Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…

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Garden and Glass, part one…

After walking past the wonderful Gehry building in Seattle, we came to the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit.


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Walking in, you enter into a series of galleries that contain Chihuly’s early work.


His series that referenced Native American baskets…

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All together there are eight galleries and two drawing walls that give a comprehensive collection of his work.

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Textures made when the glass was expanded creating fissures in the gold leaf on its surface…and the drawings he makes before starting a piece…


Some works are monumental…

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and some are on the ceiling like a skylight…


throwing their reflections against the wall…


The galleries are totally black with the glass work sitting on black pedestals. The colors glow from small spotlights. The only processing I did of my pictures was to retouch the tiny white rows of lights. The color is all Chihuly. If I lived in Seattle and was prone to depression because of lack of light, I would make my way here as often as possible to give my mental health a boost. I muttered reverentially the word “color’ as I walked through these rooms and have thought about the vibrancy of the experience continually since I have been home.

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The shiny pedestals also make for interesting reflections…

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The first picture wall with the works in Golden acrylic paint and lots of iridescent powders…(love that squirt bottle he uses)…

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The chandeliers he made for over Venice canals…

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The last of the galleries had his       series…I will let him speak for himself…


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Oh, yum…part two will be the garden and glasshouse…

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Three-bridge day…

Last Tuesday was a three-bridge day as we traveled over to Corte Madera for a retirement party for TM’s boss. He wanted to take the route through San Francisco and then come back by the Richmond Bridge. I got a new app, so the pictures got its treatment (except for the cake…had to show that it in natural form because it was so delish…
Over the Bay Bridge…

On to the Golden Gate…


To the garden and house-with-a-view…


(That is a view of San Quentin and the Richmond Bridge.)
The garden was a riot of roses and other beautifully blooming plants…












I was having myself some Georgia O’Keeffe moments while the staff (most of whom had been with the boss for twenty-five years) ate cake…


That would be mango mousse and chocolate something…I do admit I had a little of each…had to mark the end of the quarter century with the rest of them…and then home over the third bridge…

I used Vintage Photo App…lots of nice layers and textures.

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Walking shoes…

During my last years of teaching, I developed a loyalty to comfortable shoes and bought my first pair of Merrell. A lovely dark grey shoe with blue trim. They did a good job of mitigating foot pain and developed a used patina that included drops of paint from many projects. By the time I retired and started traveling, I had purchased a second pair (with chartreuse trim) that was developing its own patina to go with  comfortableness. I took them on our trip to Florance and Tuscany and they did not fail me on the cobblestones of Italy. The glitch was that I had not learned, yet, that it is not wise to purchase books in museum stores and when it came time to pack the suitcases to come home I made the dreadful decision to leave them behind so that everything else could fit. Broke my heart to give up that chartreuse, but I knew that I had the blue trimmed pair at home.

As we left for Provence, I put the blue trimmed shoes into the suitcase as the backup shoes for foot fatigue. They did their duty well. As we packed at the end of the trip, however, it became clear that although there were no books to pack there were lavender soaps and lotions as well as nougats from the candy factory down the road at St. Didier. The shoes were not going to make it back to the United States. So there was a short ceremony as they were put into the garbage can near Le Beaucet. Almost like burying a Jackson Pollock painting. RIP great friends, I appreciate your support all these years. View from the trash cans toward Le Beaucet:


Purchased new ones once I got home:


Same brand, new color…wait for it…”elephant, with pink trim”. If you know me you will know why the name swayed my choice…if you don’t, scroll to the bottom and put the word elephant in my “search” engine!

My shoes are my passport to adventure!


New app: Etchings.


Traveling pants…

Since I have been retired, (almost four years now), when we have taken a trip I have tried to keep a travel journal. The luxury of having the time to journal after the years of working was unique, but I have found that I am not that adept at journaling as the events happen and I usually do most of the work after I return home.

Our first trip a.r. (after retirement) was a road trip to Canada. After taking a Mary Ann Moss class I had my soft, fabric journal with sewn together pages and pockets. I did a wee bit of writing and including ephemera accumulated along the way but really needed to get my pictures printed at home in order to wrap that one up.

IMG_9955IMG_9951IMG_9952This journal has pages that are 6 x 9.

Then we went to Florence and Tuscany. The journal grew to 9 x 9 1/2 but still had the same construction. This trip I realized that even though I had many supplies with me traveling with TM meant constant walking all day. Other than falling into bed exhausted at night there was really no time for journaling and most of it was accomplished once I was home.

IMG_9953IMG_9954The next spring it was Paris and the night before as we packed our suitcases, memories of us squatting on the floor of the Florence airport, repacking our suitcases three times in order to fly home caused me to impulsively leave the journal and supplies at home. It was a giant-sized journal,  9 x 9,  and had eight signatures. After I began to work on it I realized I might have room to put our second trip to Paris in the same journal but it kept getting wider and wider, and fatter and fatter the more I added to it and eventually I decided to remove three signatures and create a new book for the second trip. (That has not happened yet.)

IMG_9957IMG_9956IMG_9958IMG_9960 IMG_9961IMG_9962Then I took Mary Ann Moss’s “Ticket to Venice” class and made a most beautiful journal. I made a lot of mistakes, however, including that it is big,  10 1/2  x 10 1/2, and, thinking I was hot stuff, I grabbed some book cloth I had sitting around for ten years. Did not think it through, though. It is silk and although beautiful, any drop of errant glue discolors the fabric and it frays and the corners were a disaster. Hence silver tape from the hardware store hides the ugliness.

I did learn, however, that my absolutely favorite book tape is that which I make myself, in this case painted and stenciled canvas. Plus this may be my favorite binding stitch of all time. But the book itself sits empty except for its gorgeous pages. Some pages are from the Anthropologie catalogue, some file folders, some random papers just sitting around this house.

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By then I was quite frustrated, but for our trip to Portland in March, I forced myself to make it small  (6 x 8) and as background pages I used photographs I had taken of a trip to the same place two years earlier. Simple and to the point and I got the book done a week after I got back, hmmm…plus it was only four days of a trip.

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Our next trip is looming and over the last few weeks I have visited a few blogs of watercolorists. I enjoyed reading Jaqueline Newbold’s discussion of her colors on her palatte (she has a kit at Daniel Smith) and seeing the way she divides up the pages in her sketchbook. Also, while doing a blog hop because Chris Cozen has new stencils available I came across Jane LaFazio’s blog. She had some  unique ways of treating her sketchbook pages. I am jumping in…an Arches watercolor sketchbook and a pallete of paints. Division of the page using washi tape:

IMG_9988 IMG_9989Jane LaFazio’s suggestion was to use spray gesso over stencils and then paint multiple layers of watercolor on top. I had no spray gesso and don’t have Chris’s stencils yet, so I decided to use some white acrylic paint with EZScreen silkscreens I already had made. (From my photographs I exposed the screen with sunlight and then it gets developed with tap water…look, ma, no yucky things to have around!) Then I thought about how my gesso has been sitting around so long a lot of the water probably has evaporated away and went ahead and used it anyway. Worked great!

IMG_9983 IMG_9984 IMG_9985 IMG_9986 IMG_9987So, we have our traveling pants on (my favorite are Royal Robbins…light weight, wash in the sink, dry by morning, shake out the wrinkles); the pages are prepped; the cover is done;

IMG_9993We will be on our way to:


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Domino effect…

TM, because his Civic Hybrid was upwards of ten years old, was thinking of getting a new car. On the one hand: after our trip to Tuscany there had been a period where he made sound effects when driving and he kept looking at the ads for Fiat Abarths in the paper. On the other hand: he wanted to continue on the road of Hybrids but maybe a step further. All this to commemorate that he had qualified for Social Security.

First, test drives through the Berkeley Hills with the Turbo engined Fiat,  then test drives through San Francisco with the Fit EV. The environmentally conscious part of his brain won out so now we have a totally electric vehicle. And a charging station in the garage…

IMG_9261The Fit EV only comes in blue, cannot be bought at this point (has to be leased), and goes about 100 miles before needing a charge. Since there are two of us we can keep my hybrid if we want to go further without having to stop for a charge.

Of course while reading the owners manual he discovered that there is an iPhone app that you really need, but because he only uses the iPhone 3 that his job gave him it would not work. I had upgraded from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 4s a year ago and the 4 was sitting around doing nothing until he really totally retires and has to give the 3 back to the State. But now, there was total pressure from him to go activate the 4 so he could  use it with his new car.

The long story short, we walked out of the phone store, me with an iPhone 5 and him with my old iPhone 4s. So the 4 is still sitting around, but…he can remotely set his car to charge in the middle of the night when the rates are lower, he can remotely tell the car to get the climate control going before he gets there, and best of all the car sends him emails that it is completely charged! You should see the satisfied smile of a man that can talk to his car! (and get a response.) Of course having a new iPhone5 caused me to get a new app for the iPad. It is called Softbox and its purpose is turn the iPad into a lighting source for photos. It makes a completely blank screen that casts a light to what you want to photograph. Some examples, using Hipstamatic on the iPhone:

IMG_9440photoThis is just to say that on our visit to Portland a few weeks ago our favorite exhibit at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) was an illustration of research that conclusively shows that longevity in rats is correlated to diet, friends, and toys. We are just wanting to do our part for the toys. Who ever thought that we would live long enough to have a car that sends us emails? We’ve had the car for two weeks and are very happy but wouldn’t you know, last week TM found an article that said that in order to stay in the California market Fiat will be introducing an all-electric Fiat this month. Don’t think we would have gone for it though even if we had known…

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Year end review…

Personally, my favorites are any entries from Italy or France. I hope for you that your knees stay strong and they walk you to your favorite places this year. Happy New Year and have a wonderful 2013!


Silver Bracelet…

I spend my days with my black pup. When she was young and could really be classed as a puppy, I found a silver bracelet that says, “Life should be as good as your dog makes you feel.”



She follows me everywhere in hopes of dropped crumbs or anticipation of earning a treat. She monitors my path in the house hoping I am moving toward the kitchen.
A sound outside will necessitate a patrol of the perimeter of the property. With nose skyward, so the sound carries to threatening ears, the rapid and loud barking clears the area of cats, deer, and other two and four legged creatures.
Safe, she keeps me safe, my constant, hard working companion.
My retirement days are based on her time clock. Up at dawn for breakfast; morning walk; when is dinner? MY rules or you will be pestered until you succumb. Sentry duty until someone returns home. Everything safe and secure and it only costs one cookie-treat. Her eyes say, “You can’t possibly like that cat better than me. I am more loyal.”
Friend, partner…and life is good, together. She gets greyer and I get greyer. Both of us get more hard of hearing. We won’t lose our voices, though, her barking while I paint. Onward…
Life IS as good as my dog makes me feel…