Saturday, August 9, 2014


We found out that Goleta Beach allowed dogs, so one morning we took the dogs down to the beach.  As you can see, we had the beach all to ourselves and the dogs had a great time running and digging and eating seaweed.  Elsie fetched the tennis ball until it became so caked with sand that she didn't want it in her mouth anymore and Murray ran after seagulls and everyone had a great time.

On another day, we had breakfast at Moby Dick's down on the pier and then checked out the marina and harbor where we found a crabbing boat, just in with about 50 baskets of crabs.  These guys are separating the large front claws from the crab prior to sending it all to market or restaurant.  Allan got a lot of photos of boats and hopefully some of the photos will work well for his painting this winter.

We also went to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.  It was a small museum but had a surprising number of excellent paintings.  
They had several paintings by Claude Monet, done while he was in London from 1899 to 1901.  This is Charing Cross Bridge painted from his room at the Savoy Hotel.  You can just make out the square houses of parliament and the pointed spire of Big Ben as ghostly silhouettes in the atmospheric early morning fog.  This is an example of Monet's late poetic work.  

We were surprised to see one of Van Gogh's early works, painted just after he had arrived in Paris.  The Outskirts Of Paris (1886) is painted in the somber palette and bleak, dreary subject matter similar to his paintings of the Netherlands where he had encountered abject poverty.  This was done before his style underwent the first of several radical transformations.

There was a new name among the old....  Roderic O'Conor, an Irish Impressionist who spent most of his career in France and made his name painting landscapes in Brittany.  After moving to Paris in 1904 he turned to still lifes and his energetic brushwork and bold palette testify to his close contact with Matisse.  This painting is Dahlias, 1908.

There was also an Alfred Sisley painting called Saint-Mammes, Banks Of The Seine, 1885 which he painted in quick nervous, flickering brushstrokes to suggest the swift movement of the river which was his lifelong inspiration.

Pont Saint-Michel, 1901 was painted by Henri Matisse as a subject done in a series of multiple canvases from the fifth floor of his apartment window overlooking the Seine.  He was emulating both Monet and Pissarro's work they had done in series.  In this painting, Matisse uses simplification of forms and a luminous palette which shows his movement towards the techniques he admired in Cezanne's and Van Gogh's paintings.  This new technique would get further flattened with a more lurid and fantastical use of color as he moved into his Fauvist years. (1904-1906)

Another artist to work in a series at this time was Eugene Boudin.  He was encouraged by Monet's Rouen Cathedral series.  Boudin painted Abbeville:  The Church Of Saint-Vulfran in 1894 as one of a succession of paintings, each done at a different time of day or from a different point of view.  Boudin was nicknamed the King Of Skies by Camille Corot as he was a prolific landscape painter and had been instrumental in encouraging the Young Monet to be true to nature and always paint outdoors.  

It probably seems as if we are always looking at Impressionist Art, and that would probably be mostly correct.  Neither of us care for paintings with cupids or stiff portraits of generals, so we usually end up spending the most time with the French Impressionists or American Artists.  But there was a lovely exhibit of color woodblock prints in the Santa Barbara Museum by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892.  This print is Moon In The Cemetery, 1886 and is the 3rd month from the series "100 aspects of the moon".   The old woman is seated on a fallen grave and is the celebrated poetess Ono no Komachi (9th century).  Once favored for her intellect, personality, and beauty, she reflects that although she is losing her beauty, position, and wealth, she has gained enlightenment regarding her situation, stated in a poem..... 
     the flowers beauty faded but
     no one cared
     I watched myself grow old as
     the long rains fell.

She and I must be simpatico.  So I am sending her a poem back in time.....

As I sit here in my rv
with the bumpers rusting and paint peeling
watching myself grow old
back aching and memory feeling weak
but traveling on as the long rains fall.

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