Niki’s Magical World

Niki’s Magical World

Queen Califia, I presume?!

Niki de Saint Phalle,  French sculptor, painter, and film maker,  was an amazing and inspirational female artist  of the 20th Century.  Born Catherine-Marie-Agnès Fal de Saint Phalle on 29 October 1930, she graced our world with her presence until 21 May 2002.  She continues to grace it still through her extraordinary works which live on in parks, plazas, gardens and public spaces, free for all the world to see, enjoy and celebrate.

Please feast your eyes on these glorious, texture and color-encrusted beings, photographed in Niki’s  Queen Califia’s Magical Circle, located in the Sankey Arboretum of Kit Carson Park, in the City of Escondido, near San Diego, CA. As stated on her website, the artist drew  much of its imagery from her interpretations of early California history, myth, and legend, Native Americans and Meso-American culture and the study of indigenous plant and wildlife. Bravo, Niki!

Approaching the Magic

Entering the Magical Circle

Goddess…Totem…

Beings of  the Circle

Relating…

Interacting

Myriad of Mosaics

Magnificent use of Materials

Radiant Color

A le prochaine  Niki…  Shine on…

Have you ever seen a real “Niki”?   What does her work say to you?

If you feel so inspired, share your response with us here.  We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all responding to this thing called Life, together.


Listen “Charlotte Talks“…all about Nikki…her daughter and granddaughter share about this wondrous being… and prepare to be inspired!







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Real Verdigris

Real Verdigris

Having recently written about verdigris, and the art of creating its look as a faux finisher and decorative artist, I was attuned to a variety of naturally occurring verdigris surfaces I saw all over beautiful Balboa Park, on a recent trip to sunny San Diego.  Such beautiful texture, hue, and depth of surface,  to say nothing of the sense of history, and paradoxically, timelessness, that the oxidation process produces…or, shall we say, creates.

Here are some Varieties of Verdigris for your viewing pleasure:

Remember, verdigris is  the natural patina which forms on the surface of  copper, bronze, or brass as it is exposed to air and water, wind and weather over time.  In essence, it is the weathering, or tarnishing of these metals, and shows itself in a variety of green hues. The verdigris above was produced by the slow tarnish of the bronze equine sculpture seen at top, galloping  into a cloud-studded sky. The green-hued substance has, over time, formed on the bronze surface, and dripped onto the stone base of the statue, lending it an air of age, mystery and grandeur.

Above, the powdery residue of verdigris has formed predominantly at the base of this bronze sculpture.  For the scientifically-minded, verdigris is a “complex chemical mixture of compounds, complexes and water, with  primary components of copper salts of acetate, carbonate, chloride, formate, hydroxide and sulfate.  Secondary components include metallic salts, acids, organic and mineral.

A soft patina of blueish verdigris is forming over the bronze surface of this Barbara Hepworth sculpture, further texturing its surface, and adding visual depth. The addition of the natural blueish-green pigmentation also ties the piece into the landscape of the sculpture garden where it resides.  Living outside really does help that verdigris process along!

The same could be said of this wall relief.  Perhaps the verdigris process is moving more slowly here because this piece is somewhat sheltered by the pavilion style open-air cafe  where it is installed.

The heavily verdigrised sculpture rising out of the cafe’s pool provides a perch for a brightly-hued visitor.  Here both the elements of air and water are definitely at play in creating the strong verdigris hues.  Both the surrounding chairs and the duck’s feet add a complementary pop of color to the scene.

This fellow just seemed so comfortable on its verdigris perch.   Its green head feathers, the blue pool, and saturated verdigris coloration come together to create a scene of both harmony and humor. The feeling is peaceful, yet alert, as we know the duck could take flight and vanish from the picture at any moment.  While watching this beauty, my friend Janet said, “I am communing with the duck”.  I hope, through this post, you can, too!

Have you seen a beautiful, or timeless verdigris surface on one of  your daily jaunts lately?

If you feel so inspired, share it with us here.  We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all communing with this thing called Life, together.

Happy Verdigris!

 

 

 

Oak-town Wonderland

Oak-town Wonderland

I  recently had occasion to traverse the San Francisco Bay east-ways,  travel over the two spans of the East Bay Bridge, and take a little foray into “Oak-town”, or our fair city across the Bay,  Oakland, Ca.
Often maligned, perhaps not enough appreciated, Oakland is a diverse, multifaceted place,  encompassing its own wonders,  not the least of which is warmer weather.

Even though I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I know it, and I APPRECIATE it, sometimes it is just good for the soul to take a foray into a different world.

Here in the Bay Area, that is very easy to do. I am fortunate in that my work takes me North, South, East, and as West as you can get without hitting water.  In fact, many of my job sites take me across water, over hills, under freeways, and around town. It’s big fun.  I especially love it when I am afforded the opportunity to get a fresh new view of a place, a site, a town, or, a lake.

Oakland's Water Jewel: Lake Merritt

I had a meeting planned at Oakland’s Kaiser Hospital, right on the shores of Lake Merritt,  with a fun associate, and a new contact, already setting the stage for an energy boost!

On this beautiful day, the water glittered, and sky scraping buildings of the City of Oakland curved away from its banks, as the lake itself, framed by its walking path, seemed to curve towards me in a gesture of welcome. “Take a moment”,  it seemed to say. “Take a breath, take a moment, enjoy the sun, the air, my water,  and the ‘Three Sisters sculpture in the park  across the way.”

"Three Sisters" hang out...

Being one of three sisters, the sculpture rang resonant, humorous, timeless, forever.  Who was who…I wondered.

Forever Three Sisters

And then…all too soon, it was time to go back.  Back to the other fair city across the Bay, traversing  the two span bridge yet again, westward this time.  Back to the other body of water I am privileged to dwell near…mother to the Bay, and great big sister to Lake Merritt, the blue Pacific.  It tends to be a little colder there!

Indians on the Beach

It was time to get back to work, back to the rest of my work for the day.  But I left, vitalized , energized, and inspired  by the warmth, community, vitality, and connection, that is Oakland.  It wasn’t just a glimpse into another world, it was a moment in time in a world that is mine, too.  A world that is there for all of us to visit, support, participate in, and enjoy.

Oh- those aren’t “real” Indians on Ocean Beach.  But that’s another story…ah, I mean, post!

Here’s wishing you discovery, happy adventures, inspiration and energy, wherever you go, and whatever you do, today, and every day. If you have an adventure or a discovery that was right around the corner, or across the Bay, please share it here. We’d love to hear about it!

Happy Trails!

Featured Work- The “Leopard”

Featured Work: The “Leopard”

This image is based on a piece of 14th century embroidery depicting the “Leopards of England”.  Remade into a religious garment in the 18th century,  it may have originally been a horse blanket created for the English King, Edward III.  It has been re-imagined here as a mock-up for a larger scale mural, one of my wish list of projects!

Re-imagined from embroidery to paint...

I discovered the original image at the Cluny Museum in Paris, the “Musee nationale de Moyen Age – Thermes de Cluny”, which houses one of the richest medieval collections in the world.  The Middle (Medieval) Ages is one of my favorite historical period for images…depictions of marvelous creatures and fantastical beings expressed everywhere in paintings, sculpture, carvings, and tapestries.  It would seem that the pagan underpinnings of European culture still breathe through these creations, which can inspire, delight, and mystify our soul upon  beholding.

A happy guardian of the harvast?

The Leopard grins out at the viewer against a background of foliage, punctuated by smaller, detailed figures which could represent the animated spirit of the natural environment, or perhaps tasks associated with fruitfulness and harvest, such as the care and tending of the vines. Does this image speak to you?

And, if so, what do the Leopard, and its spritely companions say?

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