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.....

Monday, July 18, 2022

Tunnel Top is Tops --- Day 11/160

Walk: Presidio Tunnel Tops 

Distance: 3 miles, small yoga

So San Francisco's Presidio has a new park - starting yesterday. It's in the Presidio and the top of it goes over the freeway coming and going from the Golden Gate Bridge. It opens up a lot of easy, enjoyable walking with gorgeous vews and the kids love all the space and playthings devoted to them.

Right now it is looking quite sparse but there are cute signs saying "Nature at Work" while the many shrubs, plants, trees grow and make the views and strolls even more uplifting.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Art Break --- Days 11/158 & 159

Walk: 1. Piedmont Art Center  2. Day of Total Rest

Distance: 1. 4 miles  2. 0

A readers' break from Ciwt's roller coaster adjustment to a new home for her (and hopefully you) to enjoy two Matisses.  On the right is a book with Henri Matisse's famous La Danse (1910) on the cover.  And beside it is a a @2015  clay 'urchin' thrown, painted and fired by his great-grandson, Alex Matisse, a world class potter.

Ciwt loves how the flowing arabesques in each art work have so much of the same exuberant energy.  Feels like a family connection somehow.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Ms. Clean, Part II --- Days 11/155, 156, 157, 158

Walks/Lopes: 1-4: Hood basically

Distances: 1-4: 4.5 miles

Four more days have gone by and Ciwt must have something to tell you about except her adjust to her new home and her wrong-headed assumptions in the process.  But, no such luck; sorry dear readers. 

So today she'll tell you about her clothes washer.  Yes, she has one of those in her place.  All it does is wash. She thought that was preposteous and basically useless.  And truth be told so did her realtor and the building maintenance person among others.  

But, again, Ciwt - and others in this case - was wrong. A washer-only is quite useful several things - certainly delicates that shouldn't be tossed around and around in the dryer.  And, you know what else is nice she's learned?  Air drying.  Just like in the old days.  Takes several hours, even a day.  But the little w/d's that are sold for under the counter take at least 5 hours to dry loads and drain electricity and water in the process.  Plus most have such terrible reputations for breaking down irrepairably that many of the best appliance stores won't even carry them.

So, now you know ........😉

Monday, July 11, 2022

Ms. Clean --- Day 11/154

Walk/Lope:  Monday errands and Laundry!

Distance: 2 miles, yoga


So, besides the 'unreal' park across the street, another thing Ciwt was too fancy for - or something - was her new home's community laundry machines.  She'd need a pastle of quarters, have to stand in line waiting for a machine, have no idea if her things were safe and when they'd be ready, these imagined inconveniences for Ciwt and more were just too much for her.

Finally today she deigned to grab her laundry basket, get in the elevator! and ride down to the laundry room.  Which was empty - with a sea of machines completely available, easy instructions with exact times for both both the washing and drying cycles, security because only other building people can enter (plus most have w/d's of their own).  Oh, and did she mention, they are easily operated with credit cards so absolutely no quarters necessary?

She loaded the washer, inserted her card, got back in the elevator!, and rode right back up to her place knowing exactly when to ride back down to move things to the dryer.  And, if the machines break down, the building maintenance people - not Ciwt - will handle it.  

Wrong again 😁 Yay!

Sunday, July 10, 2022

From the Met to Broadway --- Days 11/152 & 153

Walk/Lope: 1. FS Conservatory of Music  2. Sunday Hood

Distance: 2. 2 miles, small yoga  3. 5.5 miles

So, the LP of South Pacific was on again and again in Ciwt's childhood house. And every time she heard opera star Ezio Pinza's glorious version of Some Enchanted Evening, Ciwt's heart melted a little.  

With that memory in mind she headed off yesterday to a concert given by this year's Merolta Opera Program trainees. Merola is regarded as one world's foremost programs for aspiring singers, pianist/coaches and stage directors, and they would be singing and playing selections from the American Songbook. Ciwt was excited to hear this.

Well....Pinza, Mario Lanza, Patrice Munsel and other opera stars who excelled on Broadway must have had special training to tailor their talents to the theater stage.  Especially in enunciation.  The notes sung by the young trainees yesterday were so full and elongated that the words were muffled.  The low notes all sounded like dirges no matter how upbeat the song, and you can just imagine how intensely shrill the women sounded when they reached their climactic high points.  

Oh dear.  Still Ciwt was happy to support Merola and wishes the trainees fine and long careers.  This was their first concert of the summer training, and some of them had just flown in a day or so before the concert. Several were porbably from abroad and had no idea what in the world tunes like Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree were all about.  It's also doubtful any of the rest of their training will include the Amercan Songbook.  Better to hone their extraordinary gifts for the likes of Aida, Tosca, La Traviata; they can learn Cabaret, Ya Got Trouble, and of course Some Enchanted Evening some other time. 

Friday, July 8, 2022

Movie Star Neighbors --- Days 11/148, 149, 150 & 151

Walk/Lope: 1. Presidio Pickleball 2. At home, continuring to wrestle with pillows 3. Hood/Park 4. Hood

Distance: 1. 4.5 miles, 90 minutes pickle  2. 2 miles  3. 4.3 miles, yoga in park  4. 5.4 miles

And Now at Layfayette Park Too

So in her adjustment to her new home Ciwt has been avoiding the park literally next door.  Bah, humbug she was thinking, it just won't do the trick for her.  Won't have any birds or feel like real nature.  

But finally she deigned to step into the 'unreal' park where she was immediately serenaded with loud squawking.  She looked up to see flocks of brightly colored parrots frolicking through the sky.  Probably descendants of the parrots who once lived only on Telegraph Hill and starred in their own 2004 documentary - for which they received a Tomatometer rating of 95!  

Turns out some of the wild South American birds are still in their gathering spot on Telegraph and others have established small flocks throughout the city.  Including Ciwt's 'unnatural' park!

And just as Ciwt was taking in this new sense of her park, a huge red tailed hawk flew on to high branch of a gorgeous, old and tall tree - maybe an elm.  

This was just the beginning.  On her short visit, Ciwt saw any number of species and began thinking she should bring her binoculars next time and begin some serious birdwatching.  When she left the 'unreal' park and went 1/2 a block to her new home, she read on line that she was way late to the bird watching idea. According to eBird her park is an urban birding hotspot - with woodpeckers, orioles, jays, robins, hummingbirds, hawks, parakeets and several other species.  And don't even ask about the abundant types of plants and trees - which of course attract many types of butterflys.

Sometimes it's just great to be completely wrong!

Monday, July 4, 2022

Love This Holiday Any Way It Appears --- Day 11/147

Walk: The very special Crissy Field

Distance: 4.5 miles (3 miles lope)

Frederic Larson (SF Chronicle), Fireworks over Crissy Field with Golden Gate Bridge in the Backgound, July 4, 1980

So often San Francisco puts on a fireworks display and no one can see it because the fog has blown in.
But the sky flickers in gorgeous colors and we can hear the celebration of U.S. Independence.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Out of the Closet (for a moment) --- Day 11/146

Walk: Sunday Stroll

Distance: 3 miles

So, Ciwt thought she'd see what it was like having a desk out of the closet. (See Day 11/132)  Just in case, she bought a little foldable one.  Luckily.  Within a few hours it was collapsed and Ciwt was back in the closet.  Felt strange; she wasn't quite ready.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Just Who Invented Throw Pillows? --- Days 11/141 - 145

Walks: 1. Walk: GG Pickleball, Crown Point Press,  2-4. Various Hood Errands

Distances: 1. 3.6 miles, 90 minutes pickle,  2-4. 4 miles walk/lope/small yoga

So, now where has Ciwt been?  Well, drowning in throw pillows. Her new place requires new daily activities to replace her 40 year patterns in her old one.  So, a few days ago she sat down at her computer and ordered throw pillows on line.  One by one they've arrived - looking different from their online images: too bright, too fat, not soft enough, bigger or smaller than expected, etc.  And Ciwt has been going crazy trying to make them work.  

Part of her is ready to have them all just disappear.