A courtyard can be a magical place — outdoors, but enclosed and private, even in the center of the city. In many ways, the more urban the surroundings, the more magical that bit of private space and greenery seems. These images from a small courtyard here in Sarasota celebrate some of those feelings.
I had already titled this post when fellow islander and friend Bonnie Luria released her most recent blog post titled “If You Can’t Take the Heat…” Either great minds think alike, or summer has arrived and it’s just plain hot! Most likely the latter.
The blue gate at the bottom might help cool things down a bit. It is located along a small shaded street — an alleyway, really — in downtown Christiansted. Flanked by a graceful rusted signholder on the left, the gate guards a walkway that leads to the sunlit Caribbean blue harbor a block away.
These were not finished in time to be a part of my “Local Color” exhibit that just opened Saturday night at Maufe’ Gallery in downtown Christiansted. Although some of the prints that were in the show may be familiar to regular readers of this blog, several have not been seen here before. Click on the link above or the image in the sidebar to view the entire exhibit.
Many of the old buildings here in the tropics have wooden shutters over their windows, but no glass or screens. When the shutters are opened to let in the light, there is also an open exchange of air, insects, and more. What is inside can go out and what is outside can come in.
How different is the message from the old gate with its heavy chain and lock, surely stronger than the gate itself!
Every community has its empty places, faded and overgrown. Some of these, when there had been no design or charm to begin with, become a blight on the landscape. But others have personality and become a part of the character of a place, in their decline adding a patina of charm and history.
How do the well-intentioned and civic-minded learn to tell the difference, so they can carve away the decay and blight while leaving the history and charm in place?
We no longer trust beauty as a serious means of investigation. But it can be ... In fact, beauty can be incendiary; it can be subversive; it can make us cringe.
-- David Maisel, Photographer
"It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it." -- Anais Nin
“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders of the universe, the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race.” -- Rachel Carson