Monday, January 30, 2012

A bit more of Bilbao & Mail Art

 Spotting this man in the water cleaning the Guggenheim museum was interesting as it gave the building scale, though that's not so evident in my close up shot.
 This Louise Bourgeois spider is on the river side of the Guggenheim. It's called Maman. There are other versions of this elsewhere. Have you seen any of them?
 Jeff Koons Puppy is on the plaza by the entrance to the Guggenheim. He is so cute, I mean it, really cute. The people liked it so much that the city bought it rather than having it be removed at the end of the exhibit time. The plantings change with the seasons, I believe. Big, this puppy is BIG!
 We were sitting on the wall on the river side of the building one night, just looking at things, when a HUGE noise jolted us! What the heck!!! The fire sculpture had come on behind us. I turned around and got this shot of it.
 This is one of the things I'm doing besides the tiny watercolor landscapes and mail art. I'm altering Mona. Can you spot the changes?
 This is #817, which I sent to someone in Paris.
This is #818 which is going further away. I used show cards as the substrate for these two cards.

And now a special announcement: My honey is putting more images on his blog. He got some fine photos while in Bilbao. Check them out here.

Images from Bilbao, Spain

 We returned Saturday evening and it's like Bilbao was a dream. We had 3 1/2 days there and, in spite of rain, did lots of walking. Our main objective was to see the Guggenheim, and we did, but we found out that there was more to Bilbao than that. To prove it, here is half of the dessert table at our hotel buffet (smile.)
 We took endless photos of the museum. You can, of course, see them on the internet in abundance, because the building is seductive and it's impossible to stop taking photos of it. This is our view on the first day, our first walk, though we did see it coming in from the airport in the taxi the evening before.
 Here's bit more of the building. I'll be posting my multiples views on Flickr should any of you be interested in seeing them. Again, I'll say it, I couldn't stop taking photos, and neither could my honey. To the last moment, in the taxi on the way to the airport, I was snapping photos through the window.
 We also went to the Museo de Bellas Artes, where we caught the final days of an exhibit of work by Antonio Lopez, which was very good. We'd not heard of him, as we aren't very knowledgeable about contemporary Spanish artist (other than Tapies.) This is a view of the museum cafe. I was sitting on a bench and noticed the reflections, how the people inside seemed like a painting, and the passersby, a blue of movement.
 Here's a view of the Guggenheim at night. Pretty amazing building. The exhibits were also very good. We enjoyed seeing the Richard Serra installation, the exhibit with Richard Serra and Brancusi, and works by Georg Baselitz. The 3rd floor was not open, which worked out great as we were pretty full seeing what we did see. Satisfied and happy that we had the experience of being at the museum. We returned another day to take more photos (only the outside can be photographed) and to visit the bookstore, where we found some books on sale. Who could resist? Not us. We got a book of Rauschenburg works and a photo book.
 What a surprise to come upon this bust of John Adams on the Gran Via. The 2nd U.S. president made some positive comments about the Basque people, culture, and language, which were included on the plaque.

 We had our umbrella this afternoon, though we'd forgotten it another day, when it was sunny and we'd assumed it would stay that way. We took refuge in a big indoor market in the Casco Viejo (old city) which was dicey for me as I don't eat meat and there were lots of butcher stalls. We hung out by the mushroom stall! Once there was a bit of a let up, we dashed out to continue our walk. Soon the rain let up and we could take more photos.
A nice view of the pedestrian bridge designed by Calatrava. Our hotel was just up a bit on the right so we had views of the bridge and part of the Guggenheim from our hotel window. We walked across the bridge in the daytime and the night, quite different experiences visually.
All in all, we were happy to have gone to Bilbao, where we celebrated our wedding anniversary.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Greetings from Bilbao

We've been in Bilbao, Spain since Tuesday. I can't post photos until we return to Paris, but wanted to post that the city has more to offer than The Guggenheim Museum. Lots of walking since we've been here, in spite of the drizzles. We did have one day of sun, felt fortunate to have that. Oh, the other thing is that my Spanish works! Yay! This is the first time I've used it in a Spanish speaking country. Next post from Paris.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Food, of course, and Mail Art, of course

 I made crèpes for breakfast on Sunday. I'm grateful that the previous person left the flour as I'd probably not have bought a bag of it. Look, Bon Maman preserves.
 The people without roofs were also cooking lunch/dinner. They had a pot on a heater of some kind. There are two people sitting on the bench. They contributed to the pot. I missed the eating of the meal, as it happened a few hours later and I was busy at that time. It's been so interesting to be a watcher of life on the street.
 On the board downstairs, I put up one of Andrea's weather-grams. I put a used metro ticket up next to it saying "Free Gratuit" with an arrow. This morning, all of the used tickets were gone, and one of the weather grams and a little collage booklet that I offered up. Maybe people thought the metro tickets were what was free? and useable?
 Åke's wife came to visit him and brought me a beatiful surprise. She gave me a knit ornament, AND the instructions how to make them, and a book of traditional Norwegian knitting patterns. She has challenged me! I think I'm going to attempt to make these.  What a sweet thing to do for me. I'm so touched and feel so fortunate.
 This is card #815. I used a show card and part of a painting.
 This is card #816, using another of those show cards and a different painting.
The sun is coming through and Notre Dame looks like this, this morning.

We'll be leaving early tomorrow for 5 days away from the computer. I might be able to post some text from my iPod Touch (first generation, no a camera) or not.

See you when I return, with photos from somewhere else.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Choeurs Resilience

 We went to the concert by this group last night. This is a publicity photo off of their web site.
This is a photo I managed to take from the back of the church. We were so surprised to see Yadt Elyas playing the oud! We'd met him a number of years ago when he was living down the hall from us.
More information about this amazing organization can be found here and here.

We saw that there were some people in the group with visible disabilities, but didn't know that the group was dedicated to including them in the choeur.

We'll stop at the Cafetheque (a coffee roasting and drinking place down the street) one day soon, and ask Yadt (who works there) how he got involved with the group.

Saturday, more goings on.

 On the way to meet our friend M. for coffee by Bastille, we saw these odd cars on rue St. Antoine, which by the way was jammed with tourists. We had to worm our way through the crowds and were a bit late. Who knew there'd be a traffic jam of people!?  We had coffee and gelato at Amorici, a nice visit, and by the time we said our "a bientôts", it was getting dark out.
 At we crossed the area where the Sunday market is on rue Richard Lenoir, C spotted something - little booths set up with artists' wares. We walked the length of one side, saw two artists' work we liked, one does collage and the other paintings. I chatted a bit with each of them. We hope they made a sale or two.
 Here's the carousel that was ready to start up.
 There was a gathering of Egyptian young people, but we didn't know what it was about as they were doing speeches in French and Arabic. Notice the woman crossing the street with her guitar on her back. We see lots of people with guitar and violincello cases, like this, on their backs. Oh, that's the statue in the middle of the Bastille round about.
We stopped for a baguette, had some bread and cheese, then went off with our neighbor to a concert at a church. We had to take 2 metros and got off at Solferino, not knowing where we were, went the wrong direction (my doing) in the drizzle, had to reverse, rushing so we wouldn't be late. We weren't. The concert was wonderful. See separate post about it.
After the concert, we stopped at a cafe, where I had a vin chaud (hot mulled wine.) Perfect for a dark, chilly, damp night. We took the metros back and popped into another cafe for a coffee.

Wow, caffeine at 10h45 p.m. Guess who was up very late reading last night?

My afternoon walk.

 Yesterday, was a very nice, very busy day. In the afternoon, I took a walk, crossing the Pont Marie and cutting through Ile St. Louis to Ile de la Cité, and Notre Dame.  Besides wanting a walk, my secondary goal was to check that my iPod Touch could pick up the free WiFi in the park behind Notre Dame. It could & I sent a test message.  Here's the view of the dark, cloudy sky with the Pantheon in the background. I like the way the sillouette skyline looks.

 Notre Dame looks a bit tilting! Oh, dear, don't worry, it was me tilting in the wind.
 This is a pretty dramatic view of the little park. I love the way the trees are cut flat along the top. People were sitting on the benches underneach, which are set in a grid, in spite of the gray, windy, drizzly weather.
 Here's boat pushing a barge of rusty metal. All of the tourists, and me, too, took photos of it. I can hear my French teacher saying "Mim, with all the sites in Paris, you're taking a photo of junk?" (in French, of course.)
 As I stood along the wall looking at the Seine, I heard a loudish continual sound coming from the right. Several other people came to the wall to look over. This is what appeared as a surprise. What a change from the big tourist boats and the working boats.
 Crossing back to the Cité Internationale des Arts, via the Pont Louis Philipe. See the Cité behind those trees?

 This is the commerative little monument in front of the Cité, which I've written about for years. We call it The Bunny, but it's the map of Korea. Really, doesn't it look like a rabbit getting ready to sit down? Across the road, you can see the book sellers, one of which was open, even with the not so nice weather.
 A flower shop on Ile St. Louis gave a bright spot to all of us passing by.
I was taking a photo of the Velib' bicycles in from of the building and heard lots of chirping birds. I turned and saw this little bush full of them, a someone had hung a tiny net bag of seeds from it. A nice end to my walk.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The dinner party and more

 Here's the dinner party, just before we started to eat. We moved the little work table that the computer is usually on, to the end of the dining table, which C had moved into the middle of the room. It worked out great. We borrowed a chair from our neighbor in order to seat 5 people.
 Our friends brought an epiphany gallette made with almond paste, what's called a King's cake in the U.S. The baker included the gold crown. K got the little porcelaine figure but left the crown for us. The gallette was yummy.
 This is the card that I got from the photo booth at the Archives the other day. C suggested that I choose the SUSPECT card, though POET tempted me.
 We went to see the Jean-Paul Goude exhibit at Musee des Arts Decoratifs. It was really exciting for us. We enjoyed seeing his sketches, his actually pieces of work, and his process for creating.  I ejoyed the cut apart photos. They reminded me of the project we used to give our students.
This train was set up in the middle of the grand hall. Enormous. It was used in the bi-centennial parade in Paris. I was fascinated by this enormous presence and kept thinking "how did they get it into the space." There were videos showing it going down the street, all kinds of parade activities, really spectacular. Finally, I asked the guard - the train, is it real, is it metal, how did they get it in here?  (spoiler) His response - it's not real, it's wood, they brought it in pieces.

I was still impressed because it sure looked real! The exhibit was huge and very interesting, both the work and the installation.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Visiting and some surprise mail

 This morning, we walked over to the 11th arrondisement to have breakfast with our friend M, who's come over from Ireland to visit us and other friends. It was a nice walk, but I missed the street due to the page in my map book, having the street appear to be connected to another. It wasn't, but looked that way because of the gutter of the book. We asked for directions of a man on a motorcycle, who was doing something with his phone. Turned out he was a police officer and spoke English, and said, "I love America, I was in Los Angeles to learn about police motorcycles." Besides his police job, he has a service of driving people or taking them on motorcycles, and gave us his card. He'll give us a tour on motorcycle, he and his friend. COOL!!

We were very close to where we had be, just a bit late but had a nice conversation & the potential for a motorcyle ride around town. Here's the church that was the landmark.

 View from the window into the courtyard of the apartment our friend rented.
 This is so typically French, right? With the houses all backing into a courtyard space.
 When I went downstairs in the morning, I was handed a form saying that something had postage due and I could pick it up at La Poste Hotel de Ville. During the morning walk, we discussed what it might be. Oh a packet of goodies perhaps, as 1,55 euro was due on it.
After a late lunch, we went to Hotel de Ville. Oh, an envelope (#10 in USA) with NO stamp on it.
See the empty space in the corner? It's from my friend Val, who lives in the south of France. He's  prolific mailer but somehow managed to forget about a stamp. We are going to tease him mercilessly when we see him in February.
So, I paid the U.S. equivalent of $2 to receive this envelope. I don't want to open it immediately, but savor the possibilities of what it could hold.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Catch up

 I took no photos today - I had French class this morning, then we had an appointment with the now-retired, but still present, wonderful President of the Cité. After that, we went to get the "detaxe" form at the eyeglass shop (long story.) No photos, however, I took a photo of the kettle last night. In order to use it, to make hot water, we have to unplug the hot plate, which means I can't cook and make hot water at the same time. We have limited outlets. It's good for us to be challenged like this.
 We went to celebrate our good meeting with Mme B. My honey, Anne (the photographer from Sweden) and I went to happy hour at La Perla. We had Margheritas for half price!
This is Mail Art I made yesterday, using some of the used up tickets from the metro. I have many more as resource material.
 The box from pasta came in useful for this collage Mail Art.
 This is rue Pavée, with me walking back from getting more postcards of Mona Lisa at the book shop Monalisait, yesterday. See the carousel in the distance?

I'm working on a project using the Mona Lisa cards. I'll take a photo of them when I get further along. Today, I made four pieces. This is going to be amusing, at least for me.

I passed by the chantier (work site) near Metro St. Paul. They've begun to break up the paving stones, preparing for the new plantings. I think we'll be here long enough to see the results.

Today, the weather was mild, but it was a typical gray, drizzly day. I like the way the city looks when it's gray like this. The light flattens things out. Distances appear changed. Tomorrow, I'll take my camera when we go out in the morning to meet a friend for coffee.