(August 27 and 28, 2003)
And our visits to the Norton Simon and J. Paul Getty Museums

for Hyla's Birthday, October 10, 2003
(All hand drawn 'illuminations' were sketched by Kathy at the Getty Museum exhibits, and colored later)

We were delighted when Hyla and Tracy, our good friends from Santa Barbara, decided they could come to Pasadena and spend two days with us. The added motivation of a wonderful show about to end at the Norton Simon Museum (walking distance from our home), and another at the Getty Museum, a twenty minute car trip, helped to get them here.

Kathy and Hyla have been friends since Kathy first came to Santa Barbara in 1976. Hyla worked in 'Under the Greenwood Tree' an early music specialty shop selling sheet music and musical instruments. They had so much in common— a love for music, art and literature, nature, and an optimistic sense of humor which has helped them both confront the challenges of their lives. Hyla is now a free lance gardener, working for a few lucky customers, whose gardens benefit from her touch. She calls herself 'Hyla, the Quiet Gardener' since she uses no power tools.

Tracy, Hyla and Tracy have been together for years, and Kathy sees him as a true poet, and one of the most honest aethetically sensitive lovers of art, music and literature she has ever met. Their conversations over the years, and his comments on her art and writing have been invaluable.

We all have a great time together. Rick got to know them about six years ago, and enjoys their company and their appreciation of his humour, musical knowledge, mathematics and flute playing.

It was a little 'dream vacation' and Hyla and Kathy enjoyed serving them tea as the morning light and bird sounds from our balcony created a day–dreamy atmosphere and our back to back couches had never served their purpose so well.

The exhibit at the Norton Simon was the second of a two part show. The first part , which we saw many times, focused on the Blue Four artists (Paul Klee, Vasily Kandinsky, Alexei Jawlensky and Lyonel Feininger). This exhibit, Galka Scheyer and the Avant–Garde. featured twenty other artists whose works Scheyer collected, some favorites, and others we did not know. Here is a work we liked especially, by Kurt Scwitters, Erfurt, a collage with pasted paper, cloth, watercolor, and pencil on paper.

At the Getty Museum, we were anxious to see these incredible Flemish manuscripts, displayed beautifully. The ornamentation with gold leaf and especially the natural images of animals and flowers were especially inspiring.

The lofty setting of the J. Paul Getty Museum in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains brings to mind our climb up the mountain in Tehran. (The museum does have a restaurant, but only one, though.) And there is a shuttle train that one takes up the hill. One reads that it is possible to walk, but we did not see where to walk at the time. We'll try that next time.

Here from the heights, one looks down on the city of Los Angeles. A maze seems the appropriate Los Angeles symbol!

The stone squares that cover much of the Getty center are travertine, delivered in 100 freighter voyages from Bagni di Tivoli, Italy. Romans used travertine from the same quarry to build the Coliseum.

The other exhibit that we were happy not to have missed at the Getty, focused on European images from nature (1400–1800). What began as fantastic decorations on illuminated manuscripts became the center of the artist's eye.

This is one of Hyla's favorite paintings. Still Life with a bowl of Citrons, late 1640's, tempura on vellum. It is by a woman artist of that time, Giovanna Garzoni (Italian, 1600–1670).

We continued our conversations while we looked and sketched. It was a beautiful and memorable experience to share.

Hyla and Tracy enjoyed our guest suite. Here they are packing up, getting ready to go home, but what should appear...

A happy visit, and many smiles later, it's time to drive back to Santa Barbara.

Go to Hyla's parents

Go to Kathy and Rick's Home Page