What Shakes in Bakes

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One of my favorites from my visit to the Bakersfield Museum of Art yesterday. This is an untitled piece by Samuel Hyde Harris. He came from England and painted in California quite a bit.

The Bakersfield Art Museum has such interestingly curated exhibits. Sometimes you learn about the community as much as anything else. This was part of an exhibit of works collected by locals, Local Visions,  which included stories of how the owners found the art. One painting (not this one) was bought just across the Texas/Mexico border in 1957. The couple had crossed to buy $35 worth of booze, but came back with art work instead.

One of the most interesting exhibits was of art collected by East Bakersfield High School. Decades ago, a principal at the high school began a tradition that the senior class would donate 1-3 works of art to the high school as a parting gift. How amazing is that?!  They don’t say that the tradition continues today, unfortunately, but the school collected some wonderful work for a while.

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Sweet display of vintage kids’ clothing in the window at the old Woolworth’s building which is now an antiques mall.

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The shop across the street from the Woolworths featured some fun murals on the walls, including this one in the basement. There was also a mock theater display in one hall, with a set of silk curtains that led only to a wall inscribed with, “What made you look?”

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Hydra indulging in 100 year old ice cream at Dewar’s. One of the places we found years ago thanks to Huell Howser.

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The drive there and back was breathtakingly gorgeous!  Green hills, blue sky, even some rain. It was all good.

 

More MOAH More

Click on a photo to enter the gallery with captions for each shot.

Kitty and I visited MOAH (Museum of Art & History) in Lancaster, CA yesterday.  What a gem of a museum this is.

The current exhibition, Vanity, is up through January 24.  All the artists’ work was amazing, but we were most taken by Laura Larson’s Grace and Glory busts of “historical (mythical) women who hav shown grace under pressure and who have been bestowed or sought glory for their actions.” It is amazing to walk around these pieces and discover all the detail.

We also especially liked Leigh Salgado‘s hand cut paper works. They just keep revealing more and more as you spend time with them. The play of color and shadow… Sigh.

You can see examples of all the exhibits on view right now at MOAH by clicking here: MOAH Exhibits 12/14/2015-1/24/2016.

The shots of yours truly in an orange sponge wig are courtesy of Austin Young‘s TBD The Musical and the costumes, etc. he put into the interactive room on the second floor.  We saw lots of other people in there trying on wigs and costume pieces, mostly in their twenties.  Nice to see the museum getting so much use on a random Saturday afternoon.

After the museum, we wandered up and down Lancaster Boulevard, which has lots of interesting little one-off shops. Stopped in at the new coffee bar in the lobby of  BLVD Cinemas (think reclining leather seats at Antelope Valley prices!)  Had a nice chat with Chris the barrista and sat in the reading room with our espresso and coffee.

Pretty great day, and just 20 minutes from our house.  Wow!

 

 

 

 

Now I See – Bakersfield Museum of Art

P1010544Portrait of Alex Couwenberg, 2012 by Bradford J. Salamon
courtesy of Winfield Gallery

I made it a point to find the Bakersfield Museum of Art on our last visit to the city. Turns out, it’s walking distance (just a couple of blocks!) from some of the antiques shops we’ve been going to for years. It’s not huge, but they had three very interesting exhibits on view. These are all from Face to Face: 30 Years of Portraiture, which is open till January 4, 2015.

After taking a class in still life oil painting this fall, I felt a real need to be around some oil paintings. I suspected that I would see them a bit differently.

For instance, in the portrait above: I realized after spending a little time with it, that the hands are the focal point rather than the face.  They are clearly defined, well lit, and their shadow on the back of the chair somehow gives them more importance. There’s also a lot of detail in the depiction of the tattoos. Whether it’s true or not, I get the impression that this man works with his hands. Maybe he’s even a tattoo artist.

I also love the way the paint doesn’t fully cover the canvas at the edges. We can see where the primed canvas has been left bare or the paint has been scraped away. That speaks of work to me, too, somehow.

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 A Pensive Brooke by Pat Mahoney
courtesy of Winfield Gallery

I love the chunky confidence of the lines in this painting. So much is implied. When you really look at the colors, they don’t entirely make sense. The green outlining the subject’s bent arm…but it’s perfect!

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Natasha’s Transition by Bradford J. Salamon
courtesy of  Winfield Gallery

I didn’t even realize at the time that this is by the same artist as the first once. I was taken not only with the candor of this girl’s pose, but the mixed use of paint.

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Look at that floor!  Isn’t that brilliant!?  Who thinks of these things!?

P1010558Beefrog by Kaitlyn Smith (17)

Clever and very well executed, from Celebrating Art Education: Select Works from BMOA’s Education Programs. Teen Art Camp. Students were challenged to combine characteristics of two very different animals and scuplt the outcome in Sculpy. Part of the project included naming the creature and assigning it a specific habitat and diet. The students then practiced color mixing and painting techniques.” What a great project!

I also thoroughly enjoyed the Photography in Mexico exhbit, being a big fan of photography…as you might know.

And perhaps my favorite of the exhibitions in terms of the manner of curating was You’ve Been Selected: A Community Curated Exhibition of BMOA’s Permanent Collection. Honeslty, I would love to see what various communities around the country would come up with for similar exhibitions. I don’t know why I didn’t take any photos of this, because some of my favorites were in that room. It was the first exhibit I visited and I was quite taken with the concept.

Twelve community members were selected to choose a painting for the exhibit based on their answers to the question, “Why is art important in our community?” The lucky dozen came from all walks of life and all age groups. Terrific way to get people involved.

So if you’re even in Bakersfield with a little time on your hands, think about going to the Bakersfield Museum of Art. It only took me about an hour and a half to wander through the galleries reading most of the descriptive notes. It’s near a handful of antiques shops, close to good Basque food and diner food, and you really could use a break, couldn’t you?

People Watching at the Getty

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I tend to edit people out of my photos of places, or to avoid taking photos of people I don’t know.  Lately, I’ve been following some street photography blogs and I like what I see.

On my way home from LDub’s on Sunday–okay, actually an hour out of my way–I went to the Getty Center.  It was a glorious day. Not too hot or cool.  Lots of people out enjoying the weather, the surroundings, and each other.

This is some of what I saw, other than Jackson Pollack’s “Mural” and the Queen Victoria photography exhibit.  The Vermeer I went to see left a year ago on March 31st. Silly me. But wouldn’t it have been cool to see a Vermeer and a Pollack on the same day?

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With his father.

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With her boyfriend.

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With her grandson.

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Like me, comfortable with her ownself.

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Somebody is paying attention.

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The most interesting photos in the Queen Victoria exhibit, to me, were the Daguerreotypes in which the queen scratched off her own face because she didn’t like the image. She left a shot of her children around a headless gown. But photography was rare enough, I suppose, that she didn’t just toss the glass print.  If you click here you’ll see what I’m talking about, the second photo on the page.

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These two had interesting footwear.

All in all, I enjoyed the people watching as much as anything. It made me think about the ways people use a museum visit. The Getty Center has small exhibits, which means you have a lot of time to wander around and appreciate the views and the people you came with or are simply sharing the space with.

 

Cameraless at the Huntington Library

Antipasta and I decided to have ourselves some adventures and artist’s dates (The Artists’ Way, anyone?) this summer.  We started today, at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens.   Wow, what a great day both inside the galleries and outside in the gardens.

Antipasta treated with her membership, which was great.  Admission is a bit steep, but The Huntington really does provide a full day of  viewing and walking and astonishingly beautiful vistas.  And admission is free the first Thursday of every month…if you can arrange to be there, it’s pretty terrific.

Really enjoyed the California Plein Air collection, and the display of the furniture designed by  Charles Rohlfs. We were also fascinated with the little glimpse we had into the life of Rohlfs and his wife, the author Anna Katherine Green.  Seems they had a very artistic life together.  Green’s credited with shaping the detective novel genre and the serial detective novel.  Wow.  I’m going to try to find some of her books!

We didn’t get far before I pulled out my Nikon and focused on a bleeding heart yucca…only to find a little flashing symbol in my way. Aaah!  I’d double checked my batteries, but not the SD card!  The digital version of being out of film.  In trying to keep updated on my blog lately, I’ve been pulling the card to upload photos.

So all day I told myself that I was experiencing the gardens without the filter of a lens and that it was good exercise to tromp around with a three pound camera all day.   But I have to say I was very jealous of this photographer and others who circled the lotuses and the dragonflies and the beautifulness.

This was taken with my cell phone camera.  Now I have a really good reason to go back.