, January 16, 2016

Orchid Show

The Orchid Show in Fort Lauderdale opened this morning, and I went to see it.  In the center
of the large auditorium hall were 24 large displays of thousands of orchids in exotic
arrangements.    Then around the outside walls were display booths for hundreds of
orchid growers from Florida and many other places, including Hawaii, to sell thousands of
gorgeous flowers.  Prizes were awarded for "best" in a number of categories.  Great fun!
Here are some of my favorites.

There are thousands of varieties of orchids, and horticulturalists are constantly developing
new "cultivars."  So you will see flowers in every size from very tiny to very large, 
and in every color and color combination imaginable.

Some orchids have no odor, but many have beautiful and distinctive aromas.
Some of the orchid nurseries specialized in aromatic orchids and invited you to
smell their many beautiful flowers.

Poeple come to orchid shows prepared - with special carts to carry away the new specimens
they purchase.  They know their varieties and are often looking for a particular flower
shape or color.  Each nursery specializes and they seem to be very cooperative in
sending you to another dealer who has your special kind of flower.

This is one of the 24 displays.  Orchids are the only flowers included.  Each year
there is a theme, and this year it is "An Orchid Masquerade."

Some of the orchids look like space ships or aliens.

A large cluster of cranberry orchids was a prize winner.

Orchids are the largest group of flowering plants in the world and are found on every
continent except Antarctica.  There are currently 29,800 recognized varieties.


A delicate pink frilled variety.


A large display with many varieties of white orchids.

A delicate white and yellow variety.

I first met this bearded variety at Longwood Gardens; it comes only in green.

This was a prize winner for clusters of yellow.

Many orchids do not grow in soil but hang from trees, and their roots are able to absorb
moisture from the air.  Booths were filled with gorgeous plants just hanging from hooks.
There were also booth selling pots and other equipment.

This was one of the grand prize winners.  All dealers tell you that orchids are very easy
to grow; they bloom several times epr year; and they hold their blooms for months at a time.

A display emphasizing yellow orchids.


A large prize winning display jam-packed with hundreds of orchids.


A new cherry and lemon variety.

One of the booths offering orchids for sale.  Most plants sold for $15 - $45 dollars,
although there were a few very special and unusual varieties which sold for more.

a display emphasizing blue and lavender orchids.

A star-burst variety.


All of these photos were taken with my little automatic Nikon Coolpix camera,
hand-held and using only natural light, no flash.  They show what you can achieve
with little digital cameras these days.

When shooting indoors like this, I try to shoot against a solid dark color background;
it makes the photo clearer and more dramatic.

Those are roots of orchids hanging behind; they are the ones which can absorb moisture
from the air - no soil needed.

A beautiful cherry-and-lemon orchid.

If you watch the SOTU speech on Monday night, you are aware of the dramatic dress
Mrs. Obama wore - in this color = "marigold."

Raspberries-and-cream is another popular color combination.

Spotted orchids came in many colors.


This was a new cultivar in marigold, which only one dealer had since they had developed it.
It is slightly edged in red.

Some of the displays used dramatic lighting on their flowers.




The show continues tomorrow and Sunday.  If you are anywhere in South Florida,
I recommend it highly.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Wynwood Murals

Wynwood Murals

Wynwood is a neighborhood, just north of downtown Miami, which had a lot of warehouses
and small factories.  It had fallen on bad times and become a derelict area.  When Art Basel
appeared and drew large numbers of people to Miami, a community planner suggested ways
of bringing the area back and attractive.  Primarily this was by getting property owners to
agree to allow graffiti artists to paint huge areas of empty wall space.  They then went all over
the world and invited the most famous graffiti artists to come to Miami and create
outdoor murals.   The program has been enormously successful.  This year there were
grtaffiti artists from 26 countries and they covered 80,000 square feet of walls.
Independent local artists painted more.

This is the side wall of a small apartment building, painted by a local artist.

A beautiful butterfly decorates the wall across from St. John's Community Clinic.

A wall of the clinic offers advice.  While I was there, they were giving free vaccinations,
and the line of mothers and children stretched all along the block.

Some murals have social and political messages.

But most morals are fanciful, realistic, or abstract.

This is the wall of a restaurant along N. W. 2nd Avenue at 25th Street.

Cartoon characters from many countries appear.

Several courtyards were once surrounded by tire warehouses.  The courtyards now serve as
places for families to come and have a snack or meal and enjoy the art.

A number of murals show traditions and images from the Middle East and Far East,
where there are many famous graffiti artists.  I talked with a couple, and many are highly
skilled in technical abilities.

A playful image facing the courtyard.

I don't know whether this is a script which can be read, but it certainly is a
beautiful geometric image for the wall.

Some of the buildings are now restaurants and snack bars; this is the wall of one.

Super-realism is a highly regarded style.  This fantastic elephant-octopus was
huge and amazing.

This was the wall of an art gallery. and the artist was obviously a very skilled technician.

A fancifully painted wall in pseudo-Arabic script.

Across the street were portraits of famous graffiti artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol.

A fantasy reclining figure was probably 50 feet long.

One artist combined painting with plastic flowers.

And of course they painted the question all visitors ask: "Is it art, or is it vandalism?"

Around the corner is the entrance to he art gallery, of which this is the 2nd Avenue wall.

Science fiction subjects are popular.

Some of tghe graffiti artists proudly sign their names; others prefer to remain anonymous.

This mural was on the wall of an art gallery which sold prints of the above can.
Commercialism and art are nearly synonymous.

This Art Nouveau style wall poster was by "Inkie," who seemed to be
quite famous and had a number of signed murals.

On weekends, it is now popular for Miamians and tourists to come to Wynwood
and walk around and enjoy the murals and have lunch at one of the many outdoor faces.
The double-decker tourist buses drive along the street and drop people off until
a later bus picks them up.  There were many tourists from France in the courtyard today.
Tour guides led groups of people through the courtyards.  It was fun.

If you are interested in the names of artists and more examples, there is a great 
deal of information on the internet under "Wynwood Walls."