Monday, February 23, 2015

The Pacific Surfliner Train ... on the California Coast

The significance of life
is living.

The Southern Pacific Railroad built Glendale depot in 1924. I love the old Spanish Colonial Revival style! It's also an easy place to park and depart for a little weekend getaway!

A couple of days after the New Year, I decided to spend the last weekend of my vacation, up at my friend's place near Santa Maria. The train ride up there is beautiful. Well, Glendale to Ventura isn't so scenic, but the distance between Ventura and Santa Maria is beautiful. (There are beautiful spots on the way down South to San Diego, as well!)

I was looking for some traveling music and ran across this 1965 version of 500 Miles. It's much more melancholy than the trip was, but it's so pretty I wanted to share.

All of the photos were taken from the train window, on what is called the Pacific Surfliner, which goes from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. Much of the route runs along the coast.

Just North of Ventura ...

Without freedom from the past,
there is no freedom at all ...

Getting into Carpinteria and Santa Barbara ...

Look within,
You are the world.

North of Santa Barbara ...

Love the Air Streams!

To transform the world,
we must begin with ourselves.

However small may be the world we live in,
if we can transform ourselves,
bring about a radically different point of view 
in our daily existence, 
then perhaps we shall affect the world at large, 
the extended relationship with others.

Those shots, above, were all heading North (the photos from the trip will be in the next few posts) and these following photos, are Southbound, headed home to Los Angles. It was early morning when I left.

In oneself lies the whole world
and if you know how to look 
and learn, the door is there
and the key is in your hand.
Nobody on earth can give you either they key 
or the door to open,
except yourself.

Near Montecito ...

It is Love alone that leads to right action.
What brings order in the world 
is to Love 
and let Love do what it will.
~Jiddu Krishnamurti 

For more on the Glendale train station, click here!

Many Blessings and light, my friends!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentines and Posies

A little music to set the mood ...

One sees only with the heart.
Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.
~ The Little Prince

Your heart 
my heart
are very, very

I told my new friend that I was a bit nervous about an appointment, last week. When I went down to my car to leave, I found these posies on my Mini ... :)

The great acts of love
are done by those who are 
habitually performing
small acts of kindness.
~Victor Hugo

From the wire on a shared bottle of champagne ...

I found I could say things 
with color and shapes
that I couldn't say any other way -
things I had no words for.
~Georgia O'Keeffe

Tessie, 7, and her Snoopy Valentine animation cell, in art class. 

I belong to no religion.
My religion is love.
Every heart is 

Happy Valentine's Day, 
my friends!
Hope your worlds 
are filled 
with Love

Blessings and light!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Santa Monica Mountains Plein Air Day

There is only one true thing: 
instantly paint what you see.
~Edouard Manet

Previously, I posted a bunch of photos I took at the King Gillette Ranch and the Santa Monica Mountains. This is what I did after the hike and my little picnic lunch.

I really like the refurbished building that was the old 1924 horse stables, so I found a spot behind it, with a nice view, and no one was around.

First I did a little field sketch to see what I wanted in the picture. All the dimensions and perspective were off, but it gave me a bit of a clue on how to go forward on my sanded pastel paper. (Uart paper on board.)

You can see, below, the Uart paper is sort of pale, sand color. I used a sanguine colored pastel pencil, or conte to start loosely sketching in my composition. Then I went in with the watercolor underpainting, trying to think ahead what colors would go over the top and how they colors would react to each other.

My tripod broke, which is what I usually screw my pastel box into (there is a little easel attachment,) but thankfully there were a couple of picnic tables, so I still had a way to set up!

Painting outdoors is a distillation of time, 
a capturing of the essence of existence during a specific
period in the artist's experience.
~Charles Muench

I love having the watercolor underpainting to work off of, with the pastels. I like letting the color show through, but sometimes it's not in the cards, and you end up covering all the watercolor. Nice not to start with a a white/beige sheet of paper though!

While waiting for the watercolor to dry, I did a little watercolor sketch of the same subject, trying out some different colors.

The clouds started to roll in. So then, the shadows were totally different, at that point, and the cool air was keeping the underpainting from drying. I went ahead and cleaned up.

I had a photo with the shadows from earlier in the day, so I knew I would resolve the painting later, with pastels, back in the studio. (Or at least try to!)

I don't often work in plain air (outside) but I do enjoy it! I don't know if I'm all that crazy about my final work outdoors but it makes for a great recording of a day and time.

When you're an artist -
especially a plain-air artist,
where you're working outside -
you see the best of life all the time.

~Tom Nichols

Finished piece ~

Happy February!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

LACMA ~ A bit of everything at the Resnick


On New Years day, I decided to catch the Hudson River School landscape show, at LACMA. I couldn't believe they were open, on New Years! I thought it would be the perfect way to start off the 2015! The exhibition was in the Resnick Pavillion, with two other exhibitions, and they could not have all been more different. 

Japanese Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection
October 19, 2014-February 1, 2015

In order the get to the Hudson River School exhibition, you had to go through the Samurai exhibition. I had known it was going on but knew nothing about it. It was fascinating! And, all the work on the armor was incredible ... so intricate and beautiful were the details, I was quite captivated!

from the LACMA website:

"For many, the word “samurai” conjures images of a stoic warrior, swift in battle, armed with his sword (katana), a powerful weapon of destruction. But essential to the samurai’s survival was his armor—battle regalia that did not sacrifice beauty for functionality. 
In LACMA’s newest installment, Samurai: Japanese Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection, viewers are invited to witness the evolution of Japanese armor from the 12th to the 19th century. As described by LACMA curator Robert T. Singer, the exhibition calls attention to “the fantasy, [and] humor of Japan’s art in a traditional, three-dimensional way.”
A walk through Samurai takes you into the majestic world of these Japanese warriors—the artistic skill and dedication evident in each suit of armor a testament to the samurai’s respected status. Visitors are greeted by the powerful presence of samurai towering over them: a set of three warriors ride atop horses, rider and steed fully clad in armor. In fact, samurai horses were not armored until the 17th century, when their attire became a symbol of prestige during ceremonial processions."

Sujibachi Kabuto and menpō
Sadao of the Bamen school, living in Toyohara, Echizen province
Late Muromachi to Momoyama period: late 16th century

Eboshi Kabuto and menpō
Late Muromachi to Momoyama period: late 16th Century

more from the LACMA website:

"Samurai armor was an art form comprised of various elements including iron, leather, and precious metals. Artisans worked in groups over a period of several months to create a single masterpiece weighing between 20 to 45 pounds total—significantly lighter than the Western equivalent. Essential components included: a helmet (kabuto), mask (menpō), and chest armor (), to be worn in combination with protective guards.
Discussing his intent behind Samurai, Singer said: “My story is not about the samurai. My story is more about the art, the idea that a samurai, a warrior class, would be so interested in such fantastic symbols and mixing together Buddhism, Shinto, and things which would not mix together outside this culture.” These symbols vary from animals and vegetation—be sure to see the eggplant helmet—to mythical figures and abstract motifs."

Quiver (ebira)
Japan, 17th century
Bamboo, leather, lacquer, bear fur, horn, and snakeskin

I find it so fascinating to see what was happening in different parts of the world, but during the same time period. Many of the exhibits in this Samurai show were created while, across the planet, the Italian Renaissance and Baroque periods were underway.

Armor of the nimaitachidō type (nimaitachidō tōsei gusoku), attributed to Myōchin Yoshimichi and Myōchin Munenori (armor), Muromachi period, about 1400 (helmet bowl), mid-Edo period, 18th century (armor), iron, shakudō, lacing, silver, wood, gold, brocade, fur, bronze, brass, leather, lacquer, 

Boy's Armor (warabe tōsei gusoku)
Japan, 19th century
Iron, gold, bronze, lacquer, wood, leather, lacing,
brocade, and silk

Warrior Dolls (musha ningyō)
Japan, 19th century
Wood, hair brocade, iron and leather  
These two figures are the legendary fifth-century Emperor Ōjin and his minister Takenouchi no Sukune, a famous warrior who was said to have lived for 280 years and served five emperors.

Nature and the American Vision: 
The Hudson River School

December 7, 2014-June 7, 2015

The Solitary Oak, 1844
Asher B. Durand (1796-1886)

White Mountain Scenery, Franconia Notch,
New Hampshire, 1857
Asher B. Durand (1796-1886)

From the LACMA website:
Drawn entirely from the premier collection of The New-York Historical Society, Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School features forty-five outstanding American landscape paintings from the nineteenth-century. Among the artists represented in the exhibition are the heroes of the American landscape movement: Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, and Albert Bierstadt, among others. Also included are lesser-known artists, some of whom helped the American landscape achieve recognition through the new democratic medium of prints and portfolios.
Arranged thematically by place, the exhibition is designed as a grand tour of the American landscape. The full range of the exhibition demonstrates that the movement extends beyond the Hudson River, with work by artists who reflect both realistic and romantic attitudes toward nature in scenes of New England, the American West, and even to South America.

These two following pieces were my two favorites, outside of the Italian landscapes. They were smaller plein air works, and so lovely in person.

Summer Twilight, a Recollection of a Scene 
Thomas Cole (1801-1848)
in New England, 1834
Oil on wood panel

Autumn Twilight, View of a Corwary Peak
(Mount Chocorua), New Hampshire, 1834
Oil on wood panel

This next painting was enormous! 
These guys often liked to work big.

View of Yosemite Valley in California, 1865
Thomas Hill (1829-1908)
Oil on canvas

Cayambe, 1858
Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900)
Oil on canvas
This was painted after his second trip to S. America. I zoomed in a little. The details were pretty incredible.

The Course of Empire, c. 1834-36
Thomas Cole, (1801-1848)
Oil on canvas

Italian Scene, Composition, 1833
Thomas Cole 
Oil on canvas

Detail of the above painting, Italian Scene

Favorite piece in the show, next up! (Italy, of course. Love the Roman pines in the moonlight!)

Castle of Ostia Seen from the Pine Forest 
of Castel Fusano, 1881
William Stanely Haseltine (1835-1900)
Oil on canvas

Pierre Huyghe

November 23, 2014-February 22, 2015

I came in the back way, which I don't think helped my whole understanding of this exhibition. I was also running out of time on my meter, so I just sort of took it in on a sensory level, which was pretty cool.

There were a couple of films in the show, one included this dog (I think an Ibizan hound), which was walking around the exhibition. This particular bread happens to be that thin, so you don't have to worry. ;)

"Human" lying on a fur coat

This exhibition marks the first major retrospective of the work of Pierre Huyghe (b. 1962, Paris). Huyghe creates films, installations, and events that blur fact and fiction, reinvent rituals of social engagement, and use the exhibition model as a site for playful experimentation. Organized thematically, the exhibition covers more than two decades of Huyghe's career, with a focus on cinema as both model and matrix. By filming staged scenarios, Huyghe probes the capacity of art to distort and ultimately shape reality through methods that are filmic, spatial, or social.
In keeping with the artist’s desire for a non-hierarchical presentation, the exhibition is designed as a single, extraordinary environment, like a park or garden: a public sphere where a visitor can walk, reflect, and take in a variety of attractions through participation, thoughtful immersion, or simply as a passer-by.

Detail, L'Expéddition scintillante, Acte 3

You can see below that it was "snowing" outside the glass windows, as part of the exhibition. 

L'Expédition scintillante, Acte 1 (weather score) 2001
Snow, rain, and fog, programmed precipitation 
Artist note: Climatic variations noted in the logbook 
written by the main character in Edgar Allan Poe's novel 
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838).

"Human" standing in front of
L'Expédition scintillant, Acte 3 (Black Ice Rink)
libretto, 2002; broken black ice rink

This next piece was so strange and surreal ...
There was a huge heavy rock that was brought in by crane but it floated in
water. Then these little sea creatures were hanging out underneath it ...

Precambrian Explosion, 2014;
live marine ecosystem

In a dark room there were two exhibits. One was this cool smoke and light system, with beautiful classical music. And then , the other was a film called The Journey that Wasn't, 2005.

While I was in there, the dog came in with a guy, in kind of ... a light helmet. I'm sure there is a name for it but I don't know what it it is.

Museum goers were captivated by this dog, and followed the man and dog into the room. You can see the silhouettes of the people, below, taking pictures with the film happening behind them. 

It was pretty entertaining watching people freak out over the dog. Not sure how much was of it was that the dog was in one of the art pieces (a film) or the strangeness of seeing an animal cruise around an art museum, (pure white with a hot pink leg, no less0 but it was fascinated watching everyone. 

It was all pretty cool and kind of strange, but I didn't have time to get it all figured out. I had to head to my car because I wasn't sure if they'd be ticketing on January 1st! Anyway, I left inspired and ready to start of the year!

Hope you are all finding ways to get yourselves inspired, this year!

There is a fountain of youth: 
it is your mind, your talent, 
the creativity you bring to your life 
and the lives of people you love. 
When you learn to tap this source, 
you will truly have defeated age.
~ Sophia Loren

Blessings and light!