Thursday, June 20, 2013

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Last weekend I had the pleasure of travelling to San Francisco for the wedding of an old friend.  In additional to travel Mill Valley for the wedding, there was the delight of a few days to explore San Francisco, including visits to "little Russia" (home of grocery stores with some unfamiliar snacks and Russian Orthodox churches), Fort Point (which has an awesome view of the water from the vantage point of the underside of the Golden Gate Bridge), the Sutro Baths (ruins of public baths that were around until the mid-20th century--7 pools that could accommodate 10,000 people at a time!), and a hike in Pacifica (along this bluff called Mori Point, which runs along the water).  

On Sunday, a day which was uncharacteristically warm and sunny for June in San Francisco, we made a visit to Golden Gate Park. It's really a stunning piece of public infrastructure, which includes a buffalo pasture, botanic garden, and Japanese tea garden. The experience was made even more fantastic by the fact that the roads are closed to vehicular traffic on Sundays, so bikers and walkers rule the roads. I was particularly taken by the Music Concourse, a grand plaza which separates the de Young museum (also really interesting) from the Academy of Sciences. It is a public space that feels European in nature, particularly the Spreckels Temple of Music, a classically designed bandshell located at the west end of the concourse. So, I sat on a sunny afternoon, before the Temple of Music and painted the elegant arcade of Ionic columns, while enjoying a rehearsal and performance by Circus Bella and the Golden Gate Park Band.
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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Painting on the Rails

Keeping with the theme of painting while on the move, I made this painting while traveling by train to St. Louis. As is typical of the midwest, much of the landscape felt wide open, gently rolling fields and big open sky. The charms of painting on the train made me even more curious about the experience of traveling west, by train, through the great plains.  For now, I enjoyed the short trip south to St. Louis, where I delighted in a visit to the Buckminster Fuller conservatory at the Botanic Garden and the wonders of the City Museum.     

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Gloomy Afternoon at Lake Harriet

Two weekends ago I spent the weekend in Minneapolis for a wedding. I'm pretty taken by the natural beauty of the twin cities: lush trees, the great Mississippi, the Minnehaha Falls, and dozens of lakes.  I had the lucky opportunity to stay with a friends' family near to Lake Harriet on this recent visit.  It's hard to describe how idyllic the neighborhood lakes, like Lake Harriet, seem to me.  Lake Harriet, located two blocks from where I was staying, feels clean and fresh, surrounded by tree-lined walking and biking paths, a bandshell for summer concerts, and charming homes. On a gloomy Sunday afternoon walk, I couldn't resist sitting in the bandshell overlooking the lake and making this painting. Later that day, in fabricating a "thank you" card for our hosts, I painted the same scene again, but the second time the lake, sky, and water lived in my mind's eye. The second version, painted from memory, was simplified into the more essential relationships of lights and darks, without attempting to differentiate the details of the scene. I'm uncertain which was the more compelling painting, but certainly the experience of sitting before the a vast sky, lush trees, and reflective water can't be beat!
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