Manny Machado, 4-time all-star infielder has signed a 10-year, $300 million-dollar contract with the San DiegoPadres. Despite playing somewhat inconsistently, the 26-year old was deemed worthy of the largest free-agent contract in the history of American sports. The Padres hope to build a strong team around him. He can opt out after 5 years of playing. -East Bay Times
I made the trip to the Botanical Garden at UC Berkeley to meet a long-time friend’s sister, Catherine Dellor, whose work was being displayed at their “Plants Illustrated Exhibition”. A mutual friend of ours suggested I might appreciate what the artists produce- how lifelike they are, and she was right! Who are these artists? They’re members of the Northern California Society of Botanical Artists & their theme is plants & people for this special exhibition and tenth anniversary. It’s running through Feb. 6. For twenty dollars I got admission and two hours of parking.
https://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/green-stuff This is a good site to bookmark if you want to discover something new or learn more about a garden-related interest. It’s an ideal place to wander around and to shop for a plant or other garden-themed items. This is the view approaching the Julia Morgan Hall on the right. Areas are well-marked and the grounds are well-groomed.
I talked to two volunteers working at the exhibit (one took over for the other). Catherine, who I intended to introduce myself to, was in a board meeting on the grounds. Board members have the job of promoting the field of botanical illustration locally. This well-planned exhibit was titled Ethnobotany. It featured drawings of various plants & trees that we use or were used by California’s Native Americans for diets, spices, and for the general enjoyment of flowers and nature. These are highly-detailed drawings that capture all aspects of the segment of the living botanical specimans they represent. Each has a write-up about it that includes the scientific name of the plant.
I asked Walter what someone could hope to gain from the upcoming class, “An introduction to Botanical Arts.” After thirty years of being a scientific illustrator, he used drawing for his work at the UC Lab for fifteen years. He’s taken the course two or three times. He told me he found it enhanced his drawing skills. He considered the course to have practical and straight forward teaching- even novices made progress. He recommended it for all levels of students. He added, “Catherine is a wonderful teacher. She has a calm demeanor, and the class is meditative.”
The teacher he was referring to is Catherine Watters, the artist of this watercolor titled Sugarcane. A number of illustrations weren’t for sale; artists make cards, and the like, using them.
Mary Ellen filled me in on the world of botanical illustrators. She’s retired from her career in film production & marketing. She spoke of the web of the field that includes: circles, chapters & schools. The UC Berkeley chapter has at least two-hundred members. These off-shoots of the American Society of Botanical Artists attract people from around the world. This year they’ll meet in Pittsburg, PA. https://www.asba-art.org/
I asked her what she considered the benefits of the drawing used by the artists and learned in the courses. Mary Ellen answered,
“It challenges you to draw what you really see. It’s another way to appreciate nature & to draw others into it. My main interest is as a natural-ist rather than as an artist.”
Mary Ellen has taken classes as well. She studied with Sarah Simblet of Oxford one summer. Simblet is a well-know illustrator of plants and anatomy. Mary Ellen talked about the continuum of botanical illustrations- from scientific to more artistic pieces. Artists use wash, traditional watercolors & colored pencils. She added that many get involved in botanical illustration to get in touch with nature; it allows you to discover nature’s complexity.
Catherine Dellor told me about her struggle with a hole in her art paper creating her watercolor of the purple onion. Her struggle was frustrating yet all the more rewarding to learn it was cover-page marketing material. Catherine’s website is linked for your viewing. Her purple onion was for sale at the time of my exhibit visit. http://www.floradellor.com/
About this same time last year people were stuck in traffic, frustrated & panicked. Residents were evacuating the areas facing flooding by the cave in of Oroville Dam. Officials had empathically claimed the spillway could handle the load of the punishing rains, only to rethink the situation and order an evacuation.
Now in 2018, people faced a similar circumstance. Rather than facing the possibility of a wall of water, evacuees faced walls of fire in the fast-moving, wind-driven fire named Camp Fire in Butte County. Being forced into an epic-traffic jam with the threat of being overrun by a wall of water any minute, is sobering. In Paradise, people were able to see what they were up against with fire bearing down on them. -East Bay Times
The Oroville spillway has been repaired and is now curing; the process requires a month. The spillway is anticipated to be fully ready for rain the first of December. The repair of the emergency spillways is continuing. With on-going wildfires in CA, many people need & will need time to grieve their losses from fire devastation. The spillway will soon be ready to hold the rains we need to help put out these fires and water the dried vegetation that is fueling them. Californians unite in dealing with these issues facing our state: water preservation, our aging infrastructure, and our all-year fire season. -East Bay Times
photo top– Oroville Dam Spillway by The Associated Press
Construction crews with their trucks & equipment are shown within days of completing a new-cement pour. Now, the spillway needs a month to cure. Contractors met their deadline of having it ready by Dec. 1.
photo bottom- from thetimescouk by getty images
People were forced to evacuate the fast-moving Camp Fire in Butte County, CA.
Feature photo by Ray Chavez for Bay Area News Group taken on 8-22-2017
Short video clip of Refugee jam
I found myself listening intently to ‘Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty & laughed at its cavalier honesty. Knowing he and The Heartbreakers would be in the Bay Area, I bought a ticket to their ‘Fortieth Anniversary Tour’ stop.
The scene: The sun is setting on a warm day in beautiful Berkeley; the distinctive smell of weed is wafting through the air. It’s the first day of their tour in Northern CA. The Greek Theater is known for its good sound quality. It’s a relatively-small venue with an intimate feel. Concerts lend themselves to fast friendships, if only for the night.
Barbara Maher’s house was built on the edge of a canyon in Paradise, CA. It survived the fire, whereas, a neighbor’s house also on the canyon edge, did not.
She was at home, her husband away, when the fire approached.
“I could hear it rumble,” said Maher, a lab worker at Enloe Medical Center in Chico. “It was like this living thing.”
She had already used sprinklers to wet the roof. Cal Fire inspectors had inspected her house last May- satisfied with the well-cleared space around her house.
Before she fled, she shut all the windows & left the water cannons on in the front of her house. –East Bay Times based
industrial water cannon
water cannons- for pools and fire prevention
Water cannons may be used more frequently in California landscapes in the future. Ideally, a pool could be used as a water reservoir automatically. I’m unaware of how many homeowners had these in Paradise, CA. In the aftermath of the fire, I imagine these may be used by more people for the function of fire prevention. Barbara Maher’s strategy for surviving the wildfire was a sound one. Defensible space around her home along with water cannons may have played a part in saving her house.
The lobby (first of three floors) features a massive, glasslined oval atrium. photo- aric crabb for East Bay Times
Officials consider the new Morris Hyman Critical Care Pavilion at Washingto Hospital in Fremont, CA one of the most seismically-safe facilities in the Bay Area. The 225,000 sq foot facility was built on a ‘base isolation’ system that allows the structure to move about 3 feet in any horizontal direction in a quake at a cost of $350M & over three years of construction. It’s anticipated that the hospitals’ operations will remain totally intact following an earthquake.