Tag Archives: texas

K is for Kisses, Klimt and Kerouac



Portrait of Helene Klimt by Gustav Klimt, 1898


Given that an unexpected sub-theme of art and creativity has emerged alongside my original planned theme of On the Move: Transitions, Travel, and Transformation, I thought I’d go with the flow and have a look at Gustav Klimt (and kissing).


Klimt photo

Gustav Klimt, 1914


Austrian by birth, Klimt often turned to the female form for inspiration.



The Kiss (1907-1908) by Gustav Klimt – oil and gold leaf on canvas

Kissing, it turns out, is a common subject in art.



The Kiss by Francesco Hayez, 1859


I was certainly taken by Rodin’s sculpture, The Kiss during my recent trip to ParisIt’s an impressive piece of sculpture and not just for its size. It has literary connections as well. Apparently, the couple depicted fell in love while reading the story of Lancelot and Guinevere (beware of reading racy literature… you never know where it might lead!)




Mary Cassatt revisited the image of mothers kissing babies several times including in this painting from 1891 entitled Mother’s Kiss               





Picasso’s Kiss (1925) is, not surprisingly, inscrutable… 


Given that Romeo and Juliet must be one of the most famous couples of all time, it’s hardly surprising that their passionate affair has been captured in art.



The Last Kiss of Romeo and Juliet by Francesco Hayez (1823)


Of course, one doesn’t only have to kiss babies and sweethearts. In this next painting, Joan of Arc gets intimate with a sword. And no, that’s not some kind of euphemism.



Joan of Arc Kisses the Sword of Liberation by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1863


Considering I’m supposed to be a writer, I’ve been largely ignoring the literary arts in these posts, something I’ll endeavour to address from here on… Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road might not have been about kissing per se, but reading the novel when I was younger definitely instilled in me a love of the open road and – road trips! When I was looking through my photos for shots that might tie in with Kerouac, road trips, or kissing, I came across this one:


texas kiss P1234284

Sorry, Dad – avert your eyes. I call this one Texas Kiss and Kick. It was part of a selfie series we took when we were on a climbing/camping road trip in the southern USA several years ago.  

I do love road trips. Looking through those photos makes me want to load up the car with snacks and head off … Kansas, maybe. Or Kentucky?

Are you a road trip fan? What’s your favourite road trip destination?






A Tale of Two Rock Piles

In the world of rock climbing there are a few places that everyone has heard of and added to their rock climbing bucket list. Hueco Tanks in Texas is one of them, particularly if one is into bouldering. Located just outside El Paso, the park is named for the hollows formed in the rocks – some large, some just big enough to hook a finger in when climbing.


Fabio enjoying some easy climbing at the start of this hueco-pocked climb…

We headed there after a visit to Big Bend National and State Parks waaaaaaaaaaay down in the southern part of Texas hoping to spend a few days climbing and exploring. Alas, Hueco Tanks has fallen victim to its own popularity. Gazillions of visitors, some armed with spray paint and stupid enough to deface ancient cave paintings and others too lazy to haul out their trash created a big problem in this beautiful place… The desert environment is pretty sensitive to heavy traffic and the combination of people stomping all over the fragile flora, leaving their junk everywhere, and vandalism resulted in a major pendulum swing in the ‘we’d better protect this place’ direction.


I was pretty happy when we found this pair of cracks in the middle of hueco-land. 

Now, it’s tough to get in at all – only 75 people are allowed into the park at one time, permits are required, you certainly can’t take a dog in there, and activities are severely restricted. Access to 3/4 of the park is limited to visitors who come in with a guide. The result of all the hoops we had to jump through (including finding a local campground with a kennel where we could leave the dog for the day) meant we had a rather unproductive half day of climbing in the park. Granted, the climbing was fun (and, ironically, we were the only people rope climbing – the few others we saw were bouldering), but we wound up sprinting out with our packs at the end of the day to make sure we didn’t get locked inside when the gates closed at 6 pm sharp. The result was a stressful visit where we felt more like intruders rather than appreciative visitors.

We decided not to stick around for another day and headed instead west. Plan A was to make for Cochise Stronghold in Arizona – but along the way we stumbled across a State Park in New Mexico that sounded like it might be worth a look. City of Rocks was everything Hueco Tanks wasn’t.


Set up to welcome visitors, the campsites were roomy and private, nestled in among the boulders. The visitor’s centre was spotless with clean bathrooms (Hueco Tanks was having some plumbing problems when we were there…) and as long as we kept the dog on a leash and picked up after him, Tuulen was welcome. There were no places we were not allowed to go and our afternoon spent scrambling up a few boulders and poking around was pure pleasure.


Every time we turned around there was a convenient garbage can, excellent directional signage, and a bathroom or outhouse – which meant the park was spotless. It was also pretty much empty, at least on the side where they had the tent sites. Knowing what we know now, we would probably have skipped the Hueco visit and spent a couple of days in City of Rocks…


Bridging Practice


Fabio – tidying up a bit… 


One of the RV/Trailer sites – step out of your door and start climbing!


What a great tent site! Check out what’s hanging over your head while sitting at the picnic table! And how can you beat the view while eating your s’mores!