VA Beach Sandsculpting 2018

I was shocked to realize it had been four years since I had been to the sandsculpting championship in Virginia Beach. Directly following my trip to Asheville, I drove to VA Beach! I could not have asked for better weather. It was in the high 70s, no clouds in sight, and no humidity. It was a wonderful beach vacation!

I purposefully picked a hotel right next to the sandsculpting tent.

As much as I enjoy sleeping in, I HAVE to wake up and see the sun rise when I am at the beach. Glad I did.




Please visit the site for more on the sculptors and the results.

“Chiseled” – Male figure struggling to break free from stone slabs but running out of time.DSCN5345

“Time Frame” – Looking back through time, a memory fills your senses. Happiness, joy and laughter, playing near the fences. A lifetime of memories, some stop you on a dime. Shape your heart and soul, a single frame of time.

“Atlantis – City of Love” – I believe that long long time ago a community had love for each other. This community was called: “Atlantis.” We are all different humans but we need to love and respect each other. Because from good things come good things. A good deed is more than one nice word.

“Re-Entrance” – That unexpected moment in time a love of the past steps back into your life. Just at the moment the memories of those days started to fade and dry up like an old painting. The beauty of that person energizes your life once again…

“Church Key” – While Ben Franklin may not have said “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” he did inspire the sentiment, and Dennis Denuto couldn’t help but approve, for, as he says, “It’s the vibe of the thing, your Honour.”

“Worshippers of Points” – Point: from old French word meaning “dot, point, period (the punctuation mark),” from Latin punctus, past participle of pungere “to prick, to puncture.” The Indo-European root is peug – “to prick.” Related borrowings from Latin include pugilist and pugnacious. When you puncture something, you use a sharp object to make a tiny hole in it. That tiny hole, especially from a distance, looks like a point, but if you zoom in there is a large hold. The HOLE by definition is hollowed place in something solid. A place or position, that needs to be filled, because someone or something is no longer there. But don’t do that, because you will lose point!

“When Loved Ones Become Treasured Memories” – My sculpture depicts a photo of a grandfather and grandmother (who have passed) in a warm embrace. The framed portrait reminds the onlooker of the “treasured memories” of times spent together. The back shows gifts given from them long ago as another reminder of happy childhood memories.

“Beauty Fool” – The Quest of Beauty, we are told/For to reach happiness, we should behold/Era’s fashion and perfection change/Slaves of Looks, we are shamed/Following the Age’s new standards and tools/Forever unsatisfied, we are Beauty Fools

“Flight of Love” – The main thing in life is love.

“Essence” – The final reduction of our memories, our quintessential spirit.

“Bait and Switch” – This example of Bait and Switch illustrates the practice of gaining your interest with something alluring and beautiful, something that ignites warm feelings of fun and fantasy, but in ‘reality’ delivering something that is distasteful and disturbing. The line between fantasy and reality is sometimes very thin and vague, then other times it is as wide as an ocean. This piece of art will hopefully get you to think. Think about what you can do to help save our natural resources by drastically reducing our use of plastics.

“Strange Love” – Sometimes love can be strange and powerful. Even nature gives up when true love comes.

“Lucid Dreams” – A boy finds a way to explore the world by connecting with birds in his dreams.

“What Goes Around Comes Around” – Literally, it means that the status eventually returns to its original value after completing some sort of cycle. In its figurative sense: a person’s actions (whether good or bad) will often have consequences for that person.

“Meditation” – Joy, anger, fear, happiness, sadness. As the clouds run through the blue sky emotions arise in our minds. And as the clouds bring rain and salvation from the scorching heat our emotions have a reaction to the outside world. They help us to understand what we want (as it seems to us). But what do we find if we try to look beyond. Sometimes in order to find something we need to get rid of something.

“Moses” – It was God’s hand and perfect plan to save Moses’ life as an infant. God spoke to Moses and used him to lead his people out of Egypt. We read of the plagues and the Passover, the parting of the Red Sea, Mount Sinai and the journey to the Promise Land. Moses was a foreshadowing of Jesus. Through God’s grace, he sent his son to rescue people from sin and death. The familiar verse John 3:16, is God’s rescue plan. For God so love the world, that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. To get a deeper sense of his plan, I encourage you to read the book of John.

“Embrace” – Our heart is wide enough to embrace the world and hands are long enough to encompass the world.

“Emerge” – I am you, I am me…I am everything you see. I am strong and the most powerful thing. You may surely see me sometimes as being rough and cruel but I’m also capable of bringing the sweetest things to your eyes. I am fragile…delicate and elegant. I am made of pure life itself…Life is intimately connected to me, it cannot exist without me. I am Nature. And I am wounded. I need your help quickly for future generations to emerge…

“Colors of Feelings” – “We use colors, but we paint with our feelings. The brush, hand and palette are necessary to draw, but the picture is created not by them.” (Jean-Simeon Chardin)

“Carousel” – “We can’t return. We can only look behind from where we came and go round and round and round and round in the circle game.” — Joni Mitchell 1967 / Our life is composed of circles and cycles. Daily, yearly, a life time. The choices you make throughout your life build the person you are. That accumulation of choices has brought you to this spot, right here, right now, reading these words. Change one choice in your past and you could be living a different life. We can’t see into the future, we can only learn from our past. Your next choice will be the first step into your future. Which path will you choose? Choose wisely. And, oh yes…Enjoy the Ride!


“150% Organic” – 0% fertilizer

“Blackberry Blossom” – Music is the language of the soul. A simple song can transport you back to a moment in time or conjure feelings that bubble from deep within. A rhythm, a beat, or a tune that tugs at your heart strings can trigger a tidal wave of emotion of lull you softly into tranquil calm. We are frequencies, vibrating through the space time continuum. Our breath and our heart beat looking for another with whom we may harmonize and synchronize. Not only us, but the world around us. We thirst to create music and live out the vibrant humming of life that resonates from our heart and our soul.

The next morning, I had planned on just watching the sun rise from my balcony, but as soon as I saw it was going to be a cloudless sunrise, I quickly brushed my teeth and headed outside.


Another beautiful beach vacation! I really need to plan one every year. I feel like Superman when he is re-energized by the sun. I get the same feeling by the ocean.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden- Origami in the Garden

I spent an afternoon in May at Lewis Ginter and saw the Origami in the Garden exhibit. The brochure describes it as “Soaring birds, gliding airplanes, galloping ponies, floating boats and emerging butterflies – 21 museum quality metal sculptures tucked into beautiful Garden setting as metaphors for the life forms they celebrate.”

I didn’t take a picture of the explanation, but these are “Blooming Stars” and “Botanical Peace 2” at the entrance to the gardens.


I didn’t take a picture of the description, but I’m pretty sure these are “Nesting Pair.”

Just some pretty flowers along the way.

I think this one is “Duo.”


Had to stop into the butterfly exhibit!

More pretty flowers on the way out.

I missed a few sculptures, so I went back a couple of weeks ago after work. It was a very nice, rare, low-humid day in August.

See the little butterfly on the left?


Always something fun and exciting in the gardens!


San Francisco CA – March 2018

I WENT HOME! Well, my short, temporary home anyway. My parents lived east of the city for a couple of years while I was in college and I only spent a couple of Christmases and summers there. It was a short trip, but gotta say, Monterey is in my top three dream retirement cities (after Sedona and Carlsbad).

When I was in college, I took a black and white photography lab class. We had to produce a portfolio by the end of it, and there is SO much in San Francisco to see so I had no lack of inspiration. But that means a lot of my photographs are in black and white. Like…the Golden Gate Bridge, was gray! Needless to say I was super excited to get the opportunity to shoot in color!

We started the trip at the Palace of Fine Arts.




We accidentally drove over the bridge. I was trying to make it to one of the viewing areas, but the GPS was slow and told me to turn after I had already passed it. No biggie, the bridge is beautiful!


Next stop was Pier 39.


View from the hotel room!

View from the hotel bar on the top floor.

Sunset over the City, Bridge, and Pacific Ocean!

This was all from the same sunset!

Sunrise the next morning! The windows were filthy, but I still got to see it.

Turns out I did take a couple of pictures in color.



Pictures don’t do gooseberries justice, so I had to take a video.




Can you see the fish in the very middle? An eye and slightly parted mouth…


I have never seen an active octopus. This one didn’t stop moving long enough to get a good shot!


After the aquarium, we did the 17-Mile Drive around Pebble Beach.




The last time we were in Monterey (16 years ago!)…

The hills in the city are SUPER steep!

Fisherman’s Wharf and real sourdough bread!

The last day was spent driving to our old home and seeing how the town had changed.


I say it all the time, but I HEART California!

Terracotta Army – VMFA Jan 2018

Another amazing exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts!

When Ying Zheng was laid to rest in 210 BC, he was accompanied into the afterlife by an army of nearly 8,000 life-size clay soldiers, horses, chariots, organized into battle formation and equipped with a full arsenal of weapons.

Ying Zheng ordered the construction of his mausoleum complex and military entourage shortly after he became king of the Qin state in 246 BC. In only eleven years as emperor, he brought about significant political and cultural reforms, unified the nation, and reshaped Chinese national identity in ways that have resonated for 2,200 years.


This was the only (stated) replica in the exhibit.

Finally, the army!

Offering a glimpse into ancient China’s firm belief in the afterlife, this section of the exhibit displayed life-size terracotta figures and other objects excavated from the First Emperor’s mausoleum complex. Some figures stand over six feet tall and weigh more than 400 pounds. Stone armor, bronze weapons, and a bronze goose accompany these large-scale sculptures that depict the First Emperor’s soldiers, officials, and servants.

More than 700,000 workers constructed the mausoleum complex over 38 years of Ying Zheng’s reign as both king and emperor. The First Emperor’s mausoleum complex (which sits at the foot of Mount Li, near Xi’an) is a necropolis, or a large cemetery of an ancient city, and measures approximately 38 square miles (more than half the size of the City of Richmond) in its entirety. The complex includes the tomb mound, ritual structures, a palace, an armory, an entertainment arena, stables, and a garden pond, as well as three pits containing the terracotta army figures. To date, it is estimated that only 20 percent of the buried figures have been excavated.

These objects not only represent furnishings and amenities for the afterlife but also show the artistry of ancient Chinese craftsmen.


Today, the First Emperor’s tomb mound remains undisturbed, and its contents are a mystery.