Frank Denton - The Rogue Raven

Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Nevada Museum of Art

Every trip to Reno means a visit to the Nevada Museum of Art. We have never been disappointed. Sometimes I think that they have better exhibits than the Seattle Art Museum. Not bigger but better, more interesting. This time was no exception. Most important was an exhibit of Frank Lloyd Wright, the great architect. The exhibit had many of his plans for residential dwellings and for individual rooms. There were also renderings of the rooms with furniture in place, often in color. But an exhibit of architectural drawings alone would have been boring. There was furniture, chairs, a dining room set with chairs, lamps, chandeliers, doorways, his leaded glass mirrors. Artifacts from a different time. We were surprised that much of the wood used was very common. Today an architect would have used more exotic woods. All in all it was a very interesting exhibit.

But the museum was not done. Another gallery contained the painting of Edwin Deakin, a California painter. We had not heard of him before, but we were very impressed. Deakin was active in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Deakin was a realist. He painted many of the missions in California and outdoor scenes, mountains and lakes. But he was most impressive when he chose some small area of a building and concentrated on a doorway, or a window with the light from inside streaming out. Or a corner in a cathedral with the light coming in from outside. He also did various paintings of clusters of different species of grapes, with the blush on them, the light reflecting the sun. You wanted to reach out and pluck a couple. I was delighted with the paintings and had to buy the book with many of his paintings reproduced.

A third room contained ceramics by Japanese potters, all of whom had been declared National Treasures. Beautiful pots, bowls, vases, cups, all utilitarian objects, yet beautiful in the rendering by these expert artisans. A couple of the potters had turned down the designation of national treasure. Two of the artisans had journeyed to Cornwall to study with Bernard Leach, a famous potter. The irony in this was that Leach himself had visited Japan to study with potters there. His famous pottery is in St. Ives, Cornwall. We visited there once. I have a cup and saucer done by one of his students. I could not afford one done by the master himself.

If you are ever in Reno, Nevada I would recommend the Nevada Museum of Art. It is quite near downtown and within walking distance of the major downtown casino hotels.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Reno Trip

Fools, we! With gas prices rising every day...and not by a penny, mind you, we drove down to Reno. Let me caution you that gas prices are higher in California than in Washington, Oregon and Nevada. The people in Nevada were excited. There was measurable rain for seven straight days. This had not happened for ten years. And they could use the water.

Downtown Reno is changing. Two of the largest casino-hotels are being changed into condos. We have found a small casino with an attached motel just a short distance from downtown. Since I cannot walk very far without pain (arthritis, you know) we stayed there. When we wanted to go out we drove. Consequently I don’t know how much action the downtown casinos were getting.

Driving out we went to out usual haunts. The Nevada Museum of Art had a wonderful exhibit. More of that later. We got to the bookstores, especially one that we discovered last fall. Zephyr Books is right on Virginia St., well organized, with clean used books and has good prices. Meadowbrook Mall always attracts us and The Nugget in Sparks just next door to Reno is a must for me. The Oyster Bar there has Lazy Man’s Ciappino which I must have at least once during out stay. With the weather doubtful we did not drive out to the Stillwater Wildlife Refuge for a day of birding. We expected it would be rather fruitless. But we did get in a couple of walks (I have a seat cane) along the Truckee River at Idlewild Park. A delightful place with a nice paved footpath along the river. Who knows? We may never get back to Reno if gas continues to rise. But Reno is a city we have learned to appreciate over the last twenty years.