Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…

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Zentrum Paul Klee…

Ponder two words: Renzo Piano

The Italian architect that designed…

#1. The Pompidou Center in Paris. (In collaboration with Richard Rogers.) I loved taking pictures of this building…

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However, I was not sure how much I liked the building itself, plopped down in the midst of the beauty of Paris and all of its formal architecture. My mind gave it a minus grade, most likely because it puts all its inner workings on the outside. (I am perfectly willing to take another trip to Paris to re-evaluate the situation, mind you!)

#2 The Academy of Sciences building in San Francisco. This building is one of my favorites from its living roof of California native plants down to its aquarium. It sits within the nature of Golden Gate Park and has a perfect view of the deYoung Museum. It houses multiple purposes (the planetarium, live penguins, a rainforest, as well as scientists doing their research and work). We visit here often and it gets a big plus from me.


#3 Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, Switzerland. Situated so it has an interplay with nature, this building by Piano knocked my socks off with its exuberance and swoop. It perfectly illustrates this quote from Paul Klee in 1902: ” Everywhere all I see is architecture, line rhythms, plane rhythms.” A very big plus from me. That makes it 2-1 in favor of Mr. Piano. (I am so presumptuous to think this matters!)

I linked to a full picture of the building because I did not actually take one of all three of the curves. It started to drizzle and I was balancing my umbrella on my shoulder and trying to hold my iPhone with two hands…if I had only known. At the time I had not made the connection that all three buildings had been designed by the same architect.

We left the bear pit after being unsuccessful in catching sight of the bears. This is the old pit that they sometimes still use, but they do have new digs with lots of vegetative cover and big fishing pools.


We hopped onto the #12 bus and rode it to its end at the Zentrum.

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This sculpture is taken from a line Paul Klee drew in one of his pieces of art…


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The lobby and cafe…


Most wonderful of wonderful…the lower area given over to allowing creativity to develop. A whole light-filled space for kids’ art. This building is about the interaction of nature and culture…I could feel it…

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The next post will be about the art in the exhibit rooms…

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Intimate Impressionism, two…

Continuing with the Intimate Impressionism works at the Legion of Honor…what can be better than butter?

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I think that would look good in my kitchen, eh, eh…next to my bowl of fruit…

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Where I would be getting my supplies together for my picnic out side in my garden…

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Which I would then paint with the magical tubes I kept in my paint spotted box…

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before moving inside to also paint my mantelpiece that held the flowers that I collected in the above mentioned garden…

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Then I would carry my paint box, with my small, intimate canvases stuck under my arm, and tour my neighborhood for likely sights to feature in the landscapes I would paint…

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I guess in this fantasy I am living in France or somewhere…I would not complain about that…

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because my impression is that I would have lots of like-minded artist friends around…

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and flowers would be everywhere…

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and we would celebrate…

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Enough of this fantasy…the path back home and back to the real world…

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Good show…it is at the Palace of the Legion of Honor until August, 3.


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Intimate Impressionism…

We drove over to the Palace of the Legion of Honor last week to see a show of small Impressionist paintings. This show will be at the museum until August 3 and as a bonus there is a beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge as you walk to the entrance.

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We arrived about noon, so we went to the restaurant first to enjoy a lunch.


The restaurant always connects their offerings with the show that is on display. I had the Camille Pisarro Quiche and TM had the Claude Monet Kale Salad…


We were also joined by multiple friends who were anticipating and hoping for our exit…

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A very amazing thing was that in the exhibit they actually allowed photos without flash. I will share some of my favorites.


Animals and People

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I was dodging people so the type of the labels was not always straight, for which I apologize. Next post will be still-lives and landscapes…


Swiss Friday…

We are in the throes of planning our next trip which will be in July. I realized that in the face of so many train trips that will be included (no water-taxis, no Metros, no rental cars this time) I might need to alter my luggage configuration. (One carry on and one checked suitcase will be harder to handle when hopping on and off trains, I think). So I started working on the concept of a backpack. I am of an age that backpacks were not around during my schooling years.  They were an important item for my children (my daughter was particularly skilled a deciding on the best one for her needs), but I never had much experience with them until toward the end of my teaching career when my shoulders began to give way from all the years of throwing around twenty-five pound sacks of clay and carrying the ever-present satchel filled with books and papers. However, the backpacks I switched to in order to relieve the pain were Baggallini purse sized ones…way too small for my needs on this trip. I started my research and after looking at many catalogues found that Eddie Bauer had one “sized for women”. Sounded good, but wanted to try it on and judge its size in person. Last weekend we were in Camarillo where there is a massive Outlet Center with an Eddie Bauer store. Had a few minutes and I stopped by…but no luck, they had other versions of their backpacks in stock but they did not carry the one I was interested in. (There was also a time-limit on this project because Eddie had a 30% off sale going on.) Other than the outlet, the closest regular Eddie Bauer store to home is in the middle of the Westfield Centre in San Francisco conveniently located near a BART station. That was a good excuse for a day trip and a lunch!

We set off on Friday with the goals of finding a backpack, having a lunch in the City, and getting 10,000 steps for the Fitbit. I am starting to notice how the Fitbit influences choices…as we were leaving the BART station our choice was taking four flights of stairs (actually it was no choice because the escalator was broken). Arriving at the Centre we passed a Tumi store so had pop in to see what alternative backpacks might be available. Tumi had great pockets (lots of them) but was way on the far-side of $200 so we proceeded up to the Eddie Bauer Store. Two stores away from it was Travel+ a luggage store with a French brand of suitcases and also the Victorinox brand. One model of a backpack (the last version available)  was hanging from the lowest hook all by itself. Definitely a possibility, but I still hadn’t seen the Eddie Bauer version. So I went to try it on and then I realized it was way smaller than the Swiss Victorinox version and the Swiss version was on sale for 50% off which made it more of a Tumi price discounted to closer to Eddie Bauer. Plus I think it may have been whispering to me that it wanted to go back home to visit for a while. (I am never sure if TM follows my way of thinking, but he, too, liked that it was Swiss to go with his army knife). It came home with me and I will take it to Switzerland in July for a short visit.


On our way to find lunch, we had to go up and down the escalator (sorry Fitbit). No matter how many steps in my goal I just cannot pass up a picture op…The dome in the Centre is pretty spectacular…

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Off to John’s Grill. (Historically famous in literature because of being mentioned in Dashiell Hammett’s Maltese Falcon). We have been there often with friends (thought of you Joyce and John!). It was so San Francisco of us to have the Jack LaLanne’s salad…crab, shrimp, avocado, tomato, and mushroom with bleu cheese dressing…



This time, however, I actually saw the Maltese Falcon upstairs in a display case…

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Then we checked in with Fitbit and realized that we had done only half of our steps for the day so we decided that walking straight down Market Street to Fog City News would be a good addition. But funny thing, we walked past and stopped into a Swiss chocolate store on the way…an entire store with handmade chocolates from Bern…bears everywhere…

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Another goal for reaching Fog City News was to see if they had a copy of Frankie Magazine (not Swiss, but from New Zealand…the postage is too high to actually subscribe but well worth the walk in San Francisco to see if a copy is available) and…


There it was…


I couldn’t figure out why the store was exceptionally busy…it couldn’t just be that everyone was buying Mother’s Day cards…



David Lebovitz was there signing his new cookbook. (We read his blog religiously…he used to work at Chez Panisse but now lives in Paris and blogs and writes cookbooks. If you are going to Paris it is a good source for restaurants to try.) I did not buy the cookbook because my days of running up my step count while I walk in my kitchen as I am making French macarons are past…but I do know that chocolate bears are in my future as I scale an alp. I’m fired up and ready to go! Just have to wait a couple of months. Even walked down the four flights of stairs to the BART train (the escalator was working in that direction, I did have my choice…) and by the time we got home the Fitbit read 10,100 steps…perfect…





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I have been playing with layering images together. What prompted me was going to Café Claude last week for lunch. They served their bread and frites wrapped in deli paper printed with a French newspaper. I, of course, brought the paper home for a future collage, but also took this picture…

I wanted to combine it with one of my favorite photos from Paris.

I put the Paris image into Snapseed and turned it into a black and white image and I increased the saturation and contrast.

I took that image and put it into Waterlogue app.

20140413-191641.jpgboth images were put into the Image Blender app and blended and then flattened. The picture of the paper was put on top, rotated slightly, and then edges were erased. Then both images were also blended.

The image was put into PicGrunger app and grunge and creases were added.

Here is another…

The view from Perugia, Italy, last October…put into Stackables…

Then I wanted to put these two images on top…


That gave me this…

Back into Stackables and then PicGrunger…


One last image of a poster on the museum in Perugia advertising a show of photographs…I had processed it when I took it last October on the trip and converted it to black and white. I have a new app called Stackables…quite amazing…lots and lots of layers. Just getting to know it, and liking what it does, so far…stay tuned and watch this space…



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Musee des Arts et Metiers…

Coming to the end of my photos of Paris from last September…and none too soon as we leave in a week and a half for our next trip. Need to draw this to a close so first a few shots of the Metro Station, with its copper cladding and gears to introduce you to the theme of the museum.





The entrance to the Musee des Arts et Metiers still has an old church, with a pint size Statue of Liberty…

This museum was founded in 1794 to preserve and highlight recent inventions and tools.









A model of the dome on Les Invalides (a nice piece of construction)…

A model with really neat pint-sized humans building the Statue of Liberty…





I gravitated to the printing presses, cameras, and gramophones, don’t know why. Just loved the shapes…




Animation by zoetrope…





So many strong lines and shapes, I could not resist turning some into black and whites..




If you are a fan of Clara Black’s mystery books that take place in Paris, with Aimee Leduc running through the streets of the arrondissements, this is the setting of “Murder at the Lanterne Rouge”. To die for…

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Mars, two…

IMG_5735Leaving the awe-inspiring view of the Eiffel Tower, we walked in the direction of Avenue Rapp. We knew that there were Jules Lavirotte ceramic buildings on the street, although we had not brought with us any street numbers.  We thought we would recognize them when we saw them and, besides, a little walking up and down would not hurt. We found the street and, bam, there was the best building ever. Tile by Bigot, architecture by Lavirotte, 1901…29 Avenue Rapp…

IMG_5739Difficult to get a full view, but have I got details for you…

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IMG_5756 IMG_5757We moved closer and the end of the Square caught my eye…the most amazing trompe l’oeil work of black painted lattice on a flat wall…

IMG_5759We went closer to see the wrought iron fence that was open and the entrance to the building on the left. Hard to get pictures of it because of the intense sunlight partially on the facade…

IMG_5763IMG_5760 IMG_5766 IMG_5761I snapped and snapped until TM said, “That’s a Lavirotte, too!”

IMG_5762Oh, yes it was! Satisfied, at last, I turned around to leave the Square and, bam, it happened again…


The best view ever…I would not mind leaving an apartment every morning, seeing this…sigh…my goal in life now is to see if there is a way to experience the inside of a Lavirotte building…

We were wandering in the direction of Rue Cler and went down Rue St. Dominique. We passed a bistro that was on our list of classic French Bistros to try while in Paris so chose it for lunch. There was Mars, again. An actual likeness of him on the Fountaine de Mars, along with Hygieia the goddess of health, cleanliness and sanitation, which has been there since ca. 1806 standing in front of a military hospital. The bistro has been there since 1908.

MarsIMG_5773IMG_5772We sat at the first table inside the arcade on the right so that my view was this…

IMG_5769To my right was looking into the main restaurant including the tile floor (!!) and Bentwood chairs. (I have one of those exact chairs at home that I bought 35 years ago when we moved into our first home in Redlands.)

IMG_5770To my left was the station where all the waiters came…

IMG_5771The red-checked tablecloths and napkins bearing the name of the bistro.

IMG_5768Speaking of waiters…oh, la, la! (Talking to TM in French…music to my ears…)

IMG_5774And, yes, the meal was fabulous…

IMG_5775Oeufs au Madiran (poached eggs in wine sauce) I have made this recipe since I have been home using this recipe from French Food at Home. The recipe calls for bacon but the original had chunks so I went with chunky.

For Him…

IMG_5776Cepe Mushroom Paté with truffle oil

For Me…

IMG_5777Poulet aux morilles (possibly the most succulent and tasteful chicken I ever ate)…

For Him…

IMG_5778Steak with Béarnaise sauce (in a pitcher to the right) and frites…

For both…

IMG_5779Oh, la, la…chocolate mousse…

Only half the day but I did not take any more pictures even though we went into a chocolate shop (unlike anything you have ever seen),  looked for a patisserie rumored to have the best lemon tarte (closed because it was Sunday), and walked the entire length of rue Cler set up with a classic French flea market…Snacked lightly in our apartment for dinner, fell into bed exhausted and got up the next morning to do it all over again…

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Mars, one…

We are almost ready for another trip, yet I haven’t processed the photos from one of the best days we had in Paris last September. The day took a radical turn and was not what we originally anticipated. It was a total making lemonade out of lemons type of experience.

On September 11 last year we ventured by train from Paris to Giverny. We were pleased with ourselves and over-confident at having navigated there and back. (We were very accomplished except for the minor fact of not “composting” out ticket. Train tickets are issued for a period of time but when you actually use them they need to be stamped with day and time in the “composte machine.” The conductor was nice about it and really only asked us if we were tourists…had to admit to it.) Confidently we set out on the next Sunday for a trip by train to Auvers-sur-Oise a haunt of Vincent van Gogh and where his grave is. Different train station, this time the Gare du Nord, and we could not find the correct platform…so we missed the train.


The yellow box on the pole in the lower right corner is the composte machine (don’t ignore it!).


I think you can tell by now that I am fascinated by steel and glass construction.

Chagrined at our inability to catch the train, we had to come up with a Plan B on the spot. Seemed like it would be our chance to see the Eiffel Tower up close, at last. We hopped back on the Metro to the École Militaire Station. When we came above ground we could not cross the street to the park around the Tower due to a bicycle race that had just taken off.



We took a detour through security into the École Militaire because we could hear a drum cadence and came across a recreation (or maybe we were on the set of Les Miserables) where we found some very interesting characters with great faces.

IMG_5710IMG_5707IMG_5708 IMG_5709IMG_5712 IMG_5713 IMG_5711 IMG_5714IMG_5721When we came out of the facility, we could get across the street and walk through the grounds from the Peace Monument to the Tower. The Peace Monument is made of steel and glass and contains the word “Peace” written in 32 languages and 18 alphabets.

IMG_5719IMG_5726IMG_5716 IMG_5718IMG_5720 IMG_5723 IMG_5725Then we walked the paths in one of the busiest parks in Paris, always focused on “The Tower” through the Champ de Mars, passing the perennial favorite of Paris parks…the merry-go-round…

IMG_5727IMG_5728 IMG_5729Before standing directly under the Eiffel Tower, I did not realize the amount of bracing it contains. It almost looks like lace.

IMG_5732IMG_5733 IMG_5734 IMG_5736The day had just begun but this post is getting long so I will split the pictures into two groups…tomorrow: part two!


A night at the Opera…

Two weeks ago when we spent the day with the girl with a pearl earring and the goldfinch at the deYoung Museum, we also enjoyed an exhibit about the life and career of Rudolph Nureyev. Costumes from his ballets and videotapes of his dancing brought back memories of my youth when I saw him dance many times. (Ah, yes, I saw that ballet where he threw himself through large, red lips at the back of the stage at the end.)



It reminded me that I had never processed my photos from our walk to see the Paris Opera last fall.
Motivated, they are here…


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Space Invader, graffiti artist, had been here, soaking up the cultural atmosphere.














Just what motivated us to make this trek? We had read in a blog that Fauchon, the fancy patisserie, collected and packaged the honey from the hives that are on top of the Opera building. Fauchon does not have it in their store, however, it is only carried in the store connected to the Opera. Off we went first to Fauchon and then to the Opera. I know now that the next time I go to Paris, I will definitely take the paid tour of the inside of the building and I will try my best to get tickets to a ballet performance. This also gives me a chance to end this post with a picture of a macaron tree. What more can you ask for?




The Sketchbook Project…

I was able to meet the deadline for submission of my sketchbook to the Sketchbook Project. My sketchbook turned out to be a photolog of the day we spent in Giverny last September. The accumulated sketchbooks travel around the United States and are displayed in pop-up galleries in various cities. Here are the cities for this year:


It will be in San Francisco, July 26-28. If you go I hope you will check out my book (literally, it functions as a library…you get a library card and everything.) But if you can’t go because you are not near one of the cities, I created a iMovie of my book.

If you click to the left of the word vimeo on the bottom it will play full screen.