Ailsa’s Travel Theme: One Colour

orangeHi everybody. Nice to see ya again.

And now, for my first post since August 24, 2014, I give you the colour orange … in a pic of the tail light of a VW bug taken many moons ago with my trusty Pentax K-1000.

Hey, wait a minute. My last post was also Ailsa’s Travel Theme, and it too was orange! I’ve got a freaky “full circle” thing going on, dontcha think?

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Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Orange


It’s an explosion of orange at Kyoto’s beautiful Fushimi Inari Shrine. One of the more popular destinations in Kyoto, Fushimi Inari Shrine is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its tens of thousands of orange torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings, and these long tunnels of torii are one of the most iconic symbols of Kyoto.

The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds. Along the way there are multiple smaller shrines with stacks of miniature torii gates that were donated by visitors with smaller budgets. There are also several small restaurants serving Kitsune Udon (“Fox Udon”), a noodle soup topped with pieces of aburaage (fried tofu), a treat favored by foxes, and Inari sushi, which is fried tofu wrapped around sweetened rice. From bottom to top to bottom again, trekking the (sometimes steep) trail can take two to three hours, and there are beautiful views of Kyoto at the top. However, visitors are free to walk just as far as they wish before turning back.

Fushimi Inari Shrine has ancient origins, predating the capital’s move to Kyoto in 794. The earliest structures were built in 711 on the Inariyama hill in southwestern Kyoto, but the shrine was re-located in 816. The main shrine structure was built in 1499.

Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds. Since early Japan, Inari was seen as the patron of business, and merchants and manufacturers have traditionally worshipped Inari. Each of the torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha is donated by a Japanese business.

Orange … it’s all over the place at Fushimi Inari Shrine. It can also be found in abundance at Ailsa’s Travel Theme, so take a look.


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette


Dusk at Sydney’s Milson’s Point brings out the silhouettes in a guy waiting for the ferry (above), and a couple just taking in the magnificent Australian sunset (below).



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Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Horizon

IMG_0966When you’re hiking the famous 3-mile coastal walk between Bondi Beach and Coogee Beach outside of Sydney, sometimes you just need to sit, take off your shoes, enjoy some water, and take in a horizon that goes on forever.

See more horizons at this week’s Ailsa’s Travel Theme.

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Impulsive Detours: The Collage Art of Michael Waraksa

New Aluminum Thursday

I usually find new and exciting artists through online art sites like Visual News, Lost At E Minor and 50 Watts, or magazines like Hi Fructose or Juxtapoz. But I found this week’s featured artist, Chicago illustrator and collage artist Michael Waraksa, through my latest addiction: Pinterest. I was immediately drawn to the complexity of his collages, the intricate layering, the bizarre juxtapositions of mashed-up figures (like in New Aluminum Thursday, above) and his sly commentary on modern life.

Mapping the Exposome (for Atlanta Magazine)A Chicago based artist/illustrator and a graduate of the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, Waraksa has exhibited his work at various venues around the United States and his illustrations have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers including The New York Times, TIME and The Los Angeles Times, and many of the pieces seen here are part of his extensive editorial work.

Michael explains his work by saying, “I see collage as a form of recycling. I am attempting to build something new and unexpected by layering and juxtaposing a variety of disparate elements together. Scraps of text, photographic material from books, magazines and the web, my own photography and drawings along with items fished out of the trash or found blowing in the wind may all find their way into the mix. I allow any preconceived ideas to take impulsive detours as my final destination is purposely vague. Nature, history, technology, advertising and dreams are some reoccurring themes and influences but much of the direction is driven by my subconscious and simple reaction to the elements at hand. Any meaning is mostly open ended and the viewer is encouraged to fill in the blanks.”

Check out more of the dense, fascinating collage art of Michael Waraska in the gallery after the jump. Continue reading

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Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Endearing

Squidball Display in Odeiba, Tokyo

One thing I love most about visiting Japan is taking in all the cool, fun, cutesy things you see everywhere. From store packaging to advertising to the really interesting mini-sculptures you see in front of businesses of all types, everywhere you go you’re greeted by a smiling, happy icon, be it an orange elephant, an ice cream cone, a frog (or a lot of frogs), even an upset tummy. It’s hard not to smile when you see ’em, and that’s part of the reason I find visiting Japan so much fun. Here’s a small gallery of some cool cutesy stuff I’ve encountered in my various travel to Japan. Now if these aren’t endearing, I don’t know what is!


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Art Coutre: The Fashion Forward Illustrations of Peggy Wolf

Magic Fairy

Peggy Wolf is a Germany-born artist whose love of fashion inspired a career in art. A former student of fashion design, Wolf gravitated more towards drawing rather than dressing sophisticated, artfully-clad women who would be right at home on the fashion catwalks of the world. Along the way she worked for an art gallery, a trend-consulting company, and she started a successful career as a freelance illustrator of fashion magazines. She currently lives in London, where she moved on a whim, juggling careers as an illustrator and interior designer. Her use of bold lines and juxtaposed textures, patterns and bright colors are all hallmarks of fashion, and her interesting use of found images in a collage-like format gives her work a unique, almost dimensional feel.

So check out the work of Peggy Wolf in the gallery after the jump. As usual, you can see much more of her art at her website, or at her Etsy page, where you can buy many of the prints you see here for affordable prices.  Continue reading

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