Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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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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Day trips from Barcelona…number one…

Girona

Girona, which is about 60 miles from Barcelona, is a short train trip away. It has an annual flower show in May. Our trip coincided with the last couple of days of the festival, and we decided to exercise our train skills and spend the Saturday in this picturesque town when it would be festooned with petals. The entire town has floral displays…shop window displays, entryways, nooks and crannies, empty vestibules…you name it they stick a flower in it…even the river has its displays. We wandered and wandered, up church steps, across cobblestones and bridges, peeking into entrances. It was a lovely day, but windy. Catalan flags (the election was a week away) were furiously flapping. After getting off the train we followed green stenciled foot prints on the sidewalk up to the old part of town, passing community created floral displays (kids art!) and gazing at the town from a picturesque bridge (one of many). The town even has a bridge built by Gustave Eiffel…in the famous color of the Golden Gate.

We started our morning in the train station…note: there are ham stores everywhere in Spain…

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This is Girona…

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A slide show of bridges, churches, flower displays and the highlights of the lovely town: (don’t forget to click the square in the lower right hand corner to play it full screen)

I know I said I would not post any more food pictures, but in Girona it was the only time we went to something as unusual (for us) as a gastrobar. So really I am compelled to share. (I have to admit that I have been known to watch the Food Network…you know, foam…)

The restaurant is called Bubbles…

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We started with Cava…

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Their “award-winning” tapa that included a poached egg, froie gras foam and thyme bread…

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This is coca bread, served and eaten at practically every meal in Catalona. Coca bread is spread with garlic, fresh tomato drizzled with olive oil, and lightly sprinkled with sea salt. So good!

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Croquettas, steak, flat bread with tuna, and quacamole…yes, we kept walking…trying to assuage our guilt…luckily, we had more of the city to see and it was a long way back to the train station for the trip home to BCN.

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Settling in…

We arrived in Barcelona last Wednesday  at 11:00 a.m. and immediately started to become acquainted with our new “home away from home”. It is quite impressive in my way of thinking. We are in the Eixample District of Barcelona which when it was laid out back in the 1800’s, was aligned in a gridded regular square system. The sidewalks are lined with multi-storied buildings most of which have multiple balconies (we have two) in wrought iron with ten feet tall shutters. 

   

You walk all the way through and find another balcony and a common open space for the block. 

     

Our front door details…

   
 

The square blocks have their corners lopped off so every time you come to an intersection it visually opens up and makes this very urban space human and accessible. A fabulous urban planner thought that up! Every block has a big beautiful intersection.

   
 

Thursday morning we explored our neighborhood and quickly walked past the Block of Discord. I got my first glimpse of Casa Botlló. We were on our to the University area for our Untours orientation (how to use the Metro, interesting day trips…)

 The local market:  
        

Lots of art nouveau building facades:

         

   
       

The University clock tower:

  
We met our group at a cafe in an interior courtyard with the most amazing wall decorations:

                

Friday we went through Casa Batlló: 
   
         

Oh, joy, oh, rapture! Then we met our Untours group for a tour of the Santa Catarina Market, olive oil tasting and a tapas lunch. 

   
       

Terry and I walked around the main cathedral on our way home… 

   

That was the only organized activity with Untours and now we are on our own…so Saturday we hopped the high speed train (201 km/hour) for a day-trip to Girona for their flower festival…

   
    
This is only the beginning…  


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From ceiling to floor…

Crocker Museum of Art

I would be remiss to not include some photos of the Crocker Mansion, the old portion of the Crocker Art Museum. Judge Edwin Crocker, a banker, served on the California Supreme Court and his younger brother was one of the “Big Four” that ran the Central Pacific Railroad. In 1885 the mansion and art collection of the Crocker’s was given to the City of Sacramento and the Museum Association of the State of California which makes it the oldest art museum west of the Mississppi.

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We left the museum and walked back to the train station passing the State Capitol building.

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Gazing at the California countryside through the train window as we returned home…

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Riding the rails, part two…

If you know me at all, you know that I have a soft spot in my heart for printmaking. After seeing the room with California faience tiles at the Crocker Museum of art, we walked to the gallery room next door and there was another wonderland! Multicolored block prints by an Arts and Crafts master.

William S. Rice came to California in the early 1900″s, originally to Stockton and then to Alameda and Oakland. He was a public school art teacher and art administrator for their school systems. He wrote two books, including Block Prints: How to Make Them and traveled through California making art before population influx had changed it. If you ever look at old Sunset Magazines, you might see his work on its covers.

From the Crocker Museum website:

Rice was a prolific painter of the California landscape but is today better known as a printmaker, one who authored two books on the process and executed every print himself. He applied the classic Japanese art of ukiyo-e (woodblock printing, or “pictures of the floating world”) to images of the West, where he moved in 1900. This exhibition brings to light many of the artist’s accomplishments, including several never-before-exhibited pieces capturing the California landscape before development.

The exhibit had many of his water colors but I was entranced by his block prints.

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In particular I enjoyed the demonstration of the multi-block nature of his printmaking work.

Lonerock-Santa Cruz

Lone Rock-Santa Cruz, c. 1935

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Progressive layers of the block printing process for Lone Rock-Santa Cruz

This demonstration of how he went from pencil sketch, to etching, to block print was masterful!

Leona Live Oaks pencil live study etching block print

Leona Live Oaks
pencil live study
etching
block print

The block prints themselves swept me away. (My apologies for the reflections on the surfaces, very hard to get away from that when there is excellent museum lighting on glass framed works.)

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The Lumberdock-San Francisco Bay c. 1917

The Lumberdock-San Francisco Bay
c. 1917

Pt. Lobos Cypress c.1925

Pt. Lobos Cypress
c.1925

Moonlight-Eucalypti c. 1920

Moonlight-Eucalypti
c. 1920

Carmel Pines c. 1920

Carmel Pines
c. 1920

Hollyhock Garden c.1925

Hollyhock Garden
c.1925

Blue Gums-Berkeley c. 1917

Blue Gums-Berkeley
c. 1917

Clear Lake c.

Clear Lake
c. 1920

Nuthatches and Iris c.1930

Nuthatches and Iris
c.1930

Source of the Glacier c. 1920

Source of the Glacier
c. 1920

Sierra Sunrise c. 1925

Sierra Sunrise
c. 1925

Mot-Mot Bird n.d.

Mot-Mot Bird
n.d.

Sleepyhead c.1930

Sleepyhead
c.1930

Parrot and Butterfly c. 1925

Parrot and Butterfly
c. 1925

Magnolia Grandiflora c. 1930

Magnolia Grandiflora
c. 1930

White Calla c.1925

White Calla
c.1925

Dessert Butter c. 1930

Dessert Butter
c. 1930

Mt. Diablo 1929

Mt. Diablo
1929

Dancing Pine c. 1925

Dancing Pine
c. 1925

Guardian of the Timberline c.1924

Guardian of the Timberline
c.1924

Ancient Oak-Mt. Hamilton c. 1918

Ancient Oak-Mt. Hamilton
c. 1918

 

 


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Riding the rails…

Recently, a group of women I drink coffee with each week decided to catch a train to Sacramento for a day trip visiting the Crocker Art Museum. Some of the group have been my friends since our kids were in early elementary school together and some are new friends, just since I retired and could actually partake in a weekly coffee klatch in the morning. What a luxury that is! One of the group moved to Sacramento and the rest of us decided to meet her for a tour of the Museum and lunch. So “the women who coffee” caught the train in Martinez. It is called the Capital Corridor and, for seniors, only costs $19.00 for a round trip. Takes an hour and is the best deal in town. Also, Toulouse-Lautrec was playing at the Crocker. Eleven of us hopped the train and enjoyed the rolling view.

Martinez Train Station

Martinez Train Station

Train View as we rolled along

California Train View, as we rolled along

Our tour guide met us at the station holding up a large sign so we would not miss her (just like the best of tour guides!)

Michelle Leong (Peet's is where we usually drink coffee)

Michelle Leong (Peet’s is where we usually drink coffee)

Then she led us down to the museum (only about a mile’s walk from the station…)

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The Museum is a combination of old and new…the original building donated by the Crocker’s and a new portion that expands the exhibit space, holds the restaurant and museum store, and has classrooms.

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The Toulouse exhibit did not allow photos but I visited with some of my old friends…

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Jade Beads Guy Rose c. 1907-1912

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Sacramento River Gregory Kondos 1981, oil on canvas

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Wayne Thiebaud

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Early California Artifact

Then we discovered two small gallery rooms that were fabulous. In the first, there was a display of the tile-makers art. In particular, early California faience art tiles and some Julia Morgan designed pressed tiles for the Hearst Castle bell tower. Heaven!

From the museum website:

William Bragdon was a ceramic engineer trained at Alfred University in New York. He moved to Berkeley in 1915 to teach at the California School of Arts and Crafts and shortly thereafter formed a partnership with his Alfred University classmate Chauncey Thomas, then running a Berkeley pottery studio. Together they created decorative tiles, vases, and sculpture, calling their wares California Faience. The most prestigious of the company’s projects came in the 1920s when architect Julia Morgan commissioned a complete environment of tiles for William Randolph Hearst’s palatial home and grounds in San Simeon.

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Showroom Display 1914-25 California Faience

Showroom Display
1914-25
California Faience

Display Panel 1922-23 Earthenware press molded

Display Panel
1922-23
Earthenware press molded

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Hearst Castle Bell Tower Julia Morgan design

Hearst Castle Bell Tower
Julia Morgan design

The Green Man

The Green Man

Julia Morgan's elevation drawing

Julia Morgan’s elevation drawing

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Snowflake and Daisy California Faience by Julia Morgan Winged Seahorse by Julia Morgan Spanish Tile 16th century

Snowflake and Daisy California Faience by Julia Morgan
Winged Seahorse by Julia Morgan
Spanish Tile 16th century

This exhibit will be there until May 17…the Crocker Museum website is here

My next post will be about the gallery in the next room and BLOCKPRINTS!


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Julia Morgan in the garden…

A few weeks ago, after reading this article in the SF Chronicle, we knew it was time to visit the UC Botanical Garden. Julia Morgan had designed a building on the campus that was a women’s social club in the beginning but then had other uses over the years. It needed to be moved out-of-the-way of construction projects. It had been cut in four pieces and trucked up the winding, narrow road to the garden. Eventually the structure will function as a wedding venue in the garden.

The bonus on our trip to see the Julia Morgan architecture was that at the time it held an art show of botanical art  displayed in the setting. (The only negative, which wasn’t really a negative, was that Julia Morgan had a way with light and it infused the spot. The day was very sunny and all the art was behind glass. I cropped my pictures  very close so that I could eliminate as many reflections as possible but I was not totally successful.) The interior is sheathed in redwood with a massive brick fireplace.

The new setting and the buildings’ details:

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I overheard a docent say that when the building had been jacked-up for the move, this fire-place screen, designed by Julia Morgan, had been found under the building. So it was restored for further use…

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The art:

Forest Floor Watercolor Betsy Rogers-Knox

Forest Floor
Watercolor
Betsy Rogers-Knox

American Mountain Ash Watercolor Sharron O'Neil

American Mountain Ash
Watercolor
Sharron O’Neil

Beautyberry Graphite on paper Maryann Roper

Beautyberry
Graphite on paper
Maryann Roper

Foxglove Colored pencil Rhonda Nass

Foxglove
Colored pencil
Rhonda Nass

Sassafras and Spicebush Swallowtail Watercolor Wendy Cortesi

Sassafras and Spicebush Swallowtail
Watercolor
Wendy Cortesi

Detail

Detail

Heuchera Watercolor Martha McClaren

Heuchera
Watercolor
Martha McClaren

Coneflower Watercolor, colored pencil Wendy Hollender

Coneflower
Watercolor, colored pencil
Wendy Hollender

Franklinia Capsules Watercolor Dick Rauh

Franklinia Capsules
Watercolor
Dick Rauh

Eastern Redbud Branch Oil on paper Ingrid Finnan

Eastern Redbud Branch
Oil on paper
Ingrid Finnan

Shooting Star Copper Etching Bobbi Angell

Shooting Star
Copper Etching
Bobbi Angell

Rat's Tail Watercolor Sally Petru

Rat’s Tail
Watercolor
Sally Petru

And this was by my friend:

Paddle Plant Watercolor Linda Kam

Paddle Plant
Watercolor
Linda Kam

Such excellent artists, beautiful plants, and a nice variety of techniques. We also walked the California Natives section and were treated to a Silk Tassel and a poppy…

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