Ghosts in San Gimignano?

•October 19, 2017 • Leave a Comment


Ghost 6 plus


I am still editing photos from Chianti but with Halloween coming up I couldn’t resist another view of San Gimignano… Is that Dante leaving the Sala del Consiglio…?

This is a prelude to a post that will be coming up hopefully on October 31st…mtk


How Did They Do That?!…Florence (Firenze)

•October 15, 2017 • Leave a Comment



I will start by saying that I feel totally inadequate to represent Florence in either my pictures or my words.

I’m sure most everyone has seen photographs of everything that Florence has to offer, so I am simply showing a few things that stood out…more than any other things?..No, not necessarily, but I had to start somewhere.



We only spent a day in Florence which is the first drawback.  We could have spent a month and not felt as if I had actually gotten a full taste.




Our first priorities were to see Michelangelo’s David and then visit the Uffizi where I wanted to see firsthand any Caravaggio’s that they might have. I’m only including a couple of details from the David.  There are MANY pictures of it, all over the world, but I was particularly astounded by the detail and the size…17 feet tall (5.17 meters)   How did he do that?

David's foot




The Caravaggios…One of the most fascinating artists from the 1500’s, not only in talent, but also for the fact that a good part of his adult life was spent on the run from the law…

Caravaggio Bacchus

Himself as Bacchus, painted while looking in a mirror.

Incredulity of Thomas

The Incredulity of Thomas


Caravaggio Medusa

Medusa, painted on a wooden shield for one of the Medicis.



But the Duomo…I mean, really, how did they do that?


The building was started in 1296 and completed in 1436 with the ‘crowning touch’ being Brunelleschi’s dome which is still the largest masonry dome in the world…But the detail in every building, every altar, every window casement, every statue….




Duomo 2 detail



Altar detail



Duomo 1



I heard a great story on a BBC program called “Italy’s Invisible Cities” where they talked about Brunelleschi getting the dome ‘contract’.

He was untrained as an architect but when they  gathered all the ‘bidders’ together, he brought out an egg and proposed that whoever among them could stand the egg up on its end was worthy of the project and should therefore get the commission.  After all others had failed, Brunelleschi tapped the end of the egg on the table until it cracked and then he stood it on its end.  When the others protested that he had not said they could crack it, he replied that if they couldn’t figure that out, then they were unfit for a project as massive as the dome….!  Bam!



When we returned to Nashville and I looked at all of the new buildings going up I couldn’t help but realize that in Florence, in that time, they were building monuments to God and mankind meant to withstand history, not steel and glass that may not withstand the current popular trends.



The lifespan at that time was approximately 40, so a 150 year building project would encompass about 4 generations of artists and masons. This marble mosaic floor may have been started by a man and finished by his great grandson….!





No cranes, no power tools, just passion and dedication to a cause, a project…

Oh…don’t get me wrong… there were some modern things in Florence.








Street performer

And then, the train ride back to Montecatini Terme



After a wonderful dinner of Gnocchi in Pear/Gorgonzola sauce we get ready to drive through Chianti…..













The Town of Fine Towers…sketches

•October 13, 2017 • 2 Comments




Road to San Gimignano

Our visit to San Gimignano (think of ‘Jim’ and the Spanish word for tomorrow…with an ‘o’… Jim-manyano) was midway through the trip but was so astounding that I’m skipping to it while I process the rest of the images…and impressions.


In the early 1200’s this Free Commune was governed by a Podesta (governor) who remained in charge for six months and was always a ‘foreigner’ to reduce the chances of governmental partiality…interesting concept…term limits AND an ‘outsider’…



At one time there were 72 towers in the small city of which only 14 or so remain.  Imagine the opening image with 5 times as many spires….!!!

Torre Grossa


This tower, the Torre Grossa in the Piazza del Duomo, is, and has always been the tallest tower in San Gimignano because a law was passed in 1255 that no tower could exceed its height. (On the right is the Duomo and on the left, the council chambers, known as the “Sala di Dante” named after the poet who visited in 1300 as an ambassador from Florence.)


The building of towers was the ultimate status symbol, and was reserved for land owners and usually, families who owned ships that sailed from the nearby port of Pisa. (And of course, they were the only ones who could afford this extravagance…)

Workshop on the ground level, living quarters above and the kitchen at the top to prevent the chance of fire spreading upwards.


Torre Grossa from room

Stories have it that one family who definitely had the ‘mine is bigger than yours’ mentality, decided to build twin towers that if stacked, would have been the tallest.  After much public uproar and outcry, the family was forced to tear down the towers and as punishment for their pomposity, they were sentenced to wear black for 10 years and the men could not shave…So there….!!!

Via San Giovanni

The streets are closed to autos within the walls except for residents, deliveries, and guests who needed to unload luggage and then drive back out.  It was fun, after it was intimidating, driving on these thoroughfares in a little Fiat Panda…

Piazza Duomo ramp


FYI…we stayed at Al Pozzo dei Desideri.  There are only 3 rooms of which ours was the one with a ‘city’ view, overlooking the Piazza della Cisterna, the communal well since 1326.

Piazza della Cisterna 2


Piazza della Cisterna 3

Piazza della Cisterna 4

This was a view from our room.

Piazza della Cisterna 1

The other 2 rooms looked out upon this…


Valley view


Oh, and the gelato….





Mi piace il gelato

…And just a few more…


Piazza Duomo











Next stop, Firenze….


Firenze Duomo 1





•October 8, 2017 • 5 Comments

We just returned from celebrating our 30th anniversary in Tuscany.  I am editing images and will post several ‘travelogues’ soon, but couldn’t resist offering a small taste from a place we happened upon in our meanderings….mtk


Secret place

Post: Epoch: Eclipse

•August 26, 2017 • 4 Comments

1_30_31 pm CDT

As expected, the incessant media hype leading up to the ‘Great American Solar Eclipse’ was centered around the traffic, the weather…would it or wouldn’t it?…the exorbitant hotel rates, the crowds…be sure you have gas in your car…etc.

Never did I hear any mention of the absolutely stunning, eerie, soul-grabbing, mysteriously overwhelming chord that would be strummed and planted into one’s psyche by witnessing this event.

The pictures that I am posting will be in chronological order.

As the moon was moving across the sun, I had the solar filtered camera on a tripod and would track and shoot an image every couple of minutes….sell a T-shirt or 2…shoot again…


12_17 pm CDT Sunspots

When I uploaded these to the computer, I thought that I had a dirty camera sensor that created spots on the Sun.  Then I saw an official NASA pic and realized that they were SunSpots….

12_28 pm CDT


12_52 pm CDT


12_59 pm CDT


1_13 pm CDT


1_19 pm CDT


1_27 pm CDT


When Totality hit, I was too enthralled to think about properly changing settings, removing filters, etc, so these images have a bit of motion blur…or maybe that should be ’emotion’ blur… as I sort of just took aim at the sky to possibly capture what I really mainly wanted to experience with my 5 or 6 senses.




1_30_30 pm CDT wormhole


1_30_31 pm CDT


1_30_43 pm CDT


1_30_52 pm CDT Diamond ring


1_33 pm CDT


1_36 p.m. CDT


1_51 pm CDT



And what an experience it is!  There is no way to describe the sights, the feelings and the sheer exhilaration of witnessing a total Solar eclipse.

I heard someone say that they had seen ‘partials’ and ‘totals’ and on a scale of 1 to 10, a partial was a 3 and a total was 1000….I tend to agree.


Now, some business…knew that was coming, right.  We did really well with my Hank Williams/Nashville inspired “I Saw the Light” T-shirt…lots of sales and many, many compliments, BUT…the big but…

I’ve got 100 or so shirts left over in all, not each, but all… the sizes, (Youth small up to Adult XXL) and I can only wear so many… so…as your reward for reading all the way through this, if you go to the store, order a shirt, or two, or six, and put in the coupon code… blog …the price will reduce from $25 to $10 and I will still pay the shipping.  That covers my production cost and the shipping costs and…. removes them from my inventory.


It really is a great way to remember the day, even if you or your kids never wear it, or wear it years from now….

Or just when you want to let people know that You “Saw the Light”!


New final eclipse front





Sketchbook…Memorial Day

•May 31, 2017 • 2 Comments



I’m not much for ‘titling’ images, I would rather you come up with your own appellation.  So, my post title applies to the series.  Memorial Day is the one holiday that stands for the ultimate sacrifice given by American soldiers, and as such is an important commemorative event.

Yet, one can’t help but wonder what it would be like if mankind could find a way to have no need for such a day…  Imagine….























Revised “I Saw the Light” Eclipse T-shirt design

•May 20, 2017 • Leave a Comment



New final eclipse front


Since my last post I have learned a bit about the screen printing process.  Mostly, what can and cannot be done…


This is the actual t-shirt NOW, and is on

I like the new look and it was important to me to have them printed in Nashville, so…


Slight variation on the front but the back remains the same…wasn’t that a Led Zeppelin film?…oh…wait…The SONG Remains the Same…


The first ‘batch’ has been shipped, and I think I have finally gotten all the USPS, etc., ducks in a row…


Order up!