Posts Tagged sculpture

These boots are made for fencing

bent boot

Years ago I read a book called Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise?: An Imponderables Book (Imponderables Books). One of the questions was, “Why do ranchers cover their fence posts with boots?”

I’ve seen this practice many times and have read three general reasons. The first makes the most sense. If someone was lost, the boots would show that someone lived nearby. The lost person could follow the boots to a dwelling. Some cover fence posts with boots to protect posts from weather. Some say it’s just tradition.

I like tradition. Long may it live!

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Big house on the wide prairie

Saskatchewan Legislative Building

Saskatchewan’s Legislative Building, Regina, is not a building. It’s an edifice. Saskatchewan is one of the smaller population provinces, but it has the largest Canadian provincial capitol building. Building is an example of the Beaux Arts style in vogue at the time it was built, 1908-1912. Tour guide said it was modeled on Versailles, but Legislative Building lacked Hall of Mirrors.

Legislative Building entrance

The building’s entrance is beautiful.


These green and cream pillars were made of marble from Cyprus and that quarry is now empty of that stone. They are spectacular.

dome and mural

This is the rotunda, where the Latin cross of the building’s design intersects. Mural is called “Before the White Man Came”. Its painter is a correctional officer.

The Legislative Assembly’s chamber makes it clear that this is a constitutional monarchy, not an American-style republic.

rostrum and mace

Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait is above the Speaker’s chair, showing where the highest authority lies. That authority is symbolized by the mace, carried in before sessions begin. Head of mace points toward party in power, showing who’s in charge.

beaver carving in Assembly chamber

Chamber woodwork is beautifully carved. Tour guide said a young man, I believe 17 years old, carved all of them. I was amazed that such a young carver could execute such sublime work.

Queen Elizabeth II's equestrian statue in front of Legislative Building

The people are devoted to their queen. A statue of her riding her favorite horse Burmese, a Canadian mare, stands in Wascana Park across street from Legislative Building. Queen unveiled it in 2005. Her son Edward, Earl of Wessex, broke ground for it in 2003. Plaques show where royal family members have been. A plaque on Legislative Building notes that “Their Majesties” King George VI and Queen Mary were there in 1939. I thought of the legendary “George Washington Slept Here” signs of the early American republic.

Rest of building was surprisingly plain. Most of the halls we saw were undecorated and the light fixtures were simple. This was in sharp contrast to Massachusetts’ statehouse.

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The Four Presidents

The Four Presidents

My mental picture of Mt. Rushmore shows the monument in blazing sunshine, but that was not the Rushmore we saw. Our Rushmore was more like a B.J. Thomas song, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.

Rain fell at every strength from light drizzle to drencher and the Four Presidents were streaked with rain. All of them seemed to have colds because their noses dripped. I always want to take pictures that other people don’t get and Mother Nature handed those to me. I wasn’t sure what to think of that. Would people like rain-soaked presidents? From the comments I got on my Facebook page, yes, they do.

Saying “The Four Presidents” makes me think of some singing group. Apparently, I’m not the first one to think that.

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Dewey Defeats Truman

Because of its close proximity to Mt. Rushmore, Rapid City, S.D., bills itself as the “City of Presidents“.

To emphasize this title, the downtown historic district has erected lifesize statues of the Presidents.

Harry Truman statue

I found Harry Truman’s to be the most interesting. Statue is copy of one of the 20th Century’s most iconic photographs. Because rain had fallen off and on all day, Truman seems to be crying tears of joy in this photograph.

Dewey Defeats Truman

Here’s the real picture for comparison purposes.

The bronze Truman needs to have his teeth cleaned.

Statue seemed a bit short until I looked up his actual height. He was only 5-foot-9, an inch and a half shorter than I am. That surprised me. He may have been of modest height, but Truman was a giant of integrity.

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Encased in ice

Recently, Dad and I drove to Massachusetts. He needed to have some medical tests run at the University of Massachusetts in Worcester. He asked whether I’d like to ride along. I accepted his invitation. I had intended to blog about the trip while we were on it, but I was too exhausted to write. By the time I got home, trip odometer read 4,396.5 miles.

Dad had to be at UMass 7 a.m. EST Monday and we wanted to visit Niagara Falls on our way. Because of that, our first day out was a brutal one, around 800 miles. The trip seemed never to end.

We hardly stopped. Other than endless miles, only one place stands out from that day, the eastbound rest area at Adair, Iowa.

I had been fretting overnight Thursday that perhaps we should have driven awhile that night.

Staying at Dad’s was the right decision.

When we got up Friday morning, the ice on the driveway was very treacherous. Dad had to sprinkle ice melt behind the van so we could load. Otherwise, we were unable to stand up.

We drove in freezing fog several hours, crawling down the Interstate. We took our time over breakfast in hopes that highway crews’ work would make travel safer. That long breakfast was a very good idea.

bushes covered in ice

Adair, Iowa, would normally be around 5 hours into a trip, but getting that far took longer than 5 hours. I was glad to get out of the car. We stepped into into a fairy-tale world. Everywhere that hadn’t been covered with ice melt was covered with ice. We could hear tree branches cracking underneath the weight. That noise was punctuated by ice chunks crashing to the ground.

ice peeling away from a branch

Ice peeling away from a branch

I stayed on the cleared walks because standing was impossible otherwise. I still had to dodge falling ice chunks and nearly was hit by one. I’m grateful that motion attracts attention.

Frozen US, Iowa and POW/MIA flags

The flags made noise, too, but not the noise usually associated with flags. Instead of a snapping sound, they emitted something akin to a thump. Most of the time, the wind was insufficient to move their weight, and they sagged from the flagpole.

IA Meet People News sign

The usual crop of newsstands stood on the sidewalk in front of the building, including this one. I found the scene hugely ironic. Does this scene encourage you to move to Iowa and meet people?

leaf in ice

I could not resist the beautiful scenes before me. Ice is deadly, yes, but it’s also gorgeous. The light was perfect, too, slightly overcast for even lighting. Fall raking missed this leaf. I love the contrast of brown on white, fall vs. winter. Winter’s winning.

Leaves on a bush encased in ice

Winter is winning here, too, but eventually spring will take hold. The ice will melt and these leftover fall leaves will be pushed off by new growth.

Icicles dangling from garbage can

Even the garbage can was beautiful with its necklace of icicles.

Praise God for ice melt, highway maintenance crews and the beauty of His creation — even when it’s dangerous.

Pictures from the eastbound Adair rest area:

To see pictures full screen or to purchase them, click on the “visit gallery” link here or in the slideshow.

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Winter has its drawbacks — darkness, cold, dangerous roads –, but the season can also be incredibly beautiful. I especially love frosty mornings.

Here’s the statue in front of our library. Sculptor is Greg Todd. It’s titled More than Words.

"More than Words"

"More than Words"

"The Good Shepherd Always Takes Care of the Sheep"

"The Good Shepherd Takes Care of His Sheep"

Child embracing mother

Mother and child embracing

Statue's hair covered with hoarfrost

mother and child

I’ve shot other pictures of this statue, but they don’t compare to this natural embellishment. Yes, winter definitely has its compensations!

By the way, I can’t hear the phrase More than Words without hearing the song by that title from Extreme:

Order my winter pictures here. Click on the “Visit Gallery” link that appears when you hover your cursor over the slide show.

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Just call me angel

tombstone angel

tombstone angel

Digital photography is very freeing. No more paying for film developing and printing (or digitizing) costs. I can shoot as many photos as I want and the only thing it costs is some hard drive space. This enables me to play around with different angles and perspectives. A cemetery is a wonderful place in which to play this way.

angel from another view

angel from another view

The first view of the angel seems neutral about humanity, but the second view seems like an Angel of Judgment. Symbols on Headstones Demystified says that angels in funerary art represent

The agent of God, often pointing towards heaven; guardians of the dead, symbolizing spirituality. Angels are shown in all types of poses with different symbolism. Two angels can be named, and are identified by the objects they carry: Michael, who bears a sword, and Gabriel, who is depicted with a horn.

Apparently, this angel is one of the nameless host.

angel silhouette

angel silhouette

This one makes me think of the angel who announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds, although I’m not certain why I see it this way.

angel's face

angel's face

Here I focused on the angel’s face. It seems to be leaning down to decorate the person’s grave.

angel with hand in focus

angel with hand in focus

The angel seems to be dropping a leaf on the grave from a wreath in its hand.

I’m not sure which perspective I prefer. Any opinions?

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Ivy for memory

Roman maiden holding ivy wreath

Roman maiden holding ivy wreath

My great aunt was quite an expert on the meaning of funerary art. I’m not.

However, the wreath in this Greco-Roman maiden’s hand intrigued me. What does ivy signify in a cemetery context?

According to’s Glossary of Victorian Cemetery Symbolism, ivy signifies “memory, immortality, friendship, fidelity, faithfulness, undying affection, eternal life.”’s Symbols on Headstones Demystified says the ivy wreath is symbolic of “gaiety, joviality.… The wreath and festoon together symbolize memory.… Use of garlands, wreaths and festoons dates back to ancient Greek times and it was adopted into the Christian religion as a symbol of the victory of the redemption. [Ivy wreaths are an a]ncient symbol of victory, memory, passed to eternal life.”

Gaiety and joviality seem rather out of place in a cemetery. We visit a cemetery to mourn and remember the ones we’ve lost, not have a party. But maybe those concepts are not so out of place. Only my mother’s and grandparents’ bodies lie in that grave plot. Their spirits have gone before me and I will see them again. That I can celebrate.

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O death, where is thy victory?

Winged Victory of Samothrace replica

Winged Victory of Samothrace replica

Years ago in a photography seminar, the instructor said that cemeteries are wonderful places to photograph. I’ve driven by this one numerous times and had always found it interesting because of the funerary art I could see from the street.

This statue is a replica of the Winged Victory of Samothrace.
I don’t know the donor’s rationale for erecting this statue where he did, but it certainly reminded me that the cemetery is not our final resting place. When I saw it, I immediately thought of the verse

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Cor. 15:55, King James Version)

Actually, I heard it as the music in Handel’s Messiah.

In the Bible, and in the Messiah, the answer comes a bit later:

 57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:57, King James Version)

No matter who you are, remember that your final destination is not a cemetery. That’s just where your body is headed. The real you lives forever. If you follow Christ, the eternal destination is eternal victory in Christ. If you don’t, well, you don’t want to go there.

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