RMW: the blog

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


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My point & shoot at the Hammer Museum

hammer museum

For the past several weeks I’ve been visiting a physical therapist at the UCLA Rehab Center in Westwood. I woke up one morning to discover my shoulder had quit working. PAINFUL!!!! The therapy seems to be helping me v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. I think it had to do with switching from a track ball to a mouse earlier in the year. Mouses and me have never gotten along. On my last corporate job I suffered with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Anyway, whatever the cause, the result was the same. Carrying my heavy Canon DSLR and assorted lenses around has not been helping I am sure. So I decided for times when I’m not specifically going out to shoot photos, and I just want to throw a camera in my bag, I would buy a point & shoot.

My old Olympus SP-350 that traveled with me all over Europe, just doesn’t cut it anymore. It was never the fastest camera in the universe and now it seems to have slowed down even more. As pain is to my shoulder, slow is to that camera! By the time the shutter actually clicks, the snail has moved on…

I read all the reviews and decided on a Canon PowerShot G16. It has a good hand grip which I need, a view finder that I can’t live without it, and it shoots RAW/hi-res JPG. And it is fast enough to capture those snail races should I feel the need.

hammer museum

Hammer Museum at Wilshire and Westwood Blvds where I catch the bus.

So on my last trip to physical therapy I packed the G16. The UCLA Hammer Museum is across the street from where I catch the bus so I decided on this particular day to pay a visit.

From the website: The Hammer Museum champions the art and artists who challenge us to see the world in a new light, to experience the unexpected, to ignite our imaginations, and inspire change.

Best of all, it is FREE!

Photography is allowed without a flash, yippee! The reviews state the G16 doesn’t do well in low light, I bought the camera knowing that as I figured I’d be using it mostly outdoors. So I was anxious to see how it would hold up inside the museum.

hammer museum

The first exhibit I saw was The Afghan Carpet Project featuring six carpets designed by L.A.-based contemporary artists then handmade by weavers in Afghanistan. The photo at the top of the post is of the carpet exhibit.

hammer museum

I particularly liked the Unswept Rug. This is reminiscent of Roman mosaics that represent an unswept floor. I happen to be an admirer of Roman mosaics so this caught my attention.

hammer museum

Next up I sauntered into Mark Bradford’s Scorched Earth exhibit. From the website: the work …refers to formative moments in his life and ruminations on the body in crisis. As an artist who has long been interested in strategies of mapping and the psychogeography of the city he calls home, Bradford uses his characteristic painting style to excavate the terrain— emotional, political and actual—that he inhabits.

hammer museum

I was hooked from the first second I set eyes on the artwork. The way I approach art either it resonates with me or it doesn’t. There isn’t much in between. As I have said many times, I even like art I don’t like. But when it has an emotional appeal for me there is nothing more satisfying.

hammer museum

I enjoy abstract art and I particularly like collage. These pieces fulfilled both of those elements for me.

hammer museum

There is no intellectual explanation for me. It is wholly visceral. I was completely stunned by this work. I stood there and stood there and stood there gawking and sucking it all in.

hammer museumThis is a close-up detail of one of the pieces. I hope you can see the texture in this. There are layers of materials cut out to show other layers below. I wanted to run my hands over the collage and experience its 3D nature, but fortunately I was able to restrain myself!

hammer museum

I walked around the gallery for quite a while, inspecting, staring, discovering, exploring, admiring… taking it all in.

hammer museum

I finally had to leave the gallery and move on or the security guards would probably have had to escort me out…

hammer museum

I headed for the photography exhibit Perfect Likeness: Photography and Composition. From the website: When we say of a portrait that it is a perfect likeness, we mean not just that it accurately delineates its subject. … We are glutted with images. What single picture might separate itself from this flood? Any such attempt to make such a work will lead inevitably to the question of composition.

hammer museum

That being the case I attempted to look at each image from the point of view of composition. But I have always thought of “good” photography, just like any kind of “good” art, as being innately well composed or it just doesn’t work. I suppose, without thinking about it, I am always conscious of the composition.

hammer museum

I’ve seen a good many photography exhibits at a good many prestigious museums. I have to say, this was one of the best I have ever seen in terms of quality and diversity. I also liked the way the photos were given their own space rather than being lined up side by side on crowded walls.

hammer museum

There were a couple of other exhibits which I am sure were wonderful in their own way. But they didn’t appeal to me personally as strongly as these three exhibits.

I came away inspired and motivated. I’ve had some ideas for a while about a project. I think and I hope viewing these exhibits has given me a shove in the right direction.

All three are on view through various dates in September. Check the website for availability!

When i opened the photos on my computer they were certainly underexposed. But Adobe Lightroom bumped the images up to a respectable level. I’m happy with the camera.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Artwork copyright the various artists. 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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Triple art treat in Tujunga

katherine kean

Photo copyright Barbara Golbin

McGroarty Arts Center in Tujunga held its inaugural Artist Studios Tour on Saturday, June 27, 2015. Two artist friends who live in that area were participating by opening their home studios to the public. So my friend B and I decided to drive out there to be supportive.

As my car, AKA Cinnamon Girl, spends most of her life sitting in the garage I knew she would enjoy the 70-mile round trip (northeast of Culver City). We’ve been having unusually muggy weather on the Westside and as we were leaving Culver City around 1:00pm CG’s windshield was splattered with rain drops. In our terrible drought we will take every drop!

Our first stop was at Katherine Kean’s studio. (Photo above). She has a beautiful home nestled in the hills with lovely views all around. There is a lot to be said for living out in the “boonies.” As a die-hard city girl, even I can appreciate the call of the wilds!

I did take my DSLR with me but for whatever reason l left it in the car. Fortunately, my companion thought to whip out her iPhone to snap a picture of Katherine standing in front of one of her pieces. (Tweaked and cropped just a little in Lightoom by moi.) I’ve followed Katherine’s career for many years and seen her artwork evolve. I’ve always been a big fan.

Katherine comes across as a serene person and her paintings match her personna.

I encourage you to click on this link to her website.

Katherine was generously sharing her space with another artist, Rosanna Norton. I’ve met Rosanna on a couple of occasions previously but never seen any of her artwork. I wasn’t expecting her or her art to be at Katherine’s house so this was icing on the cake .

rosanna norton

Photo copyright Barbara Golbin

All I can say is that I immediately got the connection between Rosanna and her expressive work as her artwork matches her colorful personality. (And clothing!). What a nice surprise.

Click here for Rosanna’s website.

Last, but certainly not least, we drove over to Melissa Reischman’s home studio.

melissa reischman

Photo copyright Barbara Golbin.

I have a certain affinity with abstract art. The lack of immediately identifiable subject matter allows my imagination to run wild. I’ve also had the good fortune to see Melissa’s work over the years. She is always experimenting. I happen to love her latest series of black and white drawings such as the five at the top of this photo. Black holes, electricity… all kinds of powerful images come to mind.

Visit Melissa’s website here.

It’s no secret I love art! As I have often said, I even like art that I don’t like! But it’s even better when I feel an emotional connection with the art I am viewing. That certainly was the case on Saturday.

I believe there may have been twenty artists on the Tujunga open studio tour but I have a short attention span, and in any case, we had planned to only visit Katherine and Melissa. My brain had taken in all it could at that point and we headed back to civilization… I mean Culver City!!!

B and I often end up at the same restaurants when we have dinner together. Even though we do try to think up new places, there is nothing as comforting as the tried and true. One of these is The Original Thai BBQ of Culver City on the corner of Venice Blvd and Clarington Ave where we ate dinner Saturday evening. It’s off the beaten track and not as glitzy as the eateries in downtown Culver City. I usually order tofu and a mixed veggie curry. Mmmmm, I could eat that right now for breakfast!

I know Katherine and Melissa are often exhibiting their work in art shows around the LA area. So look for their names and check out their work in person when you have the opportunity. And say hello for me…

All content copyright roslyn m wilkins except where otherwise noted. 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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Hollyhocks, art and wahoo

hollyhock house barnsdall park

Hollyhock House is Frank Lloyd Wright’s first Los Angeles project. Built between 1919 and 1921, it represents his earliest efforts to develop a regionally appropriate style of architecture for Southern California. Wright himself referred to it as California Romanza, using a musical term meaning “freedom to make one’s own form.”  – Text from the Barnsdall Park Art Foundation website.

Hollyhock House is located in Barnsdall Art Park in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz/Hollywood. A friend and I took the Expo Line from Culver City to the Vermont/Sunset Red Line exit. We met our other friends who came on the Red Line from North Hollywood and on the Gold Line from Pasadena and the Blue Line/Green Line from Redondo Beach. Lovely public transportation!

Hollywood sign

Above is the view of the Hollywood Sign from the front lawn.

Hollyhock House

The house was built for Aline Barnsdall by Frank Lloyd Wright. Her favorite flower was the hollyhock, so Wright worked out a stylized design to represent that flower.

hollyhock house

Unfortunately, the specimens planted around the house were not at their best for our visit, but you get the idea. On a personal note, my mother loved hollyhocks and planted them all around our house in England.

hollyhock house

Wright’s stylized version of the hollyhock plant.

hollyhock house

In 1927, Aline Barnsdall donated Hollyhock House and eleven surrounding acres to the City of Los Angeles for use as a public art park in memory of her father, Theodore Barnsdall.

The inscription reads: “Barnsdall Park in memory of Theodore N. Barnsdall 1851-1917. Our fathers mined for the gold of this country. We should mine for its beauty. Aline Barnsdall.” Today we could substitute oil. Although, interestingly, she was an oil heiress and perhaps she meant that the oil was gold… I don’t know.

hollyhock heiress

The house was closed recently for extensive renovations and re-opened in February of this year. I was disappointed that we weren’t allowed to take photos inside as the interiors, including the furniture designed by Wright himself, is indeed spectacular. Also, some of the rooms that had previously been open to the public (that I remember from previous visits) were not accessible, which was also disappointing.

hollyhock house

A nice view of the Griffith Park Observatory from the lawn.

hollyhock house

Beautiful FLW lamppost.

hollyhock house

After our visit to the Hollyhock House we walked across to the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG) to see the Individual Artists Fellowship Exhibition.

I really enjoyed this exhibit. Some of the highlights:

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As at this point we were satiated with visual delights, it was time to fill our tummies. Our fearless leader had suggested The House of Pies on Vermont. Okaaaaaaay… what could I do but go along with the plan?

But I was pleasantly surprised. It was a 1950s (?) style family restaurant complete with a shrill screaming kid (THAT was not too pleasant). I went for the Grilled Wahoo Burger (see menu here). Also known as Ono, it was excellent and fortunately did not come with the pickle spear as promised on the menu. I substituted sweet potato fries for the regular fries.

We did a LOT of walking so I have my fingers crossed that mitigated my lunch (yeah, right!). So as I sit here enjoying my well-deserved heartburn, I wish you adieu for another day!

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!