Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My show - Femme on Femme at Cypress College Art Gallery

I'm going to send the next few posts writing about "Femme on Femme," an exhibition that I'm curating for the Cypress College Art Gallery. The show features work by nine female artists either depicting the female form or exploring feminist issues. It's a concept that has been floating around in my head for a long time, so it has been really wonderful to actually make it a reality!

I love the piece featured in the invite, "Eye of God" by Regina Allen. I'll be writing more about her and her gorgeous work later...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Flora Bowley at ArtForte Gallery in Seattle

I almost forgot about one more post from our trip. In Seattle we spent a little time checking out some galleries in Pioneer Square, one of downtown's oldest neighborhoods. A big gorgeous painting in the window of Art Forte Gallery caught our eye - a work by Flora Bowley. This is her piece above. I heart it! It's no surprise that I connected with it, it fits perfectly into that category of work that I always fall for - abstract, vibrant colors, full of life - although she definitely has her own unique style. She infuses her work with fun splashes of nature in a lovely way, without being maudlin or over the top about it.

I hoped she was a new artist whose work could be had for a bargain. No such luck. She has been around for a while and her prices are definitely out of our wee budget. Although, I do see she offers giclee prints of her work at very reasonable prices. Click here for info. Hmm, might have to add one to the baby registry!

Click here to visit Flora's terrific web site.

Monday, February 09, 2009

And, finally, our trip ended in gorgeous Seattle, which neither of us had visited in more than 15 years. We also have old friends who live there, so on this trip we were really blessed by the host and hostest fairies! Our friend Nikki works at the Seattle Art Museum, which made it easy to both see her and check out a terrific museum. I was so thrilled to learn of the current exhibition, Edward Hopper's Women, inspired by an incredible gift - Hopper's "Chop Suey" will one day be in SAM's collection. I (like most people, I suppose) love Hopper's work so much (click here to read my post about an amazing retrospective of his work at the Boston MFA - featuring none other than "Chop Suey"). The SAM show is small-ish, focusing on Hopper's paintings of women, mostly in urban settings. It's a wonderful, intimate exhibition, and I'm so delighted I was able to see "Chop Suey" in person again, and to know that it will belong to a public institution.

At the Hopper link above, be sure to go to "CLICK IT" to view a nifty interactive component, where you can learn more about "Chop Suey."

The next day our friends took us to the Asian Art Museum, technically a part of SAM but in another location (SAM's original location), a lovely hilltop site in Volunteer Park (here we are in front of the Museum - you can barely see the Space Needle in the background). The current exhibition is stunning; Garden and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur, featuring gorgeous paintings from the royal Indian courts of Rajasthan from the 17th to the 19th century. Produced for the Rajasthan nobles, these paintings have never been published; most have been seen by just a few scholars since their creation. The museum was smart and offered visitors magnifying glasses, all the better to view the incredible little details of the works. The piece above is Bakhat Singh in the Moonlight, ca. 1735. The educational components were great - little saris for the kids to try on, treasure hunts to help them find fun little details in the works. It was fun to be there with a five-year-old...

And this is just a general shout out to the fabulous coffee of Seattle. I can't even remember the name of the coffee shop where I shot this (there are so many!) but they were such beautiful lattes and a perfect scone, I had to catch it. The yummy coffees helped me forget that I'm a temporary decaf drinker!

Thank you again to all our hosts for a really memorable trip - another testament to travel in the US. There's an embarrassment of riches within a 2 or 3 hour flight of all of us!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Swantown Inn B&B in Olympia, WA

I love staying in random cities I've never really considered visiting. When we decided to Amtrak from Portland to Seattle we thought we'd make a pit stop along the way at a new destination. With its location on the southern tip of Puget Sound, and being the Washington State Capital, we figured Olympia, WA would be a lovely place to check out. Its preponderance of B&Bs was a good sign (must have lots of B&B-type visitors!).

We decided on the Swantown Inn for two main reasons - it was walking distance to Olympia's wee downtown, and it offered on-site massages (including prenatal!) in The Attic Spa. So a couple hours after we left Portland we disembarked in Olympia (actually, in a neighboring town), saw a public bus that said "Olympia," and climbed aboard. The ride was only $1 (versus $30 for a taxi) so it was a real score.

The driver was so nice and helped us figure out where to get off - smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood. It was one of those "hope we're in the right place!" moments as we carried our luggage through the light drizzle and past cute little bungalows. We turned a corner and voila - a huge, gorgeous 19th century Victorian house, our new home for the next two nights!

And it did not disappoint. The owners, Nathan and Casey (and adorable five-month-old daughter Lauren) were terrific hosts, and their breakfasts were the best. I still crave their cranberry scones and decadent french toast! The Attic Spa is a total score - a brilliant way to use the attic space, and a real delight. (I wish there were some photos from their site I could include here). We had a 30 minute foot soak while sipping hot tea and nibbling chocolate truffles. Delightful! Then we each had a great massage and then, I think, took a nap (because our room, the Percival, was so incredibly comfy). Now that's a vacation.

Between the B&B being so nice and the weather being so cold, we didn't explore the town a whole lot, although we did visit the lovely state capital. I'm sure Olympia and its environs have much to offer, but all I can really attest to is the lovely Swantown Inn. Here's Eric at the bus stop as we await our ride back to the Amtrak station. Onward to Seattle!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Amtrak from Portland to Olympia

I have no idea if any of you are interested in watching another video clip of another train ride (click here to view my last train adventure), but I just love having this! It totally takes me back to the feeling and sounds of train travel - my absolute favorite way to wander. This was on a very snowy day, riding from Portland, OR to Olympia, WA. We were so glad not to be flying!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Podnah's Pit BBQ and Sahagun Chocolates in Portland, OR

We just returned from a lovely trip to the Pacific Northwest, starting in one of my favorite cities, Portland, Oregon. We are lucky enough to have good friends who live there who happen to be total foodies - and each own a business that should be on the "must see" list of any true foodie out there!

Rodney's restaurant is Podnah's Pit BBQ, and being a true-blooded Texas girl, I was so delighted to feast on some truly Texan deliciousness. We actually spent practically a whole day at Podnah's, first for Sunday brunch, where Rodney prepared a special taster menu for us that included breakfast tacos (the best salsa I've had in a looonng time - perhaps ever?), his famous homemade biscuits (click here for the Oregonian's rave review), and an unbelievably tasty trout hash - fresh smoked trout mixed with potatoes, and topped with a perfectly poached egg. YUM. It's a rough time to not be drinking coffee or alcohol - it would have been great to have some cowgirl coffee and a mimosa with this meal!

Since brunch required a nap, we went home and slept it off, then returned to Podnah's for dinner. I'm not sure I've ever been to one restaurant on the same day. And of course it was pure deliciousness again. Rodney himself arrives at Podnah's at 5am every day to get the meat on the smoker (that's him at left!), so he offers up some of the most amazing brisket and pulled pork (and chicken, and trout...). I ordered the brisket, which was an insanely large pile of melt-in-your-mouth meat, but I must say, after tasting Elizabeth's pulled-pork sandwich, I'd have to order that next time. But my brisket wrapped in a tortilla and smothered in his homemade sauce was devine. I'm very thankful there are some yummy non-alocholic beers out there, since this meal demanded a beer!

The following day, it was Elizabeth's turn to wow us. It's so unfair that a couple should have TWO amazing food minds! Her specialty is chocolates, and she has the most darling little chocolate shop called Sahagun. I remember back in NY when Elizabeth started experimenting with making chocolate, and she has certainly mastered it. Her chocolates ruined us on all other chocolates long ago, and we're so delighted to learn that she now ships! She experiments with the most delightful flavors (cardamom truffle anyone?) and takes great pride in using the best, fresh ingredients.

Oh and she offers the most knee-buckling hot chocolate you'll ever have. It's totally bliss in a mug. This is me about to venture in hot chocolate euphoria. It's a good thing chocolate is not on the pregnancy no-no list; I would have started to sob if I couldn't partake!