Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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A confection…

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Gaudí was not the only one. There was also Lluís Domènech i Montaner one of his contemporaries and a professor at the architecture school in Barcelona for forty-five years. He was also a politician prominent in the Catalan autonomist movement. Montaner’s concert hall design is quite amazing.

The Palau de la Música Catalana is a concert hall designed in the Catalan modernista style. It was built between 1905 and 1908 for the Orfeó Català, a choral society founded in 1891 that was a leading force in the Catalan cultural movement that came to be known as the Renaixença (Catalan Rebirth). Between 1982 and 1989, the building underwent extensive restoration, remodeling, and extension. In 1997, the Palau de la Música Catalana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, more than half a million people a year attend musical performances in the Palau that range from symphonic and chamber music to jazz and Cançó (Catalan song).

A red brick and iron structure, it is cramped in with its neighbors but has so much to look at I stood in front of it and gaped…

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Famous musicians connected to the choral society are depicted at the top of the pillars.

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The front has the original ticket booths that no longer function, and mosaic everywhere.

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The sculpture on the corner of the building was created by Miguel Blay and is called The Catalan Song. His signature can be found if you look hard enough.

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The new entrance is around the side of the building where we went to meet up with our tour of the interior…

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Dressing rooms, a library, and practice rooms are located in the new tower.

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New pillars carrying the spirit of the old.

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Our tour took us up to a second floor salon just off of the balcony with the exterior pillars which currently had an exhibit of Miró sculptures (I will show you that in the next post).

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Mosaics in the building were by Lluís Brú; ceramics by Josep Orriols; stained glass by Rigalt í Granell; cement tiles by Escofet; and sculptures by Miguel Blay, Eusebí Arnau and Pau Gargallo.

I took so many photos of this building…pattern, pattern, pattern…I did get a little exuberant with my iPhone out on that balcony with all the mosaic pillars…exuberance begets exuberance…so I am going to break it into multiple posts. Watch this space!


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Good things…

Back before I went to Barcelona, I mentioned that I had been helping some parents at an elementary school in the district I used to teach in construct a ceramic mosaic. When I left, after many months of making clay tiles, glazing clay tiles, creating images of the life skills the kids at the school are taught, and cutting tiles and mirror for the background, they had begun the installation.

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By the time I got back they had completed the installation with every kid in the school getting to make an addition of some type. They had even completed the grouting and the entire mural was absolutely fabulous! (I was kind of sorry I missed the grouting because I do love to grout. Oh, well, the next project!)

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These are Shweta and Tammy, mothers, artists, volunteers, organizers and Renaissance women who are really fun to hang around with because they do cool projects. I would follow them into an art project anywhere. Kudos on a job well-done! Just goes to prove the universal goodness brought to you by art.

In addition, on the universal goodness of nature:

I have mentioned my Dutchman’s Pipevine on my gate many times over the years. It is great because it is a California native plant so takes little water, the deer don’t like to eat it so it can hang to the outside of the garden gate, and it has possibly the greatest flower ever seen…

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We planted ours probably six years ago for the above qualities and one more. There is a Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly that only likes it. So we have waited and waited for ours to come…which it finally did a few weeks ago.

I could not get a picture of it because it was really flittering…

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but Terry succeeded…

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but then it was gone. Today I passed by the vine and into the house, glancing over to see if it was time for me to take fast growing tendrils and weave them back into the trellis and I noticed that many ends had been chewed off.

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After my first thought that we had somehow grown a super-large example of deer that was taller than the gate and wrecking havoc despite the poisonous nature of the plant (which is why they are not supposed to like to eat it), I looked closer and found that we now have a colony of caterpillars…

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The caterpillars are not poisonous at first, but the more leaves they eat the more poisonous they become. This is why the birds do not like them even though black with red spikes makes them kind of obvious. The caterpillars leave the Pipevine for a different plant when they make their chrysalis. I feel like a grandmother to thousands! I am so proud…


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Roofs, chimneys, pinnacles, and spires…(part three)

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Palau Güell

How many pedestrians notice this roof line as they walk on the narrow street? Probably only those who know to look up, they are near a Gaudí building!

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This is an amazing building inside, but since Gaudí controlled every detail, even the roof got his fancy treatment. The top floors contained the servant’s quarters and I am pretty sure the wealthy family who lived here did not access the roof part of the house often, so I think of it as Gaudí making a “Disneyland for the help”. He combined so many different types of materials and textures it was feast for the eyes.

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The fabulous bat on top of the weathervane…

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Don’t know the significance of the rope and the rubber lizard…

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Oh, that is not an unknown tourist…it is my partner in crime! Always patient (probably checking his map app to see where we will walk next). During the entire trip he only let this sentence cross his lips once: “You know, you don’t have to take a picture of everything…” My response (with left hand on hip, right hand waving its index finger, and an uplifted trill on the last word): “Oh, yes, I do…”

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Gaudí and Güell forever linked…

Casa Mead

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That’s not in Barcelona, hah! It is my newly rebuilt porch railing that should be wrought iron and my nondescript, dare I say ugly, chimney that is in need of some Gaudí treatment. At my age, however, it is seriously in doubt that I will squat on my roof sticking shards of tile to the chimney’s surface, especially since I have given up ladders. What to do, what to do…it definitely needs improvement, and now that I have seen what a chimney can really be…something must be done! Maybe if I just added a bat…


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Roofs, chimneys, pinnacles, and spires…(part two)

For those who might travel to Barcelona…I mentioned that you can purchase your tickets for the big sites online. For Park Güell, I learned something after I got home (from someone else’s blog). It seems that they had gone without tickets and faced a two-hour line in the hot sun in order to get in. One of the guards told them that if they came back the next day they could get in for free between the hours of 6:00 to 8:00 a.m. They did that, and there were no other people around. Great pictures without tourists, unlike mine! oh, well…Park Güell was still fabulous. I love trencadís!.

Park Güell

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Casa Milà (La Pedrera)

Casa Milà is the building with no straight lines and roof vents and chimneys that look like they are out of a sci-fi thriller. Imagine this without the chain link, as it was originally…

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Gaudí framed his own Sagrada Familia through a parabolic arch (one of his favorite architectural devices)…

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Yes, there are more roofs in the future…watch this space, again…


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Roofs, chimneys, pinnacles, and spires…(part one)

Touring Barcelona includes roof walking. The genius Gaudí neglected nothing in his designs. Every detail was his to control, and he did. The roofs were well thought out to contribute to the function of the building as well as visually contributing to the joy and craftsmanship. I am not sure at the time who got to enjoy these roofs, but current tourists get an eyeful. Chain link fences and railings are newer additions so tourists don’t fall down the skylights. Sometimes I did shoot down toward the street but I really wasn’t in danger of joining the crowd below.

Just a note for future tourists of Barcelona: you can purchase tickets for the attractions on the internet even before you leave home. You can print the tickets out and then you do not have to wait in the long lines to get in the structures. (This does not mean there will not be lots of other tourists around…it is very difficult to get photos that do not include strangers.)  If you do not want to plan that far ahead, and if you have wifi where you are staying, you can also purchase the tickets the night before and take the copy of the ticket with you on your iPhone or device. At the door they read the bar code of the ticket and you jump the long line. Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, and Palau Güell have audio guides (Casa Batlló had the newest and best…it includes a small video screen so they show you antique photos and animations along with the narration.) We did not use the audio guides in other places, just enjoyed the experiences unfiltered…

Casa Batlló

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Sagrada Familia

Gaudí’s Cathedral, still being built. Two tickets required…one for the main church and one for the elevator up into a spire and then walking down a spiral staircase. This picture of the facade shows the spires, the elevator is inside on the right and then you walk the bridge behind the green tree of life sculpture (with white doves on it) and all the way down the staircase there are slits and small windows where you can see tops of towers and decorations.)

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Oh, yes, there will be many parts to this topic…watch this space!


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Iron, dos…

Currently, iron is my favorite medium that I saw in Barcelona, and, I swear, that will last as long as it takes me to process all of my trencadís (mosaic) photos, and all of my art museum photos, and all of my tapas photos…because…this was one swell trip and I liked everything. My only regret…just last month we had to rebuild the two balconies on our house when we found dry rot prior to painting. We rebuilt them with wood as they were, but, maybe, if I had seen Barcelona before the job had to be done, I would have gone in the direction that Gaudí and his collaborator, Josep Maria Jujol, went on Casa Milà (La Pedrera, which means the quarry referring to its massive stonework). The cold, hard material of metal gets a treatment that makes it look like flowing tendrils of ribbon and damp paper draped over a slump mold. Oh, to die for…

  
        

The inside…

  
            

Casa Milà is a constant curve inside and out. It was built between 1906 and 1910. It had neglected days during the 1940’s to 1980’s when the interior was painted totally tan but it has been restored and is very colorful on the inside with pigment pressed into concrete. This last stairwell is highly buffed and looks like leather.

Iron, back on the street…

  
          

It was difficult to take pictures of the full buildings because you could only back up the width of the two lane street and a side walk. A lot of my pictures, therefore are details or almost abstracts. This is Casa Calvert, Gaudì’s first apartment building (located one block from our apartment) and I wanted to compare its elements to Casa Botlló…but I could not get all the floors in one picture…

  
  

This was a dress shop in our neighborhood that was originally a farmacia…flowery iron, mosaic and stained glass…perfection!


Palau Güell…

  

Iron???


NO! Chocolate at the Chocolate Museum. Ha, ha, ha, I like that, too!


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Iron (part one)…

Some shots of my favorite material in Spain…

On balconies, everywhere…

   
 Light fixtures… 

    Houses by famous architects… 

               The view from under the umbrella outside our favorite breakfast spot: 

 Iron is a way of life in Barcelona… 

           and in Girona where they have a bridge by Eiffel, the Pont de Ferro 

   Park Güell… 

               

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