#amwritingshortstory: Manchester Square

Setting, The Wallace Collection, London:

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Fragonard’s “The Swing” Originally, the lady was to have been pushed by a bishop. But this was evidently too much. So, instead, we have an elderly gent sitting on a stone balustrade, in the shadows behind.

  • She walked past the Flemish Masters in the East Drawing Room, strode past Titian’s Madonna and David Teniers the Younger’s the Deliverance of Saint Peter.

Later, self took her notes and added this sentence (while having lunch at Chez Nous, 22 Hanway Street):

  • She was more of a café person than her friend Maxine, who’d set the bar pretty high, whose idea of dinner was to go to the Ottolenghi in Islington, who had impressed her parents into gifting her a trip to London (she couldn’t be bothered to learn French, so London it was) by getting an A on a paper about the Thirty Years War (“1618 to 1648,” she told her mother, Cici, who blushed with maternal pride).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Feathers and Oil Paint: More Texture

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from the Exhibit “Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade,” at the CA Legion of Honor, San Francisco

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Mark Rothko’s No. 14, 1960, at the SF Museum of Modern Art

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Edvard Munch’s Night in Saint-Cloud, at the SF Museum of Modern Art

Texture: The Daily Post Photo Challenge 2 August 2017

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge (posted every Wednesday) is TEXTURE.

Photos have “a tactile element, too,” Ben Huberman says. As an example, he provides his shot of “tangles of seaweed . . .  across the wet sand at low tide.”

Here are three of self’s own examples of texture:

  • The lace on a ladies’ hat, circa 1900 – 1925, in the exhibit on Impressionism and the Milliner’s Trade at the CA Palace of the Legion of Honor:
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Maker identified only as “French, Madame Georgette”

  • Look at the wonderful texture in this salad arrangement!
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Le Pain Quotidien, Claremont, CA: July 2017

  • Discovered in the exploration of son’s room: a frog that squirts water. Self loves that the frog’s skin is so pebbled. It has a degree of realism you don’t often find in other toys.
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Plastic Frog! Found in Son’s Room in Redwood City, CA: This used to be one of his favorite toys.

 

 

 

The Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of J. M. W. Turner

Self began Franny Moyle’s hefty biography of Turner a few days ago.

It begins at the end of his life, which is a little sad. The man lived with his common-law wife in a grotty part of London and no one knew he was Turner. Neighbors thought he was a retired sea captain and called him “Piggy.”

Come to think of it, self hates any biography that begins at the end. She thinks it’s a little bit of a cheat. But that’s the only quibble she has about the book so far.

She was in London just a month ago. Can you believe it? She went to the British Museum and saw an exhibit, Places of the Mind, British Watercolour Landscapes, 1850 – 1950: celebrating “the work of British landscape artists during the hundred years following the death of J. M. W. Turner.”

She’s not reading the Turner biography because of that exhibit. She follows a strict order in her reading list. She read about the biography two years ago, and it took her all this time to work through the books that came before. It’s amazing that she’s reading about Turner when the watercolour exhibit is still so fresh in her mind.

More amazing: the Mendocino Art Center contacted her about submitting a description for the writing workshop she’s teaching there, early next year. The Art Center has a lot of visual artists, and that’s what it’s known for. There’s synchronicity in the universe now.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Still More Unusual: Art Is In the Eye of the Beholder

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Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art


Airplane “Found Art”: Self’s seatmate on a flight from the East Coast back to California was a little girl named California Rose. She made self this sculpture out of Twizzle sticks! The finishing touch: a tiny Mini-Me on the top!

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Most Creative Use of Twizzle Sticks Ever!

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Another Fine Detail: A Graham Cracker Lion at the Base of the Flowers

More Unusual

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Jessica Dunne exhibit at B. Sakata Garo Gallery, 20th Street, downtown Sacramento

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Self loves bright colors!

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A T-shirt from the gift shop at Shakespeare’s Globe: A Quote from Romeo and Juliet

Collage: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 13 July 2017

What is a collage? In the words of Michelle Weber over at The Daily Post, it is “an assortment, a collection, a hodgepodge.”

Here are a couple of shots that show a collage:

  • The printed dress. So fabulous. The wearer was self’s niece, Rina. We were having lunch at Boiling Crab:
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Rina Villanueva, July 2017

  • An assortment of reading matter: Everything from a Playbill to a book written by someone she used to know in college, Rick Manapat. The book, History of Negros, is about an island in the Philippines called Negros (The Spanish gave it the name, in the 16th century):
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What Self Found in Son’s Room: July 2017

  • A collection of roses on a hat at the recent exhibit “Degas, Impressionism and the Paris Millinery Trade” at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor:
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Woman’s Hat, circa 1910: The artist went by the name “Madame George”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading From the Book of AMAZING RARE THINGS: About An Amazing Naturalist, Maria Sibylla Merian

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How Self Reads: Everything In Front of the Couch

MARIA SIBYLLA MERIAN (1647 – 1717)

Born in Frankfurt, she “married one of her stepfather’s pupils and they moved to her husband’s native city of Nuremberg in 1670.  Five years later Merian published her first book, Florum Fasciculus primus (A first bunch of flowers), which she followed with two further parts in 1677 and 1680.” These were essentially pattern books “designed to serve as a model for embroidery . . . ”

“Merian’s first scientific work . . .  was her Raupenbuch, or more fully Der Raupen wunderbare Verwandelung und sonderbare Blumennahrung (The wondrous transformation of caterpillars and their remarkable diet of flowers) . . .  Each part comprised fifty plates showing caterpillars, chrysalises, butterflies and moths in their natural habitat, and represented the results of many years of observation.”

Her pioneering work was performed “between 1699 and 1701,” when she went “to the Dutch colony of Surinam in South America, where she studied the insects indigenous to the country,” resulting in the “magnificent work” Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium (The transformation of the insects of Surinam). It was “one of the most important works of natural history of its era . . .  ninety-five” of her watercolours on vellum are in the Royal Collection.

You can see some of her art here.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: More of SURF CULTURE

“He went out from the shore till he was near the place where the swell begins to take its rise; and, watching its first motion very attentively, paddled before it with great quickness, till he found that it overlooked him, and acquired sufficient force to carry his canoe before it without passing underneath. He then sat motionless, and was carried along at the same swift rate as the wave, till it landed him upon the beach. Then he started out . . . and went in search of another swell. I could not help concluding that this man felt the most supreme pleasure while he was driven on so fast and smoothly by the sea . . . “

— Captain James Cook, in his Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, 1785

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Mendocino Headlands, Winter 2016

Stay tuned.

#amreading: SURF CULTURE, THE ART HISTORY OF SURFING

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Surfing is . . . what? An act of cultural and religious significance for extinct societies that left us no written records? They were surfing in Africa before the Euros arrived. Spanish explorers commented on the plank canoes of the Chumash of Califas, and how they maneuvered in and out of the waves at places like Malibu Point and Rincon Point. Aboriginals all over the planet were being propelled by waves long before Tommy Tana came from the Solomon Islands to teach the convicts’ offspring the art of body whomping. Hand-hewn boards were sliding in the Maldives prior to the Euro intrusion.

— from the Introduction to Surf Culture, by C. R. Steyck

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