Saturday, January 8, 2011

Welcome Visitors to my Away-From Home and Happy birthday to Someone(s) Special

So many of you streaming through, thanks to that charming nod from Lisa. Some of you have even paused to comment -- thanks so much Tabitha. It's a bit odd to welcome you here, when my current, if virtual, "here" is not home. I'm blogging on the fly (if not quite "live" as I do at the Vancouver Opera). So you've come to visit me, and here I am visiting San Francisco -- the oddities of our social connections in the age of blogging, to extend Lisa's insightful essay on the topic.
Which preamble is, of course, to beg a bit of patience for words cobbled together in a hotel room as Pater shaves, knowing we'll be heading out for breakfast in minutes. Today we leave SF for Yountville, so we'll be packing up, then heading to the airport (on BART, wheeling our own small cases -- why I love to travel carry-on light) to pick up the rental car and figure out the map. While I still have much to say about SF, and will in a few future posts, I especially wanted to share some photos of the glorious art we've managed to view. Above, a section, then the whole, of a painting by James Rosenquist . . .

a painting-collage by Robert Rauschenberg . . .

Mark Rothko . . .
I so wish I'd captured a delicate print by Paul Klee with the marvellous title "Angel Brings what is Desired" . . .
I do have many more photographs of various paintings at the SFMOMA to help me remember what I saw. Exhibition catalogues are great, of course, but the cost and weight and shelf space becomes a bit prohibitive, and I find I often do well remembering if I make rudimentary notes in my little Moleskine notebook. I jot down a very superficial, basic description -- colour, size, main lines or shapes or figures, and then I note my own perceptions about the painting's surface as well as what it might have reminded me of, connections with other works I've seen, etc., Having a photo to look at for a better reminder is helpful, and so easily managed these digital days, if the gallery/museum allows it (and they often do, if flash-free). If I don't get a photograph, quite often an image can be Googled, especially if I've been careful to copy the title and/or provenance (as, for example, the Klee that I failed to photograph . . . )
Okay, so if you've persevered this long reading the new blogger Lisa's introduced you to, you'll imagine Pater waiting, shaved and ready for breakfast by the door. And you'll know that I can ramble . . . I'll hurry it up, shall I, and move to the streets of the Mission District, where I found paintings to rival the SFMOMA's contemporary art . . .
This one, for example, immediately made me think of the colours and even the geometrically graphic strength of the Rosenquist Pencils painting above
And moving to the opposite side of the colour wheel . . . and to a different mythology perhaps . . .

And would this be too obvious, too graphic, a segue to the shout-out I need to send back home? Happy Birthday to my Gorgeous, Sensitive, Strong, Clever, Daughter, Rhiannon! Although my kids are now in their 20s and 30s, I still feel displaced, guilty I guess, anxious even, when I'm not at home with them on their birthdays. Of course, they've moved past needing Mom to bake their favourite cakes and are quite happy to celebrate with their partners. And in Rhiannon's case, celebrating with her partner on her birthday is doubly the way to go because it's his birthday as well. (even more of a coincidence is that besides Rhiannon and her partner sharing a birthday, my oldest daughter and my son, our youngest, share the same birthday as well) So Happy Birthday to Brian, someone we're so happy to have in the family, and may you both have a splendid day together, relaxing with your new kitten.
Two final photos, of a powerful mural about Immigrant life in the U.S.
-- and then I'll offer a wealth of questions you could comment on:
How do you remember art you view when you're out and about?
Do you share a birthday with anyone close to you?
Do you make sure to be there for your kids' birthdays or are they generally on their own now that they're adults?
Do you, conversely, expect your parents to be there for your birthday or do you assume you're free to make your own celebration?
What colourful streets will you walk today? Or will you be nestled up with a book or something restful in your own home (as, I admit, a teeny little part of myself is wishing to do).
Thanks for visiting . . . do come back and see me when I'm actually at home!


  1. Art - don't always remember but try to take pictues of the pieces that really impress/move me.

    Enjoy Yountville!! It's a food-lover's paradise.

  2. the Mission District art is much more my cup of tea. So, pleased that you are sharing your experiences en route!

  3. I love Klee and especially that print. I'm glad you were able to Google it, and I'm glad you're having fun in our fair city!

  4. You have filled your eyes so intensely! And the last mural speaks of immigrant life but also of family ties. (My birthday is three days after my twins' so since their late teens we celebrate together.)

    I've always loved than one can walk from one end of San Francisco to the other in a leisurely day... if not lured into a gallery or restaurant. Your posts make me long to return!

  5. Oh what fabulous pictures. YOu are so good at taking them, and I always forget to carry the camera and then wish I had it.

    Looking at all your pictures reminds me of visiting that fair city and captures some of the magic and energy.

  6. I am clearly from the hard as nails school of parenting as I am always very relieved if they have a birthday away from home, better to let friends celebrate it with them as what ever I try always feels very flat and lack lustre. The weight of expectation on their part is never matched by what I organise except maybe Leyla who has enjoyed many costly treats over the years.
    As someone who has a birthday that invariably falls over the Easter weekend I got used to not really celebrating, but recently I have enjoyed some good meals with family instead. Neither Daisy nor Kitty ever remembers my birthday!
    I was very tickled to discover that Kitty and Daisy's future sibling's due date is.... Kitty's birthday!

  7. Oh, I forgot, Art, I have as you can imagine an almost photographic memory and if something moves me, will like you write the details down and Google it soon after.
    In the old days I would sketch it, and if the work was really good would buy the catalogue. I don't know why all galleries don't allow photography, so many do it on phones just let us all do it.

  8. Pseu: I'm already feeling like I won't need to eat again 'til the end of January!
    Terri: I could def. have spent another day or two exploring that area -- eating our way through it as well as just looking!
    Susan: You have a v. beautiful, interesting, and lively backyard.
    Duchesse: it's true! I worry a bit about losing time I should be researching and writing, but I can feel my creativity bucket filling up just from walking these streets! and you're right also about the size of the city, which makes it easy to conceptualize (despite all the confusing hills!)

  9. Mardel: I have a small (Canon) camera that is lightweight enough to carry in my purse, always, when on vacation. I often wish I had my better camera, the SLR, but I know if I brought it along, I'd leave it behind more often than not, just because it's a more awkward size.
    Alison: Yes, I would have guessed at your v. good visual memory! So the girls are going to have a sibling almost twenty years younger -- quite a spread! My baby sis is fifteen years younger than I am.


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...