Friday, March 4, 2016

"President Frank Underwood"

One of my favorite galleries, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, has paintings of all the Presidents.  Recently, it added one titled "Kevin Spacey as President Frank Underwood."  I saw this painting a few days ago, but this is the right day to blog it as season 4 of "House of Cards" is streaming starting today o n Netflix.

Frank Underwood's portrait isn't actually with the Presidential portraits, but it is right by the entrance to the museum.   It is large (6' x 6') and very impressive, though I am not too thrilled with how the right foot is cut off.  The style is interesting and has a lot of texture.  It was hard to take a picture of it because it is an oil painting under glass.

I was disappointed that the artist, Jonathan Yeo, is not American.  He is British .  He evidently likes Kevin Spacey, though, and also painted him as Richard III.  The Richard III painting is hanging in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

The painting is 6' x 6' and is hung so that you feel Underwood is going to do one of his asides that are a trademark in the series.  Although it is on loan for now, the Museum is looking for a donor.

Meanwhile, in a strange twist, the famous Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington is not on display in the museum.  It is undergoing conservation treatment.  

Monday, January 11, 2016

November 28 Going Home

Time to head home!   I was in for one more treat.  I got up early and drove to Fresno, where I would board a plane.  I had been to the Fresno Airport many years ago, and it wasn't too interesting.  That has changed.  There are huge faux sequoias in the lobby and some very nice restaurants.  I had a good breakfast and then got on a plane to Phoenix and then to National Airport.  Some people call it Reagan, but I prefer to call it National.  It was a great trip, but I was happy to get home.

November 27, Avila Beach and Spectre

The day after Thanksgiving was a beautiful day and Jenifer had a beach she wanted to show us.  Jeff drove his new car and we set off for Avila.  It is a very charming beach town and wasn't too crowded.  We had a little trouble getting a parking space, but found one.  People were on the beach, but I think it was a little too cold for swimming.  Some young kids were chasing waves.

We walked out as far as we could on the pier and I took the picture above looking back at the town. I also took this nice picture of Erik and Jen on the beach walkway:

We stopped for a coffee and then headed to Templeton to go to a hamburger joint there and to see the new James Bond movie, "Spectre."   The tickets were pretty much sold out.  We got in, but didn't sit all together.  That was OK.

We went back to the house, snacked on leftovers, watched tv and I made a little painting of a silver creamer and sugar bowl.  There were silver pieces all over the house, and it gave it a kind of homey feel.  I wanted to leave it as a "thank you."  This is the painting:

It was done with an Elegant Writer, which I always enjoy.  It is a black pen, but when water is applied, it bleeds in a kind of unpredictable way.  I hope the owners enjoyed

November 26, Thanksgiving

We were looking forward to a relaxing day with a big Thanksgiving dinner and time to watch the football games on tv.   The family room was nice, with lots of room and a big tv.  Take a look at that leather chair and the sofa.

We actually didn't do much.  Dinner was good and then we played a game of "Trailer Park Wars."  I didn't take any pictures.  We didn't even get out of the house!

November 25, Thanksgiving Eve

The highlight of this day was checking into the "Paso Vine House.  It was much nicer than I expected.  It is very comfy and cozy and had everything that we needed.  For example, this is what the utensils drawer looked like:

It gave me confidence that we could cook a Thanksgiving dinner.

While I was making a list for the grocery store, I noticed a man in the yard--it turns out it was Jeff.  I went out and told him I had already opened the house.  We relaxed for a few minutes and then went to the store to get something for tonight's dinner and Thanksgiving tomorrow.  We had fun shopping, but it was crowded.

Back at the house, we heard from Jen and Erik that they would be late and we should go ahead and eat without them.  They  got there pretty soon, though, and we all settled in for tomorrow.

November 24, Paso Robles

I decided that I would try to stay at Jenifer's little house rather than at the Best Western.  Jen had told me how to get in, but it didn't work.  I met Sally for lunch at Bib Bubba's Barbeque, which was right by the Best Western.  She looked great and I learned she was just getting ready to move to Wyoming.

 She had a lot to do, but felt like it she could help me get in Jen's place.  We were successful and so I went back and checked out of Best Western.  We had a big hug and she went back to her packing.

I went to the grocery store to get some food for dinner and a magazine.  At Jen's place, I worked on some little paintings and caught up on my e-mail.  Kind of a quiet day.

November 23, Mill Valley to Paso Robles

My plan was to go to Benicia and then go back to the Coast south of San Francisco.   I left Mill Valley as expected and drove across what is called the Back Bay Road to Benicia.  The weather continued to be lovely and so I drove out onto a manmade spit that has a view back at the town of Benicia.  It is a nice view, and a little sentimental for me, since I used to live there--well, up on the hill with a waterview toward Martinez and the Carquinez Bridge.

This is the view along the spit and toward the Carquinez Bridge, which is a little dim in this picture:

All was going well until I started to get back into the rental car and it was locked.  The keys were on the inside.  I am not sure why it locked.  At least I did have my phone and so I could call AAA for help to get back into the car.  Of course, I didn't have my wallet and so I didn't have my membership number.  It took a few phone calls, but I finally got everything straightened out and the person who I was talking to had NO idea where Benicia was.  She finally got it on the map and dispatched some help.  I went into the Benicia Main Street office to wait.  It is a repurposed railway station, and quite nice.  

I had forgotten that there were so many palm trees!   The guy came fairly quickly and it took him about 90 seconds to open the car.  I was off again.  While crossing the bridge, I was listening to the radio and heard that Highway 1 (down the California Coast) had been closed because a truck had overturned.  It is two-lane almost all the way.  I decided just to go to Paso Robles down Highway 101.  It worked out fine, and I ended up in Paso Robles in time for dinner.  I had tried to reserve a room on-line at the Best Western, but my reservation hadn't gone through.  There were lots of fire crews there for training, but I did get a room.  I had dinner, connected with my sister-in-law Sally Reynolds and took it easy for the rest of the night.  I had planned on staying in Cambria, on the Coast, but didn't take that route, so would have some extra time in Paso Robles.