Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pup treads the boards at Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara...

No, this blog post isn't about our pup taking to the stage and having a 'Marley moment' but about his first time on a wooden pier, Stearns Wharf, up in Santa Barbara.
cooper on Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara
With our friend visiting from the UK we thought we'd kill two birds with one stone and drive up to Arroyo Burro Beach in Santa Barbara to let Cooper play off-leash at the dog beach and to show our friend more of Southern California as we drove up the coast
Santa Barbara shoreline
After our pup had tired himself in the ocean and racing along the sandy shore, we drove down near the harbour in Santa Barbara and took a stroll along Stearns Wharf which allows dogs on-leash on the pier.
Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara
Around five years ago, when we leisurely drove up the Californian coast along Route 1, our first overnight stop was in Santa Barbara and we dined at Longboards Grill on Stearns Wharf on their sunny deck (and pretty much turned bright red like true Brits let out in the sunshine).
Longboards Gril at Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara
Along with some other dogs on the Wharf, there was also some bird and sea-life along the pier to see.
Pelican at Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara
The Santa Barbara Harbour is a feeding ground for over twenty species of bird and we were lucky enough to see this Brown Pelican strutting its stuff on the boards.
Brown Pelican at Stearns Wharf
Other local bird-life include the occasional Great Blue Heron or Snowy Egret, along with Long-billed Curlews, Sanderlings, Sandpipers, Surf Scoters, Common Loons and Western Grebes to name but a few species.
Brown Pelican at Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara
This inquisitive Brown Pelican seemed used to humans and was probably hoping for an easy bite to eat from someone, rather than 'high diving' down below the ocean's surface for its usual fish supper. 
Stearns Wharf sea-life
Even though some of the bird-life here feed on small crabs, I doubt they'd take on this monster from the depths.
Crab from the deep at Stearns Wharf
This alien-looking critter was caught by one of the men fishing from the end of the pier. Personally I wouldn't let my fingers get too close to its sharp pincers.
Jason and cooper at Stearns Wharf
Cooper was very well behaved on the pier and even managed to wangle a bite of an ice-cream from a bunch of Harley-riding bikers, proving they are all just big softies at heart.
Yachts at Stearns Wharf
We walked the entire length of Stearns Wharf which had once been heavily damaged in a fire on the 18th November 1998. 
Santa Barbara beach at Stearns Wharf
About 20% of the wooden pier was destroyed and didn't reopen until July 2000 after an investment of $13.5 million.
Stearns Wharf view of Santa Barbara
It's a lovely local landmark to walk along and much more relaxing an experience than the Santa Monica Pier with its bustling fairground rides, although there are still some tourist attractions to be had on Stearns Wharf.
Stearns Wharf pirate and Jason in Hollywood
There were hazy skies over Santa Barbara on Sunday and it was actually sunnier at the dog beach at first.
Boats along Santa Barbara coastline
But as ever when you're out in open-water the sun usually comes out and you can start feeling its strength upon your skin.
Santa Barbara harbour and beach
So after taking in all the sights that Stearns Wharf had to offer and the wonderful views along Santa Barbara's shoreline, we headed back to the car for our return journey back down the coast.
American and Californian flags flying over Stearns Wharf
This little bit of 'beach art' reminded us that there was a cup of tea and a piece of Sweet Lady Jane Lemon Curd Cake awaiting us back home.
Just plain hungry beach art
After all the excitement of the day, Cooper was soon fast asleep in the car and I have to say that I wasn't that far behind him sitting next to him on the back seat. 

It must have been all that ocean air...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Trying out the new dog showers at Arroyo Burro Beach...

On Sunday after a fun time at Arroyo Burro Beach in Santa Barbara we tried out the new dog showers they've recently installed in the car park.
New dog showers at Arroyo Burro Beach
The showers are a fantastic way to get all the salt and sand off your dog after a couple of hours of hard play along the beach and racing through the waves with all the other dogs.
Arroyo Burro Beach dog shower fun
They are in pristine condition and you get a choice of different shampoos (we opted for the Tea Tree Oil), with different shower head settings and a hair dryer (or air blower), which Cooper didn't really like, but we'd brought a dog towel and it was a nice sunny day so it didn't take long for him to dry off. 
Washing pup at Arroyo Burro Beach showers
Plus there's a disinfectant setting to wash out the tub after you've finished with your dog so it's nice and clean for the next person.

So those were the 'after' pictures, here are some of the 'before' shots so you can see why Cooper needed a good rinse through.
Tennis ball fun for beach pup
We got to the dog beach early, around 10am, which is always advisable as it's a popular beach and the car park fills up quickly and there's not many spaces.
Happy labrador splashing through the waves
Cooper knew instantly where we were when we parked the car and he raced to the beach dragging us behind him.
Cooper dashing through the surf
There were fewer dogs than last time, but many more gorgeous Labradors and retrievers - obviously Santa Barbara must be a place for 'lab-lovers'.
Labradors at Arroyo Burro Dog Beach
The tide was coming in (maybe that's why it was quieter), so we didn't walk as far along the shore, but he still managed to play with pretty much every dog on the beach.
Arroyo Burro Dog beach puppy pals
Dogs playing in the waves at Arroyo Burro Beach
We shared the sandy shore, also known by locals as Hendry's Beach, with families, fellow dog owners and the occasional lizard on the cliff face, plus Cooper shared the Pacific Ocean with surfers, which seemed to totally bemuse him.
Arroyo Burro beach dogs and surfers
Puppy chasing surfers
As always at the beach there was lots of chasing tennis balls and frisbees, plus a new trick, trying to steal other dogs sticks. Can you imagine a 70lb pup hurtling through the waves towards you? No wonder the dog below looks slightly alarmed.
Chasing sticks at Arroyo Burro dog beach
Cooper was much more confident in the water this time after his first visit to Arroyo Burro Dog Beach and it's a much better place for him to run into the ocean, as at our local haunt, Sycamore Cove in Ventura County, the beach tends to shelve away much quicker.  
Arroyo Burro Dog Beach fun
The only thing you have to watch here when he's swimming in the ocean is the seaweed floating along the shore.
Arroyo Burro dog beach frisbee fun
Ball fun at Arroyo Burro Dog beach
As well as seaweed washing up on the beach you also find tons of spare tennis balls, so if you ever forget a toy for your dog, never fear you're sure to pick up another one there.
Pup playing at Arroyo Burro Dog Beach
I also can't get over how much of a grown-up dog Cooper looks like now he's twelve months old. He's just this mass of muscle these days and seems to be getting longer by the day, although people look at his paws and tell us he's still got some growing to do yet.
Racing along Arroyo Burro Dog Beach
Fun at Arroyo Burro Dog Beach
Nothing changes with Cooper though as you can see, even after his shower he's back on form tearing up the neighbourhood, amusing everyone with his antics and shredding those palm branches.
Nothing changes for Cooper at Arroyo Burro Dog beach
Aside from the obvious fun he has at the beach, the other satisfying thing about taking him there is that he totally wears himself out and we get a much calmer pup the rest of the day.
Exhausted pup after Arroyo Burro Dog Beach
Come back tomorrow to see Cooper's first time venturing onto Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The intriguing sculptures of The Getty Center...

If you like contemporary art, you'll find excellent examples of modern sculpture at The Getty Center dotted around the complex and in the Fran and Ray Stark Sculpture Terrace and Gardens.

There's a fabulous selection of bronze, steel and ceramic pieces of all shapes, colours and sizes that really stand out against the clean lines and light-coloured walls of The Getty Center.

Here are a few photographs of the sculptures for you to enjoy...

Fran and Ray Stark Sculpture Terrace

Delusions of Grandeur
Delusions of Grandeur at The Getty Sculpture Terrace
This intriguing bronze is by Belgian Rene Magritte from 1967 and can be found in the Fran and Ray Stark Sculpture Terrace beside a number of other interesting bronze works.
Fran and Ray Stark Sculpture Terrace at The GettyGetty Center Sculpture Terrace

Figure for Landscape
Getty Center sculpture
'Figure for Landscape' by British artist Barbara Hepworth, was designed in 1960 and cast in 1968.

Torso of Dina
Torso of Dina at Getty Sculpture Terrace
This bronze statue, 'Torso of Dina', is from 1943 by Aristide Maillol.

Torso of Summer
Torso of Summer sculpture
'Torso of Summer' is another Aristide Maillol bronze from 1911.

Seated Woman
Seated Woman sculpture at The Getty
The bronze above by fellow Brit, Henry Moore, was designed in 1958-59 and cast in 1975.

The Getty Center Arrival Plaza sculptures

Air
Getty Center Arrival Plaza Air sculpture
In the Arrival Plaza as you get off the trams, that ferry you to and from The Getty Center, you'll be greeted by this lead sculpture, entitled 'Air', by French sculptor Aristide Maillol. It was designed in 1938 and cast in 1962.
Standing sentry at the Arrival Plaza, with views to the north behind it of the Santa Monica Mountains, you'll find this impressive metal sculpture.
Arrival Plaza sculpture at The Getty Center
Around the corner from the Arrival Plaza you'll also find this colourful modern piece.
Colourful Getty Center sculpture

Lower Terrace Sculpture Garden

Walking Flower
Walking Flower sculpture at The Getty Center
Beside the beautifully landscaped Central Garden at The Getty, you'll find six more sculptures in the Lower Terrace Sculpture Garden, including this wonderful glazed ceramic piece by French artist Fernand Leger.
Walking Flower glazed ceramic sculpture at Getty Center
Designed in 1952-53, 'Walking Flower' was cast in 1982-83.

Untitled
Untitled bronze sculpture by Joel Shapiro at The Getty Center
This unnamed bronze piece is by American Joel Shapiro from 1982-85 and I have to say it's not one of my favourite sculptures, whilst on the other hand I think the next piece is fantastic and has the best name ever.

Gandydancer's Dream
Gandydancer's Dream painted steel sculptureMark di Suvero's Gandydancer's Dream sculpture
I love the dragon-like qualities of the painted steel work by Mark Si Suvero. This American artist was born in China and you can clearly see the Eastern influence in his sculpture from 1988.
Gandydancer's Dream sculpture at The Getty CenterGandydancer's Dream in Getty sculpture garden

Three Squares Gyratory
Three Squares Gyratory at The Getty Center
This kinetic, wind-activated gyratory by American George Rickey was made in 1971.
Spiny Top, Curly Bottom
Getty Center Spiny Top, Curly Bottom sculpture
This arresting red painted steel metalwork is from 1963 by American Alexander Calder and looks great against the interesting architecture of The Getty Center.
Spiny Top, Curly Bottom sculpture at Gety Center

The Jousters
The Jousters sculptures at The Getty Center
'The Jousters' are more painted steelwork by Alexander Calder from 1963.
The Jousters sculptures at The Getty Center
These pieces especially remind me of the geometric sculptures to be found in West Hollywood.
The Jousters sculptures at The Getty terrace garden
Finally for the Lower Terrace Garden, I'm unsure what this brushed steel piece is called, but I do like its simplistic design, especially when you view it with sprawling L.A. behind it.
Steel sculpture at The GettyBrushed steel sculpture at The Getty Center

Fran and Ray Stark Sculpture Garden
Fran and Ray Stark Sculpture Garden at The Getty Center
Last but certainly not least, is a collection of sculptures to be found down by the tram station at the entrance to The Getty.

It would be easy to walk past this lovely little garden without discovering its delights, but on my first visit to the Fran and Ray Stark Sculpture Garden last October I was quite enamoured with the tranquil and colourful space.

Bronze Form
Bronze Form sculpture by Henry Moore
Henry Moore's golden 'Bronze Form' from 1985 is the clearly highlight of the Sculpture Garden and stands out instantly.
Henry Moore's Bronze Form sculpture
It looks spectacular framed against the Santa Monica Mountains and gleaming under the wonderful Southern Californian sunshine.

The Tent of Holofernes
The Tent of Holofernes bronze sculpture
Isamu Noguchi's 'The Tent of Holofernes' bronze sculpture has an interesting name and it is equally intriguing to look at.
The Tent of Holofernes bronze sculpture
This piece was originally designed as a stage set in 1950 for choreographer and dancer Martha Graham's production, 'Judith', and later cast in 1978.

Figure
Figure bronze sculpture by Joan Miro
'Figure' was designed in 1976 by Spanish artist Joan Miro and cast in 1985.

Large Metamorphic Venus
Large metamorphic Venus sculpture
This simple bronze outdoor sculpture is by British sculptor William Turnbull from 1983.
Large metamorphic Venus bronze sculpture

Running Man
Elisabeth Frink's Running Man bronze sculpture
The remaining bronze sculptures here are both by Brit, Elisabeth Frink. The 'Running Man' is from 1978 and 'Horse' piece is from 1980.
Elisabeth Frink's Horse bronze sculpture
I'm not usually a fan of horses, but I do like this life-like sculpture a lot.
Elisabeth Frink - Horse bronze sculpture

I hope you've enjoyed these sculptures on display at The Getty Center, I seem to discover new ones and look at them in different ways each time I see them, especially depending on the weather.

So until the next time I visit, enjoy the art...

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