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Posts Tagged ‘art’

Rinjani

The Indonesian volcano of Rinjani in 1994, by Oliver Spalt on Wikimedia Commons

STOP PRESS: Moments after I published this, reports came in of a volcano erupting in Sumatra – so best wishes to everyone struggling there…

Did you have an irrational fear of something when you were a child? In my case, for a while at least, I was terrified of volcanoes. You might say that’s not so crazy. But as I lived in Wales, where an eruption would be pretty near impossible, I think it was.

So this post is all about what (more…)

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11bear-02

The bear on Cardiff’s animal wall

Cardiff’s famous animal wall stands in front of Bute Park, alongside the castle, and you will always find tourists taking pictures of it with their mobile phones.

I caught sight of the animals with their glass eyes glinting in bright sunshine on my way to the Country Fair at the end of September. Although I had my camera with me at the time I didn’t stop and it took many weeks before (more…)

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rainbow-skull

Rainbow skull by Chris Padgett on Flickr – click on the image to go to his page…

I like to do a post for Halloween and in previous years I have featured owls and Jack o’ lantern and Will o’ the wisp.

As a former archaeologist, I have always (more…)

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snowgate-04

The Wall – concept art for George R R Martin’s The Game of Thrones…

It’s that time of year when the first snows fall in the United Kingdom, especially in the Highlands of Scotland or the high Pennines of northern England. And I listen out for those portentous words, “the snow gates are closed”…

In reality, the news refers to something like (more…)

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old-damascus

A romantic painting of old Damascus by Frederic, Lord Leighton, 1874

The city of Damascus is in the news for all the wrong reasons in 2012 as the awful bloodshed goes on in Syria. Forgive me if, for a moment, I sidestep the political and humanitarian issues and instead look at the glories that have been. For Damascus once meant luxury and craftsmanship for us, here in the west of Europe.

Damascus, whose name comes from roots meaning “a well-watered place”, is the capital of Syria and its second-largest city. It is in the south-west of the country and is sometimes (more…)

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station-400

Cardiff Central railway station mosaics, in Welsh and English

On most days I pass these two small green and gold mosaics on a concrete wall alongside Cardiff Central Railway Station. I feel sure that most people don’t notice them, as they are in such a grotty, neglected corner. But they catch my eye.

The railway station is (more…)

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It’s that time to draw a line under 2011 and announce my top posts for the past year (figures kindly crunched for me by WordPress) – and three out of five were posts I had published in 2010…

I seem to have the BBC’s Frozen Planet to thank for my top two posts this last year, as again penguins seem to have been the big attraction for search engines.

Penguin-Arabia

Penguin of Arabia by Ursula Vernon

1. Designer birds: Penguin

From paperback books to chocolate biscuits and much more besides, penguins are iconic birds. Here are some others I have chosen in 2011:

Designer birds: Peacock

Designer birds: Owl

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2. English words from Celtic roots…

celtic

English words from Celtic roots were top post in 2010...

This year’s runner-up was last year’s winner – and again it’s all because I used a picture of penguins. The word penguin comes from either the Welsh or Breton
Pen-Gwyn (meaning “head-white”).

I have also posted several other items on the origins of the English language:

The ungothroughsomeness of stuff…

Latin for today

English words from Scandinavian roots

English words from Indian roots

English words from Spanish roots…

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white-tiger

White tiger at Singapore Zoo by David George

3. The sadness of white tigers

This one was new for 2011 and is a memory of the white tigers of Bristol Zoo and some information on other threatened big cats of the world.

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4. Carousel horses – an illusion of freedom

carousel-horse

Horse head from the Riverfront Carousel in Salem, Oregon, by Crossmark

This was a wonderful excuse to collect together some beautiful images of carousel horses, unicorns and even zebras and this post was fourth in my top five for the second year in a row.

Another collection of art went with my post
Fairytale bedding: the Princess and the Pea…

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letraset

Some 1970s 'sci-fi' fonts from the 1970s

5. Design icons: Letraset

Design and nostalgia combined to make this a popular post. The same elements appeared in
Every poster tells a story

There’s more art and design here
and more nostalgia here

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figures

The Circle of Legends in Tintern, Monmouthshire

Back in the summer I was totally smitten by this circle of six ancient wood-carved figures in a forest clearing in Tintern, Monmouthshire.

The figures themselves, sculpted from oak (or in one case sweet chestnut), are not ancient, but the people they represent are historical and mythical characters at the heart of this part of the country.

They were (more…)

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stdavids-30

View of St David's Cathedral, Pembrokeshire, from the gatehouse

In August we visited St David’s in the far west of Pembrokeshire and here are my pictures of the wonderful cathedral.

It is believed that it was built on the site of the monastery of St David, Abbot of Menevia, who died in the year 589.

Construction of the cathedral started in 1181, although it has been altered a lot since then, and in the early 14th century Bishop Gower built the nearby bishop’s palace, now a picturesque ruin.

stdavids-02

Ruins of the 14th century bishop's palace, St David's, Pembrokeshire

You can (more…)

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Penguin-of-Arabia

Penguin of Arabia by Ursula Vernon...

Penguins are beautiful. Although they are birds, they fly through water like fish. In our human imaginations they are slick, smart and intrepid. They are humorous, they are cute. But they are also edgy and can play sinister when required. Their sleek outline makes for excellent logos (think books and biscuits). In short, they are iconic.

They are (more…)

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