I must start by saying... It took us two hours to get the the Getty Museum. And it's 12 miles from our house. After some simple mathematic figuring, I am sure you can conclude that we were all a little cramped and grumpy when we finally arrived. But our moods were lifted quickly, as the Getty is such a special place. Nestled in the foothills of the Santa Monica mountains and overlooking the city of angels, the location itself plays a part in the museum's heavenly feeling. Its so 'removed-from-it-all'. You can't help but pity the poor schmucks far below you, wasting their day jammed on the 405 freeway. (Wait.... was that us just moments ago?) It's wonderful that there is no car access to the museum, so once you *finally* arrive, there are no sounds of scuttling or idling engines. Visitors ditch their driving contraptions at the bottom of the hill and glide to the top via computer-operated tram.
The Getty has a very unique look. It's architecture is modern without being stark, interesting without taking away from the art, gardens or view, and impressive without feeling heavy. There is a mixture of blocky travertine structures and curving buildings made of tiles and airy rooftops. The design plays into the varying surroundings- the rugged hills, the grid of the city, with its freeways and high rises, and the not-too-distant Pacific ocean. Read more about architect Richard Meier and his inspiration and choice of materials in building the Getty Museum, here.
Just as important as the buildings and the art work they house are the Getty gardens. They are expansive, beautiful and a little bit strange. This garden is home to grasses, succulents, bushes and bougainvillea. Robert Irwin designed the space and has said that the Central Garden "is a sculpture in the form of a garden, which aims to be art". In the middle is a large pool with a maze-like design made of azalea plants. Me and Matt, along with his sister Julie and her beau Brian wandered through the grounds and took it all in, stopping to rest or strike a pose...
After our photo shoot around the gardens, we went to see how the experts do it by visiting the photography exhibits inside. We saw In Focus that showcased photos around Los Angeles from 1945 to 1980, the works of Lyonel Feininger, and a collection titled Narrative Interventions in Photography- which I enjoyed the most. I fell in love with the works of Eileen Cowin and with Simryn Gill's project, Forest.
Simryn Gill's Forest mixes texts in various languages into live vegetation
And while the works inside the museum were wonderful to view, they simply couldn't compare with the works outside...
The evening sky was ridiculous! Blood reds, swirling oranges, and fuchsia clouds against the darkening blue vault of the heavens... I think even for the best photographer, it would be impossible to capture the beauty of last night's sunset, and I certainly don't do it justice with my snap shots- but it was one that will stay in my memory. ahhhh. pretty.
I seem to have a new Christmas tradition, for the last two years I have spent the 25th of December assembling a Harry Potter themed Lego set. Last year, Matt and I were in San Francisco and put together the Burrow with my brother Jason and sister-in-law, Mary. Those good times can be relived here. (You can even see the starting of Matthew's iconic 2011 beard!)
This year, Matthew and I stayed home and had a quiet Christmas with the kitties-- but thanks to Jason and Mary, we were able to repeat last year's festivities since they gifted us Hagrid's Hut Lego set! And, in my book, doing something for two years in a row makes it a tradition!
Here it is- all ready to go!
We assemble the bottom part of the hut and admire all the homey details-
This set has a lighted brick that mimics the glow of Hagrid's hearth. It also has a large cauldron, Norbert the dragon, two arched & bewindowed doors, hanging legs of meat, red-capped mushrooms, and flowering pumpkins!
Up goes the roof and we are done. Now... we play. Hagrid is there with his pink umbrella, as are Harry, Hermione and Ron (with a perpetual face of terror since he is in the company of so many spiders). Aragog and a few of his young show up to the party. And even Scabbers and Errol stop by. But, where is FANG?!
Harry and Hagrid send Ron out to look for Fang in the forbidden forest. Aragog offers him a ride.
Its been a few days and he has yet to return and the rest of the gang is starting to worry... they'll have to put together a search party sooner or later, but they decide instead to enjoy a snack of pumpkin juice and rock cakes.