Sunday, October 2, 2022

Halloween Photo Contest 2022 --- Days 12/231-8

Walks/Lopes: Always the hoods

Distances: 5 miles, small stretches here and there

Skeletons and Spirits Aloft

October begins and San Franciscans start celebrating their favorite holiday. (And Ciwt starts taking some of her favorite pictures).

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Love All --- Days/11/226=230

Walks: Various with visiting friend

Distances: 3.5 average

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Acting Queen --- Days 11/221-225

Walks: Definite Pattern Here: Hood, Presidio

Distances: 5 miles, small yogas

So Ciwt is wondering what roles would be beyond Viola Davis's talents.  There she is above playing a wide variety of women.  But they were all in dresses.  Not so in her latest movie, The Woman King. Ciwt went to see that movie today, of course Davis was powerful and certainly will be up for an Academy Award*.

* Hate to say it, but Ciwt was kind of lost, not particularly involved in the movie and gives it a 2/4.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Different Skies II --- Day 11/220

Walk: Hood

Distance: 5 miles

Roger Federer, Winner, Wimbledon Junior Boys Tournament, 1998

Roger Federer, 

Grand Slam tournament finals: 31 (20 titles, 11 runner-ups)

Every movement so graceful

Friday, September 16, 2022

Different Skies --- Day 11/219

Walk: The Usual/Hood

Distance: 4 miles, small yoga

Anthony Lane in The New Yorker came up with a way to express the impossible to express:  

To get up in the morning without the Queen being around, always distant but ever present, will be like living beneath a different sky... 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

When They Aren't Flying --- Day 11/218

Walk: The Usual

Distance: The Usual (5 miles)

Owl Chick Thinking it Over in Transylvania   - Laszlo Potozky / Bird Photographer of the Year

Puffin Love, Newfoundland and Labrador - Brad James / Bird Photographer of the Year

King Penguin Chick, Asleep, Falkland Islands -  Andy Pollard / Bird Photographer of the Year

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Time and Bird Flies --- Days 11/210-217

Walks:  The Usual every day: hood, between homes, Presidio

Distances: 5 miles average

A whole week of Ciwt missing her readers,  flying between her new home and the millenialization of her old one.

And, yes, this photograph is real.  The stunningly pure white Rock Ptarmigan in flight was captured crisply and flawlessly by Norway's Erland Haarberg. He says of the moment:  High above the tree-line, the wind, snow and cold maintain the iron grip of winter for months on end.  This is where rock ptarmigan thrive, small white feather-balls in an endless white landscape.  On this particlar winter day, I was on my way to a mountaintop by Tysfjorden in Norway to photograph landscapes.  I had almost reached the summit when I spotted some ptarmigan tracks criss-crossing between the rocks. From behind a rock, a small head appeared, and seconds later it took to wing with the mountains and fjord landscape in the background, setting the scene perfectly.

No wonder Haarberg was named Overall Winner Bird Photographer of the Year in The Atlantic's annual competition. 

Stay tuned for awesome entries by some of the bird photographers he was up against.....

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Our "Best' Weather Season Has Begun --- Days 11/208 & 209

Walks/No Lopes: Hood, Presidio

Distances: 5 miles average, small yogas

These people racing across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco are probably trying to escape the parts of the Bay Area that are even hotter.  Best of Luck.

Monday, September 5, 2022

San Francisco Simply --- Days 11/205, 206, 207

Walks/Lopes:  Hood, Presidio

Distances: 4.5 miles avg, small yogas

So, of course Ciwt's readers have heard about San Francisco's street people.  But probably you didn't know of some who share our streets in ways that put Ciwt in mind of the city that stole her heart in the 60's and where she's spent most of her life since.

It was a simple place.  People wore colorful, relaxed clothes and many sat in parks or sidewalk benches strumming guitars.  Others on their ways to Stinson Beach or Big Sur were usually kids of some sort - hippies, college students or grads - standing on the side of the roads hitchhiking.  It was peaceful, musical, (when not murderous or plain evil - think Patty Hearst, the Hillside Strangler).  There weren't many jobs of consequence.  East Coast investment houses and banks hadn't begun to take San Francisco seriously so the top executive positions were often held by scions who came in late, left for early martinis and dominoes at their clubs and stayed for the duration.  There was an optimistic good-hearted freedom to it all in the midst of lovely architecture and some of the most specular natural scenery in the world. Innocense.  Live and let live.  

Some of that is on display here and there these days of homeless and post(?) covid democratizing.  Take the guy who parks his motor coach containing and what appears to be all his possessions near the Trader Joe's Ciwt frequents.  In fact, his coach is a 1973 Millenium Falcon.  Ciwt knows this because he has printed the information on his rear bumper.  

Sadly, his beloved dog, Buddy or Baby Butt, died earlier this year which you learn by reading the sign on his front windshield.

And, you know what he did after he lost his "Bestest Baby Ever" on a Friday morning in April?  He started a sidewalk Community Garden.  He has named it Guerrilla Garden, dedicated it to the memory of all his departed dogs including Baby Butt,  supplied it with tools, dirt, water and an invitaion to all who are inclined to "get your hands dirty and dig in."  

When he first showed up several years ago, Ciwt was a bit uncomfortable, then came to pay little or no attention and more or less whisk by.  Then when he kept parking close to the same location and Ciwt saw him nearly every day, she began to notice that he actually kept his area neat as a pin; if there was ever any sidewalk sprawl, it was stuff he was reorganizing and cleaning. She also saw his beloved Baby Butt.  Now she enjoys seeing the potatoes, onions and other edibles grow in the community garden he has created.  And today, she saw him sitting on his bench in Guerilla Gardens and rhythmically beating drumsticks to a tune coming through his ear phones.  It seemed innocent, open-hearted and musical like those guitar players in the San Francisco parks years ago.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Will Any of These Be The New B&W? --- Days 11/203 & 204

Walks: Hood

Distances: 4 miles, small yogas

So Ciwt is noticing that some people are daring to branch out from the au courant black and ____ houses.

Will Green catch on?

Or Blue?

Or maybe just snazzing up the b&w with some Gold?

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Forget the Crystal --- Day 11/202

Walk/Lope:  Golden Gate Park Pickleball, Hood

Distance: 3 miles, 90 minutes pickle

So, Ciwt continues to share with her readers her fascinated visual entry into the modern, or current selling aesthetic.

Forget the old world crystal chandelier for your entryway: 

Here is the updated version (at least at Ciwt's place):

Monday, August 29, 2022

All in Black and White --- Day 11/201

Walk: Hood, of course

Distance: of course: 5 miles, small yoga

Black House, White Flowers

B&W House, B&W Cars

B&W Beach Scene

Hopefully Ciwt's stagers don't have dreams of painting her yellow building black....

Sneak preview of what Ciwt predicts might be coming next:


Sunday, August 28, 2022

No Color Please --- Days 11/199 & 200

Walks/Lopes: You know, neighborhood

Distances: 5 miles

So Ciwt comes from a generation where much was made of color.  Think of Matisse, Rothko, the decorator Dorothy Draper who famously in the late 40's draped the Greenbriar Resort in intense colors:

So she is a bit non-plussed as she watches her home of 40 years become 'millenialized.'  It is quite clear that her  new, younger potential buyers have no interest whatsoever in color.  Unless you are talking about black and ______.  

Let's take for example her former living room:
Here it is so far on its way to complete millenialization:


And instead of brass and traditional fixtures, you have: 

black doorknobs

(post) modern lighting 

After she got over the initial shock, Ciwt is now quite enjoying watching this new aesthetic move into her old place.

Friday, August 26, 2022

In a Scurry --- Days 11/191 - 198

Walks/Lopes:  The Usual: Hood, Presidio

Distances: 5 miles average, small yogas

One whole week since Ciwt has communicated with her readers!  Oh my.  Just know she's working on establishing new patterns, activities, acquaintances in her new home and scurrying around like the langur from Sri Lanka above.   And thinking of all of you and wishing you lovely dog days of summer.

Friday, August 19, 2022

A Great Exhibition --- Days 11/187, 188, 189, 190

Walks/Lopes: The Usual: Hood, Parks

Distances: 5.5 average, small yogas

Mortuary Temple in Thebes commissioned by Ramses II @3200 years ago to safeguard his soul

So Ciwt was invited to the press preview of the new exhibit at the de Young Museum: Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs.  And WOW!

Ramses II, who ruled Egypt for 67 years, was a consummate builder, particularly of monuments to himself throughout his country.  So Ciwt can think of no higher praise of the exhibit than to say Ramses himself would approve and be proud.  The exhibition is so wonderous in terms of scale, detail, dignity, high-tech and musical innovation among other qualities that Ciwt asked one of the visiting dignitaries who organized it if a video had been made of the elaborate and exacting preparations for it.  He shook his head sadly and said "No, but that would have been a very good idea."  All involved must have slaved - with love and care.

At first the exhibit feels like a movie set, with lighting that captures the actual feel of sunshine and desert-like quiet.  Original music plays and you slowly realize that everything towering above you is is an actual Egyptian museum relic or a painstakingly perfect replica. Exhibit designers explored temples, town and tombs in Egypt to accurately recreate the art and architecture so as much as possible you have been transported to ancient Egypt.

Besides huge columns and temples,  thousands of artifacts from exquisite gold jewelry to weapons to, yes, mummies, are put in the context of their time. Which was really Ramses the Great's time.  He lived for 92 years in an era when something around 30 was the usual lifespan. Understandably several  generations of Egyptians considered the words Ramses and Pharaoh synonomous. And during his 67 years as Pharaoh Ramses advanced Egypt's culture, wealth and influence, expanded Egypts's borders, brokered the first known peace treaty, spearheaded the building of cities, temples and monuments - as well as being a great warrior and devoted family man.  Not for nothing was he known as The Great, and the exhibition imparts a vivid sense of the man, his country, his accomplishments, his motives and the belief system that determined so much of who he was. 

The deYoung is the only West Coast venue for Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs, and Ciwt would strongly encourage people to travel to take it in.  It is an Exhibition like no other, a Great one.

Ramses the Great

Monday, August 15, 2022

Bird Hide? --- Days 11/185 & 186

Walks/Lopes:  Presidio, Hood, Park Next door

Distances: 5 miles, small yogas

         Malabar Parakeets (aka blue-winged parakeets)

So, Ciwt doubts she'll ever spot a Malabar parakeet and will need to settle for the rambuncious Red-Headed ones in her next door park.  This pair was actually photographed by an under-16 photographer who waited patiently in a bird hide in Karnataka, India  for this prize winning shot.*

*The contest was the Nature TTL Photographer of the Year 2022 which attracted more than 8,000 entries in eight different categories celebrating the natural world.  

Nature TTl is a website obsessed with nature photography and offering high quality tutorials by real professional nature photographers.  They've been doing it since 2014.

Hmmmm.  Maybe a new Ciwt hobby(?).....Although she's not sure bird hides are allowed in her little urban park.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Two Blue --- Days 182, 183 & 184

Walks/Lopes:  Hoods and Presidio

Distances: 5 miles, small yogas

CaliforniaScrub Jay

So Ciwt is proud to announce that she has now spotted a bird with no red in her 'unnatural' next door park.  

The fetching California scrub jay with - Ciwt came home and read -  deep azure blue, clean white underparts, and soft gray-brown.  She also read that scrub jays are 'very common' which made her a little less proud.  Oh, and truth be told, there were two of them just hanging out on the ground in a flat grassy place.  Also they didn't change a thing they were doing, muchless fly away, when Ciwt stood looking at them.

But, still, she did spot them.  And onto her new 'unnatural park' bird list they go!

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!!