Husband and I discovered two wonderful things during the recent visit to the Chicago Botanic Gardens for my birthday: 1) since my husband is a veteran, we get in for free; and 2) the Model Railroad Garden. Husband is a model railroad fanatic so we made two subsequent visits to the gardens, most recently yesterday. I recently wrote a blog post about the Model Railroad Garden which really is amazing even if you are not a model train enthusiast. The late-summer weather was sunny and pleasantly warm so we decided to make another drive to the gardens because husband had a few questions for the garden volunteers about model trains who are always eager to answer his questions. Besides I can always stroll through the gardens.

What a pleasant surprise to discover the Central States Dahlia Society was hosting their 81st Dahlia Show with exhibitors from throughout the Midwest. Set up on long several tables, just one bloom per pot is judged. Here are just a few of the dahlias on display, from the classic ball and pompon dahlias to spiky cactus dahlias to the large dinner-plate dahlias:

I would not, nor could not, judge this flower show. The photos above show just a few of the spectacular blooms, but they were not even the winners. The photo below shows some of the winners. How could you even pick one flower over another. Every single flower was perfectly gorgeous!

Thank you for visiting.

A Great Europe Trip Planner

All photos were taken by me. Unauthorized use is prohibited. 



Chicago is home to two of the world's best art museums, housing outstanding permanent collections: the Art Institute and the Museum of Contemporary Art. However, outside those doors, in a 4 city-block walk in the Chicago Loop are four unique pieces of art by world-famous artists.

The bright red of Alexander Calder's 53-foot-tall, 50-ton Flamingo contrasts against the three black skyscrapers that surround Federal Plaza where it sits. It was unveiled to the public on October 25, 1974, with the American sculptor present. Ironically all 3 buildings that surround the plaza were designed by Mies van der Rohe who was himself an artist with his minimalist, grid-pattern, steel and plate glass architectural designs. Calder's reputation for his large arching stabiles was the reason he was commissioned to create a piece of art work which would contrast with the rectangular modern buildings.

Walk just two blocks north on Dearborn Street to the Chase Tower's Exelon Plaza. There you will find Marc Chagall's Four Seasons mosaic. Installed in 1974 (with Chagall present), the mosaic depicts Chicago's four distinct seasons in the artist's abstract style. The 5-sided, 70-foot-long mosaic is composed of thousands of inlaid glass and stone pieces in over 250 colors from Italy, France, Norway, Belgium and Israel. It was a gift to the city by Chagall and his friends, Chicago philanthropists William and Eleanor Wood Prince. In 1994, a protective covering was installed over the mosaic because 20 years of Chicago's harsh weather had begun to do major damage to the mosaics.
Each of the four seasons...

The two end mosaics...

So you know it's a Chagall...three times.

Walk another two blocks north on Dearborn Street to Daley Plaza. Located in the middle of the plaza is Pablo Picasso's famous untitled sculpture. Commissioned by the architects of Daley Plaza in 1963, the work of art was fabricated in nearby Gary, Indiana of the same steel as on the exterior of the neighboring Daley Center, before being disassembled and relocated to Chicago. Picasso refused the $100,000 payment the city offered him; he considered the sculpture a gift to the city. When initially erected, the sculpture was certainly controversial because of its modernity. Most sculptures in major cities at that time were of historical figures. Picasso, who was 85 years old at the time he designed the sculpture, never explained what the 50-foot-tall, 162-ton sculpture represented. However, the sculpture has been described as a mixture of an Afghan dog and a woman; a bird; an aardvark; and a baboon. However many art historians believe the sculpture may be inspired by a French woman, Sylvette David, who met Picasso in 1954 and was his model for dozens of paintings. Despite its early controversy, the Picasso (as it is fondly known) is a beloved icon of the city. Children of visitors and locals alike are fond of using its high-degree-angled base as a slide.

The Picasso in Daley Plaza after an early morning rain.
Directly across the street from Daley Plaza, in a small plaza between the Cook County Office Building and Chicago Temple Building, is a sculpture by another Spanish artist, Joan Miró. The 39-foot-tall Chicago (originally titled The Sun, the Moon and One Star) is made of steel, wire mesh, concrete, bronze and ceramic tile and faces the Picasso. Commissioned in 1969, it was abandoned due to financial issues. In 1979. then-mayor Jane Byrne agreed the city would finance one-half of the cost if private monies would finance the other half. The finished piece was unveiled on April 20, 1981.

These four pieces of art are just a small part of what can be found throughout the city. All over Chicago, in parks and plazas, visitors can enjoy a myriad of masterpieces.

Thank you for visiting,

 A Great Europe Trip Planner 

All photos were taken by me. Unauthorized use is prohibited.



I love cruising. My travel goal is to see as much of the world as I can via a cruise ship. So far, I have been on seven different cruise ships; number eight will be in three months. Each ship has been decorated in its own unique motif, and I have liked each one for different reasons. One of my favorite ships is the Carnival Breeze. I loved these multi-colored, cloth-covered lanterns that hang several decks above the ship's atrium.

If you are interested in purchasing variations of this print, please visit my Travels in Watercolor blog by clicking here.

Thank you for visiting,

A Great Europe Trip Planner 

Photo taken by me during my cruise on the Carnival Breeze in May, 2013.
Waterlogue image created by me.
Unauthorized use is prohibited.



Chicago is a great city especially if you are an avid photographer like me. For my daily morning walk from the train station to my skyscraper office on the Magnificent Mile, I can basically walk a hundred different ways across the megalopolis of the city. I can walk pass the historical buildings of the financial district, into and out of the loop area, along the new Chicago river walk, through the River North area, down the Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue to my skyscraper office in the Gold Coast.

After trekking across the city five days a week for over 17 years, I've been able to snap thousands of photographs, originally with my pocket camera, now with just my iPhone. I decided to create a photo essay of some of my favorite snaps of my city, all in black and white.

Trump Tower Portico

James R. Thompson Building Atrium: a photographer's delight!
Financial District Architecture

Marina City Towers: also a photographer's delight.

House of Blues snuck into this photo.

Willis Tower entrance

Franklin Street Bridge with Merchandise Mart in the background.
The sign on the front of the Wit Hotel.

Inside the Apple Store
Chicago bridges from the river walk

The zigzag of a section of the new river walk

Bike rack

Michigan Avenue decoration 

Window washers
An afternoon conversation in the park

I hope my photos give you an idea of what a joy the city Chicago is to photograph. I would really appreciate any feedback you could give me, positive or negative.

Thank you for visiting,

 A Great Europe Trip Planner 

All photos were taken by me. Unauthorized use is prohibited.