Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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Basics…

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.

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Roussillon

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The red cliffs around Roussillon

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Venice

colors

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…


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Published!

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Creative Legacy

I have subscribed to a magazine for a few years that tickles my fancy when it comes to creating. The magazine is called Uppercase and is published in Canada. One woman, Janine Vangool, is the publisher, editor, and designer and it is published for the “creative and curious”. Showcasing artists and crafts she periodically puts out a call for submissions on different topics, so when she asked for articles on the impact of growing up in a family where you were surrounded by art I could not resist a submission. It was my good fortune to have it accepted for publication. My article joined others exploring how creativity is passed down from generation to generation and how making is part of our heritage. (I think maybe being published had been on my bucket list…so, cross that one off! ) It certainly was a thrill the day the postman delivered my copy.

Here is the article with two lithographs by my father illustrating the text. Now I get to say if you want a subscription to this magazine, published four times a year, by using the code “summer30” you can receive $15.00 off for the year subscription. You could also purchase a single issue (# 30) here: http://shop.uppercasemagazine.com/collections/current-issue 

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And the fun rolls on…

Second day into the new year and the fun just keeps happening…Saturday morning trip through San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge and to Sausalito for tile samples at Heath (planning a new backsplash). Got finished so quickly at the factory store that there was a lovely hour for wandering the bay side harbor. Brisk, but beautiful, on the second day of the year…the sky was particularly lovely this day, what with all its pelicans and all…

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Treasure Island and the San Francisco skyline from across the Bay…

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A spit just covered with pelicans and cormorants…

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Then to lunch on the theme of Italy, once again…which reminds me I need to revisit my photos from our trip to Italy in September/October to continue the story…

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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…