Inspiration and Discovery at the L.A. Brewery Art Walk

Well, I am well on my way into yet another quarter of classes. They seem to go by faster than I can keep track of! There ‘s always a bit of a rough transition between the madness of final projects and the maneuvering of a new class’ routine, so I am especially grateful when I hit my stride. That finally happened last week, so the hubby and I took advantage of some long awaited free time l and went down to the LA Brewery Art Walk over the weekend.

I had never been to this art walk before, even though it happens twice a year. And I really had no expectations or preconceived ideas of what I was walking into. (I find that’s the BEST way to discover new things!) I was blown away not only by the abundance of creativity and extremely talented artists, but also by the community in which the art walk took place. So I’ll start by telling you haw totally awesome this place was!

DSCN5013 The Brewery Art Walk takes place at a former Pabst beer brewery in downtown Los Angeles. But it is oh so much more than that. Since the 80’s, this complex has been home to an enormous community of artists. The buildings here have been converted into live/work loft spaces with a strict rule of only renting to artists.DSCN5020 There seemed to be a huge variety of loft spaces; some were single story, some had an upstairs loft for living, but all were equipped with their only gallery spaces. Many of them included small private outdoor areas, porches, or patios.DSCN5021 All of the open studios seemed to have a river of visitors in and out, all admiring the artists’ work.DSCN4992 This catwalk led us from one building’s roof top to the other, and was also a great way to get a lay of the land in this huge former industrial complex.DSCN5038 This loading dock has clearly become a place of gathering, and for one day it was fun to feel invited to play with such a creative group of people. They were sitting, chatting, drinking, grilling, and inviting everyone to join in. I like to imagine it’s like this on any typical weekend here at the Brewery Art Colony. DSCN5031 And I just love how the inside of the building has been transformed into a courtyard.DSCN5037 There’s even a small park right in the center of the complex, which people were clearly taking advantage of.DSCN5012I know, I know. What you really want to know is “What goes on there, exactly?” Well, for one, this:DSCN4988 These light sculptures were created by Sean Sobczak, whose gallery was a delightfully playful, and skillfully created dreamlike world that gave us our first taste of what the Brewery Art Colony has to offer. I could easily imagine these glowing creatures swimming off into a magical ocean.DSCN4990

I loved this ceramics gallery, called Me Like Clay. There are 3 ceramics artists that work together there, and the result is a wonderful collection of all sorts of goodies.

DSCN5003DSCN5001 One of the things I loved about their work is the use of bright pops of color among some very natural, organic designs. DSCN4996 DSCN4997 DSCN4993 Most of their work on display was just as practical for use as it was unique and colorful. But the gallery was sprinkled with really interesting sculptural pieces as well. DSCN4994

DSCN5004 We were delighted to wander into this gallery as well. I can say with confidence that no photo could ever do this artwork justice. What you can see is Ann Gooding’s use of color and pattern. Each piece draws you right in like a magnet. What you can’t see is the incredible process to takes to create these. From what I could tell, each one was layerd with 4 or 5 paint colors (and left to dry. Then the patterns were scraped or scooped out all the way down to the wood base in some cases. So each speck has several colors showing in rings within each other, not unlike the rings of a tree’s core, or those in a slice of a geode. The colors and textures of each piece are totally unique.DSCN5018 DSCN5017Many of the artists working at the Brewery are not afraid to play, and this metal shop was clearly a playground for Bruce Gray.DSCN5027 DSCN5029 We popped by Two Bit Circus, which invited people to come in and play in all sorts of ways. This is a bicycle powered dining table, which I’m certain I’ve seen pedaling through the streets of L.A. on some occasion. (Maybe it was at Ciclavia?)DSCN5022 These 4 people were trying desperately to solve this labyrinth, talking to each other to try to coordinate the see-saw movements needed to tip the board at just the right angle to turn the ball in down the right path on the maze.DSCN5025 There was no shortage of photographers’ work on display, but Kevin Break’s take on Los Angeles caught my particular attention. His shots of the L.A. River at sunset were my favorite.DSCN5011 We happened into Gabe Leonard’s small gallery, and were instantly taken with his expert use of shadow and movement. Each piece felt like a scene from a movie, like we had interrupted some fantastical encounter between hero and villain. DSCN5033 DSCN5035 DSCN5032 A few of the galleries had these incredibly high ceilings and fantastic bright windows. These were my favorite galleries in terms of the way the spaces felt.DSCN5040This one was David McKenney’s gallery, and I just loved his work. Pretty much all of it. I love his use of color, shape, and pattern. Structured, but still informal. And I admire the variety within his body of work.DSCN5041 DSCN5042 One of the last galleries we wandered into belonged to Dave Lefner, whose focus is reduction linocuts. This was a new process to me, so I won’t try to sound like an expert and explain it in depth. But as I understand it, it has to do with a labor intensive serious of cutouts and layering of paint. In the case of Dave Lefner’s work, the result is incredibly clean, precise, and in some cases almost photo real. DSCN5044There were plenty more artists worthy of being featured on any website or blog, and I’m sure there were many that we didn’t even get to see in such an enormous complex of artists’ galleries. Needless to say, I’m very much looking forward to going back to the next artwork and discovering more. But don’t take my word for it, go see it for yourself next time!

Do you have a favorite art genre or medium?

The Goat is Back and Blogging

Holy moly, where has the time gone? I’ll admit I’m a bit ashamed of how long it’s been since my last post. But that’s ok, because it is a new year and there’s lots to look forward to this year! I have a better handle on my school/work/life schedules and I’m ready to start fresh. A new year, a new routine. So keep your eye out for new posts once a week on Thursdays. And I’ll try to periodically post some “This Week I Loved” entries. Some forthcoming topics to look forward to:

All sorts of goodies from the Las Vegas Market.

LVMarket2014_080

My favorite shop for eye candy, in SoHo.

DSCN3728

Flea market fun (and finally a post about the flea market on Melrose and Fairfax, a local favorite).

DSCN3557

And more!

So, happy New Year to my faithful readers, and welcome back to anecdotes on design, travel, and life in Los Angeles that I hope will delight your senses.

Cheers!

Halloween Inspiration

As the hubby and I were cashing in the first day of our annual Disneyland passes, I was excited to see the park at Halloween time. We even picked up a little inspiration for our own house at the Haunted Mansion.

Of course Disneyland was sure to boast happy pumpkin versions of favorite characters our front so as not to scare the kiddies.

DSCN3565 DSCN3579 The whole of Main Street was decked out with pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, and general fall decor.DSCN3571 DSCN3568 DSCN3577 In the New Orleans portion of the park though, things got a little more dark.DSCN3574 The Haunted Mansion was spectacularly decorated for the season, and was especially fun to see at night. It’s lined with flickering flameless candles, glowing jack-o-lanterns, skulls, cobwebs, and black and purple ribbons. DSCN3606 So we brought some of those ideas back home with us. We threw a Halloween party and practically plastered the house in cobwebs (equipped with little black spiders) in time for the festivities.DSCN3638 We lined the mantel with flickering flameless candles and left the main lamp in the living room off to create a dark, spooky glow about the room.DSCN3637 I created one pumpkin and skull vignette on the coffee table…DSCN3642

…and another on the dining room table. I think it sort of says “Maybe we’ll eat YOU for dinner.”
DSCN3644 One friend pointed out that we could not have gotten to our books if we’d wanted to! But it’s amazing what a plethora of cobwebs will do to make even the newest of book collections seem ancient.DSCN3643 And of course, no Halloween house would be complete without ghosts! The great thing about placing this one in the window is that it also creates a ghost silhouette when looking into the house from outside. A perfect greeting for party guests as they made their way up the steps to our front door.DSCN3639 I found these little black birds online and perched them atop the lamps, silhouetting them a bit and creating the illusion that they are looking down on you, maybe even watching you.DSCN3641 DSCN3647 We even strung cobwebs from the dining room ceiling, creating a seeming canopy of creepy crawlies.DSCN3645 DSCN3648 Outside next to the beer cooler, we created a spooky graveyard, complete with bones and dismembered limbs.DSCN3630 Even an unfortunate soul “unearthed” in the vegetable garden.DSCN3631 And of course more flameless candles in a row of jack-o-lanterns on the hedge and in a lantern by our outdoor lounge furniture.DSCN3635 DSCN3636What is your favorite thing to see in Halloween decorations this time of year?

What Have I Been Up To?

Well folks, I have to admit getting used to a new routine involving an intensive hand-drafting/hand-rendering class and a busy work schedule has been a challenge. I’m starting to get a hold on how to best manage my time so I can get back to blogging! I’ve got a couple up my sleeve, plus I’m heading to New York for a friend’s wedding celebration and will surely have lots to write about when I get back. In the mean time, here’s what I’ve been up to:

Among many things, at work I’ve been pairing fabrics in our library.

fabric And shopping for fabrics in the Fabric District in Downtown LA.fabricdistrict At home, the hubby has been cooking up a delicious storm, including roasting these tomatoes and peppers.tomatoespeppers We watched the Breaking Bad series finally, accompanied by these red velvet cupcakes the Village Bakery made in honor of the final paragraph of the live of Walter White.bbcupcakes I snuck away from my drafting table for a night with girls at Street Food Cinema… Princess Bride screened outdoors in a nearby park, plus lots of food trucks. Mmmmm Umami….umamiburger princessbride This oh so scrumptious hot cookie and ice cream dessert at Pop, a champagne and dessert bar in Pasadena, where we met a wonderful friend from college during her brief work-related visit.cookiedessertAnd Disney lovers hold on to your seats… my AMAZING husband, who clearly knows me too well, gave me annual passes for Disneyland for our anniversary! BEST. GIFT. EVER.
DSCN3580I’m looking forward to sharing regular anecdotes with you all again! Next week: a nod to Halloween.

Let’s catch up. I’ve missed you.

Well, it’s been a wild two weeks! Between my awesome new job and final projects for three classes, let’s just say there’s been no time to feel bored. So what have I been up to?

I made a lighting fixture out of birch veneer strips. (It lives in my guest room now.)

1290873_10100595315964075_1546109794_o

I designed a lighting  plan for a theoretical Downtown LA loft.

RCP

PS. I love these table lamps I used in the lighting layout!

I redesigned my living room. (Stay tuned for a low budget “how-to” living room makeover, with a partial execution of this plan!)

livingroomdesign

I created a repeating pattern with gouache paint.

1231542_10100607297038905_415065895_o

I finished a full rendering of Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion.

Capture

And I bought an awesome second-hand drafting table. After a little elbow grease it’s as good as new! I’ll be spending the better part of the next three month at this set up.

990585_10100614499515085_873070139_o

I’m looking forward to getting back to regular blogging again. I’ve missed you! Have you missed me?

Dinner at Terroni, Downtown LA

Several of our favorite dinner experiences in LA have been at the Terroni in the Fairfax district, near West Hollywood. It is well designed, has an intimate atmosphere, the service is always great, and I’ve never eaten anything there I didn’t love. Admittedly those favorite dinners also included some of our favorite people, but we always had a blast and felt inclined to stay for an extended dinner and plenty of great wine. So when we heard they were opening a location in Downtown LA (closer to where we live now), we kept an eye on its progress. We finally went there this weekend to check it out, and I was particularly excited to see the interior design after seeing some teaser photos during construction.
DSCN3526 The downtown Terroni is located at 8th and Spring, in the old National City Bank building. Above the restaurant are some loft apartments, part of the gentrification that we’ve been seeing downtown over the past six years or so.DSCN3525 DSCN3524 When we first walked in, straight ahead was this awesome bar. Comfortable seats, slick, moody overhead pendant lamps, and highly designed wood set the tone. Especially striking was the under counter lighting that highlighted the texture of the wood on the bar.DSCN3522 Around the bar were plenty of bar-style place settings. It felt like an updated version of the Terroni we have grown so familiar with, and I could just imagine this space packed with people eating, drinking, and laughing the night away. But it was right about then that I realized it was 7:30 and the place was nowhere near to becoming packed. I know that’s early for dinner for some folks, but usually we find that’s prime dining time at most of our favorite places, so we always make a reservation to eat at that time of night.  I was surprised not to see more people there.DSCN3523 I loved this striking modern chandelier, set over a large table right by the window (presumably so it can also be seen from outside).DSCN3521 The hostess walked us around to the other side of the bar, where the larger dining room was located. Immediately I was loving all the original architectural details that they not only kept, but accentuated.DSCN3519 My favorite bit of history was the ornamentation on the ceiling, just the kind of thing you would see on an LA Conservancy tour. And I loved that they were still able to include the modern sculptural design and red accents that play into Terroni’s Italian theme.DSCN3513The space was equipped with huge arched windows, another original architectural detail they embraced in designing this space. I loved the way the space looked. But after we were seated, I noticed that something didn’t quite feel right. I think a big part of it was that when we first arrived, the sun was still making its way down, so there was a significant amount of natural light spilling into the huge windows. The space was so open that, combined with the daylight and the booth-style seating throughout most of the dining area, there was something reminiscent of a food court or franchise restaurant. Also, all the walls were painted white. My personal opinion is that they need to do something to darken the space during daylight to make it feel more intimate. Plus, the service was good but way fast. We went there for a leisurely date night, but instead they had us in and out in 45 minutes. Not exactly the leisurely night out we were hoping for. (We went elsewhere for drinks afterward, because we weren’t ready to end the evening yet!)DSCN3517 The still included their signature projected old black and white Italian movies.DSCN3515 And we were enjoying trying to figure out this map, which was on the wall behind me in the booth. We think it’s some sort of recipe map.DSCN3516 And my husband the foodie is always a fan of an open kitchen, so he can watch the bustle behind the scenes. I was loving that they had continued the awesome wood pattern and under counter lighting here from the front bar.DSCN3514 As we were leaving, feeling a bit rushed out to be honest, we happened by this back room. Now, this is the environment we were hoping for. Intimate but modern, and the kind of place you could really take your time chatting over a glass (or three) of wine. Unfortunately this room is reserved for large parties only, but I really wanted to have dinner there. Who knows, maybe I’ll have a birthday party there or something sometime. (Although admittedly for a smaller, intimate dinner with my husband or just a couple friends, I probably won’t go back here. I will stay loyal to my Terroni on Beverly and Fairfax.) To me, this is a fantastic restaurant environment, which I would have loved to see continued throughout the whole space.DSCN3520

What makes a successful dining environment for you?

A Morning at The Huntington

I have long been told I should visit the Huntington. It usually comes up when I mention how much I love the Arboretum. This time, I took advantage of a class assignment to visit a museum, grabbed the hubby, and we set out for a leisurely morning. The Huntington is a huge piece of land just outside of the borders of Pasadena, and is home to beautifully maintained botanical gardens, an intriguing book collection in their library, and well rounded art and furniture collections in their art galleries. Because it is such a huge, beautiful place, and because it’s so easy to take tons of beautiful photos there, I’ll just share my favorite spots with you. If you live in or are visiting the LA area, this place is definitely worth a visit. We only spent about 3 hours there, but we easily could have brought a picnic and a book and spent the entire day lounging on their grounds an perusing their galleries.

First, we paid a visit to their Conservatory for Botanical Science, and it was quite a treat. The inside is split into different climates of course, but unlike some of the others I’ve been to, this one had classrooms and information stations throughout where you could learn about different plants and their environments.

DSCN3369 DSCN3328 DSCN3316 DSCN3318 DSCN3320 This pitcher plant is much like ones we saw when we were in Costa Rica a couple years ago. They lure flies and other insects into the pitcher, where they hold a digestive liquid that, well, digests them. DSCN3321Because the conservatory is so geared toward education, and surely there are lots of field trips for kids there, just outside they had created this adorable Children’s Garden. We didn’t stay long out of fear of stepping on a small child (they were running around all over the place, care free!) but I loved the entrance to it. This door reminds me of some doorway Alice might have come across while chasing the White Rabbit.
DSCN3323Child-sized furniture inside this little garden hut made the perfect shady spot for a mid-play snack.
DSCN3326 DSCN3325 I love a good art gallery, and the Scott Galleries on the grounds held a small but fantastic collection of all kinds of art for all eras. The architecture came across quite modern, with plenty of opportunity for natural daylight to spill in through the windows out front as well as through huge skylights installed in every gallery.DSCN3329

DSCN3342The galleries really attempted to harken to the eras in which most of the art was created, all this by way of paint color choices.
DSCN3331 DSCN3350 My favorite gallery was the contemporary art gallery (although that came as no surprise to my husband, since I’m always amazed at the skill and vision that goes into abstract and contemporary art.) I was pleased to come across a couple of recognizable Andy Warhol pieces.DSCN3333 Also, I had never seen this Robert Rauschenberg painting before. I’ve long been a fan of his. (Give me a Rauschenberg, Johns, or Rothko, and I’ll be occupied for hours.) DSCN3334 And then just around the corner, we came across this room, the center dominated by beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright furniture.DSCN3349 Not to mention the surrounding pieces, like this Tiffany lamp….DSCN3347 …and this Stickley side table. When I think of Stickley furniture, I think of bulky, chunky, mission style wood and leather chairs. But this table was so delicate, almost a little Art Nouveau.DSCN3346 In yet another room, I found on display this Charles Honore Lannuier card table, which I’m pretty sure I used in a project once, designing a spec room in the American Classical Revival style.DSCN3358And I just thought this chair was interesting, designed by Samuel Gregg.
DSCN3363 They also have an entire gallery devoted to Greene & Greene, designers from the Arts & Crafts movement, but there were no photos allowed inside. I’m disappointed I can’t share it with you here, but hopefully that gives you another reason to visit the Huntington yourself. In the meantime, here’s a link to the Gamble House in Pasadena, designed by the Greene brothers. I’ve been there 3 times, and it never gets old.DSCN3365 After walking through their daylit sculpture gallery, we walked around the side of the building, through these ionic columns…DSCN3370… and past this gorgeous, inviting green field…
DSCN3375 DSCN3376 …into the Huntington’s rose garden. It was beautiful! They have created a number of different paths and series of trellises to walk through and smell the roses.DSCN3381 DSCN3382 DSCN3383 DSCN3390 I thought these were an interesting idea to file away: concrete formed to look like trees, bark and all. Great for vines to grow on.DSCN3393 DSCN3391 DSCN3396 I think one of the biggest surprises we came across was how elaborate and perfectly manicured their Japanese Garden is! It felt almost otherworldly being there, and so peaceful.DSCN3398 DSCN3400 DSCN3404 And just up the way, there was also a Chinese Garden.DSCN3407

The courtyard that welcomed us in boasted beautiful stonework.DSCN3412 DSCN3411 All of the structures in this garden surrounded a large pond, and there were plenty of spots all around where you could sit, rest, and watch the fish.DSCN3410 DSCN3415 DSCN3418 DSCN3421 I had to stop to look at these bonsai trees. (Yes, bonsai is a Japanese art form, but it originated in China, where it was called penjing… ‘learn something new every day.)DSCN3424 DSCN3425 After wondering around the grounds some more, we ended our meandering in the library exhibits, where they seemed to be focusing on sciences of all kinds. There were some incredible, and very old illustrations throughout, and we had a lot of fun looking over them.DSCN3442 DSCN3443 DSCN3445 DSCN3446 And in a little nod to my Lighting Design class, I couldn’t resist snapping a couple photos of these awesome old light bulbs.DSCN3447 DSCN3448 DSCN3449

Would you be most excited about the gardens, the art galleries, or the library?

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

01-19-09 Malibu 59

photo credit: Meg Lessard
http://shotfromthehipblog.com/

I’m taking the day off from blogging to enjoy the California sunshine with friends. I hope you have fun on your day off too!

The Fruits of my Neighbor

One of the things I love about California is how lush and fertile it is. Even though we are surrounded by desert, you really can grow almost anything here. It has a lot to do with the mild temperature (no frost or extreme heat to worry about most of the time), and also our ability to irrigate. The hubby and I love to take long leisurely walks around our neighborhood, and we love to discover the fruit trees that our neighbors all have in their yards. We have a mature orange tree and a young lime tree that producer fruit, and soon we will have guavas, avocados, figs, and strawberries to enjoy once they all grow a little older and wiser. So today I’m sharing with you the fruits and other edible plants that can be found around my neighborhood. Try not to drool to much.

DSCN0708

Orange

DSCN0718

Kumquat

DSCN0721

Rosemary

DSCN0724

Nasturtium

DSCN0725

Quince

DSCN0729

Blackberry

DSCN0732

Loquat

DSCN0739

Lemon

DSCN0740

Pea

DSCN0744

Peach

DSCN0748

Prickly Pear

DSCN0752

Fig

DSCN0753

Avocado

DSCN0757

Grape

DSCN0758

Grapefruit

DSCN0764

Hibiscus

DSCN0759

Apple

DSCN0765

Sunflower

Also, check out our herb garden.

What sorts of surprises have you found in your neighborhood?

*All photos were taken by my dear, supportive husband.

**This post was inspired by a friend’s recent discovery of loquats in her own neighborhood. You know who you are. Thanks!  😉

A 1920’s California Town

One of the things I love about my neighborhood is that you can see and feel how much history there is here. Most of the houses in the area were built in the 1920’s, and while very well maintained they still show the character of that bygone era. Adam’s Hill is the neighborhood, and the people here work to preserve that history and charm.

DSCN0678

Adams Square Mini Park

Adam’s hill used to be part of a town called Tropico, although it’s now all part of the city of Glendale. Glendale was established in the 1880’s but the residential boom really happened here in the 1920’s. My next door neighbor told me that the owner of my house 2 owners ago, who had been here for 50 years, was a postman and first dreamed about moving here when it was barely developed and there were only a few houses built on the hill. It looked quite different then! 

early photo Adams Hill

DSCN0681

a view of the hill today from my front door

My favorite spot to drive through is on the corner of Adams and Palmer, where I like to imagine what it might have looked like 80 years ago. I imagine a giant Plymouth parked out front of this ice cream shop as a couple sits inside with a root beer float. 

Adams Hill

the Snowbird Ice Cream owner went on to co-found Baskin Robbins

DSCN0666

corner of Adams and Palmer today

DSCN0668

corner of Adams and Palmer today

Right across from here, the Adams Hill Neighborhood Associate was able to preserve an old gas station built in 1936 by the Richfield Gas Co, that had been abandoned for some time. In 1997 the neighborhood landmark was turned into this beautiful mini park, and there is always someone there during the day, either reading, walking their dog, or playing with their kids in the playground.

DSCN0669

the former Richfield Oil Co. gas station

DSCN0658

Adams Square Mini Park sign reuses the gas station’s original sign

DSCN0675

now the old gas station is surrounded by flowers, trees, and other greenery

DSCN0676

flowers in the park

DSCN0655

this overhang used to protect the gas pumps but now it is a shady spot for a picnic

DSCN0673

there are plenty of places to sit under a tree with a book

And just up the street is this 1928 Art Deco building saved from destruction and recently turned into a neighborhood library. It’s small, but has some basic resources, and offers all sorts of public programs, computer access for neighborhood locals, and even a few video rentals.

DSCN0661

this rescued Art Deco building is now a neighborhood library

Even though California is one of the newer states and doesn’t quite have the history of New England, I’m continually surprised at how much history there actually is here. And I love that there’s so much of it right outside my front door!

 Do you know the history of your neighborhood or town?

Resources: