Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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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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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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Success at last…

Many times in these posts I have mentioned visiting the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. In particular, the butterflies have held my interest. Last week we made a swift visit and had a few moments to see them again because I am always in hope of capturing a photo of the Blue Morpho. I have been successful with birds…

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Other butterflies…

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The Blue Morpho closed up…

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But usually it is…

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I was in despair until there was one quick moment this time (thanks Terry for spotting it)…

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At long last, success!!


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The Rock, the Gulls, and Fish from the Sea…

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We spent January’s MLK Weekend at the Morro Bay Bird Festival. We used to be faithful participants, but for the last two years we had not attended. This year we registered early, got all the workshops we wanted, and were set to enjoy beautiful weather (in the 70’s and clear as a bell…January, no less!). Friday we arrived in time for Terry’s 3:00 workshop on identifying seagulls…the whole weekend he kept showing me his knowledge (evidently, they are tricky to identify because there are so many different kinds of them.) Then we enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Bay Cafe soaking in the old sights, the smell of the sea, and having the first of many meals featuring fish. Oh, and there was a sunset.

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The next morning, Terry was off early to a field trip looking for Golden Eagles (successful) and I strolled through Morro Bay’s commercial district (about three blocks of that). After lunch, I went to my workshop on drawing birds while Terry went kayaking on the bay.

I walked into the Natural History Museum for my class and the sky looked like this:

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Drew for a few hours…

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and when I came out four hours later, the sky had turned to this…

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What a place! The next morning, we were both up and on field trips by 7:45. I don’t know what Terry saw, but I birded with a group that went toward Turri Road and over to parts of Los Osos. The Central Coast was looking so good…

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I met my old friend, Kathy, who lives in Atascadero, for lunch and we drove up to Cayucos for some fabulous salmon tacos. Couldn’t walk on the pier, though, as it is under construction.

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Ahh, the hours I spent on that beach in my youth… That evening we ate at The Galley (more fish) and had another spectacular sunset to enjoy…

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This is the Townsend’s Warbler that I drew in my class and the block print I made from it when I got home…

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I definitely would not mind looking at that kind of sky every day…


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Prisoner of Alcatraz…

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Wednesday morning, 8:00 a.m., we left for San Francisco so we could catch  a 10:00 a.m. ferry to Alcatraz Island.

When I think back on this year since last October, it has been a year filled with more ferries, water taxis, vaporettos, and water conveyances than all of my sixty-six years before that. Last October it started in Venice and went to Lake Maggiore in July. Now it has come to San Francisco Bay (actually twice this year, because we took a ferry to a San Francisco Giants game in August…Go Giants, by the way!). At 8:00 in the morning, traffic is a bear, but since it was Wednesday and not in the summer, parking was easy and directly across the street. Plus, the island did not get very crowded during our time on the rock. As we proceeded on our cruise we certainly hoped that Alcatraz would not have us licked.

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It was a beautiful day with great views of the Bay Bridge on the way over to the island.

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Our approach to the dock included water towers, guard towers, and a view of the prison…

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This island is frequented by many bird varieties…

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The Officer’s Club has deteriorated but makes for some interesting photographs…

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The Quartermaster Warehouse and the power plant…

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Apartments for the guards…

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The Warden’s residence next to the prison and lighthouse viewed from the Parade Grounds…

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The water tower still has remnants of the American Indian Occupation…

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A great view of the Golden Gate with Hawk Hill on the right, across the Bay…

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The San Francisco skyline…

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We toured the cell block and that put us on a higher level to get closer views of the Warden’s Residence and the lighthouse…

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We walked through the exercise yard and were impressed with the view the guards must have had while they supervised…

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We wandered back to the dock through the Agave Trail and had our picnic before boarding the ferry to go back to the city.

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We were allowed to escape from Alcatraz…

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There was a model at the ferry landing of what Alcatraz looked like before the buildings started to crumble…

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