Category: art

When the Woods Are Scary: Enchanted Forests Like Brothers Grimm Broken Fairytales

October 18th, 2012 Permalink

Ah, the approach of Halloween seems to call upon a special spooky theme, but we’ve covered tombs for Tales from the Crypts, fields of Halloween horror via the corn maze craze, even a Lego Monster Mash before. So then we considered man-made haunted trails that people purposefully visit to be spooked for Halloween . . . but there are other times when a person is totally alone in some eerie forest that seems a bit enchanted. When the woods seem scary, it could be because you let your imagination run wild. It might be local folklore about a foggy forest, or a moody mist attached to legends and claims that the woods are haunted. How we interpret a setting may be our state of mind at the time, but artists of all kinds have taken to the forest for inspiration. J.R.R. Tolkien used Puzzlewood as his mystical, magical muse that inspired him to create the fabled forests of Middle-earth within The Lord of the Rings. In our Fall Fantasy post, we quoted Vincent Van Gogh as saying, ‘Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more.’ Perhaps to truly enjoy these pictures, you may need to think of it like an art game….for each picture, imagine if you were all alone in these woods. We were curious what made the streak of fear strike the hearts of photographers who are out alone in the forest. All of these photos were tagged with words like spooky, dark, scary, foggy, or haunted; on any other day, and different state of mind, these might be interpreted as sweet alone time in nature. But tap into your inner artist and let your imagination run wild to “see” what the photographers saw when these “enchanted” woods seemed “haunted” or “spooky” or just flat-out Brothers Grimm scary. [66 'Scary' Pics] {At least it’s not 666?}

The misty forest Sequoia Bayview Trail, Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland, CA

The misty forest Sequoia Bayview Trail, Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland, CA. Instead of man-made Halloween haunted trail attractions, this is when a “horror” setting has been created by nature. Think of twisted fairytales and enter where the woods are scary. Imagine if you were all alone in these woods . . .. After you? Please take the Sandman’s hand and enter now. Photo #1 by Tom Holub

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Corn Maze Craze: Get Lost in Halloween Horror Fields Before Harvest [PICS]

October 1st, 2012 Permalink

Happy October! Before harvest, and popular in autumn around Halloween, fall festivals kick off a corn maze craze. Called maize mazes in the United Kingdom and labyrinths in Europe, corn mazes are a great way for farms to create income from tourism. This competition factor among Halloween fields of horror are also why these puzzles carved into the corn grow increasingly complex each year. The point is to solve the maze by finding a route from the start to finish, but many have “activities” and “secret” coded clues on dead end routes setup inside the maze. There are usually bridges, overlooking the maze both for viewing and for those folks who are a bit lost and need a little help with directions. Corn mazes range from family-friendly with additional attractions like hay rides, petting zoos, pumpkin patches and play areas for children, to very scary, haunted-house-type corn mazes. The farms decide on themes, the designs start on graph paper and then are plotted over the fields before planting. Farms and orchards grow specialty corn that is taller than most and very dense. These temporary works of corn art are usually huge, up to 45 acres, and are harvested in November. Here’s a look at the corn maze craze past and present, from aerial photos showing the entire theme-design, bird’s eye views from above, to inside the haunted corn maze. [77 Photos]

Amazing corn maze at Treinen Farm -- technology-theme with complex additives of da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man,” part cyborg, steampunk, medicine and math

We think this is one of the most complex and interesting corn mazes in 2012. It wouldn’t be a maze if you didn’t get lost at least a little, but we think we might disappear and be lost in this one for a long time. It is a “15-acre cornfield maze with over 4 miles of twists, turns and dead ends featuring a technology-theme with complex additives of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man,” part cyborg, Steampunk, circuit boards, nanotech, robotics, medicine and math at Treinen Farm near Lodi, Wisconsin. Treinen Farm reported, “Our da Vinci guy is a cyborg–note the ray gun hand and the mechanical wing, not to mention the assorted gears for joints and a clockwork heart…Cyborg guy is shown not in a circle/square deal like da Vinci’s, but in the planar projection of a hypercube…The gears are a nod to mechanical technology, especially the steam-era –aka Steampunk…The knot-like thing in the lower left is, well, a knot, because knots are mathematically interesting.” It’s very impressive! Photo #1 courtesy of © Treinen Farm

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35 Wildly Wonderful Wheelchair Design Concepts

September 7th, 2012 Permalink

With the Paralympic Games showcasing what people with disabilities can do, we wanted to look at design concepts and prototypes that may be a future reality for individuals with limited mobility. Industrial designers come up with all kinds of wheelchair design concepts — some seem spectacular, while others seem . . . spectacularly bizarre and impractical even if they are aesthetically pleasing. Most concept wheelchairs never make it to market, even if they do manage to receive some sort of funding. We wanted to showcase all kinds of wheelchairs, even if we disagreed with them and wondered if the designers bothered to consult people who use wheelchairs every day, all day. Others wheelchairs seem so wonderful that we want to see them become a reality . . . more than that, an affordable reality since wheelchairs can cost more than some people’s cars. AngelBear, whose website this is, happens to have Spina Bifida, so we have a lot of experience dealing with wheelchairs and the dreaded insurance to have them, or repairs to them, approved. Please don’t take offense at any of the designers’ descriptions or word choices. We do not want to stifle creative innovation, because you never know what some designer may come up with in the future. [35 Photo (or montages) and 1 video]

Artist Sue Austin flies through the water in a self-propelled underwater wheelchair - wheelchair prototype

Artist Sue Austin flies through the water in a self-propelled underwater wheelchair. The prototype wheelchair enables Sue to go on a gentle, dreamlike exploration of an exotic underwater world. This impressed us so much, we wanted to do a post on wheelchair prototypes and design concepts. Photo #1 by © 2012 Susan Austin

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49 Phenomenal Photos from National Geographic Traveler Photography Contest

August 25th, 2012 Permalink

National Geographic Traveler magazine reported receiving more than 12,000 entries from 6,615 talented photographers in 152 countries around the globe for its 24th annual traveler photo contest. Photos, like music, are subjective and stir up different emotions for different people. What makes each of us unique also guides us to individually interpret art as it influences us. The winners have been chosen, but it must have been extremely difficult to select the best from four travel photography categories: Sense of Place, Outdoor Scenes, Travel Portraits, and Spontaneous Moments. Over the 14 weeks of the contest, the editors picked their favorites among the many awesome shots and turned them into wallpaper. Here’s a look at few of those winning photos and many more that seemed like winners to us. While National Geographic often runs various photo contests in different categories, did you know that it also has photography guides and free tips like the “Ultimate Field Guide to Photography” to help photographers take better photos? Even if you don’t travel, if you keep your camera handy then you might be ready to snap a spontaneous moment that happens around you. Maybe next year you can enter the traveler’s photo contest? We can’t encourage you strongly enough to browse through the 12,000 traveler photo entries. You can be awed while virtual globe hopping and have a ‘staycation’ if you can’t afford a vacation to travel right now . . . all thanks to National Geographic which is kind enough to share these images with all of us. Congratulations and thank you to all the talented photographers! Keep up the great work and fantastic captures! [49 Phenomenal Photos]

Family Time Outdoor Scenes a mother's love

Family Time: One of the Outdoor Scenes in the National Geographic Travel Photo Contest. The winners have been chosen, but all of these photos seem like winners to us! There’s nothing like a father’s and a mother’s love. “A lion and lioness share some quality time with their cubs.” Location: Governor’s Camp, Kenya. Photo #1 and “quoted” caption by © Brandon Harris/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

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Celebrating World Photography Day with Wikimedia Commons Pictures of the Year

August 14th, 2012 Permalink

August 19, 2012, is World Photography Day. This is great opportunity to say thank you to photographers. Without photographers licensing their awesome captures as Creative Commons, we wouldn’t be able to share so many awesome works of art. Once upon a time there were not nearly so many quality images licensed under Creative Commons, but that continues to change. We wanted to celebrate World Photography Day by showcasing the Wikimedia Commons Pictures of the Year, decided at the last part of June 2012. There were all sorts of categories in this Sixth Annual Wikimedia Commons POTY Contest, so here are extremely varied subjects that were declared Picture of the Year winners. Congratulations! [31 Photos]

WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY DAY, Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year 1st place: View of Lake Bondhus in Norway, and in the background of the Bondhus Glacier, part of the Folgefonna Glacier

Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year 2011 #1 with 143 votes in Final. A view of the lake Bondhus in Norway. In the background a view of the Bondhus Glacier as a part of the Folgefonna GlacierView of Lake Bondhus in Norway, and in the background of the Bondhus Glacier, part of the Folgefonna Glacier. Photo #1 by Alchemist-hp (www.pse-mendelejew.de)

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Sensational Sand Sculptures: From Creative Castles to Adorable Dragons [47 PICS]

August 4th, 2012 Permalink

When a person builds a castle, it’s a strong fortress meant to last hundreds of years. Yet some people build temporary, fragile castles of sand. In fact, most sandcastles are not castles at all but, amazing works of sand sculpture art. This is a mixture of nature, of art, of science. Physicists theorize that even more massive sand castles could be built underwater. While that would be cool, it would be much harder for the masses to enjoy the sandy works of art by masters of sand sculpting. We really liked these and imagined what it might be like to walk along the beach, enjoying nature, but taking in giant cultural pieces of sand art at the same time. While it’s still summer hot in the USA and some “kids” will soon start school, let’s globe hop and enjoy a summer day on the beach and these sensational sand sculptures. [47 Photos]

Dragon Dwellers - Amazin' Walter and William Lloyds entry in the Tournament of Sand Sculpting Champions at Harrison Hot Springs, British Colombia

Dragon Dwellers – Amazin’ Walter and William Lloyds entry in the Tournament of Sand Sculpting Champions at Harrison Hot Springs, British Colombia, Canada. Photo #1 by © Amazin Walter

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Happy Independence Day America!

July 3rd, 2012 Permalink

Happy Birthday America! As you celebrate Independence Day, spare a thought for our troops and for their families. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Happy Birthday USA!

Happy Birthday USA! Photo #1 by ppalmward

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Creepy Abandoned Haunted Hospital: Soon to House Senior Citizens [70 PICS, 5 Vids]

May 19th, 2012 Permalink

How do you tell grandma or grandpa that you love them? Certainly not by putting them in a formerly abandoned and haunted hospital! Facepalm, you’ve got to be kidding me? That is just so wrong in so many different ways! The six-story Linda Vista Community Hospital, which has been abandoned since 1991, is an infamous Hollywood favorite for filming super scary movies. It also has a notorious reputation for all kinds of paranormal phenomena. After some serious renovations, the supposedly haunted hospital will be revamped into about 100 single-bedroom ‘affordable housing’ apartments — Linda Vista Senior Apartments. Do you still dispute it’s haunted after viewing the 70 photos and 5 paranormal investigation videos as ‘proof’? Even skeptics, would you want your grandma to live anywhere within the top 5 floors of these future senior living apartments? About 42% of the U.S. population admits to believing in ghosts and the decaying and creepy hospital is a hotspot for urban explorers, paranormal investigators and the curious in Los Angeles. And then there’s all those animal sacrifices and allegedly satanic rituals which leave some people asking does the devil live inside Linda Vista Hospital?

While HDR sparked epic complaints on the illegal Six Flags tour, it is an art that we especially appreciate when it comes to enhancing extremely eerie, abandoned places . . . especially ‘haunted hospitals.’ If you’d rather see an abandoned place without HDR, here is Nara Dreamland, a derelict knock-off Disneyland in Japan. Otherwise, photographers, paranormal investigators and urban explorers take us on an urbex tour of this creepy ‘haunted’ hospital. Welcome to Linda Vista, future housing for grandpa and grandma. [70 photos and 5 paranormal investigation videos]

Ray of light in the former maternity ward, abandoned Linda Vista Community Hospital

Dear “low income” senior citizen of Los Angeles, to reward you for all your struggles in life, Hollywood’s most beloved haunted hospital filming location is being refurbished so you can live there. The creepy idea is the facepalm of the day! The 88 year old hospital has been abandoned for 21 years. It’s supposedly and “scientifically” proven to be haunted. Here you see a ray of light in the former maternity ward of abandoned and eerie Linda Vista Community Hospital. Photo #1 by Neil Kremer

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Illegal Tour: Abandoned Amusement Park Nara Dreamland [65 PICS]

March 25th, 2012 Permalink

In Japan, an amusement park ripping off Disneyland and Coney Island opened in 1961. By 2006, the theme park closed, it was all but a ghost town. The fun part exists due to Nara Dreamland being left abandoned but not demolished. Enter urban explorers armed with cameras and exploring the Japanese ruins, or haikyo. They took all the danger and adrenaline rush to bring us on an illegal tour via their awesome captures. Yes there is security. Yes it is illegal. Yes it is an abandoned amusement park. We love these pics! [65 Photos]

Japanese knockoff of Disneyland -- Have a beer at abandoned Nara Dreamland

Built in 1961, this Japanese theme park was a Disneyland knockoff. Visitors had all but stopped coming by 2006, so the amusement park was closed. It was not demolished and became a playground for urban explorer photographers. Have a beer and enjoy this photo tour of abandoned Nara Dreamland. Photo #1 by © Bram Dauw

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Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Beautiful Wolf? (56 Pics)

March 9th, 2012 Permalink

Fear of the wolf –the predator–is woven into folklore, fairy tales, mythology, music, and art to depict wolves as villains. From the Brothers Grimm to present-day sci fi, wolves are infamous for gobbling up people, for huffing and puffing and blowing down houses, and for one of the most famous storybook scenes when the big bad wolf said to Little Red Riding Hood, “Ah the better to see you with, my dear. The better to hear you with, my dear. The better to eat you with, my dear.” But the big bad wolf reputation is totally undeserved as wolves rarely attack humans. Yet untold scores of wolves have been ruthlessly hunted, shot, poisoned or trapped because of how much humans fear these fascinating and beautiful animals. At one point, wolves had been hunted to near extinction. Now their numbers have rebounded due to conservation. Did you know that wolves don’t truly bark or howl at the moon, or that you have a better chance of being struck by lightning that being attacked by a wolf? [56 Photos]

Fighting wolves

Wolves have long been feared, made infamous by the Brothers Grimm in fairy tales, Aesop’s Fables, and legends aplenty from ancient times. But for all their spine-tingling howls, wolves almost never attack humans. Photo #1 by Tambako the Jaguar

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Garden of Love at Château de Villandry: Most Romantic Gardens in France [40 PICS]

February 17th, 2012 Permalink

While researching castles built for love, we stumbled upon another castle located in Villandry, France. But it was the magnificent gardens that were built for love — and even the French name jardin de l’amour sounds divinely romantic. While these gardens have serene elements like Chinese gardens, the Château de Villandry gardens have been called the most romantic and beautiful gardens in France. There is a love story behind Love Garden and the entire estate was designed with romantic symbolism from the Renaissance era. The Villandry has three garden styles, a formal water garden, a 2-part ornamental garden with topiary hedges ripe with symbolism for love including for the “Garden of Love” and the “Garden of Music,” and a huge decorative kitchen garden (potager). The gardens of Château de Villandry are an UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’d never seen anything like it. Welcome to the most romantic gardens in Loire Valley, France! [40 Photos]

Jardin d'amour - jardin de 'l'amour tendre' Garden of Love -- Tender Love

Jardin d’amour – jardin de “l’amour tendre”. Garden of Love — Tender Love. Château de Villandry has a great love story to go along with the breathtaking Renaissance gardens that embody romance. A young Spanish doctor, Joachim Carvallo, met and fell in love with a young American medical research intern, Ann Coleman. She was the daughter of a master blacksmith from Pennsylvania. They sunk all of their money into the castle of Villandry and worked tirelessly on their passion of restoring it. They converted part of the estate into a hospital to take care of the wounded during WWI, but after the war, went back to their passion of transforming the romantic park at Chateau de Villandry, originally created by Jean Le Breton, into a stunning design of romantic gardens that still exist today. Photo #1 by hamadryades

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Romantic Architecture? 15 Castles Built for Love

February 12th, 2012 Permalink

Love is the most powerful force that exists. In the throes of love, your feet are nowhere close to the ground but floating in the clouds. Love has inspired all types of art, poems, novels, plays, music and paintings. After Cupid shoots an arrow through the heart, some people are so inspired as to erect architecture. We’re not talking about building a Love Shack, but of big-scale and divinely romantic architecture such as castles built for love. Margaret Anderson once said, “In real love you want the other person’s good. In romantic love you want the other person.” Castles built by love seem like both. There are many examples of architecture built for love, but to celebrate Valentine’s Day we wanted to hone in on castles love built. While this amazing architecture seems like something out of a fairy tale, and a wonderfully romantic way to say I Will Always Love You, not all end with happily ever after. The irony is that almost all of these grand displays of love ended in tragedy. [15 Castles presented in 83 Photos]

Aerial view of Boldt Castle and some of the Thousand Islands in the Saint Lawrence River - Castles Built for Love

Happy Valentine’s Day! If you are a bah-humbug type of person on this holiday of romance, then perhaps you can at least appreciate all this architecture that was constructed for love? As many of us can appreciate beautiful castles, perhaps even saying “I love it” there are some castles that are divinely romantic since they were built by love and to honor love. This is an aerial view of Boldt Castle and some of the Thousand Islands in the Saint Lawrence River, near Alexandria Bay, New York. George Boldt had this five-acre castle estate built out of love for his wife. He planned to give his wife Boldt Castle on Valentine’s Day 1905. As you will see in many of these castles built for love, there is a reoccurring theme of tragedy striking at the heart of love. Photo #1 by Teresa Mitchell / Howcheng

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