Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Cap Ferrat Coastal Trail

These are my photos of the Cap Ferrat trail. It’s quite similar to the Cap d’Antibes trail, so it’s maybe not strictly necessary to hike them both, but I’m so glad I did. They’re both fantastic.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cap d’Antibes Coastal Trail

Last year I posted about the Ruta de Cares in Asturias and it reminded me how much I love trails as a thing in and of themselves, separate from the landscapes and scenery viewed from them. Trails are awesome, and their simplicity — a walking surface, usually made from the land and materials found right there trailside — leads to a surprising variety.
In France this summer I hiked another exceptional pair of trails, the coastal walks at Cap Antibes and Cap Ferrat. Great scenery, great hiking experience — walking along the water and swimming in the coves — but beyond that they seem distinctively ‘of their place’ and it’s hard to imagine them anywhere other than the south of France.

I’ll post Cap Ferrat separately. Cap Antibes was my favorite of the two, but they’re both exceptional. Both trails are mortared with trailside stone like front-country hardscaping. They front posh resort properties and there’s almost always a yacht somewhere in view, but the landscape feels a bit austere and savage.

On the inland side, the trail is lined by the garden walls and fences of plutocrat vacation properties, a weird aspect of the trail. I’m not sure if it made me feel mildly unwelcome or if it made me feel satisfied that I was getting a millionaire experience for free. Probably a bit of both. It’s also a feature of the trail that there’s always a yacht visible somewhere out on the water. Read the rest of this entry »

Paris to Bologna Drawings

These are my drawings from the bike trip. They start with the Palais Royale fountain — my favorite spot in Paris — then the Loire, the Atlantic coast including Noirmoutier and Ile de Re, the Dordogne, Toulouse, the Gran Massif, Nice, and then a couple of sketches of Emilia Romagna and the Langhe in Piedmont. I might return to this post to label the drawings and alternately mock France and sing its praises, but for now I just feel like posting the drawings.

Read the rest of this entry »

Blanc Green Wall

I did another bike trip in Europe this summer, this time riding from Paris to Bologna. I’ll probably do about a half dozen posts from that trip. This is the first one, a few photos of a green wall on the side of the Musee de Quai in Paris. It’s by Patrick Blanc, the green-haired frenchman who designed the Drew School green wall in San Francisco that I’ve posted about several times: 2011, 2013 and 2016. The Drew School wall was a lot of fun to see the first time, and remains a nice feature even though the plantings haven’t aged exceptionally well. This Paris green wall is in better shape. Most of it is lush and it’s an exuberant element in a city that needs as much vegetation as it can get.

Read the rest of this entry »

Copying Canova

Two great videos of an old-school American sculptor copying a Canova marble. The videos are part of a National Gallery of Art exhibition of Canova’s clay sketch models. Seems like a fantastic exhibition. Canova’s marbles are so highly finished, it’s great to see his expressive little sketch models. I like Canova, a little bit to my surprise; I’m not especially interested in figurative sculpture or neo-classicism, but I’ve seen a lot of sculpture as I tour around Europe and if I find myself thinking, ‘Hey that sculpture’s really good’, there’s a good chance it will turn out to be by Canova. I especially love the Canova sculpture that Scarpa sited at Castelvecchio, and Scarpa’s room at the Canova museum in Possagno is one of the best sculpture spaces in Europe, but I’ve seen a few others here and there and they have something about them that makes them better than all the other stiff European marbles. The sketch models look great too, and the exhibition seems worth a visit for anyone remotely close to the national gallery.

The exhibition page is here. There’s a great interview with the curator on Modern Art Notes Podcast.

Restore Hetch Hetchy

Finding Hetch Hetchy: The Hidden Yosemite from Restore Hetch Hetchy on Vimeo.