Friday, December 10, 2010

Santa Monica

The weekend before Thanksgiving, Michael and I took a trip to Santa Monica, CA, to see an old friend - old, only in the sense that we have known him for a long time. His name is Stephen Grosscup, and he lives on the top floor of the Pacific Plaza, the twin-towered building on the right in the photo above. (Click on photos for a larger image)

Stephen and doggie friend in front of Pacific Plaza

We arrived very early Saturday morning, and took a taxi to our hotel, The Georgian, the turquoise building to the left of the Pacific Plaza, where we enjoyed breakfast on the ocean view terrace.

Breakfast view

Pigeons on the terrace

Later that day, we took a walk out onto the famous Santa Monica Pier. The pier, and views from it, below.

Below is the view from Stephen's apartment. This was taken on Sunday morning, when the sun was out. It's looking north, up the coast to Pacific Palisades and Malibu.

From the 16th floor

Earlier that morning, we had gone for a stroll along that green space to the left of Ocean Boulevard, Palisades Park. The plant life is spectacular, and so is the view. Below the palisades (those steep cliffs) runs State Route 1, the Pacific Coast Highway.

Palisades Park

Eucalyptus trees

Looking north toward Malibu
Looking south toward Los Angeles

Hanging on for dear life

Looking west

Michael and the giant jade plant


The only souvenirs we brought home were wonderful memories of a great time with Stephen, and some eucalyptus seed pods which we gathered from the ground in the park, although on Saturday we had walked into the Santa Monica shopping district to see if we could find any small Christmas gifts. We wandered inside a store called Kitson. It was full of (high-priced) eclectic, cutesy, trendy stuff, but nothing we wanted for stocking stuffers, and we left empty handed.

It was only when we returned home that I realized how derrière la garde we were not to have purchased something from the store. According to an article in the November 30th Wall Street Journal, Kitson is the store where Britney Spears bought baby clothes! And to think that we could have come home with pair of $395 Diddy Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, whatever that is, and didn't!

I guess we'll just have to go back.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Now that winners in the various categories have been officially announced, it can be told: I won! I entered a contest called "Get Caught Reading The Dinosaur Hunter" which author Homer Hickam and his wife, Linda, promoted on their Facebook pages. Since I've read most of Hickam's other books, Rocket Boy, Back to the Moon, I thought I would give his newest a try. It's great fun. Set in the badlands of Montana, it tells the story of a retired LA detective, Mike, who moves to Montana to work on a cattle ranch and fall in love with the ranch's owner, Jeanette. Along comes a paleontologist who wants access to the ranch to dig for dinosaur bones, and pretty soon, trouble ensues.

Once I'd finished the book, I thought I would enter the contest, and made a little photo-video. I had great fun making it. Thank goodness I saved my grown sons' toys.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I've re-taken up the camera and the keyboard and started posting again, so be on the lookout for more regular articles.

Today, while taking Matilda the Welsh Pembroke Corgi for her morning walk, I decided to climb a hill. It's only a construction hill, build about two years ago by digging a big hole in the ground nearby for a drainage pond. I think the builders had hoped to put some kind of retail store there, but then - well, everybody knows what happened in late 2008.

Anyway, the hill is dotted with mice holes, which Matilda loves to poke her nose in, so that was fun for her, and we did some exploring. Atop the hill is a great view of our area. Looking southwest, we saw this. That is the drainage pond down at the bottom right.

(Click on all photos for a larger image)

Looking due west, toward Boulder, this is the view:

Here is the view to the northwest:

Turning around to the east, it's a completely different story:

Up at the top of the hill, Matilda found something. I just finished reading Homer Hickam's latest book, The Dinosaur Hunter, so I was sort of halfway hoping I had stumbled on an artifact from "deep time." Alas, while it may have come from semi-deep time (the last few hundred years or so), it was not a dinosaur bone. It probably got dug up from the drainage pond, and re-deposited on the top of the hill on which Matilda and I were standing. I'm pretty sure it's a cattle jaw bone, although it could be from a horse. This was, and mostly still is, ranching territory, but as you can see from the photos, our immediate area is suburb territory.

The bone is rapidly disintegrating, and is very flaky. Most of the cavities are filled with dirt, and parts of the jaw have fallen off, as well as some of the teeth. I collect stuff like this, so I brought it on home. Where I'll put it, I don't know. Perhaps I can turn it into a Christmas tree decoration . . . or not.

In any case, Matilda and I had fun. We'll be back tomorrow with more exciting tales of discovery. Until then, Happy Trails!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Today is the hottest one so far this year out here. The forecasters were predicting 95-plus degrees for a high. It's not gotten that high yet; probably closer to 90. And that's good.

Because our air conditioner is broken.

And they won't come to fix it until late tomorrow or Tuesday.

The fan on the outdoor unit won't turn.

Wait...update. Our resident repairman (the spouse) just went outside and manually spun the fan to kick start the thing. It's turning! Now we will see whether it starts to cool us off.

If it does, we won't need it again until after next Tuesday anyway. The high tomorrow will be in the mid-70s, and the high on Saturday will be 55, with rain.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Matilda has a Sheep

It's a stuffed one, but she loves it anyway. Here it keeps her company while she has a nice chew.

This is what a Corgi looks like from the back.

Springtime in the Rockies

Four p.m. March 23, 2010.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Once More Into the Vat

Dear friends of Janet Oliver Studio,

In the words of Bartles & Jaymes, "Thank you for your support!"

Like Frank and Ed, it is my aim to make a premium product. I feel I have done that, but it seems people just aren't buying wine coolers - er, original art - these days. But, while times are hard, I continue to hold out hope that one day, more people like you will appreciate the value of all the hard work that goes into making a delicious drink/painting and will bring home a four-pack for themselves. Until then, I'll keep stomping away!

And of course, there are many ways to use original art; for instance, as a topping! Over ice! Try it for yourself and see.

Friday, March 5, 2010

First Friday

Vienna, View from The Leopold Museum

Die Pferde des Kaisers Karl/Lipizzaners of the Spanish Riding School

Reconstructing Paris/Anarcho Plumbing

Pont Neuf at Night

Ternay Under Glass

My new series, Tiny Travels, opens tonight at Gallery 510 in the Oregon Arts of Dayton, Ohio.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It's Shake n' Bake, and Matilda Helped!

Freudian Nebula in the Ringstrasse Galaxy

Actually, it was bubble wrap, but Matilda did help. Today I packaged up twenty of my drawings of my new series Tiny Travels for delivery to a gallery in Dayton, Ohio (I'm waiting for the twenty-first to dry).

Many of my readers will remember Sara Cogswell, who worked for the Weatherspoon Museum, and then for Gallery 115, and you will also remember that she and her husband Will South moved to Dayton so that Will could begin his new job as a curator for the Dayton Art Institute.

Sara now works for another gallery with a numerical name, Gallery 510, and that is where my series is headed. The drawings will be on exhibition beginning March 5. Above is an image of the penultimate drawing. As I began drawing, I discovered the creatures that now inhabit it. As I continued to flesh them out, I wondered how it would fit into the series. They seemed to bubble up out of my subconscious, with no particular relation to the trip I took, until I remembered that Vienna was the birthplace of Sigmund Freud, and so the drawing became the "Freudian Nebula," birthplace of cosmic psychoanalysis.

Speaking of bubbles, I ran out of bubble wrap mid-way through the packaging process so I headed out to the office supply store to pick up some more. When I brought it home, Matilda the Pembroke Welsh Corgi told me she could help me open the package. And so she did.