Tag Archives: iPhone

Elvis Week in Memphis

Every morning this week I’ve gotten up and readied for school, pretty much oblivious to Elvis Week here in Memphis.

On Sunday , we played tourist and headed downtown to the Arcade for breakfast. We were seated in Elvis’s old booth, it seems he liked to sneak in the back door, so we sat in his booth and enjoyed country gravy and biscuits and sweet potato pancakes.

We wandered the city and reached the Peabody Hotel.

There we found a baby jumpsuit at Lansky’s ( Elvis’s favorite clothier).

Even the ducks were decked out for the week. As we walked down Beale, I shot a photo of both Kings to round out my impromptu collection.

Going to Graceland would have been too predictable so I chose to see what appeared in town.Shooting with my iPhone and processing with apps, I had a great day playing tourist. I hope you enjoyed  this mini-visit to Memphis.

WordPress Photo Challenge: Today I- Phoneagraphy Airstream and Flamingo

A visit to our good friends’ house always means fun and curious things to photograph as well as good food.The event today was beer-making and as the group tended the contraptions that turn sugar water and hops into beer, I spent my time wandering and looking for iPhone photos . I did shoot some photos of the process and learned it takes between seven  to twelve days to make five gallons of beer.In the hot sun ,and fighting the total  insect population of Shelby County, it was the baby-sized Airstream with the requisite pink flamingoes standing guard that provided inspiration. The plastic birds and their reflections on the polished metal surface intrigued me.

My new friends Snapseed and Toaster helped me create twelve too many versions. As an act of restraint, I am using one.

Any feedback, or trade secrets that will help me improve would be greatly appreciated. Learning from comments and suggestions is much easier and interesting than books or instructions. These words come from the mouth of a teacher.

Paint by Numbers and Green Goddess Dressing


     Entering  the Lovin’ Spoonful Cafe in Clarksville, TN, I stand speechless (and that doesn’t happen often!). Transported back to my childhood and the smell of oil paint in our New York apartment , I can see my dad carefully  painting by numbers. There’s the old mill, a German Shepherd, and the Asian farmer hanging proudly on the walls and surrounded by hundreds of others.I can’t wait to explore , but given that it’s past lunch time , the tempting aromas lead us to sit at a table presided over by a fifties Blackamoor lamp. Other tables sported fifties and sixties pieces of Tupperware and kitsch.

The menu is an eclectic mix of comfort food and current trends.Green Goddess dressing for my salad and a chicken asparagus casserole make time travel possible. While waiting for the food, I rush to emptying tables to examine and shoot photos of the paintings. My friend and I reminisce over which ones we remember.

The food was wonderful and I was tempted by a dessert that described itself as having a 60’s secret sauce, but I was more curious about the paintings. Having adopted Memphis as home for the past years, I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t an Elvis paint by number displayed . After searching, I eventually found it.

As we left, I realized I knew next to nothing about paint by number paintings and needed to learn more. Dave Robbins is credited with creating Paint by Numbers kits for a toy show in 1951. In an interview with Egg on PBS, Robbins said the idea came from a process used by Leonardo Da Vinci to help his students develop their design skills and to complete large paintings. Robbins never expected the idea to become a cultural icon – so much so,  that in 2001-02, the Smithsonian Museum of American History held an exhibit of paint by number paintings. Dave Robbins also didn’t expect the controversy that arose as to whether the kits were art or craft. Packaged and presented as craft, affordable to a large segment of the public, people did see them as their masterpieces. He also was surprised that the Last Supper was the overall biggest seller. There was more than one at the restaurant.

The paintings have regained popularity today with collectors and artists. There is a Paint By Numbers Online Museum at which you can view, search or learn more about the paintings.I came across an Alice and the Mad Hatter painting at an antique mall and was able to determine the date and manufacturer.

Artists have  also used the paintings for inspiration or as part of  new creative work. One such artist is Trey Speegle. His collection is large and there is an interview available with him as well.

In case you want to create your own pieces, a blog, Under the Sycamore Tree , offers a DIY tutorial on how to change old Goodwill prints into paint by number type art. Using acrylic paints , it will certainly smell better. and looks like fun. If you want no mess, there are several APPS, one is Fingerpaint by Number for iPhone and iPad. I found the iPad version easier to manipulate.

It’s amazing how  now I am seeing Paint by Number pieces almost everywhere I turn. I learned that the Alice is much less expensive on Ebay, only $ 5.00, but that the Asian Farmer is $115.00.  Maybe I should start a collection?

By the way, the Green Goddess dressing dates back to 1923  in San Francisco and the Palace Hotel. The chef created it to honor an actor, George Arliss, who was starring in a production of  The Green Goddess.

Links:www.Lovinspoonfulcafe.com ( great restaurant in Clarksville, TN)
EGG – the Arts Show – http://www.pbs.org/wnet/egg/229/paint/interview.html      ( interview with Dan Robbins and Trey Speegle)
http://www.paintbynumbermuseum.com          ( great to browse)
http://www.treyspeegle.com                                    (artist using paint by number in his work)
americanhistory.si.edu/paint/introduction.html  (Smithsonian exhibit info)

%d bloggers like this: