The Blanton museum, revisited.

In a post earlier this year, I shared a visit to the Blanton Museum that we took, to see an Andy Warhol visiting exhibit that ended in January.  When we went, we didn’t know that the museum’s permanent exhibits were temporarily closed, due to a total revamp of the permanent gallery areas upstairs.   Even so, we enjoyed the visiting exhibit.

The museum’s permanent collection galleries are now open again, so I stopped by this week to check it out.  They have an interesting mix of art – Latin American, early American Western, Contemporary, European, Native American, Modern, Spanish American, Ancient Greek and Roman, Film and Paper/Documents.   The gallery remodel was nicely done.

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I recommend a trip to the museum.  I enjoyed it.  Check out their website for days & hours.  And keep in mind that every Thursday admission is free, and every 3rd Thursday the museum is open late – until 9pm.  Parking is easy at the nearby Brazos garage.  If you bring your parking stub into the museum, they can give you a discounted parking rate.

 

Free Thursday at the Blanton.

The Blanton Museum downtown currently has an Andy Warhol exhibit, running through January 29th.   It is called “Warhol by the Book.”   It contains his artwork associated with bookcovers, album covers, playbills, books that he published, and other of his works associated with authors.  I enjoy Andy Warhol’s art, and saw things in this exhibit I’d not seen before.

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Hands-on album cover exhibit.  You can handle the albums and even play the LPs.

There was another visiting exhibit by Xu Bing called “Book from the Sky,” which runs through January 22nd.  I knew nothing about this artist nor the work, but thought it was interesting.  Over 4 years, Xu Bing hand carved thousands of wood blocks with non-sensical chinese characters/words of his own design, and then crafted traditional-format chinese books and scrolls made up with his hand-crafted characters.  So, if you know Chinese, it looks like gibberish.  If you don’t know Chinese, it looks like, well, Chinese.  🙂  I guess it’s supposed to get you thinking about the power of words, and also the beauty of Chinese calligraphy.  It was a beautiful exhibit, nonetheless.

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Their permanent exhibits are currently not open, as the museum is doing construction on the 2nd floor.  But those will reopen mid-February.

I enjoyed learning something new.  After we fed our minds, we had lunch downtown.   A nice day.

Not a sculpture.

I took a field trip today to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden Museum, down by Zilker Park.  Admission is free this summer, through the end of August, thanks to donations from Amplify Austin.   You may want to check it out as well.  Hours are Tue-Fri 10am-4pm, and Sat & Sun noon-4pm.

I’ve been there before, but it has been over 15 years.  It was a lovely morning, and I headed out before it got too hot.   Charles Umlauf was born in 1910, died in 1994, and was a prolific sculptor.  His first commissioned work was at age 12!   The sculpture garden lies on land between his former home and Barton Springs, and displays 50+ of his works scattered throughout lovely, wooded grounds.

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My favorite:

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Spirit of Flight, 1959

Ok, so, now for the best part… as I was walking through the grounds I noticed a large dark shape sitting on a branch of a tree right over the trail I just walked on.  I realized it was a bird.  A big one.  It was just sitting there, watching me, as I doubled back to try to get a picture.   It was an unexpected sight, and I love the shot.  After I got home I looked online to identify the bird… I believe it to be a barred owl.

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A busy two weeks and a new find.

I have been challenged in posting the last two weeks.  We are in the middle of a 3 week set of back to back visits from family.  Which we absolutely love, but it means a little less time to tend to my photoblog.   The real challenge though is that the WordPress for iOS app that I use primarily for quick posts is broken and completely useless since the last 2 updates (both updates ver 5.4 and 5.4.1) of the app.  So I’m using the browser version of the app for this post.   I hope they get it together and fix the problem in the next update.

One set of guests were unaccompanied minors, so I had to get a pass to go through security and accompany them to their gate to pick them up and drop them off at the airport.   As I was strolling along the concourse on the west end of the ABIA terminal, I spotted some lovely, colorful prints on display from a Texas artist that I hadn’t seen before.  The artist is Margie Crisp, and her prints are simply beautiful.   I took a picture of one – couldn’t avoid the reflections from the lights in the airport.  This one is called In the shadow of Buchanan Dam.   Inks Lake is in the foreground, with images of all the things I love about the Central Texas Hill Country.

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I googled her to learn more about her and found that she has produced a book called  River of Contrasts: The Texas Colorado, which features many of her river prints.  As I’ve come to love the Colorado myself, I’m going to order one.

You might want to check her out, too.

As for me, i need to get moving… we are headed to the lake to raft-up overnight.

Stained glass trilogy.

I’ve enjoyed playing with the iPhone app called Brushstroke. It’s a pretty versatile app for adding water-color / oil painting effect to photos.

These are three shots I took in different cathedrals on my birthday trip to France, with a little post-processing with Brushstroke.

Notre Dame. Paris:

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Cathedral Notre-Dame de Chartres. Chartres:

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Sainte-Chapelle. Paris:

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From Zihua with love.

After her graduation last month, Julie spent a week in Zihuatanejo, Mexico with a friend – a well-earned treat after 2 1/2 years of hard work.   She brought us back this painted, wooden bowl as a gift.   She painted it herself!   And, I think it’s beautiful.

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She packed up her things and drove back to Washington State this week and is now back in God’s country.  She starts her dream job next week and has a limitless future ahead of her.   Well done, Julie!   We miss you already.

Ever heard of Zihuatanejo?   It’s a town on the southwest coast of Mexico.  I’ve never been.  I only know of it from Julie’s trip.  And from the movie The Shawshank Redemption.  Great movie!  Anyway, at the end of the movie, after Andy escapes from prison, he finds his freedom in this beach town and his buddy, Red, meets him there in the closing scene, after making parole.   Great quote from the flick:  “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”    Amen.

A great day.

Today Mom and I headed to Seattle Center to see the amazing Chihuly Garden and Glass museum.  Fran, Aaron and Colleen joined us.  It was an amazingly clear, sunny day.  We also went up in the Space Needle to see the 360 degree view.   I took too many pictures to share here, but will leave you with a few.

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A Saturday break in the rain.

I went for a walk this morning… down to another bay on the sound.  This pod of orcas live here year round.  I was hoping to find the real ones, but these will have to do.   You can get a glimpse of the fall color that is popping on this first Saturday in November.

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Fran and I also managed to get away for a round of golf this afternoon.  I’m glad I brought my clubs this trip.  Definitely worth it.

Also, I see that wordpress has added a widget and some links to help get out the vote.  I sent my absentee ballot in this week.   Get your vote counted on Tuesday…

Girls’ trip 2014 – Destination Washington, D.C.

Last year five of my girlfriends and I went on a trip together to San Diego and had a really great time.  We said we’d try to make it an annual thing.  And we did!  This year’s destination:  Washington D.C.

The fall weather was beautiful.  We rented a townhouse on Capitol Hill just south of Lincoln Park – about a mile and a half walk to the Capitol buidling.  What an amazing place to live.

The Highlights:

We walked about a hundred miles (!), mastered the Metro, and took in some amazing sights.   We visited the Library of Congress & National Gallery of Art, and their outdoor Sculpture Garden.  We took a 3-hour Segway DC Monuments & Memorials tour with CitySegway (I highy recommend them, and our wonderful guide, Ray).  We caught a showing of the Broadway musical Evita at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  We drank a couple barrels of wine.  And danced the night away in the townhouse.  We we sure crammed alot of fun into a 4 day weekend.

The Eats:

– The night we arrived we ate at the highly touted Spanish tapas restaurant Jaleo (2 blocks from the Archives metro station).  This madrileña gives them a bleh and a thumbs down.  Service was ho hum, their traditional tapas like gambas al ajillo were not traditional at all… (made with red, spicy pepper sauce with no garlic!).  When we complained, the waiter said they’ve changed the way they prepare them now and we should have ordered them traditional if that’s the way we wanted them, even though that’s how they were described on the menu.  We shared a pan of lobster paella which tasted like new orleans dirty rice made with a burnt roux.   Sorry José Andrés, you let us down.

– for breakfast the next day, Friday, we ate at the Madison Cafe atop of the Library of Congress’ James Madison Memorial Building.  What a great, unassuming breakfast stop, with reasonable prices.  Spectacular view of the Potomac, but apparantly you’re not supposed to go out on the patio unless accompanied by the Capitol Police (oopsie).

– for lunch on Friday’s sightseeing marathon (seriously, Laura’s pedometer said we walked about 23 miles that day!), we happened upon a really wonderful farmer’s market/outdoor food court in the Federal Triangle – Capital Harvest on the Plaza.  In contrast to last night’s meal, the paella I got here on a paper plate was perfect and the real deal.  They are open Friday’s through the end October.

– for dinner on Friday night we ate at the fabulous italian restaurant Graffiato  (a short walk from the Gallery Place/Chinatown metro stop).  Now this was a great meal!  The service was fantastic.  We tried nearly everything (watercress salad, caesar, mussels a la vodka, potato gnocchi, homemade pasta, white house pizza, and even more that I don’t recall) and came away wanting more.  Delicious!

– Saturday morning we walked to the nearby Eastern Market – a historic indoor/outdoor food and arts market and a hub of the neighborhood on Capitol Hill.  We bought ingredients for our planned dinner-at-the-townhouse later that night.  The menu:  spinach soup, grilled salmon steaks, asparagus risotto, green beans with lemon vinagrette and goat cheese.  We outdid ourselves!

– for brunch on our last day, we headed to Le Greniere, a fantastic french bistro on H street, about a mile walk from Union Station.  Their weekend brunch menu has a great variety of delicious choices.  My croque-monsieur could have fed 2 or 3.  🙂  excellent service and brunch menu.  We were all thankful for the walk afterwards.

And then, *poof* it was over.   Til next year!

Some of the sights:

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Shrinky dinkies.

The afternoon was filled with family stopping by to see mom and aunt Ellen.  Rebecca and Aaron brought some shrinky dink paper… an arts and crafty kind that you decorate and then put in the oven to shrink and harden.  We made lots of doodads.  These that I made are destined to become keychains…

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How?
You can buy the sheets of paper.  Google sez #6 recyclable plastic can also work, but I haven’t tried that.  Make sure to use permanent markers, and allow for 3x or 4x shrinkage.  Punch a hole before shrinking, if you want to make into a keychain.  Bake at 325-350 degrees for less than a minute.  They will ball up and then flatten out again as they shrink.  I put them in the oven on foil with a little flour or cornstarch to keep from sticking to the foil.