Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dominant Overlook

P1030358 crp luc
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
I spent a recent afternoon at an exhibit of Chinese painting by the four great artists who were born mid-Nineteenth century and lived well into the Twentieth. They are considered to be the outstanding painters of this period and this is the first time a survey of their masterpieces has been seen in the west.
The artists are Wu Changshuo (1844–1927), Qi Bashi (1864–1957), Huang Binhong (1865–1955) and Pan Tianshou (1897–1971.) Only Pan lived to be harassed during the Cultural Revolution.
The picture shows the picture that made the greatest impression on me in this visit; it is titled Dominant Overlook. It is an immense vertical scroll-mounted painting. Two vultures are perched atop a steep cliff above a waterfall. Their sinister expressions suggest that they could stand in for Communist overlords. And indeed this artist died of being beaten and denied medical attention during this upheaval. Faintly seen near the bottom is a chalked inventory mark from the painting's seizure and condemnation.

Monday, March 29, 2010

iPhone play

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
I made this cheesy landscape with my very own iPhone. And I quite like it. It's not crooked; it's a hill. And the light was fantastic! Spring in CaliforniaLand. Good night.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


P1030379 no mod
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
When the sun shines, it is out to the back yard to catch some golden rays.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lupine in bloom in bright afternoon sun

The bright sun makes the edges look like they were frosted. Today I went to a great exhibit on Chinese painting at Stanford. Three other people were taking pictures, so I snapped a couple and was told off, even though I wasn't using the flash. This is always embarassing. Some museums allow it, some do not. . .

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mist rising from Uvas Reservoir

From 1970 until 1983, I drove past this place most days I went to work. I took this way Tuesday on my way to Monterey Dunes. Already late-ish, I had to stop because of the light and the reflections! This is a blend of 11 vertical shots using Photomerge. I'm in love and have to go again!
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Dune Paintbrush

The ocean light at midday in spring makes a person feel very alive!
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A day in which I saw MANY things and did not take a single picture! Hard to believe . . .

This is my friend, donnalynn and her dog Tesha, right after she took over its care. Before that, the dog had a sort of vagabond life. Behind them you can see part of donnalynn's studio, which she had built behind her house as a space for her art-making, her art workshops and her women's circles. I took this picture last year. (See title of this post.)
Today, donnalynn and I spent the afternoon at two exhibits in the revitalized art district on South First Street in downtown San Jose. One was at the ICA, or Institute for Contemporary Art and their annual Monotype Marathon, which had an exhibit featuring one work by each of the many invited artists which was created over one weekend in the monotype print form. At the end of the exhibit, the works are sold in a silent auction which benefits the ICA.
We enjoyed the show very much and I have just found that photos of many of the prints are posted here on Flickr. Take a look. There was also an excellent exhibit of  
textile or thread work by  
We also toured their Print Room, which is the only publicly available print studio in the South Bay. Classes and workshops are held here and printmakers can use the facility for a moderate fee.
After that we went too the Museum of Quilts and Textiles, and, after tearing ourselves away from the splendid array of items in their gift shop (an exhibit in itself) we passed down a hallway hung with some of the most beautiful and finely woven Navajo rugs I have ever seen. These are the work of Ellen Begay who learned to weave from her mother who also taught her granddaughter, Lucy Begay. The exhibit is called Navajo Weaving in the Present Tense. These beautiful textiles were woven from handspun wool from the Churro sheep, dyed with vegetal, not aniline, dyes. The large rug at the end of the hall is a symphony in muted grays, off-yellows and tans. There is another room hung with these rugs, mostly from a private collection; it would be worth a museum visit just to see them.

Both of these institutions have new homes in repurposed older commercial buildings in this area, located close together along an attractive new stretch of faux slate sidewalk with tile mosaic inserts. I belong to both groups, but had not visited either in their new location.

to be continued
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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Moving into Fourth Position

In two more days, it will be just one year since I caught this. Grandchild time flies especially fast. Last night on Flickr I saw a wedding photo from Bulgaria in 1880. Then, a photo was a special occassion deal. So this type of expressive moment wasn't captured. And, without digital photography, I wouldn't have captured it, either. With film, I was always conscious of the developing costs and the limit of the roll of film I had in my camera, and of the maybe one other roll I brought along. So the digital camera that my co-workers gave me when I retired at the end of the last century was the beginning of a thrilling journey.
The only problem is that SO MANY pictures, and such easy ways to crop and sharpen them, means that I am piling up the megabites and gigabites and--who knows--terabytes and beyond (how do you spell that stuff, anyway)? And I clog my hard drive with great amounts of it, until the laptop almost cannot run. And then, every night, I open Picasa and browse my archives, looking for an excuse not to go to bed. . .
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Wild strawberries grown from two plants from Olive Belletto (1968) that make a lovely tangle in the shade near my front door.

Grass never grew here and we let a strawberry seedling--I imagine bird-planted just go. Now it is a large triangular area maybe 8 feet by four at the widest. It looks gorgeous, especially this time of year, and maintains itself in an area that was too shady for grass. An area that it colonized itself. The strawberries are tiny and not terribly sweet, but the plant DOES make them, those little yellow spots are the first fruits, which will grow larger before they turn red. We still have quite bit of strawberry groundcover in the back yard, but this is the patch that thrives the most.
Olive Belletto was a World War II war bride from Britain. When I was first working for the library, I worked with her at Morgan Hill. She was very interested in cactus and made a large garden, which was largely uprooted (but she saved some of the plants) when they took a chunk of her land for a freeway cloverleaf. She was one of the most ethical, upright and honest people I have ever known, and she thought everyone else should be the same. Once, when a fellow came back from a tour of duty with the military, she remembered on his first visit to the library that he had an overdue auto manual and she made him go home, find it, and bring it back!
She gave me two little plants of this wild strawberry that she had dug out of a meadow on one of her auto trips (alas, she used to dig up cactus, too, her one ethical contradiction) planted in th bottom half of a beer can with holes punched in it for drainage.
She and her husband are both gone now, so I thought I could write about her here without offense. As long as I live in this house and these little white flowers lift their faces every spring, I can remember this friend I knew 40 years ago. I have been thinking a great deal lately about memory and how, for me, physical objects are memory triggers. Perhaps someone who comes after me will not think these little plants are so sweet, and surely they will not enjoy them the way I do, because they hold the end of a memory thread.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Near Delevan Wildlife Refuge

The more I have looked at this, the more interesting it has gotten to me. I got this one shot only from the car, as we took Maxwell Road toward Hwy 5 in the valley. I don't know what it is, or if it is still in use, but it makes wonderful silhouetted patterns in this light. I guess the three symmetrical heaps are associated with it: coal, gravel? So much to see, so much to do. So much to understand. I am feeling overwhelmed right about now, trying to fit all my California birds, haiku, art and writer's events into our time here. Along with broken bridgework, medical checkups and actual writing and sketching. I never have decided yet what I wanted to be when I grew up. I do know I don't care for cooking.
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Teucrium fruticans, or bush germander

This was an impulse buy when I was getting a few violet and purple flowering things for last year's landscape project. I think it is doing quite well, as it comes into bloom now. Latin plant names make me giggle, and so does the fact that, although I moved, I didn't move quite far enough and this picture includes a sliver of the Photographer's Shadow.
Tonight Patricia drove, and we went to Aptos, for In Celebration of the Muse, because our friend, Joan Zimmerman, was reading there. This is an annual fundraiser for causes that benefit women and has been held since 1981. Joan read some wonderful haiku and some tanka, too, which gave a nice balance to the other types of poetry read and clearly demonstrated the difference between the two forms. Twenty different readers were selected and a chapbook is published. The Crocker Theater at Cabrillo College is quite new and had several hundred people in the audience. A very nice turnout.
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Friday, March 05, 2010

Memory Thread: Olga with her car

Olga with her car
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
This is my mom washing the AMX car she bought herself. Guys were always offering to buy it from her when she took it into a gas station. She drove it all over Arizona, California and other points west the year she was 70 years old. She visited all the places she had lived, her freiends, teachers and mentors from University days, and family members, including all her seven children. She made a point of picking up hitchhikers and getting their life stories. She took many back roads and stopped at curio shops, odd attractions, and roadside attractions, whenever she noticed one. People there told her their life stories, too.
I don't know where this picture was taken or who took it, but I found it in her archives after her death at age 96 3/4. And tonight, I found it again, when I opened the wrong folder by mistake.

Friends and Family night at the new Lowe's

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Here's the light display. I planned to take more pictures, but got so busy shopping I forgot. This unknown lady walked in front of my light shot, but I think she adds a little verisimilitude. We bought a white sasanqua camellia called Setsugekka. It's a single white with lots of golden stamens in the center. I'm excited about gardening again!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

First lupine blossoms

A sunset visit to the creek and WOW the large lupines are bursting into bloom! And not only that but Mr. Merganser is back. All of this made me very happy. And the clouds were spectacular. Every day I fall more and more in love with springtime in California.
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