Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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Typography as art…

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”.

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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…


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Then there was this fabulous collage book with collaged lettering…



More lithography…





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…

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Onward and upward…my souvenir of the day was an idea…


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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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Report from the field…

Anniversary dinner a success…

Not only a stroll through San Francisco but a very good approximation of tapas in Barcelona.

The restaurant…

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is located a half block from the Trans-America Pyramid…

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and the food was like this…

Pinxtos

Pintxos

Jambon and the bread!

Jamón and the bread with tomato!

Kale salad and pepitos

Kale salad and pepitas

Patato Bravo

Patatas Bravas

Shrimp with preserved lemon

Shrimp with preserved lemon

Espresso flan with salted caramel

Espresso flan with salted caramel

Goat cheese

Goat cheese custard

The walk back to BART was not too shabby either what with strolling through the Embarcadero Center…nice night!

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Now, we work on the next forty-one!


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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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Looking back, looking forward…

Even though my middle name was chaos these last few weeks, I was able to make an iMovie compilation of my year in pictures. When I got it together, I was struck by how many birds there were because of all our field trips. It turned out I even forgot to take pictures of my classmates at my high school reunion…just got the peacock strolling the grounds. I am glad I took the time to do this movie because, except for a sad thing near the end, it was a very good year. Although I am a little belated, Happy New Year to you and may your 2015 be stellar!!

Don’t forget you can watch the movie full-screen by clicking the small box on the lower right hand corner…


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Prisoner Ai Weiwei…

The art that drew us to Alcatraz…an exhibition of the work of the Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei.IMG_7860

From the catalog: “At first blush, @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz, a major exhibition that pairs a politically charged Chinese contemporary artist with a landmark American national park, seems just as incongruous. Ai, a superstar in the international art world who helped design the “Bird’s Nest” stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is currently forbidden by the authorities to leave China. Alcatraz—over the years the site of a Civil War-era fortress, a military prison, a notorious federal penitentiary, and a momentous Native American rights protest—is now a popular national park site and refuge for waterbirds. But it is exactly the pairing’s intrinsic conditions of contradiction that bring the two parts together-and make for the possibility of soul-stirring art.”

After arriving at the dock, we walked up to the New Industries Building which was originally a laundry and manufacturing facility.

“Both delicate and fearsome, the traditional Chinese dragon kite embodies a mythical symbol of power. Ai Weiwei unfurls a spectacular contemporary version of this age-old art form inside the New Industries Building: a sculptural installation with an enormous dragon’s head and a body made up of smaller kites. The sparrow-shaped and hexagonal kites scattered throughout the room feature stylized renderings of birds and flowers—natural forms that allude to a stark human reality: many are symbols of nations with serious records of restricting their citizens’ rights and civil liberties. The work references some thirty countries, including Cameroon, China, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Uzbekistan.

…By confining the work inside a building once used for prison labor, the artist suggests powerful contradictions between freedom and restriction, creativity and repression, cultural pride and national shame. He also offers a poetic response to the multi-layered nature of Alcatraz as a former penitentiary that is now an important bird habitat and a site of thriving gardens.”

With Wind (Installation, 2014. Handmade kites made of paper, silk, and bamboo)

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Somebody I know was looking for birds out those windows and admiring the view to the Golden Gate…

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In the next large room:

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Trace (Installation, 2014. LEGO plastic building blocks)

“The viewer is confronted with a field of colorful images laid out flat across the expansive floor: portraits of over 170 people from around the world who have been imprisoned or exiled due to their beliefs or affiliations, most of whom were still incarcerated as of June 2014.”

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“From the New Industries Building’s lower gun gallery, where armed guards once monitored prisoners at work, visitors peer through cracked and rusted windows to glimpse an enormous, multifaceted metal wing on the floor below. Its design is based on close observation of the structure of real bird’s wings, but in place of feathers, the artwork bristles with reflective metal panels originally used on Tibetan solar cookers…this piece uses imagery of flight to evoke the tension between freedom—be it physical, political, or creative—and confinement.

Refraction (Installation, 2014. Tibetan solar panels, steel)

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We walked through lush gardens up to the Cellhouse.

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Inside was Blossom (Installation, 2014, Porcelain, hospital fixtures)

Fixtures in hospital ward cells and medical offices are transformed into fantastical, fragile porcelain bouquets.

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There were other parts to the exhibit inside but it was time for use to go look for birds in earnest…

Now I have run out of episodes with titles I can use the word “prisoner” in, so now I must bring this chapter to a close…


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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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