Sunday, May 18, 2008

Where is the Port of San Francisco

For many years I have explored all the areas on the east side of San Francisco seeking views of the bay. So many areas are blocked off and it keeps getting worse. After 911 the security on the piers was increased which make it difficult to paint around there. I snuck out in back of the Noonan Building and onto Pier 70. The Port of San Francisco was a big hole in my ouevre ... I asked them from time to time but no luck.

Imagine my surprise today when I found I could drive all the way in there. It was not blocked off at all.
At first I was a bit scared to be there by myself and I tried another view of the silos which didn't work out.

I drove back and saw I saw a beautiful bird -- a kestral -- quite close. Then several families of Canadian Geese walking around on the road and in the dry dusty grass. There were large mounds of gravel and dirt around. There were seepage pools that I guess the birds were bathing in or drinking. One bird was lame. The young were quite large—about one foot tall at least. One goose had about 7, another couple had only one.

I decided this was the place to paint, in the car, but the birds went back to the shoreline.

Nothing beats a big pile of dirt and I found this view quite striking. I was a bit nervous since I didn't know if it was ok to be out there and it was quite remote and deserted. A 'sheriff' in a green car came to check me out but drove off. I haven't had a security guard yet chase me out of anywhere.

San Francisco is getting more and more closed in as it gets developed. I found it very exhilarating to have this sweeping 360 view of the fog on the hills and the blue blue bay.

So what happened to the Port of San Francisco? Is it no more?
And are they going to put develop this area too?
Can't they let anything alone?

[I was going to run for mayor once on the Landscape Artist ticket, to encourage meters for artists to park and paint. Almost the entire shoreline has short metered or NO parking. I would have gotten slammed for driving instead of biking.] I want to do a BART series but at the end of a painting session one is so cold, tired, hungry and bathroom-needy that it won't be easy.

I got totally flamed on email the other day for sending the Hunters Point yahoo group the endorsements from the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club recommends Yes on F and No on G—the opposite of what the community and the artists are recommending. It's really hard to know what to vote for. I thought the Sierra Club had some good points. You would think the people, the artists and the wildlife would be on the same side.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Memories of San Francisco

When I was nine years old, Mom, Jeanne and I spent three months in Reno to get 'our' divorce. Our step father was in Japan on business and wouldn't sign the papers.
We stayed on dude ranches (Lazy A, Donner Trail) and Jeanne and I had a incredible time riding horses three hours a day in the mountains, hanging out with cowboys and 'indians'. For kids from New York who worshipped the tv show, Bonanza. This was a dream come true, a summer none of us will ever forget. We got back to school late -- just before Halloween.
Sometimes we helped with the round-up of horses or stray cattle. My favorite horse was Critter, a funny-looking old cowpoke horse. All you had to do was hang onto the saddle horn and Critter cut the cattle like a barrel-racer.
To get a divorce in Reno in those days, one had to set up residency for six weeks. We weren't really allowed to leave the state but snuck off to San Francisco. Even in those days they had the 49-mile scenic drive which we tried but kept getting lost. I can remember driving down Geary or California, seeing the light and the PACIFIC OCEAN, to the Cliff House and the sea lions (and the Playland at the Beach) and then getting on the Great Highway South and not being able to turn off. I can remember getting lost on the top of Mount Davidson in a strange neighborhood of munchkin-Disneyesque houses. Then suddenly finding our way onto beautiful Dolores Street with the row of palm trees. I can remember the light in the afternoon and I can remember very confidently telling my mother that if I ever had to live in a city, San Francisco is the city I would choose to live in.
Funny how things work out. Now my life is spent painting those same views.
We had the poodle Peggy with us the whole time. We first stayed at the Sheraton Palace but then moved to the St. Francis. Mom complained about the room facing a brick wall and they gave us a room in the front overlooking Union Square (4th floor?) where we sat on the ledge and watched the cable cars go back and forth. Mom had placed a call to Japan and Mr. Adams called back at 3am-ish. Jeanne and I were banished to play with Peggy in the hall on the flowered carpet. Felt very 'Eloise at the Plaza'.
The next day Peggy got out and later was found on the perfume counter being pampered by the sales girl.

Last week we had our Spring Open studio which was a great success. People liked what I was doing with the large paintings while seeming to appreciate the small weird ones, and lots of great friends showed up. Attached is a studio shot. On the small paintings I was trying out very frames...I think I have finally found one floater that sets off much of the work well.
The large paintings are more of a problem. I am framing them myself and it is so hard for me. Takes so much time. But they do look nice and it's nice to see them go out to such great homes.