Friday, April 30, 2010

Got Company?

David Hockney 1978, Ma Maison menu

Have a great weekend everybody!

Pale and Interesting Friday

So these are the pieces that initially inspired my "Pale and Interesting" series.  Thanks to Camilla for permission to post hers and Per Agelii's.  They are all different but the same in spirit.  I got a little shiver from each because of their simplicity. The immediacy that they embody in their mode of construction, which gives the forthrightness that I mentioned in previous Pale and Interesting post.  Their restraint.  Their delicacy.  They seem to describe a journey of exploration.  And all are ultimately, considerably sophisticated.

Sculptural "sketches" from his studio above, by Per Agelii via Camilla Engman

via amy at all the mountains, Latvian artist, Mara Skujeniece at skujeniece

Camilla's own work from her site a little while ago.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pale and Interesting Thursday

Wild strawberries
David Karp, LA Times

Now wherever have you seen anything that looked like this?  Do these look good to you?  Would you eat them?  I tried to match them in this post with something else.  But they are so pristine, so perfect, and so somewhat bizarre in their pallor that anything else looked like it was just playing!!!!  Next to them.  So here they are in all their solitary glory.

I would like to think that they could grace the most elegant of wedding luncheons to be consumed with champagne and sole, steamed turnips with some kind of daikon foam and finely sliced pink radishes alongside,  quenelles, poached chicken with a vanilla sauce, the palest of tagliatelle with white truffle sauce or.....and moving on to dessert,  angel food, vanilla cupcakes, meringues, blanc-mange (in Hawaii we call it almond float or haupia if it's with coconut) or for ANY kind of extra special event.  I'm imagining that they would taste just as good as regular strawberries.  And you wouldn't have to worry about stains on your all-white suite of furniture or your uber-white summer ensemble!  

Pale and Interesting Strawberries, link here to find out more about them.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Corner View - Animals, a Smorkin Labbit?

OK, so you're gonna go with me on this one, aren't you?

Did you see the report on the recent study that said that a good laugh is as good for you physiologically as a session on a treadmill?   Well since I am notoriously phlegmatic, this was some of the best news I've had all year, and probably why I married a Brit.  (Because seriously, they must be the laughing-est race around.) And why this little guy came home with me on my birthday last year.

Nice shape huh?  Luscious red color too.  The "K" on the forehead?  I have no idea what that is about.   I do know he is proof positive that SOME PEOPLE never GROW UP!

Recognize him?  Yes.  He is a bunny.  No.  Not an easter bunny.  Not a cuddly bunny that you'd bring home as a pet for your kids.  No, not even really edible considering his, uh, fairly disgusting and retrograde personal habits.  (Yes I mean that thing sticking out of his mouth!)

No, his sole purpose in life, with his mismatched smears for eyes and anthropomorphically 5 o'clock shadow-stubble, and tubby plastic physiognomy, is to be UTTERLY ANTISOCIAL!  And to make me laugh!

He is so cute and round from the back, with his tidy little cartoon OKOLE  (that's Hawaiian for you-know-what)

In this shot with a slight shadow over his right cheekbone, he gives that perfect insinuation of Joe-Pesce-meets-James-Cagney-at-Bugs-Bunny's-House!  He is such a collision-course of what we think he should be and what most of us animals can truly be way deep inside on our very worst days.  Aren't there mornings when you wake up feeling like you look like this, and wishing you DID look like this so that, really, NOBODY would mess with you, cause you just can't be bothered?

The icing on the cake is that the name he goes by is "Smorkin' Labbit".  Being half-Chinese, if I did not laugh at this, I would have to go running home to Mommy in tears every single night of the world. 

But because I can laugh, all I have to do is look at him and slap my hand on my leg and go - ha-ha-ha-ha-HA-HA-HA! Until I cry anyway.  Oh but it feels so good.

So that is my Corner View for this week.  And it's so NOT pale but maybe a little kind of INTERESTING?

p.s. I hope that no smokers were injured in the making of this post!

More Corner Views here:  jane, ladybug-zen, ian, bonnie, esti, sophie, cele, modsquad,

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pale and Interesting Tuesday

Mid-eighteenth century dress from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute found at Deborah's wonderful blog KickcanandConkers, who found it via Mothtales, another terrific fantastical site.

It could be argued that the dress above and to a greater extent, the pieces below, fall into the category of folk art. Based on the humbleness of the materials and means used to make them up, and the exuberance and simplicity of their color palettes and execution.

Is it a coincidence, or in some acknowledgement of the recession that has overtaken the developped world, that we are experiencing a "folk art", "handmade", "outsider" moment?  If you are judging by the British cultural scene, it's easy to think that.  The Victoria and Albert Museum has recently opened a quilts exhibition:  Quilts 1700-2010, (see also Barbara's post on this over at BFR Mag) including samples from the museum's collection, art quilts, "important" quilts with historical pedigrees, as well as "homelier" quilts made for common use by "common people".  (Thank you Jarvis Cocker.)

via Camilla Engman, at an ambitious project collapsingSlotins spring auction

In the April 2010 issue of World of Interiors can be found features on James Brett's private collection of mostly American Outsider Art, "The Museum of Everything" Exhibition #1 of which is running at the Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli in Turin, Italy currently through 29 August, 2010.  The same issue featured stories about Irene Feesey (yesterday's post) and Mary Delaney, an 18th century "gentlewoman" who, at age 72 devised a "paper mosaik" technique which produced stunning horticultural studies, now on view at Sir John Soanes Museum through May 1, 2010.

The May issue of WOI reviews the new Henry Darger book, (Klaus Biesenbach; Prestel Publishers) an artist who's work fits all the Pale and Interesting, Outsider and "Handmade" descriptions.  There is also in the same issue a story on a fabulous, Italian mini/personal museum.  It is that of an auto-diact schoolteacher, Ettore Guatelli (Museo Ettore Guatelli, Parma, Italy) which is effectively an old barn and house that over years became filled with Mr. Guatelli's collection of everyday tools and sundry items like clocks and shoe lasts.  (Socks!  Tin Molds!  Wine Baskets!  Remind you of anyone you know?!)  Much of the tools are displayed on the walls in a way that celebrates their beauty as much as their utility in a manner similar to the way that tools are displayed at the slightly eccentric Barnes Museum in Merion, Pennsylvania.

Which leads to a whole separate discussion about how determinedly a cultured society should be defending, valuing and preserving the particularity of an individual's vision and passion as reflected in their past work and collections. This battle is apparently being lost by Mr. Barnes despite his very specific last will and testament stipulations.  His collection has been co-opted by local government, private interests and legatees and looks very likely to be moved from its current location and altered in its management, (contrary to his wishes) in the name of today's "public interest".   To find out more about this subject, read the article and see the movie: The Art of the Steal.

Which brings me back to the theme of this series.  Interesting and Interestinger! 

Pale and Interesting

Did everyone have a good weekend?  We had a glorious sunny weekend in L.A. and Saturday's dinner reminded me how I need to cook more!

This week, I'm going to do something quite different from last week's posts. I've culled images from diverse sources of a wide variety of things.  What they have in common is that they are mostly handmade and that they have a cool and restrained allure.  Since they're all quite varied in style I'm going to spread them out over the week in different posts, grouped according to certain affinities some have for others.  Today's post is about two English artists.

Via lovely Florizelle, at le divan fumoir bohemien from a post she did earlier this year, a painting below by Harold Harvey.  Harvey (1874-1941) was an English painter who trained at the Academie Julien and started his career in the impressionist tradition of that Paris school's famous alumni, (Pisarro, Sisley, Bonnard for example), but finished in a very distinctive and classical-but-modern vein that captures for me a particular aspect of everyday English life and character.  I love the blue light in this painting, the Vermeer-esque organization of figures and furniture, the side lighting, and the clarity and crispness with which it is rendered.  But it is also very English in its blend of "homeliness" and grace, the chalky earnestness of the rendering, and the casualness of the subject matter.  


As with Mrs. Feesey's work below, it is colorful, but in a restrained way.

From the April 2010 World of Interiors, comes paper cut collages, and needlework in a slightly naif style, by ninety-plus year old Irene Feesey made up as "she went along".  Sadly I think that here is another exceedingly talented and prolific female artist (see my Mary Fedden post two weeks ago) who (very likely because of her gender) has not, in her lifetime, received much (or even sought) public recognition for what she has done.  

Hers is an example of someone doing something quite sophisticated that communicates as simplicity and freshness. I think that this is really what all this week's  "Pale and Interesting" ideas have in common.  There is also a slight element of the unexpected in them.  Which might be that simplicity, that forthrightness.

Photo: Antony Crolla

So English.  So pale, yet so interesting.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dinner Table Conversation

Pierre Bonnard, "Reflecting on the Day" 1924

I'm cooking for company again this weekend!  What about you?  Hope it's good and that you get caught up in all the best ways!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Golden Mountain

So hubby and I took a short road trip this weekend to visit family.  

Over the years we have had quite a few road trips in California.  It never gets old.

As anyone of you knows, who has ever flown into San Francisco, California's great glory

is her natural beauty.  Haunting, effortless, colossally scaled beauty.

"Purple mountain's majesty" was written FOR California, BECAUSE of her.

Her hills are just as glorious.  By the age of ten I had already fallen in love with the hills around San Francisco at the moment when they were green.  I've always wanted to walk right over the hills and among the oaks of California - up and down the state, like so many had to before me.  My Dad always told us kids that we would all hike the Pacific Crest Trail together.  But other dreams took precedence.

The Chinese who built the railroads and much else in California called it the "Golden Mountain".

Not because of the precious metal to be found deep inside the earth.

But because of the gold that mantled the earth.  At this special time.

It looks like a Mexican Indian's mescaline dream.

Or an Indian Indian's detour on his way to Holi.

But no, it's not colored powder or psychedelic imaginings.  It's Mother Nature washing her paintbrush across a landscape, and dousing it with poppies, daisies, and in the hollows, purpley-blue lupins.

These pictures were taken at Gorman.  The only spot in the mountains called "the Grapevine" on Route 5 where the hills were in bloom last weekend.  

Mountains, take a bow.  Vous etes carrement en beaute!!!!!  

p.s. to Kenza:  good guess on the car, but if you look really close at the license plate, it will tell you the name of another 1970's TV detective

p.p.s. to everybody:  please do click to enlarge.  it will be so rewarding!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Corner View - Earth Day

Today's Corner View is "Earth Day".  Here are a couple little images I've been keeping aside and hoping to find a way to use.  They seem to work for this theme.  What do you think?  Like little visual anagrams of Mother Earth.

The top one is of a vertical garden that is being cultivated in my neighborhood.  I hope to post more photos when it gets properly going.  The middle one is from Maisons Cote Sud Dec 09/Jan 10; photographer - Henri Del Olmo !  It's a beautiful image, no?  The one below is my photo again, of the

paving at the new Chinese pavilions at Huntington Gardens in San Marino.  I hope they remind you of Mother Earth and why she should be precious to us.  In all her marvelous variety, delicacy and strength.  They do me.

Along the same lines, in the post previous to this one,  I have also posted shots from the Chelsea Flower Show.  If you haven't, you should check it out for some of Mother Nature's fairly astounding miracles.  And truly the miracles that must be contemplated when you consider that all those plants are trucked in and installed - not grown - on site really, barely within the week of the flower show!  Tomorrow I'll be posting the mountains northeast of Los Angeles, covered in poppies, lupines and daisies.  Unbelievable!  So hope you like this one.  Soon I'll be popping by to see all of your Corner Views!

If you're not a regular, Joyce can probably help you find others of today's Corner Views at her blog here while Jane of Spain Daily is on vacation in Mexico.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Chelsea Flower Show

Tickets are still available for the Chelsea Flower Show, May 25-29, 2010 in London.  Here's the link to the Royal Horticultural Society which sponsors it.  In the upper right hand side you can purchase tickets right away, lower below gives you a quick idea what's still available as far as dates.  It's not too late to book!

Since we ARE talking London, a sunhat/sunscreen AND umbrella would be good to bring along, as well as a nice packed lunch and cold drinks.  (I recommend a crayfish and arugula sandwich from Pret-a-Manger on the Kings Road or CHOCOLATES from the Artisan Chocolatier nearby on I think, Sloane Street.  Otherwise, there are food trucks but the lines are long. )  You should check the site to see if they allow you to bring lightweight-foldout seating 'cause last time I was there, there wasn't enough seating.  Short of that, wear comfortable shoes and be ready to have a long day on your feet.  There WILL be security checks.  And you might spot an English gardening celebrity!  There are plenty of nice restaurants on the Kings Road and Pimlico Road for dinner afterwards.  (See my post about the Orange Tree Pub.) Which you will REALLY appreciate with a cool refreshing bottle of wine.

And if you go don't forget to come back and tell me all about it!