Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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Monet, young…

Thursday we visited the Palace of the Legion of Honor to see their “Monet, The Early Years” show.


When we started from home it was a drizzle and it stayed that way all across the city.

When we got to the museum there was no parking except miles and miles down the road. Two positives from that were adding multiple steps to our Fitbits and we were so far down the road we got the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge, ever.


The museum was more crowded than I had ever seen, so my pictures were hard to get. I was dodging around stationary people listening to handsets. Later we found out that it was a free day for KQED members. Oh, and it was Spring Break so there were lots of kids around. A sampling of the art when he was young:

 

Fishing Boats, 1866


A Hut at Sainte-Adresse, 1867


The Seine at Bougival, 1869


The Porte d’Amont, Etretat, ca. 1868-69


Still life with Flowers and Fruit, 1869


Camille on the Beach, 1870. 


The Pont Neufchâtel in Paris, 1871


Argenteuil, 1872


Still Life with Melon, 1872


The Port at Argenteuil, 1872


Regatta at Argenteuil, 1872

The last one really shows him developing into Impressionism. The reflections on the water are delicious.

After wending our way through the legion of crowds, we drove over to Land’s End for lunch at the Cliff House. Didn’t get a table by the window, but that was ok, we got popovers…






Very happy that we made it home without a traffic jam and before a very big storm.


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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 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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Prisoner of texture…

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In most cases I would show you the buildings of the place I visited and then the world-class art displayed in the venue. This time, however, I was so struck by the textures I kept seeing that I will delay showing you the other until the textures are thoroughly digested and absorbed. Last Wednesday we spent the beautiful, clear day traveling to Alcatraz Island (we have lived near it for twenty-eight years and had never been). It was a great day of walking and exploring, and we totally loved the environment, the view, and the art.

In these shots you catch a glimpse of a little of the Ai Weiwei art displayed, but really these are just to celebrate age, patina, and the ravages of time…

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Tuesday morning, early…

Just because we can (two retired people), we decided to take advantage of the monthly Members Day at the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. With eyes barely open we hopped in the car to brave early morning commute traffic to take advantage of special activities just for members. (The best part about it is that you get in early and there are no lines where usually the lines are quite long.) That day we wanted to see the feeding of an anaconda at 8:45 Unfortunately, the traffic did keep us from watching but by the time we got there ten minutes later, he was still cuddling his rabbit.

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We wandered the aquarium until time for our next member’s activity. I felt I was being watched the entire time (and it wasn’t by the guards).

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Then it was a preview for members of the new Terrace Restaurant that would open in a few days. This meant FREE FOOD, and being San Francisco…high style free food. Oh, yum, chacuterie with duck rillettes (who does that!), cheeses and sliced meats with artisan mustards. Plus…

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San Francisco cioppino with crab…

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A few moments to wander the rainforest where the birds and butterflies were very active…

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Hope springs eternal that on some visit I will catch a picture of this Blue Morpho butterfly, but once again this time I could see them fluttering around but none would light in a convenient place for my little iPhone. I had to rely on the display picture…

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Then we participated in a “behind the scenes” tour and got to see where the thousands of specimens are stored. The theme of the tour was how photography is used in studying science and at the end they had specimens set up so that we and about 10 kids could try our hand at photographing specimens.

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It pays to be a member!


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Stairway to the stars…

After having such a fun Thursday, I am compelled to detour away from my tales of Switzerland just a little bit more. It is no secret that I have a passion for tile (in particular Heath), so when an opportunity came to visit San Francisco with a group of retired teachers from the school where I taught before going to Moraga’s JMIS, I was very excited. My heart skips anytime there are mosaics around. We started the morning by traveling to the Flora Grubb Gardens Nursery. Lots of inspiration there and it was well worth the trip as a prelude to what was to come. (They even have a coffee bar…can’t ask for anything more!) Loved this old car planted fully making itself into a garden ornament. Emphasizing the rule that anything can be a container…

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Then we drove to the Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood. This is in the Inner Sunset District and at 16th Street and Moraga Street are the steps. These 163 panels are of a sea to sky theme all the way up to the top. They are constructed with Heath Tile, handmade tile, mirrored tile and since it is a neighborhood supported project there are dedications, remembrances, and names of people and businesses from the neighborhood. The mosaic was completed in 2005 by Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher. The stairs are used for exercise and tourists come to photograph them. They are well used by the residents. We were there at around noon with full sun making photography tricky (I have mentioned before the difficulty taking photos with an iPhone with bright light and glare. There was also the factor that some areas were in sun and some were in shade.) Despite the handicaps, it was fun to photograph this artful reflection of a community.

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This woman ran up and down the stairs four times before our group had made it to the top once. Her feat was very impressive!

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I did love the use of the mirror tile…

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And then we were at the top…if you squint you can see the top of the Golden Gate Bridge…

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After walking down again, we went over to the Hidden Garden Steps located on 16th between Kirkham and Lawton. These steps were approached from the top and we walked down each flight to look back up for the impact. (It was definitely an impact!) These steps were dedicated in 2013. Once again you could purchase a tile to have your name on it or a business could purchase an entire motif such as a flower. (Here are photographs of how the artists plotted out the designs.) My pictures are from the top working down.

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Luckily for us, one of our group members was Susan Dannenfelser, a ceramic artist, who knows the artists who created the mosaics.  Aileen Barr met us and guided us around her work. This is Aileen resting on her artwork (or is that resting on her laurels…I think there probably are some laurels in this garden!)

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Came home from this field trip pumped up and ready to create…thanks Del Rey Rovers for the great day!!


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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.

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#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.

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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…

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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…