Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Upcoming Exhibition @ Kingston Gallery

Hi Friends,

As you know I was recently voted in as an Associate Member to Kingston Gallery at 450 Harrison in Boston.  Prior to this I was invited to by Barbara Moody to participate in the Kingston Gallery group exhibition, DIALOGUES


Dialogues is an exhibit of works by the gallery's member artists, each paired with a work by an invited guest. The gallery artists address a broad range of current concerns in art in a variety of media through work that is often experimental in nature. this exhibit situates them within a wide ranging network of artists, with invited guests including mentors, former students, former classmates, colleagues, and artist family members, and from recent art school graduates to mature artists. 

Barbara's kind statement:

Through her participation in several artists' residencies, Bea Modisett's work has recently achieved maturity, focus and a unique personal voice. Her dynamic paintings and drawings show an innovative use of line, color and texture. Bea curates contemporary exhibitions, teaches, and works intensively in her studio. This young artist is someone to watch.

I hope to see you all at the opening reception! 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Oh Canada!

A special thanks goes out to Laura for getting up at the crack of dawn to make sure I was at the Cleveland Greyhound Station to catch bus to Buffalo, NY. This bus ride really wore on me even though it was only about four hours.  Again, I was happy to have someone waiting for me at the end of the line. My father and brother had taken me up on my invitation to join me for my final leg of this journey. My dad took a train to NYC and met up with my brother and then they both flew from NYC to Buffalo, NY.  The flight was actually cheaper and faster than any train they could find. 

We met up around 1:00 and drove straight to Duff’s – the establishment responsible for the creation of Buffalo wings. We. Ate. Too. Much. Another restaurant you must go to if ever in the Buffalo area.  Then we got in the car and drove two hours north to Toronto, ON, CA and checked in to our hotel right outside the city.  After getting settled we ventured the fifteen minutes to downtown to explore and find a good place to have dinner.  We followed Queen Street the majority of the way just taking in the sights and then wandered down to Chinatown and Kensington Market. It was freezing outside so our walk was cut shorter than it normally would have been as we found a crowded, Asian fusion restaurant for dinner.  We took our time enjoying appetizers and splitting entrĂ©es accompanied by hot bottles of sake.  Obviously this wasn’t enough so we had to find a place for dessert. Our wish was granted with a restaurant serving exclusively crepes, wine and beer. My kind of place! We ordered three crepes to share: nutella and banana, homemade applesauce and cinnamon, and rum and sugar.  

The next morning we got up very early to hit the road. We were headed south to Niagara and Horseshoe Falls.  On the way north to Toronto we had passed a number of wineries so we decided to visit a few of them on the way down south to Niagara. We started at Puddicombe Winery, a small family owned winery that is the official first stop on the Niagara Peninsula Wine Tour.  We had our first tasting at 9:30am and started with a unique white wine called Trillium (we ended up leaving with three bottles of this) and followed that with one of their famous fruit wines. After Puddicombe we drove to Kacaba, a more upscale winery known for its reds. We tasted three wines here, one of which had been voted the number one red in Canada. About five minutes up the road was Angel’s Gate Winery where we tasted four different types of wine.  This was my first wine tasting and I had a great time. We ate lunch at a local Pita Shop, which was nice and filling and then drove down to the Falls. 

As a treat I took my brother and dad on the Journey Behind the Falls self guided tour. We took an elevator down the equivalent of two stories and walked through tunnels to an outlook point and to two “portals” that took us about a third of the way around and behind the falls. One of the portals was completely iced over which means we couldn’t see the water but we could still hear it! The force of the falls is incredible, and they were only at half their power. In the winter half of the water is directed towards the power plant to create energy for Toronto. I need to go back in the summer to see them at full force.  We returned later that night to see the falls illuminated and, of course, find a place for dinner.

 
We left bright and early the next morning to make the eight hour trip home. We passed through customs with no problem and made a quick stop at the American side of the falls. The view was great but the Canadian side definitely did a better job of building up the area – the US side was a bit dingy and sad.  I’d suggest that anyone visiting the falls should spend the majority of their time on the Canadian side. 

The drive home was easy, and while Michael and Dad slept I had a chance to reflect on my trip and everything I had just accomplished.  And when they were awake I made them sing songs with me and play games.  We rolled into my parents driveway around five o’clock and I bid a fond farewell to this adventure, and with dreams of many more to come.

I'll be doing a few more "wrap-up" posts about my trip but I'll be resuming my artsy fartsy posting soon as well. 

Thanks for coming along for the ride guys, 
Bea

Chicago to Ohio

Oh Hello,

I bet you’re wondering what I did after I de-boarded the California Zephyr…aren’t you? No? Well I’ll tell you anyway.  After bidding a fond farewell to the Zephyr I met up with my friend Samantha who was kind enough to pick me up from Union Station. Chicago was freezing and I didn’t take my hands out of my pockets for anything except to drink hot, spiced wine. This means no pictures from this leg of the trip.    After a brief stop at her parents downtown house, we bee lined to the Art Institute of Chicago for a few hours to enjoy the amazing collection.  My favorite was seeing La Grande Jatte by Seurat accompanied by a few preparatory sketches he did for this masterpiece.  We then hopped on a bus to the Park Zoo and enjoyed an awesome light show.  Everything was covered in holiday lights and music was playing – this was also where I got the aforementioned hot, spiced wine. We probably spent more time that is normal in the kids playroom staring at turtles and frogs, but it was warm, and reptiles are cool. After the zoo we got back on the bus to get to her car and then went to an amazing Cuban restaurant called 90 miles. If you are ever in the Chicago area then you should go. I hope to get back to Chicago soon because this was a short visit. We went home and watched No Country For Old Men (I fell asleep before it was over) then I hopped on a bus the next morning at 6:30 to get me to the station for my 8:15 bus to Ohio. 

It was a little over a six-hour bus ride to Ohio from Chicago and I’ve got to say it was starting to wear on me.  It’s a big jump to go from being in a car by myself for three weeks to sharing a very small space with thirty sick people eating Roy Rogers.  It’s a good thing I knew I would be greeted by two of my favorite people in the world who I haven’t seen in…five years? After getting off the bus at Tower City Andy soon rolled up in his vintage, bright green, VW bus.  I’d never seen his car before but as it approached, I somehow knew it was him.  Andy moved to Cleveland, Ohio with his lady (and my friend) Laura when she decided she’d like to get her Masters in Education.  They have made quite a wonderful life in this city.  Laura has begun her career as an art teacher/art historian and Andy is pursuing his career as a painter – and both are doing a damn fine job! Andy brought me by his studio where I was able to see his newest work and the work of some of the other artists he shares the space with.  Next we drove a few blocks to Proximity, the co-op gallery he helped found, before heading to their home in Cleveland Heights and meeting up with Laura.
I had so much fun with them eating good food, playing with their cats and dog, playing cards, drinking White Russian, exploring Cleveland and going on a hike through the snow.  I am so happy that I was able to see so many friends on this trip.  It meant so much to me showing up at friend’s houses and seeing that they had an air mattress inflated for me, or a couch covered in blankets, or a comfy guest room with homemade quilts for me to use. 

Thanks for listening friends, up Next: The Final Leg of the Trip

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Union Pacific Queen

Hi Friends,
I’m writing to you from the comfort of my parent’s home.  I arrived in Rhode Island on December 22nd around five o’clock in the evening bringing this particular journey to an end – though I’m sure it will continue in many ways.  I wasn’t very good about blogging the last week since I wanted to just absorb everything and enjoy every minute with my friends and in these new places.  I’ll do my best to recap the final week for you all. 

San Francisco marked the end of my westward move and the beginning of my eastward bound journey home.  I boarded the California Zephyr at eight thirty in the morning on December 15th.  I was so happy when I saw and boarded the train because the Zephyr was the springboard for this trip.  When I saw it featured on the National Geographic website as one of the top ten North American train trips I knew I had to get on board.  What resulted was this month long adventure.  The Zephyr is a big train, a double decker, and I was happy to find a seat on the top floor, which I thought would give great views.   I was right. I couldn’t believe the scenery on this trip.  An amazing climb up and through the Sierra Nevada’s came soon after we pulled out of Emeryville, CA.  (FYI – there is a free shuttle from SF to Emeryville where the Amtrak Station is, no need to pay that $40.00 cab fare!) There was a fresh snow on the ground making this leg of the trip even more picturesque. Amazing views of the valley, trees covered in snow, animal tracks, and good company! 


The scenic car attracted first time Zephyrians, and I made friends with some wonderful, interesting people while admiring the scenery.  From Sacramento to Reno we had two historians on board who gave the history of the route and the laying of the tracks. Listening to the historians tackle the story of the Donner Party as we passed Donner Lake was interesting – I think the wording was “they faced great hardship and obstacles together…” what they didn’t say was “…and then they gnawed on each others arms.”

Sleeping on the train was pretty comfortable.  I had two seats to myself so there was plenty of room to relax. The first morning I woke up to the intercom announcing “first call” for breakfast in the dining car.  I decided to stay in my seat and enjoy the sunrise over the prairie for a bit before heading to the scenic car where I would spend my entire day.  The first thing I noticed is that I knew where we were. We were in Utah and following Route 70 – the route I took out West! It was so cool passing through places I recognized and really nice to not be driving and be able to just enjoy the scenery.  I made friends with Willis (Hi Willis!) a mapmaker who helped me spot wildlife and told me all about the ins and outs of mapmaking. The second day topped the first as we passed through red rock canyons, more tunnels and journeyed into the Rockies.  Amazing. AMAZING. The only disappointment was not seeing a big horned sheep – but I saw a lot of those on the way out. You know what I did see? Three bald eagles. Boo yea. Also a ton of deer, elk and a herd of antelope.  

Most of the stops the train made were pretty short, sometimes as short as one minute if no one was boarding or de-boarding but on average about five.  I usually didn’t get out of the train during these stops unless I really wanted some fresh air. However, the train was running early the second day and we rolled into Denver, CO about thirty minutes early.  This, on top of a longer than normal layover, meant the train would stay at the platform for about forty minutes.  I had time to revisit Wynkoop Brewery and use the wooden nickel given to me when I visited the brewery earlier in the trip. 

 
It was dark by the time we pulled out of Denver so after I re-boarded I started getting ready for bed. I lucked out that night because the train was packed but the woman who sat next to me ended up moving to sit next to her boyfriend.  The next morning I woke up in Iowa. Colorado was the peak of scenery, the rest of the way was pretty but incomparable to the Rockies and Sierras.  We passed over a lot more prairie before pulling into Chicago around three o’clock. An amazing journey - one I'll surely make again. If you're headed out to San Francisco and have the time this would be a really wonderful way to get out there. It's unbelievable the diversity of landscape you see on this one train trip, snow covered mountains one day, and desert the next.


Thanks for listening friends! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Be Sure to Wear Flowers In Your Hair...


...unless you have dreadlocks and don't want people to think you're more of hippie than they already do.  

Guys...nine months ago I told my friend Julie "I just want to get in a car and drive to California" and now I can say... I got in a car and drove to California. I am so happy to be able to say that. This trip has been so incredible in so many ways, and in time I will probably realize how it's amazing in so many more ways. I have learned so much about who I am, who I want to be and the life I want to live. I'm rambling. SanFran was awesome. After another beautiful drive up the coast I arrived at the airport to bid farewell to my Nissan Versa that helped me through my travels - a lot of PB&Js were made on that dashboard. I took the BART to the Civic Center and a cab to the corner of Baker and McAllister where Nate, dear Nate, met me. I took a much needed shower and met him and his girlfriend at MiniBar which was right down the street. Everyone here was so welcoming, I tried myself a nice local brew (and then some) and was sure to get a good night's sleep before the next day's events. 

I had a full day of being an obvious tourist. First thing I did was walk to Haight Street and have breakfast at Kate's Kitchen. Amazing. The west knows how to do breakfast. Afterwards, I needed to walk off the eggs and biscuit so I wandered over to Alamos Square and took a gander at the Painted Ladies. 


Anyone? Flashback? Full House was a staple growing up so this landmark was a must see, for the view, but also for nostalgia purposes. After this I got on a  bus to Chinatown and walked around a for a few hours. I would have loved to get some dim sum but was still really full so people watching and window shopping had to do. Anyone visiting SF should go to Chinatown. SF has the largest population of Asians in the US and the shops here are a filled with a mix of souvenirs and the real deal items catering to the population.


From Chinatown I walked down to Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 35 where I watched the famous sea lions that have made the docks their home, saw the "Bush Man", and watched people shop in overpriced stores. A bit down the way is an awesome arcade filled with antique, coin operated machines. I didn't play any of them but really enjoyed seeing them all. 

  
There were hundreds of them - a definite stop if you're in the area. Nate picked me up from the arcade (which made me feel like I was in middle school) and gave me a driving tour of the area as we worked our way to the Golden Gate Bridge. He's lived here for almost a year but hasn't gone all the way across the bridge so we did it together! 

This was an awesome leg of the trip.  I felt like I did a lot of the touristy things I wanted to do, but Nate also showed me around the neighborhood and I got a sense of what it was like to live here too. I didn't get to do everything I wanted but know I will be back. San Francisco marked the end of my western movement and I have begun the eastward trip back home. I'm still a bit behind on posting but rest assured you'll hear all about the Zephyr trip, Chicago and Cleveland all in due time. Right now I'm on a Greyhound bus headed for Buffalo, NY where I will be meeting up with my Dad and brother for a trip up to Toronto. Ay?

Bus love (though I think someone farted),
Bea

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Update

Hi Friends, 
Sorry for the lapse. Update soon...but to tide you over here is an updated map of where I've been, and where I am:

Oh man. So much to tell. So much to show! 

Love from Cleveland, 
A very happy Bea

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Funny Sidewalk Trash.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Route One Won

Well my friends I have officially made it from ocean to ocean. I started at the Atlantic and have now laid eyes upon the Pacific. This was quite the one eighty from Death Valley. I drove up scenic Route One up to the Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park where I would be camping that evening.  The drive was incredible. I spent a total of about an hour on it and have started imagining plans to drive the whole thing end to end one day.


When I'm camping out I always make sure I am at my site before sundown so I can pitch my tent and get to know my surroundings.  I arrived at Julia Pfieffer Burns right before sunset and was so happy to watch the sun go down over the Pacific for the first time in my life. I was also incredibley stoked about my site. In the photo below you'll see a small waterfall - my site was pretty much right above that in a clearing.  I got a little sad thinking that I might not ever come back to this spot to camp and then I realized I control that situation and that I will come back.  It's too perfect of a site not to come back to.  I made my camp reservation six months ago and I'm glad I did - there are only two sites in the park and as incredible as they are I'm sure they are always filled. 


This is a short post. I didn't do much hiking at this stop, just a lot of fire sitting and a bit of walking around.  The next morning I did wake up and sit on a rock outcropping to stare at the ocean for a while hoping to catch a glimpse of migrating whales, but no such luck.  This was my last night camping on the trip. From here on out I'll be spending my nights on a train, at friend's houses and in Canadian hotel rooms.

Flowers everywhere, 
Bea