Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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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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