Monday, June 17, 2019

an excellent hollyhock

Hollyhocks are certainly in contention when it comes to being my favorite flower.  This one was in the covetable gardens of La Posada this morning: now in Santa Fe, I'm pleased to announce that our very own hollyhocks look as though they'll be in bloom in about two weeks time.  Since I planted a fair number of seeds, I can't anticipate what color they'll be ...

Sunday, June 16, 2019

"Alice's Place"

Not a good photograph - I was taking things out of the car at the time - at La Posada, Winslow, our sort-of half way stop between LA and Santa Fe - and couldn't leave it - or rather, couldn't leave the cats ... not even enough to dig out a better lens.  But it's hard to resist somewhere called "Alice's Place," even if ir probably sells a strange mix of semi-antiques and general bric à brac and crocheted doilies.  Do places still sell crocheted doilies?  This place probably would if it could.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

blue clematis

Somehow, I hadn't taken on board the fact that clematis come in blue.  I don't know what I thought this was, other than maybe some kind of passiflora.  However, not only did a friend commend its beauty as a clematis, but I realised that the label on the pot proclaimed its identity, too ...

Friday, June 14, 2019

"An Unappreciative Audience"

So this has arrived, from England, and is now on the dining room wall.  We've all met this guy, haven't we ....?  So convinced of his genius; a kind of literary mansplainer.  And - though this hasn't come out very well in this particular shot - the most wonderful detail of all is the dog at his feet. chewing up the sheets of the precious manuscript.

Sold as "anon, c. 1860" by Abbott & Holder (my go-to source of wonderful Victorian art for, hmmm, forty years - indeed, I know my parents took me to their previous gallery more like fifty years ago ...), and coming, they said, from a private sale, I have, of course, tracked it down as well as I can.  Assuming the title remained the same, John Knighton Thomson (1820-1888) exhibited “An Unappreciative Audience” at the Society of British Artists summer exhibition in 1879.  London-based Thomson, judging by the titles of works he exhibited at the RA, BI and elsewhere (and according to Wood) was very much in the tradition of Frith and Elmore, moving between genre paintings and historical subjects.  I haven’t tracked down any reviews of this SBA show, as yet, that do anything more than mentioning Thomson’s work as worthy of note - but it's great to have identified it as far as possible.  It's also interesting to have a contemporary-life painting of humans (as opposed to animals, or a historical or literary subject, or a cartoon) that's unmistakably comical.  

Thursday, June 13, 2019

a bathroom surprise

No, this isn't some strange, yet inventive location for some welcome back balloons!  These are in fact Alice's - she was given them this last weekend at a little party that friends held for her All Clear (and which, alas, I was unable to attend, since I was at the equivalent time talking about Dickens and pavement art in Nagano.  Talking about C19th chalking on pavements/sidewalks is a weird thing to do, it turns out, in a country where I saw maybe six pieces of street art, and three small graffiti tags, over the course of three weeks - though that's another story).

But the balloon gift ended up in the bathroom that's adjacent to my study, because they frightened Moth - and they can be safely shut away there.  Obviously they can't be put outside, in case they get into the eco system (mylar balloons are way up there with plastic straws and the lime).  They are festive, although I'd hardly been expecting to encounter them when I opened the bathroom door ...

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

a very, very, very long Wednesday!

With a 16 hour time difference between the West Coast and Japan, I'm now dealing with the . mind-boggling conundrum of arriving home before I left, on the same Wednesday (I know, I know - it was a reverse scenario traveling out).  So it's been a very long day ...  "This" morning I went to Ueno Park, which has three lakes, one full of water lilies - some still with rain nestling in their centers.

There are also pedal boats, which seem to need keeping in order,

shrines (I didn't make it to the most famous one - too anxious about getting back to the hotel to catch the airport bus in a timely fashion),

and the zoo.  Again, I didn't visit - but the nearby shops are keen to exploit their famed pandas.

And then a long journey (actually, not that long - with the wind behind us, it was only nine and a half hours).  Moth says I can't possibly go away again.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Japan day 20 - last full day!

One final, full, wonderful day.  The rain had cleared this morning - this was part of the view from my room - and this meant that walking became a pleasure again ...

In the morning off to the Hara Museum of Art, in a leafy suburb, with some interesting architecture -

though the museum itself is apparently about to close.  No photos inside, alas - but there was an amazing show: the Dreaming of Earth Project, launched in 2014 by the Korean artist Jae-eun Choi, and with works by Eliasson, among others - all of it focused around the ecology of the DMZ, and the potential for art to flourish in this space that would respect the land, and act to celebrate human and environmental interaction.  It's a deliberately utopian, hypothetical project, and the more effective because of its premises of a hypothetical future.

Then back into town, to Shinjuku/Harajuku - much trendier and cosmopolitan than anything else I've seen in Japan, and certainly the only place where there's any street art (in a limited, and cautious way).

... and some other surprises, besides.