Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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Iron, dos…

Currently, iron is my favorite medium that I saw in Barcelona, and, I swear, that will last as long as it takes me to process all of my trencadís (mosaic) photos, and all of my art museum photos, and all of my tapas photos…because…this was one swell trip and I liked everything. My only regret…just last month we had to rebuild the two balconies on our house when we found dry rot prior to painting. We rebuilt them with wood as they were, but, maybe, if I had seen Barcelona before the job had to be done, I would have gone in the direction that Gaudí and his collaborator, Josep Maria Jujol, went on Casa Milà (La Pedrera, which means the quarry referring to its massive stonework). The cold, hard material of metal gets a treatment that makes it look like flowing tendrils of ribbon and damp paper draped over a slump mold. Oh, to die for…

  
        

The inside…

  
            

Casa Milà is a constant curve inside and out. It was built between 1906 and 1910. It had neglected days during the 1940’s to 1980’s when the interior was painted totally tan but it has been restored and is very colorful on the inside with pigment pressed into concrete. This last stairwell is highly buffed and looks like leather.

Iron, back on the street…

  
          

It was difficult to take pictures of the full buildings because you could only back up the width of the two lane street and a side walk. A lot of my pictures, therefore are details or almost abstracts. This is Casa Calvert, Gaudì’s first apartment building (located one block from our apartment) and I wanted to compare its elements to Casa Botlló…but I could not get all the floors in one picture…

  
  

This was a dress shop in our neighborhood that was originally a farmacia…flowery iron, mosaic and stained glass…perfection!


Palau Güell…

  

Iron???


NO! Chocolate at the Chocolate Museum. Ha, ha, ha, I like that, too!


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Notes from a wanderer…

#1…On my bucket list: learn how to create wrought iron railings…I could really make use of this skill…

  
#2…a town with a chocolate museum is my kind of town…especially when the hot chocolate holds up its own spoon…

   
 

#3…averaging 15,000 Fitbit steps a day, but did not notice until I went up here (at the Sagrada Familia)

  
and the only way down was this…

  
then my knees started to feel it all…

#4…I’ve seen a few Arcs in my day, but the one in Barcelona is quite special when you discover it in the rain at dusk…

  
#5…will Vuitton give me his tempered glass to take home to make mosaics with?

  
#6…get the app “Spotted by Locals” (it’s free and then you pay for the city you want to use). First time we used it we hit a home run. We were two blocks away from La Fermata…pizza by the slice paid for by weight…maybe the best pizza ever… 

 

#7…rain is good and keep your flags flying high…

   
 


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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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A walk with Priime…

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Took a morning walk with a new iPhone app I had just purchased. It is called Priime and it is free, but, of course, if want the full complement of filters and lenses, you would have to purchase them once you are in the app.  I liked what it did, so I did.

Here is a discussion of how the app works, in case you are interested: http://iphonephotographyschool.com/priime-app/

Our walk had a particularly nice sunrise…

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and I discovered that my neighborhood school has an answer to the “love-lock bridges” of Paris which are being crumbled by the weight of all the locks.

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Looks to me to be ceramic hearts by first graders…oh, the love…

I also used Priime on some new things in my garden…my new Meyer Lemon…

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and more colors of Douglas Iris that are popping out…

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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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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.

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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…

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Some works are monumental…

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and some are on the ceiling like a skylight…

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throwing their reflections against the wall…

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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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Variations on a shingle…

Last month we spent a weekend in Seattle to celebrate many family occasions that happen in the month of August. (Two birthdays and three anniversaries all on Terry’s side of the family.) While we were there we had a lovely day seeing the Space Needle (Terry had never been up in it, although I had been there in 1962 during the World’s Fair.) An added bonus is that right next to the needle Dale Chihuly’s Garden and Glass museum is located. (There is a great senior citizen discount if you buy a combo ticket for both!) As we were walking to buy our tickets we also passed another amazing building and when I got home I found it was a Frank Gehry building housing the EMP Museum. ( Think: the Guggenheim in Spain and the Disney Concert Hall in L.A. Same architect.) EMP stands for Experience Music Project. The old monorail built for the World’s Fair goes right through the center. We did not have time to see inside, but I did enjoy the surface outside. What a feast for the eyes!

From their website:

“EMP is a leading-edge, nonprofit museum, dedicated to the ideas and risk-taking that fuel contemporary popular culture. With its roots in rock ‘n’ roll, EMP serves as a gateway museum, reaching multigenerational audiences through our collections, exhibitions, and educational programs, using interactive technologies to engage and empower our visitors. At EMP, artists, audiences and ideas converge, bringing understanding, interpretation, and scholarship to the popular culture of our time.

 EMP’s futuristic Frank O. Gehry designed building is constructed of over 21,000 aluminum and stainless steel shingles and 280 steel ribs. If its 400 tons of structural steel were stretched into the lightest banjo string it would extend one-fourth of the way to Venus.

A classical music fan, Gehry wanted to understand rock ‘n’ roll, so he traded in his Bach for Hendrix and took a trip to the neighborhood guitar store. He bought several electric guitars, took them back to his office, and cut them into pieces. The guitar pieces were the building blocks for an early model design. Influenced by the colors in the early model, Gehry’s final design brightly displays the red and blue hues of electric guitars.”
I did love looking at this building…
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Once we were up in the Space Needle we could see down on the roof of the building.
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Next time, I would definitely include time to look inside Frank Gehry’s museum…