Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Getty Center

Earlier in the week before my birthday (way back in September), I also went to the Getty Center. It's one of my favorite places in L.A., after all. It's a bit of a drive, but it just means that I have more time to listen to Patti Digh's 'Life is a Verb' CDs.

I'll spare you the whole driving-there part.

If you haven't been to the Getty (along the 405): The gardens and architecture are stunning. The art collection is flat out mindboggling.

I was on a mission, though, since my favorite painting ever, Jean-Léon Gérôme's 'Pygmalion and Galatea' was on display. Click here to take a peek at the whole collection that was on display. The 'Pygmalion' painting is about third or fourth from the end.

There were rooms and rooms of paintings, reproductions and statues. I wasn't expecting that much work to be shown! I went speedwalking through the rooms - and through each new room, walking a little faster and with a steadily growing concern - trying to first find the 'Pygmalion' painting. I was a little panicked.

Wouldn't you know: This lovely painting was in the last room of the exhibit.


Maybe it was the relief of finally finding it; getting to see a painting in person that I've admired for so very long was ... well, it was quite the moment.

I recall doing a paper on Gérôme in high school. He caused a bit of a controversy and still does. In a time when artistic movements were emerging and gaining great strength and acclaim (oh, Impressionism, for example), Gérôme was a hold-out, continuing to paint in a very realistic style. Also, he was criticized (quite sharply) that he chose his subjects for commercial gain, not necessarily for artistic expression. You could compare this to a great new musical artist that is edgy and uniquely experimental in the beginning, that in his/her second and third albums seems to play it far more 'safe' to cater to a wider, more lucrative mainstream audience. Even today, to imagine Gérôme creating his art at the same time as the other Impressionist paintings in the Getty, you can clearly sense that his work was more than just a bit out of place.

All the same, the paintings were spectacular, technically bursting with aching realism, and full of theatrical gestures. Woo!

After swooning over 'Pygmalion and Galatea' for a nice long while, I walked back to the beginning of the exhibit and took everything in, in proper order.

Afterwards, I had a little bit of time to pass before heading back home, so I thought I'd sit in the garden, which is just gorgeous and well worth a trip to the Getty, all on its own. While I was sitting there, contemplating doing a painting, a tour group passed by. The docent commented about the problem that the garden designers had with deer.The local deer, they were concerned, would come through and nom their way through this huge, well-tended feast of blossoms and greens.

[I mean, heck, wouldn't you?]

And the museum couldn't do anything to actively 'harrass' or harm the deer to deter them.

So the garden designers planted huge drifts of society garlic, to deter the deer using the pungent smell of garlic. 'Huge' as in 'On a HUGELY OVERWHELMING scale'. I'd heard this before and had dismissed it without trying to decide if it would be an effective strategy or not. It's one of those things that makes you go, "Heh. Interesting", and you keep walking along. But that particularly fine day in September, while I was sitting among all those dainty purple blooms ...

... waiting for the tour group to clear away so I could take this shot...


... I almost KEELED over from the fumes. The memory of it all lingers, violently! I was woozy for days afterwards.

Be glad - very glad - there's no more Smell-o-Vision.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I've been hibernating. Yes, Fall might have finally arrived in Southern California (this summer was pretty mild, truth be told). J and I are still expecting one good blast of 90+ degree temperatures that will cause one more tremendous explosion of germinating spores, giving me one last bout with hayfever before it's all said and done. Ai.


Which involves fattening up:

After 6 weeks of searching not-as-obsessively-as-you're-imagining for a lone chocolate cupcake in celebration of my birthday, here we go! Finally! I was a bit disappointed that it didn't have chocolate frosting and sprinkles as well, until this fine cupcake rolled off its plate and onto my white shirt. The basically white oreo icing was just fine, thank you.
Okay, and, no, I'm not really fattening up.
And you're also thanking me for not posting a 'Large' sized photo of the cupcake, while we're at it. Go ahead and click it, I dare you! [drool].

and pondering:

Mondo Beyondo Dream Lab: Play Practice Learn

and gathering with friends:

Patti Digh's reading in San Diego and Jane LaFazio snapping a photo of Patti's watercolor paintings (Patti is taking Jane's online Sketchbook and Watercolor: Journal Style class).

and worrying about the MoneyPlant, which seems to be in some kind of distress, dropping its leaves ...

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Money Tree, Part 2

Okay. Getting back to the money tree / plant:

I received this plant from a student who was moving to Texas and couldn't take all his plants with him.

I went to David's apartment and while waiting for him to answer the door, spied a large pot with a small toy car in it. Before I could comment about maybe the neighborhood kids should pick up after themselves, the door opened and I was overwhelmed with all the chaotic images of moving.
When I got past that, I thought, “WOW! All the plants!”
I peered at the many pots, shook hands/leaves with several plants and tried to decide which ones would fit in neatly back at home without disturbing the calm of our house.

[I know. You're scoffing at the thought: Tidiness at our house. Trust me, the BigBear is very tidy. The common areas of our house are very tidy. I don't think I've lived in a home that's this tidy as an adult. Even though I wish it were less chaotic, my office/studio is the one wee (ahem) bit of creative chaos amidst the order.
There is a difference, however, between tidy and clean, though. You can rest assured – neither of us really dusts.]

Okay, so shaking hands/leaves … I liked the money plant. I hope it will bring good (money) luck.
And peered in and saw a White cow.

I go, “David. Do all your plants have little special friends in their pots?”
And he goes, “Yes. I call them 'moo's”.
And, yes, there were plenty of cow moos and non-cow moos: more toy cars, bottle caps from unusually-named beers, marbles, unusually shaped rocks, lots of little mementos. I was impressed. That's something I'd do, but David had done it with even more carefree whimsy. Nice.
I decided to take the money plant and its moo, and two other plants.

One fine day, several weeks later, I was cleaning out some of the gravel and rocks and dried leaves from the money plant pot, spied something brown and decided that the offending brown bit of trash must go!

I poked at it, then yelped!
There, peering up at me was a brown cow. Where did the Brown Cow come from?!?

“Ha?! What? How now? Brown cow!”

See the brown cow?

Talk about camouflage. It took me three different tries to get a picture where you can actually see the brown cow against the potting soil.

So now, apparently, we have a herd. I poked even more, to make sure I wasn't missing any more stealth critters. I think we're good, at least for now.

When I water the plant, drenching it from the faucet, the white cow stays firmly planted, standing proud on high ground. The brown cow, for whatever reason, is far less sure-footed and goes floating around, bobbing helplessly until the flash flood subsides, usually coming to rest on its side. I have to check back in after the water's drained, and set him upright, just to make things right.

It's like I'm a gargantuan supreme being, causing floods and unleashing other kinds of havoc on my little plastic cow subjects. Bwa-ha-haha-Ha!

My Godzilla fantasies aren't long-lived, though.

Lucky for everyone.

Especially the Brown Cow.

Friday, October 08, 2010

A little back-and-forth

Me: I think I'll go to the gym tomorrow.
He: You should use more assertive language.
Me: [squinting] You should say, "That's great! Yes, you should (go to the gym tomorrow)".
He: Yes, I should.
Me: Pfeh.


He: Boy, today turned out great. The temperature was just perfect. Not too hot, not too cold. Just Perfect.
Me: (reciting) 'This porridge is too hot! Oh my! And this porridge is too cold! …'
He: … so I mixed them together and ate them both.
Me: Bahahaha!

Happy weekend, all! xox -w