Earlier in the year I visited Ca’Toga Gallery in Calistoga, California and knew immediately I needed to meet the artist and see his amazing Ca’Toga Villa. So as soon as we had the time we went for a tour which did not disappoint. The artist Carlos Marchiori hand built every piece of this house and prepared the blank property right down to planting every beautiful tree. (His proudest accomplishment by the way which I found interesting.) Between the watercolor murals, sculpture, ceramics, tile work, and his overall whimsical vision it was surreal and genuinely impressive. Carlos peppered genuine old world antiques like wood from a Portuguese monastery and real antique sculpture work from old dilapidated European buildings he brought over in a container in the 80’s. Everything else is hand made. Everything! Originally created as a life size way to display his work to perspective clients it’s clearly taken thirty years to realize a life love and obsession. If the mural look familiar you may have seen his work in multiple locations around the world most notably Las Vegas casinos and other casinos around the world. I feel very much honored to have seen Ca’Toga Villa, walked the grounds, and met the eclectic and entertaining master. Add this to any Napa visit for a special and interesting thing to do in the valley.
Bird Cage from the Bir’s perspective
Hippo skull anyone?
I love these gates
Interesting use of local materials
I love these gates
Image of the front gate
WHy not mosaic your own pool?
Working fountain with hot spring water
This seems like a good idea until I stood up and everything stuck to my dress
I’ve been visiting Calaveras Big Trees State Park since I was a kid. Back then there wasn’t a visitor’s center, camping, and all the trails. That said, they frankly enhance the park and encourage people to repeat their visits. I am happy the park has grown and with it the park’s attendance. The amazing giant trees can only be found in certain areas of our state and the world and they never disappoint. It’s hard to describe or capture the size of these trees but I did my best here with my good ol’ iPhone. I hope you enjoy because Mother Nature did her best when she created these specimens.
This trip I did something I always wanted to do and visited the south grove trail after visiting the main north grove trail first. I’m very glad I did because we were treated with a relaxing and cool respite at Beaver Creek. It was a hot hot day so our feet welcomed the swim.
I can’t wait to go back and hit a few more of the trails to see some of the big trees which are harder to find and take more preparation to plan for. I hope to camp next time so we can enjoy them in the calm cool morning. These miraculous trees deserve the effort!
It’s unimaginable how large these amazing trees are
Quick errands to downtown Sac allowed me the opportunity to visit a few new murals from the Wide Open Walls 916 festival in town. I love how they bring life to an otherwise boring and dirty and uninteresting wall or alley. The Auto Museum mural was still under construction when I happened by. Enjoy!
Wide Open Walls 916 festival is in full swing over here and I am loving this larger than life mural. A separate artist has filled in each letter making them fun and distinct. And I happened by while artists were working on the C! I have a feeling this wall will be iconic for years to come.
Fighting with cataracts Claude Monet became a master of impressionism and a forebear of modernism. With a muted color pallet he fought through a disease that could have broken a lesser man. I feel privileged to have seen and visited Giverny and so many of Monet’s works in person both in Paris at Marmotton and Orangerie, at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, and now at the De Young in San Francisco.
I posted last week lighter and brighter early works seen at Orangerie, those which are the most famous and known worldwide. But this “Later Works” exhibit at the De Young was amazing. It was fantastic to see how he adapted both with color and impressionism. Giverny, his muse, is identifiable in mind bending ways. His pink house, his roses, water lilies, the Japanese bridge all recognizable if you know what you are looking at. All of which are blurry and likely painted at least partially from the memory of a man who loved this land as much as he could any single person.
I stood before them humbled if not for the masses of people stepping on my feet and elbowing my sides. I’ve seen a lot of beautiful things and places in my life but these “things”, these paintings, are something meaningful and hard to explain for me. I am grateful for them, the man who created them, and grateful for the opportunity to have seen them in person.
A few years back I had the luxury, and yes I will call it luxury, of visiting the sublime Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris. It was a trip highlighted by Mr. Claude Monet first at Giverny, then at Musee Marmonttan Monet and finally at Orangerie. Monet felt Paris needed a little cheering up after the war and gave them a place of peace and sanctuary to observe and be with his massive water lilies. (I think that is a beautiful sentiment some of us could use even now.) Since this visit I have been hyper aware of all things Monet counting the days until I can visit the tulips at Giverny again. Why am I writing about this now? Well, I recently visited an exhibit of late Monet works in San Francisco which I will post about in short order and I thought it would be fun to see early works flanked by later works soon. Stay tuned friends…
The Wide Open Walls festival is in full swing in Sacramento again for 2019! This one isn’t so much a wall but I love the rainbow colors! This new addition has an interesting take on a “wall.” It’s right smack in the middle of a new housing development who has chosen to retain a few of the old mill related items from before its redevelopment. I love the fresh look and imagine it will be iconic for the area. Cheers!
This time of year marks the time of year in Sacramento where it’s too hot to do much of anything outdoors unless it’s bright and early in the morning. So, baby bulldog and I headed for Old Sacramento to watch the old steam trains. We had a nice little walk through old town enjoying the architecture and trains and fresh air. While old town is totally commercial and touristy I’ve been visiting my entire life and never get tired of it unless it’s too crowded. I look forward to taking my son here many more times over the years to explore Sacramento history and to just travel back in time for a few hours at a time.
This is new and vibrant
Great looking old building
Where are my brides for photos here!?
Yours truly went here as a kid for winning some silly little writing contest that I dont remember what it was even about
California is speckled with Missions. Each and everyone one is different in size, color and current level of rehabilitation. They are a lot of fun to visit and a good excuse for a drive. My parents even took their honeymoon in 1969 visiting various missions up and down California. I’m not sure how popular that is now-a-days to do so. But, it’s a good excuse to drive the state and see what there is to see and visit everything in between. Mission San Rafael is clearly the recipient of a lot of love because it looks like new! #PINK I’ve always fancied trying to visit every mission. With any luck one day I’ll have them all checked off the list!
The Wide Open Walls 916 festival is about to kick off again in Sacramento and I’m totally excited! I very much enjoyed visiting the various locations throughout Sacramento since last summer mural viewing and can’t wait to see what the artists come up with for this year’s festival. The art freshens up boring or run down buildings. It gives people an excuse to visit buildings or parts of town perhaps they wouldn’t normally. It freshens up areas of town and brings new energy. Somehow it makes me feel like my humble town has “finally arrived!”