As the Sun Slowly Sets in the East

Setting Sun of Sacramento Valley, 1922, Chiura Obata

Setting Sun of Sacramento Valley, 1922, Chiura Obata

At the Saint Louis Art Museum is a small show, “Chiura Obata: Four Paintings, Four Moods”. The signature piece in this show is a recent gift to the museum, Setting Sun of Sacramento Valley. This hanging scroll was made with ink and color on silk. Most of the composition is devoted to the dusk sky, which is energized by flame-like clouds over a blue-tinged landscape. This painting, arguably the most iconic work by the artist, resonates with the work of a close contemporary, Georgia O’Keeffe, who shared an interest in depicting desolate landscapes of the American West.

Born in Japan, Chiura Obata (1885-1975) immigrated to San Francisco in 1903, at the age of seventeen. He survived the 1906 earthquake. He taught at Berkley from 1932 to 1953, except during World War II, when he was interned. After internment he briefly liked in Webster Groves, while his son, Gyo, attended Washington University. On a personal level, Anne bought some earrings from a woman named Obata, then living in Maplewood. We don’t know if she was any relation or not.

It was 17 °F when I awoke this morning and it was still 17 °F at noon, when we headed out on foot to the art museum. We walked cross-country through Oak Knoll Park, Concordia Seminary and the Kennedy Forest portion of Forest Park. The winds were calm and we were bundled up, so the walk was actually quite pleasant. The museum was relatively empty. Everyone else must have decided to cocoon for the day. On the way home, we stopped at Katie’s Pizza for a late lunch or early dinner. That was a good way to end the day.

“Often” as in Frequently

1947 Hudson Commodore 8

1947 Hudson Commodore 8

The Major General from Pirates of Penzance: “Stop! I think I see where we are getting confused. When you said “orphan”, did you mean “orphan” – a person who has lost his parents, or “often”, frequently? 

Now I am confused. Really though I mean “orphan”, a person who has lost his parents. In this case though the orphans are not people, but cars, cars who have lost their parent manufacturers. I speaking of the Orphan Car Show that was held in front of the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park. On Sunday, Anne was still feeling under the weather, so I went cycling in the park by myself. It was warmer then it was on Saturday. I happened upon this car show, dedicated to the products of bankrupt car companies.

Sunday was such a gorgeous day that after riding I coaxed Anne out of the house and we drove over to the botanical gardens for the afternoon. We walked a little, sat on a few park benches and generally just enjoyed the beautiful surroundings and the fine, fine Indian Summer weather. At the end of our visit, we had lunch at the garden’s cafe.

Monday dawned all too early this morning. Anne woke-up feeling worse, but guilted herself into going to school. Against my will, Papa, against my will. She ended up bailing mid-morning, but only after numerous people had told her to go home. I went to work and all I can say is that it certainly was a Monday. An interesting conversation occurred at work at the end of the day.

One of my co-workers has season Cardinal tickets. He was discussing World Series ticket pricing. His regular season tickets go for $28 a seat. A modest price for outfield seating in the universe of Major League Baseball. The league mandates that those $28 seats must go for $200 each during the World Series. He plans on going to Game 4, just like Dave and Rey. He sold his two tickets for Game 3 on Stubhub for a cool grand, clearing $600. He thinks that he could have gotten even more, because they were sold in seconds. All of which begs the question, how much did Dave spend for his ticket?

The Quintessential Quilter

Deadwood by Ricky Tims

Deadwood by Ricky Tims

Anne has a cold this weekend. Boo! She managed to contract some rhinovirus, which has been nothing but trouble in a protein coat. She probably caught it from one of those runny nosed guttersnipes that she’s been schooling all week. On Saturday morning, I left her at home, feeling under the weather and took my two-wheeler for a spin through the park. It was cold. Colder than I had expected and even though I had dug out some of my winter riding gear, it was a little on the uncomfortable side.

Anne's Cowboy Boot Block

Anne’s Cowboy Boot Block

Next up, Anne and I drove to the U-City library to meet Don and DJ and to see the 2013 Quintessential Quilt show. This show is put on by Circle in the Square, a quilting society that Anne used to be a member of. We were all enjoying the quilts, when Anne made a “hmmm” sound. She was looking at a Ricky Tims quilt that was sporting a distinctive western motif. Tims had named the quilt, Deadwood. A portion of this quilt is pictured at the top of this post. Apparently, Mr. Tims is a bit of a phenom in quilting circles nationwide (Who knew?), although he originally hails from Saint Louis.

What fascinated Anne about his quilt was that she thought that she had made one of its cowboy boot blocks. After she checked the catalog, she became convinced. There Tims credited Circle in the Square quilters from 1993 for gifting the various cowboy boot blocks. I’ve enlarged above Anne’s block. It all came back to her then, which fabrics she had provided and which ones Tims had. I remember the color cats fabric, because she used it on other projects too.

I think that she was a little bit giddy when we left the show. I don’t think she ever expected to see any of her work in a juried and judged quilt show. I remember Anne feeling overwhelmed after having attended her first Circle in the Square meeting. At that meeting Suzanne Marshall showed off her new quilt. It went on to win first place and $10,000 at Paducah that year. The kicker though was that she had finished it in less than a year. Marshall won first place in this show with a new quilt, while Tims scored second with another one of his quilts. As I said, Anne was feeling a little bit giddy leaving the show, having rubbed shoulders with such talent, but I think what she was happiest about was that it had taken Tims twenty years to finish his Deadwood quilt. Now she doesn’t have to feel so bad about her own procrastinations.

Some Blueberry Hill Baseball Memorabilia

Some Blueberry Hill Baseball Memorabilia

After the show, Anne, Don, DJ and I adjourned down the Loop to Blueberry Hill. We had a late, but enjoyable lunch. If you’ve never had the thrill of the Hill, its décor reflects the eclectic tastes of owner Joe Edwards. I think that some of the animal trophies began to creep DJ out. While we were waiting for our table, I photographed one of the baseball related displays. Like Anne, Saint Louis has caught a fever, Cardinal fever. Unlike Anne’s, no one wants their Cardinal fever to subside. We know now that we’ll face the Botoxs in the World Series. I would have rather had the Tigers, but no one bothered to ask me. Anyway, it should be a good series. Go Cards!

Bandaloop

It was a fun-filled day. I’m trying to beat a midnight deadline, so I’ll make this brief. We did a lot, but I’ll tell you all about that later. The highpoint of the day was Dancing in the Streets. This is an event where 2000 dancers strut their stuff. One troupe was head and toes above the rest. Heck, they were ten stories above the rest. That troupe would be Bandaloop, a San Francisco based aerial act. Each dancer is suspended from a single rope. They rappel down the face of a tall building, artistically. Today, it was the Continental Life Building in the Grand Center. Interesting there is a local urban legend that claims that the Continental Life Building was the stand-in for the Daily Planet, in the 1950s era Superman TV show. Legend says that Superman jumped off of it dozens of times. Today, these incredible performers put fact to that legend.

Donald Judd, Untitled, 1969

Donald Judd, Untitled, 1969

Donald Judd, Untitled, 1969

At the center of this gallery, four open boxes made of aluminum and lined with blue Plexiglas sit evenly apart. Through his art as well as his writings, Donald Judd (who was born near Kansas City, Missouri) endeavored to create a new kind of three-dimensional object that resisted traditional sculptural practices. Made by hired fabricators using industrial processes and materials, his objects do not bear the trace of the artist’s hand. His “specific objects” do not represent the illusion of space, but rather function as actual things in real space. For example, Judd insisted that his freestanding work be placed directly on the floor, rather than on a platform. He also rejected emphasis on one aspect of the composition over any other by relying on seriality, repeating the same form over and over, as in this commanding work.

The Door Knocker

Sailboat at Sunset

Sailboat at Sunset

The picture with this post was taken by Anne, my summertime northern correspondent. While I’m back in Saint Louis, she is still at the cabin, with her folks. She said that the sailboat spent last night in the bay, leaving about noon. That’s Round Island on the right. She goes on to explain, “We don’t know who they were or why they were here.” It makes for a nice accent to the photo.

I spent all of yesterday in the car, driving from the Soo back here to the Lou. It was a 750+ miles drive that took over thirteen hours to complete. I lost over an hour in traffic around Chicago. There were a lot of other people on the road. Everytime I stopped all the gas pumps and restrooms were full. I listened to a an audio book on my iPhone, The Practice Effect, by David Brin. It really helped the miles pass by. Because I only had my bike to bring back, I stowed it inside the car. It really paid off. On the way up, with more luggage, a second person and two bikes outside on the trailer hitch, I only averaged 45 MPG. With only half the luggage, only one person and only the folded trailer hitch on the outside, I averaged over 54 MPG on the way back.

It was an exhausting drive, so I went to bed early last night. I was awaken at 4:45 AM by the sound of someone trying to open the front door. It is a familiar enough sound, one that I’ve heard many enough times at that hour, when one or another of my sons came crawling home, after staying out all night, but neither of the boys are in town. As I was lying in bed, now wide awake, with eyes wide open, I noticed a flashlight going around the outside of the house. I relaxed, when I realized that the supposed intruder was actually a local police officer doing the vacation check that we had requested. You see, I had originally planned on not returning until tonight and not last night. I don’t know if the policeman saw me lying in bed or not, but he soon left. I called to cancel the vacation hold as soon as I got to work. Before that though and still wide awake, I got up and went for a bicycle ride in the park.