Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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Bees…

While walking through the Castel Sant’Angelo we came across a newel post covered with carved bees. I thought it was charming in its weathered way.

The symbol of the bee related to the family Barberini (they had changed it from an earlier symbol of a horsefly) and a few days later we visited their Palazzo which is now the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica. This is a building worked on by three different architects, Bernini, Borromini, and Maderno. Bees were everywhere. Picasso was also everywhere on this trip…we saw three different exhibits of his work (more on that in another post.)

Bees on the top of the fountain…

On the ceilings…

Around niches for sculptures…

In nooks and crannies…

I loved this central staircase by Bernini…

Images from the grounds…


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Being a groupie…

In preparation for our trip to Rome, we researched blogs that might give us hints on how to navigate the “big city”. We found Parla’s Rome and also got Katie Parla’s app that recommends restaurants for our phones. On one of our first days here we stopped for lunch at one of her suggested restaurants in the Ghetto.

We had been visiting the museum and Temple and then she walked in the restaurant. We knew what she looked like because we had watched a podcast she did after recently visiting the headquarters of Google to give a talk on Roman food. this day, Terry started gesturing and saying to me “There she is!” He was kind of animated (if you know him that is kind of unusual…) She came over and said “hi” to us and then after lunch I asked her for a picture. Highlight!

Evidently, Anthony Bourdain likes the restaurant, too. Look up Nonna Betta if you are ever there.

I am a Pete Souza groupie, too. He has an Instagram feed that I follow. He is not only a terrific photographer, but he has a sense of humor that makes me laugh out loud some days. He has been official photographer to two Presidents and a photojournalist. He also shares his knowledge often explaining the type of camera, lens, and processing he uses. Last week he mentioned that he shot a beautiful picture he posted of a desert chollo cactus. He said it was taken with an iPhone 8+ using a filter (vivid warm). I had no idea you could shoot with filters with an iPhone and even though I only have a 7, I made a mental note to try it sometime. So there I was standing in front of the Roman Coliseum as the sun set and I finally remembered to give it a try.

Pete Souza is also a friend of Brandi Carlile and I am definitely a groupie of hers! Sometimes he posts pictures of her, too. It is nice to know that is is never too late to be a groupie. Don’t know why I waited until now.


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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…

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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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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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…