May 7, 2019 2 pm. We are at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art touring an exhibit “The Sea Ranch.” The exhibit ends on June 2, so if you are a fan of architecture and California modernism this exhibit is worth seeing.
Sea Ranch is a development on the California Coast about 100 miles north of San Francisco. Architect and planner Al Boeke envisioned a community that would preserve the area’s natural beauty. Boeke hired landscape architect Lawrence Halprin to create the master plan which grew to encompass 10 miles of the Sonoma County coastline. The development is considered a beacon of modernism on the Northern California coast. The first building was completed in 1965 and the development was envisioned as a progressive, inclusive community, guided by the idealistic principles of good design, economy of space, and harmony with the natural environment.
The design guidelines require that the buildings become part of the landscape. Exteriors are unpainted wood or muted stains and the roofs lack overhanging eaves.
We found the exhibit to be quite interesting with many photos and drawings and some of Lawrence Halprin’s original notes and photos by Morley Baer .
At the moment there are some 1800 homes in the development with many of them serving as vacation rentals.
We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us that they may see, it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet.”
from Earth, Fire and Water W.B. Yeats
I found this quote on the back of a business card that an associate handed me last week. It seems appropriate for the season.
Not too long ago I found myself revisiting blog posts from the past year and thinking it would be fun to turn the posts into a book. To that end I asked my wife Joann if she would be interested in tackling the project. We started with a few posts from early 2018 and used those posts to put together a “proof” to see how the process would go. From there we decided to break the posts for 2018 into two volumes, each about 50 pages.
We looked at several options for creating the book and decided that Shutterfly seemed to be well suited to the task. We’ve used Blurb for past projects but the book building tools for Shutterfly are easier to use. We also looked at some of the options that let you import your blog content directly into a book, but those platforms seemed to compromise on the quality of the photos and have limited options for formatting. We wanted a book that would represent the content of the blog with high quality photos and the flexibility to deal with some complex formatting issues. Some blog posts have only one photo some have a dozen or so. Sometimes a post would just have a short paragraph and sometimes they’d ramble on.
Needless to say after two and half months of massaging text and pictures we hit the “publish” button. Two weeks later the books arrived. They are now on the coffee table, and it’s a treat so be able to pick up a book and revisit past adventures. Amsterdam, Africa, Santa Fe, Chicago, Frank Lloyd Wright, Kayaking around the San Francisco Bay Area.
I’m not sure if the books will be something the grandchildren find years from now when they’re sorting through dusty belongings, but I expect the books will outlast the bits and pixels of the blog once those have evaporated into the ether.
March 5. My birthday! I decided to play hookie. Client work will have to wait. Started the day by walking the dog. My wife Joann joined me. Just as we were heading out the door she asks “how does 69 feel?” I think she’s referring to the weather so I responded that it doesn’t feel that warm. She replied saying that I was in denial. Perhaps. I told her I was feeling younger this week than last week. I spent a good long day Sunday in a kayak, came back exhausted and with a few sore muscles, but nothing like physical activity to make me feel younger. I said “feels like 55,” which was probably closer to the temperature outside as well. Not sure I’m willing to admit that next year is the big seven-oh. Get your party hat ready!
Claude Monet was born in 1840 in Paris and died in 1926 in Giverny. Not being much of a student of art I was surprised that he was painting in the early 20th century. I was also surprised by the size of some of the canvases, and with his fascination with water and flowers. It was an inspiration to see his work in person.
Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.
After the exhibit we headed home by way of Love at First Bite Bakery in Berkeley where we bought a cup cake, chocolate caramel sea salt.
On the evening of January 29 I decided I wanted to check out some of Ricardo Breceda’s sculptures, While Borrego Springs is notable for spring wildflowers in the surrounding desert, it’s also home to a collection of amazing sculptures, called the Metal Sky Art Sculptures. There are more than 130 sculptures here that represent everything from a 350 foot serpent that crosses the road, to dinosaurs and historical figures. I was hoping to find an opportunity to photograph a few of these on this trip. After a quick visit to a few of the sculptures the previous morning, I decided that afternoon or night time might afford some interesting photo opportunities. Our timing was a bit off though since we reached the serpent just as the shadows from the mountains were creeping across the valley floor. We only needed to wait a few minutes for sunset though which lit up the sky with color that seemed appropriate for a fiery serpent.
The sculptures were part of the vision of the late Dennis Avery, heir to the Avery Dennison label fortune and a self-made success on his own. Mr. Avery envisioned ‘free standing art’ on his property, Galleta Meadows Estates,. The steel welded sculptures were created by ‘Perris Jurassic Park’ owner/artist/welder Ricardo Breceda.
The sculptures are spread out around the north end of Borrego Springs. I had to search on-line for a map to help me locate them. They are all easily accessible and there is no fee to view them.
We noticed that bikes seemed to be quite popular in Borrego and I discovered a couple of places you can rent bikes including electric fat-tire bikes you can ride up the some of the sandy dirt roads. There are also tour operators that will take you on an off-road adventure.
If you are interested in architecture or you are looking for something to do in downtown San Jose, then a visit to Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph is the thing to do. The cathedral is listed as a California Historical Landmark and as well as the National Register of Historic Places.
I arrived on a Thursday afternoon and found very few visitors, which made it easy to capture photos of the architecture with out people.
The first church on this location was called San Jose de Guadalupe built in 1803. Earthquakes and fires took their toll of the original and several successive buildings. The existing structure was consecrated in 1877. In 1985 following a major renovation it was elevated to the status of cathedral and made a minor basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1997. The church is open to the public with no fee, although you may want to pay attention to the events happening at the church since it is an operating church with worship services and other events.
January 1, 2019. A New Year. New paths to follow. My resolution for 2019 is to follow the yellow brick road, where ever that leads. Metaphorically speaking, it’s more about the journey than the destination. What do you think? What paths will you follow in 2019. Are you one to plan your every next move or start walking and see what shows up? The adventure starts with the next step.
As for me, looking back, 2018 was amazing. Africa in March, Arizona and New Mexico in June, Chicago and Pittsburgh in October, and various other local destinations, My photography business (treve johnson photography) proved to be rewarding both financially and personally. It seems I’m working less and enjoying life more.
One thing I discovered last year is how much I enjoy writing about my adventures. This blog has become a personal journal of sorts; a way of sharing my experiences. I find I have more to write than I have time to write. I still have adventures from last year to share, Mendocino in November, and more on my holiday trip to Big Pine.