RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


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The UK – Worthing, Sussex – day two – Highdown Gardens

highdown gardens

My friend M and I met up on Tuesday morning at the Stagecoach bus stop near my hotel on Marine Parade. The #9 bus dropped us at Northbrook Metropolitan College. It was a short walk along the A259 to the Highdown turnoff and a pleasant trek up the hill to the gardens.

Highdown GardensFrom the Highdown Gardens website:

Highdown Gardens are nestled on the South Downs situated between Ferring and Goring.

These stunningly beautiful chalk gardens on Downland countryside, overlooking the sea, are a tranquil haven for all to enjoy. The gardens are home to The National Plant Collection of the Plant Introductions of Sir Fredrick Stern – a unique collection of plants and trees, with many unusual plants to be discovered all year round.

HIghdown Gardens

Highdown Gardens is one of the hidden gems of the area and home to a unique collection of rare plants and trees. In fact the whole garden has been deemed a National Collection.

The Gardens looks their best in spring and early summer when there is a colorful succession of spring bulbs such as Crocus, Daffodils, Anemones and Snowdrops followed by Paeonies and Bearded Iris.

As we were there the second week in May this was an ideal time to see the gardens at their best.

HIghdown Gardens

The gardens, internationally important because they are home to hundreds of rare and exotic plants and trees uniquely grown on chalk soil, are visited by tens of thousands of people every year.

HIghdown Gardens

Worthing Borough Council owns and maintains the gardens which are free to visitors.

HIghdown Gardens

Sir Frederick Stern created his gardens during a period when many expeditions were going out to China and the Himalayan regions collecting rare and beautiful plants. Many of the original plants from their early collections can still be seen in the Gardens today.

HIghdown Gardens

Sir Frederick received his knighthood in 1956 for Services to Horticulture.

HIghdown Gardens

The 8.5 acres of Gardens were created out of an old chalk pit overlooking the South Downs, where there was little soil and very unfavorable conditions for plant growth.

HIghdown Gardens

I really lucked out and experienced Southern California weather all the time I was in Worthing, except for half a day when it rained. The weather on our visit to Highdown was sunny and warm. Very pleasant for walking around.

HIghdown Gardens

The tadpoles were enjoying a school outing on this beautiful day!

HIghdown Gardens

And this little red fellow came along to say hello.

Click on an image below to enjoy the slideshow!

After such a feast for the senses it was time to fill our tummies so we headed to the Tea Rooms.

HIghdown Gardens

HIghdown Gardens

I chose the Ploughmen’s Lunch and M ordered Welsh Rarebit.

HIghdown Gardens

Such a delightful afternoon. We walked back to the bus stop through the fields.

HIghdown Gardens

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A gift membership to the Huntington Library

The Huntington

A friend very kindly gave me a membership to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, approximately 20 miles (32km) northeast of Culver City and 13 miles (21km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. So as it was such a glorious day on Wednesday in the 70s (21+C) and sunny, I decided to make the trip.

My first stop to take a photo was at a fountain in the California Garden area. Two little girls were playing with the water. One was wearing a bright pink dress and the other was in blue. The reflection of these dresses in the water gave me the colors at the right hand side of the image. I’m sure the mother thought I was trying to capture pictures of her kids so I did my best to make it obvious I was only interested in the fountain. I took several shots but the one I liked the best was out of focus so I decided to play with it in Photoshop and make an abstract image out of it!

The Huntington

The Huntington

Now I have a membership I didn’t feel the need to rush around to every part of the gardens or visit the galleries as I can come back whenever I feel like it! So I just walked around looking for flowers and plants and scenes that struck my fancy.

The Huntington

I set my camera on Aperture Preferred (AV on my Canon) which is now my preferred setting! For a long time I set it to Program as the default and changed the aperture and shutter speed as necessary. But now I believe AV is better.



The Huntington
I know there are “purists” who scoff at anything other than strictly Manual. Good for them! I talked to one professional landscape/street  photographer who told me his dirty secret that 95% of the time he stayed in Program and let the camera do the work. It’s like painting. Anybody can take a brush and make a mess on a canvas. But it takes an artist to make something beautiful.

Walking towards the Desert Garden



The Huntington

Whether you are using a paintbrush or a camera, you still have to have an “eye.” I have a friend who owns all kinds of camera equipment but has no sense of composition. that’s the most important element.



The Huntington
So it doesn’t matter if you are shooting in Manual or Program or Aperture Preferred or with a point & shoot camera or a smart phone. If you capture a good picture, that’s the only thing that matters.



The Huntington
For me, walking around with a camera forces me to see things I probably wouldn’t notice otherwise. Today I was on my own. But I also enjoy going out with a friend because they might spot something I missed and vice versa.



The Huntington
The other issue that comes up is post processing. I happen to enjoy working in Lightroom and Photoshop. You can’t start out with a crappy photo and make it into a masterpiece on the computer. Ain’t gonna happen. But you start out with a well-composed, in focus, reasonably well-lit image and there is a chance you can make that into a masterpiece! I shoot in RAW so all my images have to go through Lightroom (or Camera RAW) anyway.



The Huntington
My favorite part of the grounds is the Desert Garden so I pretty much concentrated on that area. Next time I may avoid it completely! I was attempting to get some closeups and some general views. My favorite lens is my 18-135 zoom. It’s a kit lens and if I ever want to upgrade I am out of luck as there apparently is no stand alone lens in those lengths. But I’ll worry about that when I get there.



The Huntington

I’m hoping I can choose a couple of these to upload to Fine Art America where I have my portfolio. This one above might be a candidate.



The Huntington

The Desert Garden includes more than 5,000 species of desert plants in sixty landscaped beds. I don’t want to be the one to count them.



The Huntington

The weather was unbelievably pleasant. Cool and sunny is my favorite. I remember one visit to the Desert Garden when it had to be 100  degrees F (38C) and I couldn’t get enough water inside me. I’m sure all the cacti and succulents were having a great day!

The Huntington

I’ve never seen so many lizards cross my path. They must have liked the weather too and decided to come out for a stroll. One after the other they were darting out in front of me. No fear of humans.



The Huntington

I took almost 250 pictures this day! Lucky for you I won’t show all of them! But there are 42 in this post.


The Huntington

Unbelievable that it is necessary to post a sign reminding visitors not to carve their names or initials on the bamboo. Aaaargh…. people!

Click on an image below to see slide show of the rest of the photos, if you even made it this far!

See one of my previous posts about The Huntington here.


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Thundery Sunday at the Huntington Library and Gardens

Huntington Library Gardens

Four of us brave souls called the weather gods’ bluff and despite a forecast for rain, thunder and lightning made the trip out to the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino, depending on the route you take, less than 25 miles from Culver City. When I go by myself I take the train and my feet but this day we drove.

Huntington Library Gardens

Since my last visit a couple of years ago they have installed a whole new garden near the entrance. And they have upgraded the dining options, always a good thing!

Huntington Library Gardens

No matter how many times I visit the Huntington, I always leave wanting more, looking forward to the next trip out there.

Huntington Library Gardens

We pretty much managed to avoid the rain until the very end. As we were sitting in the restaurant for lunch, the heavens opened up and provided us with some great thunder and lightning entertainment. When lunch was over, so was the rain. It’s all in the timing.Huntington Library Gardens

One of the cool temporary exhibits is the Orbit Pavilion… a sound experience that allows you to listen to the movement of NASA’s earth science satellites as they pass across the sky above you.

Huntington Library Gardens

This structure captures the sounds as you stand inside.

I wonder, as we are listening to them, are they listening to us?

Huntington Library Gardens

When I came up on this scene I wondered what all the baby bunnies were doing hanging out on the lawn with the geese. New glasses, Roslyn! These are goslings under the care of two napping grownups… yes, I imagine looking after all these cute little guys would be quite exhausting.

As you know from posts about my previous visits, I’ve taken gazillions of photos at the Gardens. I just enjoy wandering around shooting whatever takes my fancy. So here are a gazillion more random photos:

One last stop at the Conservatory and as we emerged, the rain started up. We took cover hoping the storm would pass but it was relentless.

Huntington Library Gardens

We gave up and made a run for the parking lot. We got soaked but at least we didn’t have to take the bus… we could be soggy all the way home in the comfort of our car!

Visit my other posts about the Huntington Library and Gardens:

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/in-hot-water-at-the-huntington-library/

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/thirsty-afternoon-in-the-desert-garden-at-the-huntington-library/

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/reflections-in-a-pond-and-art-gallery/

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Roses get their close-ups

roses

I was visiting the Natural History Museum nature gardens last week to take a few photos with my macro lens. I’ve had the lens for a while but I don’t use it very often. So I decided to force myself to take photos with only that lens. Although I was enjoying doing that my attention was drawn to the rainbow of colors next door at the Exposition Park Rose Garden.

rose garden

Probably because of the heavy rains we have experienced after years of drought, the roses are apparently blooming early. The garden was a gorgeous sight to behold.

rose garden

The best estimate I can find is there are 200,000 bushes and over 200 varieties of roses in the 7-acre garden.

rose garden

The Rose Garden is next door to the Natural History Museum, in front of the California Science Center and across the Expo Line railway tracks from the University of Southern California.

rose garden

And it’s a short Expo Line trip from Culver City. Walk across the tracks from the station and you are there!

rose garden

It was such a beautiful April day in LA and I was grateful to be alive!

rose garden

Please click on an image below for slide show.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Gardens of privilege – Virginia Robinson Estate

virginia robinson gardens

View of the main house

The informative text in italics is taken directly from the Virgina Robinson Gardens website.

As long as I have lived in Los Angeles (all my adult life) I am still learning about and discovering new places. This is one such place.

virginia robinson gardens

Lawns are no longer bright green in LA due to the severe drought.

It was a hot day so I decided against taking the bus and struggling up the hill behind Sunset Boulevard… and Cinnamon Girl needed an outing. So I drove my car with the lovely air conditioning.

virginia robinson gardens

Pool house is undergoing renovation and pool is drained.

Built in 1911, the Robinson mansion was one of the first homes in Beverly Hills. Known for hosting the areas most legendary parties—it was not uncommon to catch famed individuals entering and leaving the estate.

virginia robinson gardens

Today, the garden is recognized as not only a historical landmark, but also as an exotic paradise that all sightseers are invited to enjoy.

virginia robinson gardens

When Virginia Robinson died in 1977 just before her 100th birthday, she was arguably one of the last grand dames of the Hollywood era. Nevertheless, she left her legendary home and gardens in serious disrepair. A leaky roof and a dangerous electrical system threatened the very survival of this cultural landmark.

virginia robinson gardens

“The Friends of Robinson Gardens” was founded in 1982 with a Board of Directors and a general membership of over 75 committed women.

virginia robinson gardens

A great deal was accomplished in a short period of time. The Friends of Robinson Gardens raised enough money to begin crucial repairs, establish docent programs, and begin educational seminars. Coincidentally, Robinsons Department Store, originally known as the Boston Dry Goods Store in downtown Los Angeles and owned by Harry Robinson’s family, was celebrating its 100th anniversary.

virginia robinson gardens

A letter from President Reagan that year called the Friends of Robinson Gardens “a fine example of what can be accomplished through cooperation between the private and public sector,” and congratulated the group on its significant accomplishments. Since its inception in 1982, the Friends have restored all of the historic buildings on the property according to the strict standards set by the Department of Interior and the Friends are contributing one quarter of the Gardens annual operating budget.

virginia robinson gardens

Today, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open by appointment to the public. Located behind the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel, the beautiful six-acre property contains a breathtaking display garden, mansion and pool pavilion.

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virginia robinson gardens

The Robinson Gardens was once the site of lavish Hollywood parties. Mrs. Robinson was known as the first lady of Beverly Hills and her triumphs as a hostess are legendary: her diverse guests included royalty such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to Hollywood stars like Marlene Dietrich and Fred Astaire; her neighbors were Glenn Ford, Lillian Disney and Elvis Presley. She sipped champagne cocktails with Sophia Loren and challenged Charlie Chaplin to a spirited game of tennis – all with her signature elegance and class.

virginia robinson gardens

virginia robinson gardens

She was equally renowned for her philanthropy. Among the many benefits she hosted, the Hollywood Bowl Patronesses Benefit was a favorite. Each year, after the opening of the Hollywood Bowl season, the orchestra would repeat their performance on the estate’s Great Lawn, to the delight of her guests.

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virginia robinson gardens

Shortly before her death in 1977, Mrs. Robinson bequeathed her estate to Los Angeles County. The County, along with the not-for-profit organization Friends of Robinson Gardens, preserves the estate for future generations to enjoy.

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virginia robinson gardens

As the first luxury estate built in the world’s most famous residential neighborhood [Beverly Hills], the multi-faceted historic property provides an opportunity to experience the world of privilege in early Los Angeles.

virginia robinson gardens

virginia robinson gardens

This cat was not at all disturbed by the visitors intruding on his shady nap. I believe his name is Henry or Harry, just can’t remember which!

virginia robinson gardens

A couple of very fancy bird houses… well, they are Beverly Hills birds!

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virginia-robinson-073016-066-C-550px

virginia robinson gardens

The potting shed

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virginia-robinson-073016-090-C-550px

virginia robinson gardens

It’s Southern California so you gotta have a palm tree forest in your garden!

virginia-robinson-073016-086-C-550px

virginia-robinson-073016-087-C-550px

virginia robinson gardens

virginia robinson gardens

The perfect location for a mid afternoon cup of tea!

virginia robinson gardens

And of course, a pink tennis court. Why not?

We were able to tour the interior of the house but not allowed to take photos.

Traffic was pretty bad driving through Beverly Hills back to Culver City on a Saturday afternoon but my chauffeur had the day off, so what could I do?

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Peacocks prancing in the park

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

One of the reasons I love living in Los Angeles is access to all the parks and gardens. The Gold Line recently added six more stations, all the way to Azusa. One of those stations is Arcadia where the 127-acre Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is located. The free shuttle bus that stops at the mall, Santa Anita Race Track and The Arboretum now also stops at the train station.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Yesterday several explorer friends and I visited The Arboretum. Most of us met at Union Station in downtown LA for the trip on the Gold Line.

The Arboretum is known for its peacocks. They are VERY raucous and can be heard “meowing” throughout the park. The above photos are of the same peacock back and front. Both views are pretty impressive.  They are not shy about posing for the camera.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The Arboretum is made up of small pocket gardens, sprawling lawns and water features. We decided to take the 2 1/2 hour docent-led tour

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

This wood creature was part of a temporary art exhibit but he looked very much at home.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

This is jacaranda season and the purple trees are showing off all over town.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The garden, like everywhere else in Southern California, is suffering from the severe drought. But this “flowing” pond is made of stone and needs no water.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Can you find the hummer? Maybe not as impressive as the peacocks but certainly a sweetie.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

A giant lizard slithering across the path? No, just a peacock all folded up for travel.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Eucalyptus deglupta Mindanao gum showing off its rainbow bark.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The pea hen is looking for lunch. The female has no need for extravagant opulence to attract a mate… there are plenty of males strutting around the premises.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The Seed Saving Garden is dedicated to growing heirloom vegetables and herbs.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic GardenWe had several ideas about what these extraordinary giant flowers looked like, I thought of elephant ears.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Even the Arboretum is not free of exotic bugs!

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Effects of the drought on these trees.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The once beautiful ponds are also ravaged by the drought.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

But this turtle family doesn’t seem to mind!

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

If you were a fan of the TV show Fantasy Island, you will recognize this Queen Anne cottage. It was where Tattoo rang the bell when visitors came to the island.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

There’s a lot more to the park but we were pretty tired and hungry after the tour so it was time to head out to lunch. We took the shuttle to the California Pizza Kitchen close by. I always order the Moroccan Spicy Chicken Salad at this restaurant chain… but I decided to be a little daring and ordered the Roasted Veggie Salad instead. That is now my new favorite.

Click on an image below to start the slide show.

The Arboretum even has its own song!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Laguna Beach “week-long” one-day trip

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach, located in Orange County, is about 60 miles and two hours from Culver City. My friend Maria Kurtz has some of her beautiful paintings hanging at the Quorum Art Gallery on the historic gallery row. She needed to check in on Wednesday so I went along for the ride. Her husband did the driving so that was perfect for me!
Laguna Beach

As we walked back to the car we passed this store with colorful pots.

Laguna Beach Laguna Beach

After visiting the gallery we ate lunch in the outdoor patio at GG’s Bistro. As I enjoyed my seafood salad (calamari, salmon, shrimp) I was reminded of my trip to Italy some years previously. I was so relaxed I was feeling like I was on vacation in some exotic location instead of a short drive on the 405 freeway.

Laguna Beach

Like every other area in Southern California, Laguna Beach is getting to the point where there are too many houses, too many people and too much traffic.

Laguna Beach

After lunch we went for a walk along the beachside park.

Laguna Beach

Of course I couldn’t stop taking photos.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

The prickly pear cactus were enjoying the ocean view. And their flowers were showing off too.

Laguna Beach

It was a spectacular April day in Southern California.

Laguna Beach

As we were walking along I kept using the word “amazing.”

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is known for its artist community. You can understand the attraction when you see the marvelous views.

Laguna Beach

Some of the views reminded of my visit to the Oregon Coast last year.

Laguna Beach

I love the ocean and can’t enough of it. For the most part I’ve always lived a short distance from the sea. I just need to know I can get there quickly when I need an ocean fix!

Laguna Beach

Tourism is the primary industry with approximately three million people visiting annually.

Laguna Beach

Laguna is famous for the Pageant of the Masters, Festival of the Arts, Sawdust Art Festival, Art-A-Fair, all of which I have attended over the years.

Laguna Beach

According to Wikipedia “The scenic beauty of the isolated coastline and hills attracted plein-air painters in the early 1900s. William Wendt, Frank Cuprien, and Edgar Payne among others settled there and formed the Laguna Beach Art Association.”

Laguna Beach

Laguna’s coastline is 7 mi (11 km) long and includes 27 beaches and coves.

Laguna Beach

I could imagine sitting here for a few hours absorbing the view. Well, not really as I can’t sit still for very long!

Laguna Beach

If I was on a longer visit I wouldn’t mind joining that couple out on the rocks feeling the surf breaking.

Laguna Beach

How lucky am I to have the opportunity to visit all these beautiful places!
Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach was the southern California epicenter of ‘alternative’ culture in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Timothy Leary lived here.

Laguna Beach

A reminder that what we do inland goes into the storm drains and affects the ocean.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach has a mild Mediterranean climate with abundant sunshine all year. Succulents love living here!

Laguna Beach has a mild Mediterranean climate with abundant sunshine all year.

Laguna Beach has a history of environmental stewardship and historic preservation. Laguna Beach is the only Orange County city protected by a dedicated greenbelt inland and bluebelt seaward.

Laguna Beach

Click on one of the photos below for a slide show of way too many photos!!!

I wish there was a Magic Carpet that would take me back here some day soon. But unfortunately as far as I can figure out I will have to drive the 405 freeway. I’ve done the drive before. The last time another driver took out my rear bumper. But I don’t hold that against Laguna Beach!

Although we had only been there a few hours on one day, on the way home I felt like I had been on a week-long cruise through the Mediterranean.

A big thank you to Wikipedia for the information.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 


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FIDM: Fashion exhibit at the Gallery

FIDM

Last weekend I visited the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in downtown Los Angeles for an exhibit. I was early so as I waiting for the other ladies in our group I wandered around with my camera.

FIDM is located in the south part of downtown now known as South Park. As you probably know, the city of LA is a sprawling mass and our downtown is appropriately spread out. I had never spent much time in this section of downtown. In recent years it has gained popularity as a residential area after being mostly occupied for decades by industrial buildings and residential hotels.

FIDM

FIDM

FIDM is adjacent to Grand Hope Park which I believe was created in the mid 90s. The park makes a nice campus area for the institute and includes a clock tower, kids’ playground area and a fountain. A small corner of green to relax in.

FIDM

You can see the buildings of downtown in the background behind the bougainvillea.

FIDM

One of the older 1920s office buildings amidst newer residential apartment buildings.

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FIDM

Nice to see water running in the fountain area. In the drought some places seem to be trying to make a politically correct statement by keeping the fountains dry, but it doesn’t make sense for various reasons. Anyway, this makes a very attractive area to sit and contemplate the world.

fashion-institute-121215-33-C-700px

FIDM

Grand Hope is such a lovely name for a park, not to be confused with Grand Park which is much larger and further north in downtown. This park is bounded on the west by Hope Street and on the east by Grand Avenue.

FIDM

With the conversion of so many 1920s office buildings to residential lofts, which in turn spurred the development of new apartments and condos, thousands of people now call downtown home. This necessitated facilities for families such as this jungle gym play area.

fashion-institute-121215-9-C-700px  fashion-institute-121215-10-C-700px  FIDM

The women I was waiting for showed up and it was time to venture into the Fashion Institute Gallery to see the exhibit.

FIDM

But first a couple of shots of this angel sculpture on the Grand Avenue side:

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FIDM

We see a lot of different kinds of angels around our “City of Angels,” but I’ve never seen one with a cat mask before… especially one with Donald Trump hair. If I had an angel outside my house it would have to be a cat!

FIDMThe first exhibit we saw was Fleurs: Botanicals in Dress. From the Gallery websiteRoses…Tulips…Orchids…Lilacs…Botanicals have grown around the human body for centuries through trompe l’oeil woven petals, shade-embroidered leaves, and dimensional silk bouquet applications. Fleursexamines these sartorial techniques that allow springtime to be eternal and the flowers to never fade.

I could certainly see myself walking into a room wearing this coat of chrysanthemums… hmm, maybe not. In 1967 this dress cost $3,000, a small fortune at the time.

I’m really not a dress or dress-up kind of gal but some of these are quite striking.

FIDM

This straw hat I was sure was from the 1960s so I was shocked to see it was actually from the 1820s.

FIDM

If I had to wear a dress I could enjoy wearing this black number

FDIM

And I’m sure if my beau showed up at my house wearing this jerkin I would swoon. But only if I was living in the 1600s!

FIDM

This piece is from the student gallery. Quite clever in its own way… the shirt folds up flat to fit in your suitcase!

FIDM

This wedding gown is from 1978 although some of us thought it looked more like a nightie… perhaps she was anticipating the next event. The groom’s suit behind was very natty… I liked the bell bottom pants.

We also saw the Donald and Joan Damask Design Collection, including art books, high fashion photography and a section devoted to Cecil Beaton, who among other things, was an Academy Award–winning stage and costume designer for the movie industry.

I am not generally that interested in fashion but I never turn down an opportunity to look at anything related to art and design. There is always something new to learn.

And now I think my camera and I will have to come back to this part of town and wander around some more.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Saturday adventure part four – my first look at the DWP

music center - dept water & power

We certainly covered a lot of ground on our photography expedition two weekends ago and I was thoroughly enjoying myself being in the company of other photographers.

From the Bradbury Building we moved on to the Music Center (officially named Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County) consisting of  Walt Disney Concert Hall, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Ahmanson Theatre and Mark Taper Forum. I have more than my share of photos of this venue and I should create a separate post about it some other time.

So this day, while the others were getting their shots of these buildings, the instructor suggested I should walk across the street and check out the Department of Water & Power building. In all the millions of times I have been to the Music Center I have never crossed the street to look at the DWP!

The photo above is the facade of the DWP building taken from Grand Avenue, looking up the steps at the Music Center.

department of water & power

The DWP building (renamed the John Ferraro Building in 2000) is surrounded by water… you could call it a moat. Follow this link for a good aerial photo of the building when it first opened.

department of water & power

The building was completed in 1965, during the same period as the opening of the Music Center across the street (1964-67). The photo above shows part of the downtown skyline with the 2003 Walt Disney Concert Hall poking its nose in from the left.

Like most buildings around LA it has starred in movies, most notably the 2010 sci fi film, Inception.department of water & power

The DWP’s campaign to have homeowners install drought tolerant gardens is exemplified by the landscaping around the building.

department of water & power

Front yards can look really beautiful without water hogging lawns.

department of water & powerFill up your water bottles here with pure tap water. I did, thank you!

department of water & power

The Los Angeles Philharmonic winters at the Music Center then moves to the Hollywood Bowl for the summer. To the right are the Mark Taper Forum (far right behind the plant) and the Ahmanson. Santa Monica Mountains are in the background.

department of water & power

Building in the center is Library Tower (US Bank Building), at 73 stories the tallest building west of Chicago. They are building a viewing platform near the top… yes, I will plonk down my $25 for some spectacular photos on a clear day!

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The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the first module of the Music Center to be completed (1964). Adorned with the usual tour buses.

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A better view of the Mark Taper Forum.

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Los Angeles City Hall located at the far end of Grand Park, four blocks down the hill.

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Wonderful patterns in the water like abstract paintings.

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I assume that all the water is recycled. During our drought any non-recycling water features are supposed to be turned off. I don’t see why any water fountains or pools would not be recycling water to start with. In my opinion, turning off the water is harmful to birds and another creatures who depend on it. And, I admit, I like to see water features!

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dept-water-power-071115-044-C-750pxIn these last two photos you can see how the reflecting pool extends out and over the ground below. The pool forms the roof of the parking garage below.

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I have more photos from other places we visited on this day but in order to catch up my posts about other things I have been doing since then I will leave it at this for now. Now that I’ve “discovered” the John Ferraro Building I want to return and take more pictures there too.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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J.M.W. Turner thrice times two

JMW Turner at the Getty CenterJ.M.W. Turner has been my second favorite artist** for as long as I can remember. That is to say, I don’t remember when he achieved that status or when I became fully aware of him as an artist. But it has been a long, long time.

I’ve seen works and exhibitions of his in museums and galleries in England (specifically the National Gallery and the Tate) and the US. But I was especially excited when I heard that the J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free exhibit was coming to the Getty Center. Even before viewing it I knew I would be seeing it twice.

J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free

My first visit was with members of the Culver City Art Group on March 29. As it was a Sunday it was pretty crowded that day. But it was nonetheless amazing to see sixty of Turner’s works… water colors and oils… all in one place. In a word: WOW!

A couple of weeks ago I received the movie Mr. Turner courtesy of Netflix. It seems to be one of those films people either love or hate. I am in the former category. I wrote a review for Netflix and included it at the end of this post for those who might be interested.

Tuesday of last week I made my second visit to the exhibit by myself. I took the Santa Monica bus #12 and the Metro bus #234 which stops directly across from the Getty Center. Entrance to the museum is free but parking is $15 per car. I paid a little over $2.50 round trip on the buses.

Although the exhibit was well attended, it was not as crowded as my previous visit on the Sunday. I was able to take my time studying each piece, getting up close enough to inspect the brush strokes and being able to stand far enough back with no bodies blocking my view. The second time around I appreciated the artist’s genius even more bearing in mind what I had learned from the film, the good and the bad.

From the Getty website: In his early twenties Turner’s focus changed to historical landscapes. These large-scale paintings became increasingly divorced from nature and featured the loose, luminous brushwork and abstract conceptions for which he became known.

At twenty-nine Turner opened his own gallery in London while also painting, exhibiting his own work, and teaching at the Royal Academy. A trip to Italy at the age of forty-four drastically altered his style, leading to his late emphasis on the power of color and light to create dramatic, evocative scenes. Turner’s body of work includes around three hundred paintings and over twenty thousand drawings and watercolors, the majority of which were given to the English government upon his death.

The Getty exhibit focuses on his output from the last fifteen years of his life. He died at the age of 76.

I wanted to know more about his work and was happy to find this video clip from a documentary produced by the National Gallery of Art:

After watching this clip I viewed Mr. Turner once more and then finished up my Turner binge with a second viewing of the documentary.

At this point I’m waiting for the biography, Standing in the Sun: A Life of J.M.W. Turner by Anthony Bailey to be released on Kindle. I put in my request on Amazon, so if it happens I suppose I will have to read it twice just for continuity. .

As I am a frequent visitor. I have a gazillion photos of the Getty Center but I recently splurged on a wide angle lens (Canon EF-S 10-18mm) so I wanted to try it out on architecture and landscapes. So here are some of those photos just wandering around and taking miscellaneous views.


**Having said that Turner is my second favorite artist begs the question, who is my first. That honor goes to Vincent van Gogh.

My Netflix review:

I’ve admired JMW Turner as an artist for as long as I can remember but knew little of Turner the man. After viewing the movie twice now I want to read a biography to get a fuller picture of him. I enjoyed the film because it showed different aspects of his life, including dividing his time between two households, his relationships with various women, his peripatetic nature, his involvement in the Royal Academy, his delight with all things scientific, his turns on the lecture circuit, etc. He was a complicated man of many facets, seemingly uncaring yet emotional, cruel yet kind, which was well explored in the film. As he grew older he became more eccentric. The art direction and photography in the film were beautiful, alluding to Turner’s own work. One reviewer complained there was no story (as a basis for a bad review). Most people’s lives are linear, one day at a time, and that is what this film is about: snippets of days in the life of an uncommon human being and exceptional artist.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!