The bags are getting packed and the travel journal is ready for use. First stop will be Bacharach on the Rhine. Already inserted are copies of postcards of Lorelai and the painting by JMW Turner of the Lorelai cliff on the Rhine is a centerfold. Turner popularized this area with British tourists by painting and sketching it.
I also included a photo of the placemat from a German restaurant in Berkeley.
The next segment of the trip will be Leiden, the Netherlands.
The ephemera I found on Etsy:
I will be looking for images in the Rijksmuseum by Charley Toorop, a Dutch painter who lived from 1891-1955. I was struck by her style.
While in Leiden we will take a side trip to Bruges…
We set off in search of Dumbarten Oaks but before we got there came across the garden at the Tudor Place on 31st Street NW. Originally opened by a granddaughter of Martha Washington. We only had time for walking the gardens rather than the guided tour of the house, but in between showers, it was beautiful. The house was built in 1815 and includes 5 1/2 acres of land. It remained in the hands of the same family until 1983. The plants are being accessioned into the museum holdings as a living collection. I loved the outdoor rooms (walked through but couldn’t sit down because everything was wet. Here are some highlights:
A gate like that would be welcoming…
The store had fascinators so you can outfit yourself for a royal wedding!
Old trees, formal beds…
Places to sit (they recently lost all their fish in the ponds because they do not know how to hide). Along with the formal parts there is also a dell
Love the boy and his dolphin…
My favorite plants…
And historic restored cold frames to grow them…
It was a beautiful stroll through history (I have a feeling I am going to be saying that a lot this week.
While walking through the Castel Sant’Angelo we came across a newel post covered with carved bees. I thought it was charming in its weathered way.
The symbol of the bee related to the family Barberini (they had changed it from an earlier symbol of a horsefly) and a few days later we visited their Palazzo which is now the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica. This is a building worked on by three different architects, Bernini, Borromini, and Maderno. Bees were everywhere. Picasso was also everywhere on this trip…we saw three different exhibits of his work (more on that in another post.)
In preparation for our trip to Rome, we researched blogs that might give us hints on how to navigate the “big city”. We found Parla’s Rome and also got Katie Parla’s app that recommends restaurants for our phones. On one of our first days here we stopped for lunch at one of her suggested restaurants in the Ghetto.
We had been visiting the museum and Temple and then she walked in the restaurant. We knew what she looked like because we had watched a podcast she did after recently visiting the headquarters of Google to give a talk on Roman food. this day, Terry started gesturing and saying to me “There she is!” He was kind of animated (if you know him that is kind of unusual…) She came over and said “hi” to us and then after lunch I asked her for a picture. Highlight!
Evidently, Anthony Bourdain likes the restaurant, too. Look up Nonna Betta if you are ever there.
I am a Pete Souza groupie, too. He has an Instagram feed that I follow. He is not only a terrific photographer, but he has a sense of humor that makes me laugh out loud some days. He has been official photographer to two Presidents and a photojournalist. He also shares his knowledge often explaining the type of camera, lens, and processing he uses. Last week he mentioned that he shot a beautiful picture he posted of a desert chollo cactus. He said it was taken with an iPhone 8+ using a filter (vivid warm). I had no idea you could shoot with filters with an iPhone and even though I only have a 7, I made a mental note to try it sometime. So there I was standing in front of the Roman Coliseum as the sun set and I finally remembered to give it a try.
Pete Souza is also a friend of Brandi Carlile and I am definitely a groupie of hers! Sometimes he posts pictures of her, too. It is nice to know that is is never too late to be a groupie. Don’t know why I waited until now.
On the bottom floor of the Palace of Fine Arts Legion of Honor, next to the cafe, is a small gallery/room that contains some treasures. Each visit I make I am sure to pop in to see what is on display. Something always catches my imagination and blows my creative juices into the air. Last Thursday’s visit did not disappoint because the small gallery of Illustrated Books was focusing on “Inspired Alphabets”.
I walked into the room and was caught by the word circus…then lithography…if you have read this blog for a while you will recognize some of my favorite themes…
Then there was this fabulous collage book with collaged lettering…
And who knew Claes Oldenburg envisioned buildings and cities made from letters…
There is much to be said for the small book that can be held in one hand…with the power of the fold…
The letters themselves creating abstract art…and the overprint…
The Dada Movement…
Lifted by my interaction with the typography, I got home to a new visual journal I had under construction and had found the way I wanted to create the title page…
Onward and upward…my souvenir of the day was an idea…
Thursday we visited the Palace of the Legion of Honor to see their “Monet, The Early Years” show.
When we started from home it was a drizzle and it stayed that way all across the city.
When we got to the museum there was no parking except miles and miles down the road. Two positives from that were adding multiple steps to our Fitbits and we were so far down the road we got the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge, ever.
The museum was more crowded than I had ever seen, so my pictures were hard to get. I was dodging around stationary people listening to handsets. Later we found out that it was a free day for KQED members. Oh, and it was Spring Break so there were lots of kids around. A sampling of the art when he was young:
Fishing Boats, 1866
A Hut at Sainte-Adresse, 1867
The Seine at Bougival, 1869
The Porte d’Amont, Etretat, ca. 1868-69
Still life with Flowers and Fruit, 1869
Camille on the Beach, 1870.
The Pont Neufchâtel in Paris, 1871
Still Life with Melon, 1872
The Port at Argenteuil, 1872
Regatta at Argenteuil, 1872
The last one really shows him developing into Impressionism. The reflections on the water are delicious.
After wending our way through the legion of crowds, we drove over to Land’s End for lunch at the Cliff House. Didn’t get a table by the window, but that was ok, we got popovers…
Very happy that we made it home without a traffic jam and before a very big storm.
Yesterday I was motivated to work on mixing my own watercolors. The stars were aligned and I finally had all the supplies I needed. What had delayed me was not having watercolor half-pans to store the finished mixes in, but the last time I ordered a book from Amazon I remembered to order the little, white pans.
On our travels I had collected dry pigments as souvenirs. The first time was when we visited Roussillon in Provence back in 2013. (This may have been what spurred me on, also: we are taking an OLLI class through CAL—six weeks of talking and reading about Provence. It is bringing back lots and lots of memories.) In the Fall of 2015 when we were in Venice I visited a store that, among other things, carried pigments.
The red cliffs around Roussillon
My paint! The larger bottles are the pigment from Venice. (No, I did not have to carry those jars in my suitcase. They came in plastics bags and I put them in the jars from The Container Store after I got home.) The small vials are from Roussillon. The pigments are mixed with gum arabic and a bit of honey on a sheet of glass. Always wear a mask because the pigment in powder form is bad for your lungs. My only trouble now is I have already used up all the available half-pans so have to get more. Did not even get to experiment with my yellows and reds, yet…
“To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go”…Mary Oliver
A few months ago my stirling husband became so disgusted at the way our old iPad was working (as in slow and not responding) he decided to upgrade the device. His solution was to buy me a new one so he could remove all the photography apps from the old one. His goal was not to have them interfere with his reading and playing Sudoku. It worked for him and worked for me because I now have a new iPad Pro and Apple pencil. I have been blissfully happy trying to improve my skills. Here are my first excursions into the world of the Procreate App. What I liked about the process was taking photos from events years ago and reusing them. It was like I had a secret memory embedded in the images.
This was the oldest image that I took when I first retired. We were on a road trip and stopped to visit my lovely niece in Eugene, Oregon and she took us over to the Cascades Raptor Center. They have a beautiful Eurasian Eagle Owl and in my new version he got a new collaged background.
This image was from our last trip to Venice. It is a lesser known dome taken as we passed by on the vaporetto.
This was an altered image from a museum visit combined with some embroidery by an outsider artist that I took the first time I visited the Biennale in Venice. The peacock I photographed during my 50th high school reunion two years ago that took place at the Arcadia Arboretum. It was a challenge to get all the elements to fit but I learned a lot at I worked on it.
Of course, an image from Morro Bay and some lowly old pigeons…
An animatronic toy from a toy museum in a castle near Stresa, Italy.
I was trying hard to learn how to use the Procreate App with its amazing abilities. I am a long way from mastering it but totally enjoying the process of trying. Other apps used in these images are Brushstroke App, Repix App, and Over App (for letters).