Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Sunday, September 27, 2020
Walk: 1. Presidio Pickleball 2. Presidio Pickleball Distance: 1. 2.5 miles, 1 hour pickle, yoga stretch 2. 2.5 miles, 1 hour scorching hot pickleball, stretch
Another heat wave (and fire alert). If only there was more room in that shady box Ciwt's cat found.
Friday, September 25, 2020
Walk: San Francisco Zoo Distance: 3.5 miles, small yoga stretch
So, the last time Ciwt was at the San Francisco Zoo was when she went to see Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, the Pandas visiting from the Washington Zoo (via a gift to the U.S. from China). The bears were a national sensation when they arrived in the States in 1972 and equally so when they toured the West Coast in 1984 and were seen by millions including Ciwt.
|Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing|
The Pandas were just darling but the viewing (and the zoo) left much to be desired. Ciwt remembers standing in a long line on steaming concrete with no shade in the midst of a heat wave. Other than the bears, it was a downer - as were the few zoo visits in other cities she had experienced before then. You know - unhappy looking animals in small, barish cages. Sad.
Well, not so any more! She was invited by a Zoo Docent and donor friend for an update, and Wow! Turns out zoos are on the forefront of the current conservation movement, and it shows. Besides on-going education programs, and numerous behind the scenes advancements, the 'new' SF Zoo is huge, with trees and landscaped gardens, signage and walking paths galore. Oh, and animals. More than you can imagine in environments that duplicate their home territories and give them abundant space, indoor and out, to roam, bathe, frolic, leap, whatever they naturally do. They are clearly cared for and seem content, so it is interesting, educational and a pleasure to see them.
|One of three beautiful, happy seeming SF Zoo Siberian tigers (whose name Ciwt has forgotten)|
And all that will only increase as more funds and energy are poured into zoos. So, if you have a zoo near you you haven't visited in a while, Ciwt thinks you might enjoy a trip.
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Walk: Hood Distance: 4.4 miles, Yoga stretch
The back side of Ciwt's little local library looked so peaceful today. Deserted/Closed but peaceful. She could see some of the books on shelves through the windows. It was a nice reminder of how calm she can feel just sitting at home, maybe on her deck, reading.
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Walk: de Young Museum Distance: 6 miles, Yoga
|Line for Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving|
As we all know, everyday happenings are now major events, so Ciwt felt very adventurous when she got onto the 1 California bus and rode part way (she walked the rest of course) to the de Young Museum's Frida Kahlo show.
It was hung in early March and had already been sold out so anticipation was high for huge attendance and rave critical reviews. And then.... the doors were closed for six months and nobody got a single glance at it except the security guards and a few museum personnel. Until yesterday when the doors reopened.
Once again the show is sold out, but this time to a very limited number of visitors with restrictive advance reservations, masked and standing 6 feet apart. Well, the best laid plans.....Six feet apart as they waited to go in as you can see above. But, the show itself has many cramped alcoves with small pictures where there is no way you could keep that 6' distance even if you tried. And, predictably, many visitors got caught up in the photographs and jewelry and talking to their friends through masks, and forgot to try.
Ciwt walked right on by those tiny alcoves and pictures and letter scraps and whatever was in them. She'll buy the book or something and read it in health at home. But luckily there were several wide open stretches which upended Ciwt's understanding of Kahlo. One of them was a huge wall with a 1941 home movie of Frida and Diego Rivera. As is well known, Rivera was her husband and international sensation and saga in and of himself. In most portrayals - paintings, photographs, news clips - he towers over or beside her and is the focus, the star. Frida looks tiny and more or less simply decorative.
But not so in the show's movie - not at all. It is a real life reversal of sorts. She is still tiny and decorative but clearly a powerful woman in her own right and very much Rivera's equal. He doesn't have the star swagger and simply sits with her, a middle aged man in wire rim glasses. He could be a professor at Columbia University or somewhere. And, whatever they are doing, she is clearly in charge and he clearly admires and is challenged by her. You could even say he is minding her.
Ciwt may have read in books that Kahlo was a strong person and presence to be reckoned with, but Rivera has gotten so much attention over the years and there has been so much emphasis on Kahlo's illnesses and injuries, it took this short film of them together for Ciwt to grasp how equal they really were, as artists and individuals.
After the movie, the show opened to a large room filled with mannequins dressed in some of Kahlo's outfits. Costumes really. If you like fashion - which Ciwt does - seeing these creative and colorful 'authentic' Mexican outfits is a treat. But the treat is both enhanced and altered by understanding that Kahlo was wearing them not in old timey Mexico but in places like New York City, Paris, San Francisco. It was the early 20th century; even in Mexico most women had long since stopped dressing ethnically and were wearing the latest styles. Kahlo would have been a powerful, regal, awesome person walking among them. Your instinct would have been to stand back in admiration.
It is a rich show, and others may have been struck by different things than Ciwt. But she bets most of the viewers came away from 'Appearances Can Be Deceiving' feeling the show lifts Frida Kahlo right up and (finally) does her justice as the complex, strong-minded, creative, compelling person she was. Plus it gave Ciwt an opportunity to ride a bus and go to a museum - finally!
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Walk: 1. Presidio 2. Hood Distance: 1. 4 miles, 1 hour pickleball (again), Yoga stretch 2. 4 miles, small stretch
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Walk: Pickleball, T. Joe's Distance: 3 miles, 1 hour pathetic pickleball
|Young Totally Focused Ciwt Who Easily Trounced Her Tennis Opponents with her Powerful Shots |
|Ciwt on the Pickleball Court Today. "Harder? What do you mean harder?"|
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Walk: Presidio Distance: 5 Miles, Yoga
|"I wrote you a note...."|
|"Dragonfly found the Note...."|
|"Mouse found the Note. She made a sunhat and worked in her garden all day....."|
Since kids can't be in school, school has come to them outdoors and there are many cute teaching moments along some of the San Francisco trails. This is just part of the "I Found a Note..." saga. Ciwt had to take another path so sh didn't see the ending; Hope mouse doesn't get eaten by a coyote or something...
Friday, September 18, 2020
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Walk: 1. No, trapped by wet carpets after cleaning 2. Hood, Nails!!, Car Wash Distance: 1. Yoga, Pedal 2. 3 miles, Yoga
|Took 3/4 hour to get here from around the block|
Monday, September 14, 2020
Walk: Hood --- Distance: Just a smoky mile, sweep filthy steps and outside landings, Yoga
|First Day of School for Friend's Granddaugher and new Kitten|
Sad she can't be with her friends, but at least she has her new kitten friend. He looks happy about distance learning. So cute, Ciwt just had to share.
Sunday, September 13, 2020
Distance: 0, heavy vacuuming, Yoga
|Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) , Number 19, 1954, 30 7/8" x 22 5/8," Paint dripped on canvas.|
Our smoky San Francisco skies put Ciwt in mind of Jackson Pollock's drip paintings. The one above is actually a bit unusual because he signed it upper left as a vertical and it is more 'conveniently' sized than his enormous, wall sized canvases. But, in May 2013, those things didn't stop someone from buying Number 19 for $58,363,750 at a Christie's auction.
Pollock was famous in his lifetime especially during his legendary burst of creativity from 1947 - 1951 when he had several gallery shows and countless magazine articles written about him. Fame though did not equate with agreement among critics and the general public about the quality of his art. Time dubbed him "Jack the Dripper" while the preeminent critic of the era, Clement Greenberg, championed Pollock so actively he actually organized his first gallery show (which of course got rave reviews). This wide variety in people's opinions about his art continues to this day and Ciwt guesses you already have your own, if you've thought of Pollock at all.
Far be it from Ciwt to try to change those. But, if you were here, she's betting we'd agree Pollock's Number 19 is a pretty good likeness of the West Coast sky these days.
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Distance: 1. Yoga 2. 1.6 miles, Yoga
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Distance: 1. 0, small yoga, too heat stupid to write 2. 1 mile, yoga 3. 1 very obscure mile, yoga
Sunday, September 6, 2020
Saturday, September 5, 2020
Friday, September 4, 2020
Distance: 3.6, Yoga
|Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge, 1899|
One can't talk about Monet without talking about his 250 Water Lily paintings which depicted the flowers and surroundings of his home in Giverny. These paintings and the gardens themselves were the primary focus of the last 30 years of his life. He loved them both, and once said, "Aside from painting and gardening, I am good for nothing." And he also felt he was a better gardener than he was a painter - which is saying a lot!
It is lucky Monet found painting (and selling) the lilies "an extension of my life" because they were also a huge extension of his budget. He employed six full time gardeners, one of whose daily assignment was to dust and de-pollenate the pads and water so that the colorful light they reflected was pure. And he actually had a branch of the Epte river diverted to his property to fill his lily pond. This was much to the objections of his neighbors who were almost successful in preventing one of the most beautiful gardens and series of paintings ever created.
The paintings were beautiful, refined, sparklng, serene:
Water Lilies in the Evening, 1896
|Water Lilies, 1922|
Thursday, September 3, 2020
Distance: 0, Yoga
I would like to paint the way a bird sings.
Monet wasn't primarily interested in painting the beauty of nature; he wasn't after a beautiful painting. He was after nature itself, capturing it. He didn't see a sea or a cliff or even a water lily. He saw countless particles of myriad colors that comprise nature; a pink here, a deeper pink there, bright yellow, lilac, the glints of light and color that made up the whole.
|San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk, 1908|
And it wasn't easy to see this way, to have this drive. As he said, "Color is my daylong obsession, my joy, my torment." In search of it he flirted with illness even death climbing rocks, standing in icy sea blasts of sea winds or snowstorms working as one of the first painters to ply his talents 'en plein air,' ie, outside - often all day.
|Cart on the Snow Covered Road with Saint-Simeon Farm, 1865|
The obsession was there from the beginning and manifested most dramatically in his series paintings. This practice of painting the same subject at different times of day began in earnest in the 1880's and continued until the end of his life in 1926. His most well known series included Mornings on the Seine, Houses of Parliament, Rouen Cathedral.
But probably the most significant series for him during these years was his 25 painting Haystack series from 1990-1991. Fifteen of these were the first to be exhibited as a series and were recognized as a breakthrough in French art. But most importantly for Monet, they were immediately popular. All the paintings in the show sold within days, and this set him free - at last! - financially. His reputation and prices rose steeply and he was able to buy outright the house and grounds at Giverny and start constructing a water lily pond. (NB: He was finally past subsistence living, but never a man to deny himself, he contiued to live at an economic edge. Another story in another CIWT).
No matter what his subject, Monet's underlying fascination in all his series was light, its intransience. He needed at the deepest level to capture that. Even knowing his quest was ultimately impossible, he would rise around 3:30 in the morning so as to see the first light, set up multiple canvases, then paint and move rapidly from one to another as the momentary light changed. This process was repeated day after day whatever the weather, sometimes for weeks or months until he deemed each canvas as complete as possible. As he said, "I'm never finished with my paintings; the further I get, the more I seek the impossible and the more powerless I feel."
Monet's series culminated of course in his great and most famous Water Lilies paintings. More on these in a future CIWT.
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Distance: small yoga
Before Monet became Claude Monet, the Father of Impressionism, around the age of 32, he spent much of his time called by his given name "Oscar," rebellious, impoverished and painting some of Ciwt's favorites of all his paintings. Like:
Impressionist paintings so adored by the public. Perhaps...