Wednesday, August 10, 2022

All The Easier To See --- Days 11/179.180,181

Walks/Lopes:  Hood/Presidio

Distances: 5 miles average, small yogas

So these are the birds Ciwt has identified in the 'unnatural' park next door to her new building.  Funny they should all have red coloring.  Or maybe neophyte birder Ciwt wouldn't have spotted them otherwise.

Downy Woodpecker (Pacific Male)

Red Headed Parakeet

Red-Shouldered Hawk

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Now We Are Five and ..... --- 11/175, 176, 177 & 178

Lopes/Walks: Presidio, Hood

Distances: 4.5 miles, small yogas

When Ciwt adopted her two sister cats no one was sure exactly when they had been born. That being the case she decided to give them her birthday.  SO, today is a BIG one around here.  The cats are 5, and Ciwt is. well, older than that.......All healthy and enjoying their celebrations.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Peperomia Frost At Home --- Days 11/173, 174 & 175

Walks:  "Unnatural' Park, Hood 

Distances: 3,6 miles average, small yogas

Peperomia Silver and San Francisco

Ciwt is still scratching her head about how to make her new place feel more like home (besides giving it time which is the real answer).  A houseplant 'pet' came to mind, but not one that would require a lot of pampering and certainly not one that wouldn't survive because it was never meant to be in the place Ciwt set it.  She needed expert advice for that, so off she went with photos of her place to a speciality plant store a few blocks away.  And home she came with cute little easy-care Peperomia Frost you see above.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Tres Viddy --- Days 11/169,170,171 &172

Walks/Lopes: Hood and Presidio

Distances:  average: 5 miles, small yoga practices

So Ciwt is always a sucker for well-acted, English dramas and haute couture clothes, and they came together in Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris.  A viddy, tres nice movie getaway.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

"Eye" Respond --- Day 11/169

Walk: Hood/Presidio

Distance: 5.5 miles, small yoga 

For readers who wondered about Ciwt's reply to her sister's marvelous explanation of what 'Leopard Eye' painting and frame means to her, here it is:  (See yesterday's CIWT)

This is a wonderful artwork!  Especially including the frame - which is perfect.  I love that alive but enigmatic eye.  Who knows what he (?) is thinking- which makes him so present no matter how many years go by and how many times you look at him.  And the impasto technique must really bring him/her to life.

I also think you lucked out on your timing.  I went to the artist's website, and, while he is still excellent and sensitive, he seems to be more realist now.  Your piece is more 'impressionistic' and free."

Here's the work I'm sharing today:

Mary Robertson, By the Russian River, 1981, oil on canvas

Sorry to make you dizzy.  All my art is still 'under wraps' in various stacks around my new place.
So I have to send an off balance shot I took while quickly documenting my things during the move.

This is the first work I bought when I moved into my place 40 years ago.  Like you, I really stretched to buy it then, but liked it so much I went for it.  It captured the best of Northern California living at the time - restful, peaceful, meditative.  (so different now!)  And I love that the man is reading - in a beach chair most people can totally relate to.  It also captured memories of the tiny beach at our house growing up where I sometimes sat reading in a chair that looked identical to the one in the painting.  Starting with this work, I began to focus on Northern California artists for my collection.

Peripheral things that were meaningful to me were the fact that I bought it from my favorite gallery and gallery owner - Charles Campbell - and then had it framed by framer extraordinaire and friend, Ed Green.  Both Charles and Ed were 'old' San Francisco art world institutions. 

Here's my write up about Charles in my little daily blog,  

Writer Jon Carroll,* a longtime friend of Robertson, reflects on her work. “I have always wanted to live on Mary Robertson's Russian River. Such an indolent place, so dreamy, like an underwater kingdom. The umbrellas, towels, beach chairs, and the people in Mary's paintings are frozen in time, always inhabiting that same summer. It's a little like heaven and a little like camp.”

“Mary Robertson’s joyous and meditative paintings are are colorful simulations of contentment and sacred play.” Wayne Thiebaud. Steeped in the Bay Area figurative movement, Mary Robertson’s oeuvre focuses on Northern California's Russian River, where she has been painting for over 25 years. The region’s beaches, umbrellas, floats, and figures are iconic in the quiet and intimate paintings of Robertson, but it is the afternoon Bay Area light that takes center stage, as it interacts with the landscape to create the real magic. Her oil paintings and watercolors have an affinity with the American Realists, the Impressionists, and the Pointillists such as Seurat. When taking in a Robertson scene, there is a sense of time standing still, and being bathed in a lazy California summer glow that doesn’t fade.

If you somehow wade through all this, you will have become an expert on the late Bay Area Figurative art scene.   Thanks for the memories...


* He's also Joan Didion's nephew and lived with her for a while growing up.  Have you read her?

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

"Eye" on Sis --- Days 11/166, 167 and 168

Walks: Hood and deYoung Museum

Distances: 4 miles average + small yoga

For years Ciwt's wonderful readers have been viewing Ciwt's artistic choices and hearing her thoughts on them.  She thought you might appreciate another voice, another 'eye,' so today, Ciwt turns her entry over to her sister.

Small introduction: Ciwt and her sister exchange pictures and comments on their various art works. She's many years younger than Ciwt and they saw very, very! little of each other in their lives until recently.  They send the images to share the art, but, most importantly, to get to know each other better and more deeply. 

Hi Sis,

Well, here's another piece of art hanging in my place right now.

I bought it at an art festival in Florida 15 years ago from a very young artist. I thought he was about 14 years old but, in looking at the year on the painting, I guess he must have been about 20 or 21. 

I bought it for $700 which at the time was an exorbitant amount for me (might have been my most expensive art purchase up until then), but I loved it.

I remember that he had several "eyes" on display- a lion and a snow leopard and a tiger, I think...

They were all very different and just a small snapshot of each feline, but easily recognizable.

I think this one might be a leopard eye. I did some research and, although cheetahs and leopards have similar markings, supposedly leopards have blue-green eyes while cheetahs have more amber eyes.

I loved them all and now I wish I had two or four to hang together in a collection, but there was no way I could afford multiples back then.

One of my favorite things about this painting is how it looks semi-realistic from far away but when you get up close you can see how dabs of white paint "make" the reflection in the eye:

I've always been attracted to the "heavy" use of paint (think: slapping it on with a palette knife) and love to view paintings like this from far away (Monet's Water Lilies) and then look at them right up close, too.

I also love to see how "light" is created by paint - e.g., Rembrandt's The Night Watch. Unbelievable - it looks like a torch is shining on the canvas!

Anyway, sorry to use such obvious examples, but I like impressionism and realism and lots of other styles, too...

Two other little things about this Dylan Pierce painting. 

1. I like how the frame suits its subject - sort of a tribal, African-looking wood that's appropriate. 

2. And the fabric matte just happens to exactly match the wall color in our master bathroom right now. Amazing - something that I bought 15 years ago (and three different houses ago) now matches our decor perfectly. So, I get to look at this little cutie every morning while I'm brushing my teeth. Or should I say, he's keeping an eye on me!  :)

Here's some current info about the artist:

Artist Dylan Scott Pierce

Interesting that his art is still so strongly influenced by Africa. I think he was attracted to animals when he was younger and did a lot of painting after visiting zoos. His love of animals led him to visit Africa in person and then he became amazed by the people there, so now his artwork focuses more on human subjects.

Okay, sis - your turn!!

Saturday, July 23, 2022

An American Artist --- Days 11/164 & 165

Walks: Hood

Distances: 3.5 miles, 4.6 miles

Faith Ringgold, American People Series #20: Die, 1967, oil on canvas (2 Panels @ 72" x 144") 

Maybe if the painting above was in the current deYoung Museum exhibition, Ciwt would have known who Faith Ringgold is.  It is the one that was positioned right next to Picasso's masterpiece Les Mademoiselles d"Avignon (1907) at the expanded MoMA reopening in 2019:
In a curitorial decision that was termed "genius," the justaposition of the two works painted 60 years apart, one by the famous Spaniard man and the other by a Black woman, received enormous international attention.  And Ciwt's.  When she and friend lucked into early admission on reopening day, Ciwt had the huge, hushed gallery to herself and was nearly overwhelmed by the direct, audacious and ferocious energy of both paintings.

The other day though at the deYoung Press Preview, Ciwt didn't make the artistic connection to Die or Ringgold She actually asked the visiting New York curator of Faith Ringgold: American People, something along the lines of how well known Ringgold is. Who knows what he was thinking, but he nicely answered that, well, among Black artists she was on a level with James Baldwin, Tony Morrison, Gordon Parks, Nina Simon and others of the most influential and famous.  Oh......

Faith Ringgold: American People  is an extensive(and belated)  retrospective of Ringgold's work and bears many return visits.  In a variety of medii from large to small paintngs, quilts, mannequins in Ringgold-sewn clothes, Ringgold tackles head on the times she and we lived and live in.  From the steamy Harlem summer of race riots, the marginalized history of blacks in the U.S., and also their music/fun/partying/bonding/traditions, mothering, the mother-child bond, identity issues and, most important for Ringgold, the forminable (nay, essentially impossible) task of women artists achieving prominence and recognition.  

Ringgold was as good if not better than her male contemporaries but was denied museum inclusion and relegated to teaching art and making and promoting her own art privately.  When she went to Europe and saw the whole sweep of European art, she realized this marginalization of women had been going on from the beginning and her art subjects expanded from Harlem to Europe to Africa and into masks and "women's crafts."

Each of Ringgold's 'eras,' passions, medii is given a separate room, and each room warrants the viewer's attention and care.  This American People show is not one to rush through.  Nor does it ever back away from startling, finely crafted, soulful, directness.  The kind maybe you, like Ciwt until the other day, have only seen in Die- or Picasso's Guernica (1937) the painting that inspired a young Ringgold on one of her trips from Harlem to MoMA.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Strong Woman of Many Arts --- Days 11/161, 162, 163

Walks/Lopes: 1. Presidio Pickleball 2. Union Square 3. Hood

Distance:  1. 2.5 miles, 90 min pickle 2. 5.6 miles 3.3 miles

The remarkable and arresting Faith Ringgold is having a large exhibition at our de Young Museum.

More soon.....