Molting in Año Nuevo State Park

A bit over 30′ drive south of Half Moon Bay on the scenic coastal Cabrillo Highway, we found Año Nuevo State Park where thousands of elephant seals gather every winter to breed, transforming the beach into a crowded centre buzzing with activity.

But July is part of the molting season, when elephant seals come ashore to shed their skin and fur. This summer-long lazy process lasts between four to six weeks, during which visitors may observe the seals by obtaining a free Visitor Permit from the park’s entrance. From there, it is a 4 mile hike to the viewing area and back (or between 2,5 to 3 hours walk). It is a wonderful world out there and so exciting to observe the seals in their natural habitat.  Check the Año Nuevo State Park website for opening hours and directions.

July 9th, 2017

 

The road trip begins at Half Moon Bay

Our rambles around San Francisco might have come to an end, but the adventure was far from over. For we were now ready to embark on our first ever road trip along the West Coast.

Rental car picked up (costs a fortune and a half if the return place is different than the pick up, which was our case – but totally worth it, I promise), its condition tested on a San Francisco steep and we were off.

First stop at Half Moon Bay Feed & Fuel for no special reason other than curiosity (and that striking pink facade). We stepped inside not really knowing what to expect.

It turns out this is the ”everything” shop, an institution South of San Francisco. There are farm and building supplies, saddles and other equestrian material, food supplements and treatments for animals – and even vaccines, toiletries for grooming but also clothes and accessories, kitchenware… I don’t know, you name it!  And let’s not forget the hatchery at the back: chicks and ducklings and rabbits… a rural wonderland.A shop teeming with life but he still had to wait outside. Not fair…!

Half Moon Bay

July 9th, 2017

San Francisco is… walking the Bridge

After five wonderful days full of new impressions, it was time to bid farewell to San Francisco, in the best way possible – by walking the Bridge.

It took us a bit more than 1,5 hours to cross from Fort Point to Lime Point and back with all the stops – but it’s impossible not to stop, at least a dozen times, and watch the whales swim by or catch this glorious sunset painting the city in warm pastel colours. A truly unforgettable experience.

Walking the Golden Gate Bridge

July 8th, 2017

San Francisco is… The Walt Disney Family Museum

Celebrating the life and work of the man whose dream, ambition and perseverance made countless young lives happier, the Walt Disney Family Museum will warm you up and brighten your day, and it will bring back memories you thought were long forgotten.

Walt and Ruth Disney on the front of 1249 Tripp Avenue, Chicago before leaving for Marceline, Missouri ca. 1906


Walt ca. 1919


In 1917, the United States had ended its policy of  neutrality and joined the Allies in the war. By mid-1918, war fever had swept the nation. Although Walt was anxious to take part in this patriotic effort, he was too young to join the military. That summer, he learned about the American Ambulance Corps, a division of the Red Cross that needed drivers and had a lower age requirement. He went down to the office and enlisted, but quickly learned he needed a birth certificate in order to obtain a passport. Official birth certificates in those days were not regularly issued. Walt needed a notarized affidavit confirming his birthdate with signatures of both parents. Elias -his father- refused to sign the form declaring it a ”death warrant for his son”. Flora conceded, preferring to ”know where Walt was than having him run off”. With the signed and notarized affidavit, Walt still had one hurdle: the minimum age for the ambulance corps was 17 and he was only 16. As soon as Flora signed the paper, Walt grabbed the pen and changed his birthdate from 1901 to 1900, and with that he was finally on his way to France.


Walt in his Red Cross uniform, ca. 1919


Margaret Winkler
By contracting for the Alice Comedies in 1923, Ms. Winkler gave Walt his first national distribution.


The Disney family in front of the studio


Toasting their 41 years of marriage, July 13, 1966.


The Walt Disney Family Museum

July 8th, 2018

 

 

San Francisco is… vintage Disney movie posters

A collection of original live action movie posters from some of my childhood’s favourites – all on view at the lower level of the museum, bringing back sweet memories from many lifetimes ago – so familiar, yet so very distant.

Don’t you feel like settling down with a large class of wine and start (re)-watching? Only… where do you start?

The art of Disney movie posters from the 1960s and some of their Polish versions – titles below:

The Prince and the Pauper, 1962
Nikki, Wild Dog of the North, 1961
The Incredible Journey, 1963
Big Red, 1962
The Absent-Minded Professor, 1961

July 8th, 2017

San Francisco is… ”Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle”

You may not know the name Eyvind Earle but you certainly know his work, if Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan or Lady and the Tramp sound at all familiar. A visit to the Walt Disney Family Museum was firmly on our map, but Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle, a retrospective about the life and work of the artist behind some of Disney’s timeless stories that marked the childhood of kids all over the world -myself included- was a double win.

The exhibition featured more than 250 works, including concept paintings for Lady and the Tramp and artworks for Sleeping Beauty. But, more importantly, it included an extensive collection of Earle’s lush landscapes in the artist’s very distinctive style, as well as serigraphs, watercolours, sculpture, commercial illustrations (two examples of which we saw in the teaser, yesterday) – the extend of Earle’s work seems limitless.  Self Portrait Sketch, 1925 (age 9-10)


Botticelli Woman, 1936
Graphite on paper


Scratchboards created for
Horizon Bound on a Bicycle:
The Autobiography of Eyvind Earle (1991)
Ink on scratchboard


[In 1937, at the age of 21, Eyvind Earle bicycled across the country from Hollywood, California, to Monroe, New York, on a 45 day trip. He painted 42 water colors and wrote a 10,000 page diary along the way. At the conclusion of the expedition, Charles Morgan Gallery in New York exhibited all the watercolors.

Eyvind created many water colors during his life; during certain time periods they were his primary focus.  Occasionally he had shows which solely exhibited his watercolors, some of which have been declared to be his finest work.] (source) New York, 1939
Watercolour on paper


Little Girl, 1939
Watercolour on paper


Winter Oak, 1997
Oil on Masonite


Face 2, 1981
Ink on scratchboard


Bearded Man, 1980
Ink and varnish on scratchboard


Portrait of a Woman, 1981
Ink on paper


Portrait of a Woman, 1975
Ink on paper


[The sleek glow of his acrylics and oils is the result of a custom-made formula Earle created himself for the varnishes he used, often tinting them with glues. He also experimented with marine varnishes which were impervious to water and did not require the addition of glue. Because he needed to wait for the layers to dry, Earle often worked on up to thirty paintings at the same time.] (source)

”In nature when I look I see trees, some of them are such that they thrill me with their perfection and their sweeping lines and certain mood they seem to have. Windswept plains give me something that can’t be seen. In every tree I feel as though I could see the soul of that tree. It is alive. It is a person. And if beauty be related to the truth, harmony and balance must be there, and there must be movement because in nature all things move. And there are certain laws such as the law of duality. Everything has its opposite. Nothing is without its opposite. If I want a bright light in a painting, I must have a dark shadow. If I want a color to look very warm, I must have also a very cold color, and so on and on forever. But when I paint, I forget the things I know. I just sit there painting away, trying to get the feeling into my painting that I feel inside. Whatever beauty is, I feel it, and as long as I can I shall try to find more and more beauty, and to put it down so that others can see what I have seen.” – Eyvind Earle

Blue Tree, 1994
Oil on masonite


Tall Tree and Barn, 1969
Oil on canvas on wood


Green Forest, 1970
Acrylic on Masonite


Pastures in Early Spring, 1996
Oil on masonite


Mustard Field, 1974
Oil on masonite


Coastal Paradise, 1995
Oil on masonite


Where Eagles Fly, 1993
Oil on masonite


Giant Oak, 1996
Oil on masonite


Flower Fantasy, 1980
Watercolour on paper


Three Noble Horses, 1993
Oil on masonite


Hillside Magic, 1976
Oil on masonite


Orchard, 1984
Oil on canvas


Three Live Oaks, 1983
Oil on canvas


Concept paintings, c. 1959
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Gouache on paperboard


Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle was on show at The Walt Disney Family Museum, until beginning of January 2018.

July 8th, 2017

Haruko

Sometimes, in my dreams I am.
Chiura Obata (1885-1975)
Mother Earth, 1912 (reworked 1922, 1928)
Ink and colours on silk


Chiura Obata commenced this painting in 1912 as a portrait of his wife, Haruko, who had announced that she was pregnant with their first child. Obata reworked the painting in 1922, changing the title to Dusk in the High Sierra, and again in 1928, when he chose the final title, Mother Earth. The evolution of the title reveals Obata’s intention to endow his subject with greater resonance. The solitary female figure now serves as a universal personification of nature, fertility and maternity. The contrast between the giant, centuries-old redwood trees and the small seasonal flowers serves as a reminder of the cycles of nature – and of life itself.

Although Obata’s female model is Japanese, his universal title reflects his global perspective regarding nature and nationality: ”Above the border line of nationality everybody must feel a deep appreciation toward Mother Earth”. Obata’s timeless vision reaffirmed viewers’ perennial ties to nature in an increasingly technological age.

Treasures of the de Young

July 7th, 2017

Ode to beauty at the de Young

Timeless Beauty Beyond Gender.

John Koch (1909-1978)
The Bridge, ca. 1950
Oil on canvas


Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935)
Easter Morning (Portrait at a New York Window), 1921
Oil on canvas


Sergeant Kendall (1869-1939)
Cypripedia, 1927
Oil on canvas


Thomas Wilmer Dewing (1851-1938)
Elizabeth Platt Jencks, 1895
Oil on canvas


Edmund Charles Tarbell (1862-1938)
The Blue Veil, 1898
Oil on canvas


Henry Brown Fuller (1867-1934)
Ebba Bohm, ca. 1905
Oil on canvas


Robert Henri (1865-1929)
Lady in Black with Spanish Scarf (O in Black with a Scarf), 1910
Oil on canvas


Would you have known this was a bloke, had there not been a title? Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920)
Pierre-Edouard Baranowski, ca. 1918
Oil on board

A painting with an interesting background. Nothing to do with the gender-bending figure of Mr. Baranowski, it was its very origin and authenticity that were in doubt.


The artist is present in every stroke, her unique style instantly recognizable: Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986)
Petunias, 1925
Oil on hardboard panel


Treasures of the de Young