Friday, February 28, 2014

Worthy Cause --- Day 3/48

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance: 10 blocks and take yoga class

Umbrellas: @$15.00; Rain: Priceless

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Take it away, Gene --- 3/47

Walk: In and out of car doing errands
Distance: 10 blocks and home yoga practice

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bouquets to Floral Designers --- Day 3/46

Walk: No.  But looked out the window at Rain!


Sometimes just placing a few Trader Joe's stems in a vase - in a way that soothes/doesn't jar Ciwt's mind - can take the better part of an hour.  And then as the week goes on, each time she walks past the vase, she notices a dead bud or browning leaf and the nattering begins.  She cannot imagine the creativity, work, worry, wrestling with control and multitude of other emotions that go into the floral arrangements at the Bouquets to Art show. .

After the honor of being selected, a huge undertaking must begin. There is the choosing of the artwork (which the designer may or may not get I'm guessing.  I imagine some designers may have to create for works that do not appeal to them at all). Then there are the preliminary studies, rounding up of tools and materials, selecting and obtaining the best possible flowers perhaps from around the world, building models (?), safely transporting the bouquets to the museum, keeping the flowers fresh and the arrangement alive and vibrant - for an entire week - in a museum atmosphere  - with crowds and temperatures good for art but not necessarily flowers.  In public with your name broadcast for all to see. And so much more. Yikes. Must be harrowing.

As well as beautiful and stimulating and thrilling to the throngs of viewers who attend one of San Francisco's most cherished art traditions. It's now in its 30th year at the Fine Arts Museums and opening in a few weeks.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Simple, Clean, 'Craveable' Foodies Take Note --- Day 3/45

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance: 1 mile and teach yoga class

Getting a bit unraveled/dark about yoga teaching. Oh, dear.  We'll see.  But came home to such a clear, fresh picture, it lightened ciwt's frame of mind.  Voila Chard Two Ways:

It's from a new cookbook/coffee table book that has already been nominated for 3 IACP awards:

To learn more about the recipe, the place, the chef: 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Grrr Dept --- Day 3/44

Walk: JCCSF, Trader Joe's
Distance: 2 miles and take yoga class

My sympathies to Doctors, Lawyers, Geeks, Yoga Teachers, Ministers, Butchers, Bakers, Candlestick Makers and all those who have professional areas of expertise some people feel you should just give them for free - at their house, when it works for them, and enjoy doing it!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Soul Brunch --- Day 3/43

Walk: Sundance Kabuki/Cinema Club (The Rocket), 1300 Fillmore
Distance: 2.5 miles

After Cinema Club today a fellow member had made reservations for Gospel Brunch at a restaurant that "puts the soul back in soul food" and into live music as well.  Fried Catfish Po' Boy Sandwich, anyone?

Father, Daughter and Keyboardist Trio: Future Perfect Band paying tribute to Ray Charles at 1300 Fillmore, San Francisco.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

East Meets West? --- Day 3/42

Walk: Mindful Body, Japantown Art International,  Sundance Kabuki (The Wind Rises*)
Distance: 2.2 miles and teach yoga class

In all her years Ciwt has never owned or hung a gallery show with a Japanese woodblock print. She has no idea if these prints can successfully be mixed with modern/abstract art.  For instance, can the prints above be hung (and enjoyed) on either side of the watercolor below.  Or will the juxtapostion be jarring, cause the eye to go "Huh?"

*Very good.  So much loving and beautiful work went into the hand-drawn illustrations  A little longish, but then you just settle back and admire the art and the respectful story.   

 "He makes the human spirit seem as fleeting yet eternal as the wind itself."  David Edelstein

Friday, February 21, 2014

Help, Mr. Lego Man! -- Day 3/41

Walk: Mindful Body, AMC Kabuki (The Lego Movie)
Distance: 3.5 miles and take yoga class

The Lego Movie seemed like the Ken to Frozen's Barbie.  Both excellent, absorbing-for-all-ages - one along classic fairy tale lines and the other in the Star Wars adventure genre. Not being totally up on the current Lego products, some of the clever jokes were perhaps lost on Ciwt. Naturally, she especially enjoyed Uni-Kitty.  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Intense Developments: US Modern Art Scene & an Artistic Marriage --- Day 3/40

Walk: No
Distance: A few blocks

Late in 1906 an artist named Pamela Coleman Smith came into the Little Galleries and asked Stieglitz to look at some of her drawings and watercolors. Just twenty-eight years old to Stieglitz's forty-two, she was relatively unknown when they met. While there is no record of a relationship between them, Stieglitz was undoubted affected by the combination of her youth, her exotic appearance and her unusual art.. He decided to show her work because he thought it would be "highly instructive to compare drawings and photographs in order to judge photography's possibilities and limitations". Her show opened in January, 1907, and to Stieglitz's delight it attracted far more visitors to the gallery than any of the previous photography shows. Within a short time nearly every one of her works was sold. Stieglitz, hoping to capitalize on the popularity of the show, took photographs of her art work and issued a separate portfolio of his platinum prints of her work. The success of her show marked a turning point between the old era of Stieglitz as revolutionary promoter of photography and new era of Stieglitz as revolutionary promoter of modern art....

...Then, just after he presented a groundbreaking show of Auguste Rodin's drawings, his own financial problems forced him to close the Little Galleries for a brief period. He reopened the gallery in February 1908 under the new name "291"...The name change represented a clear break from the old way of thinking about photography and especially about the Photo-Secession, and from then on the gallery broke down all boundaries between traditional art (paintings, sculptures and drawings) and photography. Stieglitz deliberately interspersed exhibitions of what he knew would be controversial art, such as Rodin's sexually explicit drawings, with what Steichen called "understandable art" and with photographs. The intention was to "set up a dialogue that would enable 291 visitors to see, discuss and ponder the differences and similarities between artists of all ranks and types: between painters, draftsmen, sculptors and photographers; between European and American artists; between older or more established figures and younger, newer practitioners."]......

 In February 1913 the watershed Armory Show opened in New York, and soon modern art was a major topic of discussion throughout the city. Stieglitz took great satisfaction in the public's response, although much of it was not favorable, but he saw the popularity of the show as a vindication of the work that he had been sponsoring at 291 for the past five years. Ever the promoter and provocateur, he quickly mounted an exhibition of his own photographs at 291 to run while the Armory Show was in place. He later wrote that allowing people to see both photographs and modern paintings at the same time "afforded the best opportunity to the student and public for a clearer understanding of the place and purpose of the two media."......

...In January 1916, Stieglitz was shown a portfolio of drawings by a young artist named Georgia O'Keeffe. Stieglitz was so taken by her art that without meeting O'Keeffe or even getting her permission to show her works he made plans to exhibit her work at 291. The first that O'Keeffe heard about any of this was from another friend who saw her drawings in the gallery in late May of that year. She finally met Stieglitz after going to 291 and chastising him for showing her work without her permission.[] Stieglitz was immediately attracted to her both physically and artistically. O’Keeffe did not immediately return the interest.

Soon thereafter O’Keeffe met Paul Strand, and her physical and artistic attraction focused on him. She then returned to her home in Texas, and for several months she and Strand exchanged increasingly romantic letters. When Strand told his friend Stieglitz about his new yearning, Stieglitz responded by telling Strand about his own infatuation with O’Keeffe. Gradually Strand’s interest waned, and Stieglitz’s escalated. By the summer of 1917 he and O’Keeffe were writing each other "their most private and complicated thoughts",and it was clear that something very intense was developing.  


*Gratitude to Wikipedia and Google Images

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Have Camera, Will Change Art --- Day 3/39

Walk: Corte Madera, Mindful Body
Distance: 1 mile and take yoga class

Annals of Excellent Decisions:

Sometime in late 1892 Stieglitz bought his first hand-held camera, a Folmer and Schwing 4x5 plate film camera. Prior to this he had been using an 8x10 plate film camera that always required a tripod and was difficult to carry around. He was invigorated by the freedom of the new camera, and later that winter he used the new camera to make two of his best known images, Winter, Fifth Avenue and The Terminal.

Alfred Stieglitz, Winter, Fifth Avenue, 1893

Alfred Stieglitz, The Terminal, 1993

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Magnolias and Wheeel Pose --- Day 3/38

Walk: Fillmore Street, Mindful Body
Distance: 2.5 miles and teach yoga class

Golden Gate Park

Monday, February 17, 2014

Interplay of Modernists --- Day 3/37

Walk: JCCSF, Fillmore Street
Distance: 3 Miles and take yoga class

Georgia O'Keefe, Maple and Cedar, Lake George 1922

Paul Strand, Wire Wheel, New York, 1920

Paul Strand, Porch Shadows,  Twin Lakes, Connecticut, 1916

Georgia O'Keefe, Storm Cloud, Lake George, 1923

Paul Strand (1890-1976) was an American photographer and filmmaker who, along with fellow modernist photographers like Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston, helped establish photography as an art form in the early 20th century.  In 1915 Stieglitz, his mentor and gallerist, criticized the graphic softness of Strand's photographs, and over the next two years, he dedicated himself to dramatically changing his techinique repeatedly immersing himself in the new artistic idioms increasingly appearing in New York shows.  He had a particular eye for art influenced by Cezanne and Picasso whose work he'd encountered at the 1913 Amory Show.  Then in 1916 while staying at the summer cottage his family rented every year in Twin Lakes, Connecticut, he set about learning "how you build a picture, what a picture consists of, how shapes are related to each other, how spaces are filled, how the whole thing must have a kind of unity." 

Scavenging some crockery and fruit from the cottage kitchen, Strand made arrangements on the porch, learning how to create movement and depth in the compact universe that became the picture. First tilting the bowls, then the rocking chair and table, and then further rotating his photograph ninety degrees, Strand gradually abandoned the recognizable and comfortable for a space that is largely incomprehensible, a pattern of tones of extraordinary authority and dynamic formal coherence. These stunning photographs were the first significant abstractions intentionally made with a camera.*

Even before meeting Stieglitz, O'Keefe came upon Strand and his work through shows at Stieglitz's Gallery 291 and was a great admirer professionally and personally.  Always veiled about her artistic sources, O'Keefe was  unquestionably strongly influenced by photography. The cropping of her compositions, and her close focus, multiple perspectives, the monolithic, magnified forms, and more, are all associated with photography, particularly (her gallerist, mentor, lover and later husband) Stieglitz and (her friend/perhaps more) Paul Strand.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Birdhouses and Pig --- Day 3/36

Walk: Mindful Body, Vogue Theater (Mostly British Film Festival, 'Stay'), Laurel Village
Distance: 3.5 miles and teach yoga class

Still considering current thoughts on O'Keefe.  Meanwhile this little house with its tiny, hanging birdhouses and frolicking pig made me smile.  Ciwt remembers when one of San Francisco's premiere art dealers lived here.  I doubt he'd be amused.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Good Ol' Freda --- Day 3/35

Walk: Mindful Body, Vogue Theater (Mostly British Film Festival), Walter Adams Framing
Distance: 2 miles and take yoga class

Ciwt, a Beatles fan from way back, just saw this at our local Mostly British Film Festival.  Very dear.

Good Ol’ Freda

Good Ol’ Freda

This documentary is a first – the first time in 50 years that Freda Kelly has ever talked about her association with the Beatles. As a shy Liverpool teenager, she was their secretary and loyal friend, never cashing in on insider secrets or memories. This unassuming woman was there, through the highs and lows, as the Fab Four made history. Featuring original Beatles’ music, this is one of the few films about them that the remaining Beatles like. Stick around for the end when Ringo turns up. He’s adorable. “Easily the best in a current wave of rock docs.” – Film Threat
UK, 2013 (86 minutes)
- See more at:

Friday, February 14, 2014

O'K Valentine --- Day 3/34

Walk: de Young, Mindful Body
Distance: 1.5 miles and take yoga class

Ciwt has had trouble for many years with the art of Georgia O'Keefe - and to some extent O'Keefe herself.  This may be due to the commercialism and overexposure of the Famous, Photographed, Woman, Modernist, New York, Santa Fe Artist.  And did I say YAY?  It is just difficult for Ciwt's regard to approximate the reverence and awe that is accorded O'Keefe, along with the calendars, posters, pens, umbrellas, carryalls.  (Now if it were Matisse, the love of Ciwt's artistic life.....).

So this morning Ciwt's expectations were dim when she was one of the first at the Member's Preview of Modern Nature: Georgia O'Keefe and Lake George opening tomorrow.  'Dim' is an ironic word because what struck Ciwt for the first time in O'Keefe's work was the passages of intense, radiant Light she achieves.  Ciwt's visceral reaction to a few canvases, such as Jack in the Pulpit #5,  was to shield her eyes as you might when looking at neon in a black room.

I don't remember taking in this primordial, whammo light in her works before.  It is beyond glowing and radiates white in a few paintings, red-orange in others. There is an incredible blue, brown and green pastel where the optically seductive way the colors are laid together beats Rothko and Albers to the punch by a good twenty years.  
                                                                  Pond in the Woods, 1922, Pastel on Paper, 24x18"

O'Keefe lived with, later married Alfred Stieglitz, arguably the most famous - certainly the most influential - photographer in the world in the early 1900's.  She was surrounded by the photographers Stieglitz befriended and promoted, and was particularly close to Paul Strand whose work she greatly admired. It can be assumed that she was often in the presence of dark room light   and Ciwt speculates that this finely focused, intensely glowing light may have influenced her artistic eye and emboldened her when laying her own vibrant colors on paper or canvas.

In any event, O'Keefe is surely a colorist, and a 'shapist' playing freely with forms and perspectives.  But all this was in service of her most fundamental desire to convey her psychological-emotional sense of what she was seeing and portraying.  It was her deepest wish to access and describe her subject in terms of how the totality of it resonated within her.  And so often it is the vibrant energy created by placing certain colors next to each other - as well as those fully saturated, partially blinding passages of red-orange and cold, unforgivingly clear white - that pin-points the inner places.

The O'Keefe I saw today was deeply involved with color theory, mixing colors with a feeling eye to the visual effects of specific color combinations. Her most successful creations rely on color energy for their ultimate fulfillment.  And in this way, more than most artists, she is ill-served by all the posters, greeting cards, calendars and other media that reproduce her work - including the images on this page.  The reproductions can capture the shapes, the perspectives, the apparent subject and general color field - but they cannot capture the glowing color energy that carries so much of the feeling sense and impact of her work.

Happily for Ciwt, the quality of the de Young show reversed the deadening effect of all those reproductions.  There are numerous early originals, well organized, well spaced with informative signage and historical photographs. So, on this first (Valentine's Day) trip through the Lake George, Ciwt was pleased to access her own truer sense of O'Keefe's art.

Which begs the question, What is that sense?  Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Takes A Village --- Day 3/33

Walk: Institute on Aging/San Francisco Village
Distance: 4 Miles

Ciwt went with a friend today to a meeting of an organization dedicated to learning how our aging population may do it in place: in their city, their neighborhoods, their homes. Certainly an important topic. Maybe when she has her thoughts more together she'll comment.

Meanwhile, some present members say such things as:

“My social networks have changed since getting older. SF Village has introduced me to new friends, new ideas, new ways to contribute and, when necessary, how to ask for help”

“New friendships have come so easily. At this age we share the same memories and have been through the same experiences.”

“I needed transportation to physical therapy after knee surgery. I was picked up by a Village member in plenty of time for my appointment.When I was finished another member picked me up and took me home. It was absolutely seamless service.”              

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pre-Valentines Day -- Day 3/32

Walk: Laurel Village 5+10, Trader Joe's
Distance: 2.5 miles and small home yoga practice

Ciwt loves her K. Libbey Nashes

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Friends Bring the Darndest Things* --- Day 3/31

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance: 10 blocks and teach yoga class

Sometimes students and friends bring Ciwt little gifts.  I think these recent two are adorable.

Ceramic bowl from Mexico.  Papier Mache cat from Indonesia. 

And they look cute with the things around them.

*Anybody remember Art Linkletter's Kids Say The Darndest Things?  That's always stuck with Ciwt as the darndest title.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Eat Your Breakfast --- Day 3/30

Walk: JCCSF, Trader Joe's
Distance: 2 miles and take yoga class

Mandarins, Blueberries,Vitamins and Cinnamon Raisin Toast Comin' Right Up 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Amazing Transformation Underway --- Day 3/29

Walk: Cinema Club (Particle Fever), Clay Theater (Stranger by the Lake)
Distance: 3 Miles

With its combination of bridges, tunnels and ground-level roadways, and its location in a national park, the Presidio Parkway - above the site discussed on 3/23 and 3/25 - is an unusual highway project. 
A construction worker carries building material on the roof of the Main Post tunnel for the Presidio Parkway project in San Francisco, Calif. on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. The project is on schedule to be completed in 2016. Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle

It's also taking place in what may currently be the world's most beautiful construction site. And it is this project (and the eventual new greenway/walkway over it to Crissy Field) which will have the most impact on the new look, use and feel of Crissy Field.  For it and its aftermath the Presidio Trust's decision regarding any new cultural institution  - correctly in Ciwt's opinion (Days 3/23 and 25) - been postponed.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Deck Comings and Goings --- Day 3/28

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance: 10 Blocks and take yoga class

As Ciwt readers may recall, she was concerned where Andy (the gardener)'s latest arrival to her(?) deck was to be placed.  

She walked home from yoga in the continuing rain (!) this afternoon,  looked out the window, and


found the new site revealed  .  The depleted Rhodie that was in this spot is gone and her cute, hopefully just dormant Japanese maple is safe and sound on the big deck. I think when the vine grows, 'we'll'  attach them with their little lavender flowers to the trellis.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Slope-what? --- Day 3/27

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance: 10 blocks and teach yoga class

So here come the Winter Olympics.  Once having thought of herself as an athlete Ciwt is amazed every year to see competition in sports that didn't even exist when she was particularly active.  The various snowboarding events like Slopestyle come to mind.  She does remember the infancy of that sport when she was living in Sun Valley and a group of guys in the yard next to her spent day after day doing flips, leaping from roofs and making other potentially very hazardous moves.  In Summer?  With skies on?   I asked around; nobody had the vaguest idea what those guys were up to.

Then came winter and they turned out to be the first ever competitive snowboarders - an entirely new sport. Not for the faint of heart.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Post Rain Ramble --- Day 3/26

Walk: Laurel Village for a rain hat at Emily Lee
Distance: 2 miles and small home yoga practice

After a blessed 24 hour rain during our drought, Ciwt went out to inspect her little deck world.

Found that Andy (the gardener) made another stealth appearance leaving a new vine.

It's cute.  But I'm a little concerned where it is going to be planted.

Maybe here in place of the camellia. Anywhere is fine just as long as he hasn't decided my sweet Japanese maple
isn't going to make it, and this is his silent way of preparing me.

Then walked back inside, surveyed the post-greenhouse window euphorbia and some lilies:


And out onto the wonderfully wet streets where I saw a green/green house I thought didn't work at all and then noticed the one next to it is a little gem.

   What a feast for the eyes is San Francisco (after the rain).