Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Hesse Collection

We enjoyed our stay at Caymus Rancho so much that we were quite sad to leave it: the private balcony where GH sketched, I read, and we drank and read while watching the sun set; the tree outside the window in the morning, with leaves in gentle Pissarro colors; the old wooden floor; the split level which elevated the sleeping area, and so gave going to bed a sense of ceremony; and the movie loans for the end of a long, sunshine-saturated day.

The Hesse Collection was off the beaten track and on higher ground. The gardens were bursting with flowers and the lotus pond was a long stone rectangle. The art museum was subtly joined to the winery. I loved Robert Motherwell's Open No. 88 for its achieved sense of balance and proportion, while showing its process in the form of erased lines. It inspired me to think about incorporating process into my polish. I also liked Surface Tension, a netting made with twigs pinned together with hawthorn thorns only, no glue or nails. Made by a Scottish artist, Andy Goldsworthy, the netting focused attention through the intriguing device of a hole in the net. Then two big paintings, both named In the Beginning in German, by Anselm Kiefer, were monumental and strangely moving. They were anguished attempts to begin all over again.

The winery did not permit picnics on its beautiful grounds, but we found a lovely spot in Mont la Salle, a Christian Brothers conference and retreat center, next to the winery. Beside a group of tall redwoods, we ate our cheese and wine, chicken salad pasta and fruit. GH drove us back to SF, over the Golden Gate Bridge, its tops again covered with fog. We visited Baker's Beach and wondered how anyone could enjoy the beach in such cold. After driving through Golden Gate Park, we returned the Dodge, and checked into Kensington Park Hotel near Union Square. We had a very good dinner at Cafe Claude, a chic French restaurant in an alley off Sutter Street. We met a friend of GH for a drink at a bar near Church muni station, whose name has Owl in it.

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