Friday, January 24, 2014

What do cats have to worry about, anyway?

While the rest of the country is freezing it's butts off, I'm sorry to report that California has been lovely...
Sunny Day
Sunny California
James and I had a few days off together around New Year's (New Year's?? That's sooo long ago!!), and we treated ourselves to brunch at the Brownstone Cafe in Fullerton, a real rarity these days. Our joys are simple: a brunch together, seeing a movie in the theater, shoe shopping...okay, that one is really my joy, but James was a trooper and went with me and told me that the new heels I was looking at were nice with the jeans I had on.
New Blue Shoes
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
We went to see a late screening of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and we loved it. LOVED. There were maybe 5 other people in this giant theater with leatherette seats, so these vast Icelandic and Himalayan landscapes were just right there, front and center and so personal. The music was fantastic (James downloaded the soundtrack immediately upon returning home), the photography was beautiful - to us, everything about it seemed right.

Cal, asleep on my lap for an hour
We've also spent quite a bit of time at my parent's house the last couple of weeks. My mom was having surgery and was going to be in the hospital for a few days, and my grandmother has been staying with my parents since her husband passed away in November. She's not very steady on her feet anymore and just needs a bit of help with things, so James and I stayed nearby. An extra bonus was having two cats around!

Max - just look at this face!
Cal and Max are taking all the extra bodies and extra equipment in their stride - they're cats, what do they have to worry about, after all?
Max and Cal

When I've been home, I've been busy on new jewelry designs. I'm making samples to keep at the gallery, plus putting together necklaces that are a collaboration between me and Lisa Mertins, a lovely ceramic artist. Pictures coming soon...

Friday, January 3, 2014

We Three Art Lovers

I had a few days off over New Year's, so what did I do with my break from the gallery? Went to an art museum with James and a good friend. Maybe it seems weird that I'm surrounded by art all day every day and then I choose to spend my day off surrounded by art, but I don't think it does. I couldn't imagine a more relaxing day.

Our trio drove to The Getty with the aim to spend the entire day looking at art and having a leisurely lunch at The Restaurant. Mission accomplished, my friends, mission accomplished.

A relatively clear day in Los Angeles

Late afternoon at The Getty
The first exhibit we took in was Canterbury and St. Albans: Treasures from Church and Cloister. A series of stained and painted glass windows have been de-installed from Canterbury Cathedral in England and displayed temporarily in this show. The windows are hung backlit in a darkened room so you can get the full force of color and design, and they're also hung much lower than they are when installed at their home in the cathedral so you can see the detail. Only one of these windows has ever been seen outside of the cathedral before. When you look at all the tiny pieces of glass and realize that they have survived intact from the 1100's, it's hard to imagine undertaking the task of removing them and transporting them from one country to another across an ocean!

Jared, from the Ancestors of Christ Windows, Canterbury Cathedral, England 1178-1180 (Getty postcard)
 The second part of the exhibit was made up of pages from the St. Albans Psalter that had been temporarily unbound and displayed in cases. The details in these illuminated manuscripts were really incredible, and the colors were still so bright and vivid, even after hundreds and hundreds of years.

The Fall, illuminated manuscript from St. Albans, England, about 1130 (Getty postcard)
 This show in only on until February 2nd, so go and see it while you can!

No day out at The Getty would be complete without spending a little bit of time outside.  The outdoors is just as inviting as the indoors, and the hilltop setting practically begs you to admire the views of Los Angeles from above. Plus, being LA, there is pretty much perpetual sunshine.

James and Ryan

Me, Myself and Ryan
If you hurry, you might just catch Abelardo Morell: The Universe Next Door (on until January 5th). If you're into photography, you'll probably like his work. If photography's not your thing, maybe skip it, because you probably won't like his work. I happen to be into photography, and I liked Morell's work very much. Some of his photographs involved turning whole rooms into a camera obscura and photographing the room's interior, complete with projected imagery from the camera obscura.  The results are disorienting, with your eye trying to make sense of what it's observing.

Santa Maria della Salute in Palazzo Bedroom. Venice, Italy, 2006 by Abelardo Morell
The above was one of my favorite images from the exhibit. I'm also a fan because I know that the images weren't created with the use of Photoshop or other similar digital programs. And at this point, you might be asking yourself, "What is a camera obscura?" And here, courtesy of Wikipedia, is your answer:

"The device consists of a box or room with a hole in one side. Light from an external scene passes through the hole and strikes a surface inside, where it is reproduced, rotated 180 degrees (thus upside-down), but with color and perspective preserved. The image can be projected onto paper, and can then be traced to produce a highly accurate representation." Basically, how your camera lens works, only a bit larger, and with your camera, the image is recorded onto film or as a digital file. 

Abelardo Morell also used this sort of process to take out into the landscape to create his "Tent Camera" series. This time, the camera obscura image appears on the ground, and that is what's photographed. These images were some of my favorites from the entire day - I loved how the ground added texture to the image of the landscape, and how the landscape became a part of the ground and vice versa. So thank you, Getty, Art Institute of Chicago and High Museum of Art in Atlanta for putting together this exhibition!

Tent-Camera Image on Ground: View of the Golden Gate Bridge from Battery Yates, by Abelardo Morell
We three art lovers spent the rest of the day in a happy haze of paintings, photography, and delicious food. If you're in or around Los Angeles, definitely plan to visit The Getty, and plan for an entire day because there is just so much to see, including these crazy trees and funky water features:

Crazy trees

Getty Water
Happy New Year! May 2014 be a year filled with happiness and adventure for all!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Year of Books

Well, it's happened. 2013 has slipped away into 2014, and I reached my goal of reading 52 books in one year. (I have simple goals, really.) Most of them were new, not too many re-reads, which makes for a change from a few years ago when nearly everything I read was a re-read. Here's how the year looked, book-wise...

1. Summer Breeze by Nancy Thayer
2. The Sisters by Nancy Jensen
3. Re-read

4. Son by Lois Lowrey
5. Eva's Story by Eva Schloss
6. Re-read
7. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
8. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
9. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
10. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehanne

11. Cemetery Girl by David Bell
12. The Girl in the Glass by Susan Meissner
13. Ashenden by Elizabeth Wilhide
14. Circles of Time by Phillip Rock
15. Lay Me Out Softly by Francesca Lia Block
16. Re-Read

17. Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer
18. The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood
19. Fly Away by Kristen Hannah
20. Re-read
21. Re-read
22. Telling the Bees by Peggy Hesketh
23. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
24. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
25. He's Gone by Deb Caletti

26. The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro
27. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
28. The Pact by Jodi Picoult
29. Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
30. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
31. Night Road by Kristen Hannah

32. Desire to Inspire by Christine Mason Miller
33. 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz
34. Dear Lucy by Julie Sarkissian

35. Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
36. The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard
37. Re-read
38. The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards
39. Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell
40. The Brave by Nicholas Evans
41. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snickett

42. In the Woods by Tana French
43. Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton
44. Dream with Little Angles by Michael Hiebert
45. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
46. True Believer by Nicholas Sparks
47. Magic Hour by Kristen Hannah
48. Mercy by Jodi Picoult

49. The Memory Thief by Emily Colin
50. The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
51. A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd
52. Stella Bain by Anita Shreve

53. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling - another re-read, but who cares

Left unfinished: The Shipping News by Annie Proulx

What I've noticed while typing out this list is that I read a lot of dark/crime novels, and also a lot of lighter books (Nicholas Sparks, I'm looking at you). Maybe I'll have a slightly more refined palate this year, but you know what? If I don't, who cares? It's who I am.

So here's to 2014 - may it be a year filled with new literary loves!