Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Castle in the Air

Have you ever dreamed of having a castle in the air, a castle of your very own, perched high above the clouds with panoramic views to behold? I have not had that dream, but I have seen that castle. It is a castle high above the ocean on California's Central Coast. From a simple hill-top family campsite at the onset of the 20th century to a marvel of grand opulence; from an extraordinary 27-year collaboration of a publishing magnate and an accomplished architect, I came face to face with this Castle in the Air. Moments away from the small town of San Simeon and the Pacific Ocean, and so superbly located on The Enchanted Hill, I discovered Hearst Castle.

Folly, decadence, and lavishness overlap in this grand setting of mixed period styles with acres of manicured gardens, marbled terraces, majestic views, intricately designed pools for leisure afternoon dips, visions of intimate soirées with legendary guests in rooms dripping with spectacular European antiques and collectable oddities - as far as the eye can see.

I have caught but a glimpse of this estate via a tour of the Main House, and a brief walk through the grounds. I looked up, I looked down, I looked behind me, and everywhere I glanced, minute details of elaborate design and textures caught my eye. There were filigree lines woven through marble; there was a luminous vibrance to the mosaic walls of the indoor pools that I wanted to etch on the walls of my mind. There was astonishment. It was over-the-top. It was Hearst Castle.


In my wildest dreams, I could never have imagined such a  castle. With its gargantuan scale, its luxurious opulence mixed with a good dose of folly and eccentricity, it was one man's truly extraordinary dream. That man was William Randolph Hearst. 

I usually close my blog posts with.. "It's good for the soul" - this time, after this bit of folly, I will quote my dear artist friend Ted Emrick: DREAM big ~ live LARGE; to which I will then add… "It's good for the soul.

Enjoy as always, Adeline

Monday, February 9, 2015

The perfect medicine

January was a month of recovery. December took a dramatic turn. Transforming the corners of my home is always a favorite past-time around Christmas time, but alas this year, I had only just finished a series of vignettes in calming hues of cool blue milk glass, old-glass glittered candlesticks, and large crackled mercury glass ornaments - that I did not waste a second to take a dramatic fall down an entire very steep wooden staircase ~

With my slow recovery, comes the urge to rekindle my need for serenity and beauty in the wide circle around me. I have found the perfect medicine - revisiting a group of photographs I took during an impromptu detour late last summer - a windy drive along the eastern fringes of Mount Diablo State Park. Marsh Creek Road was a great find that day ~ it meanders along soft rolling hills through open countryside dotted here and there with lonesome oak trees, back-country wild flowers, and grasslands now turned a soft yellow. Mount Diablo at 3800 ft stands proud as a beacon dominating the eastern horizon of the San Francisco Bay Area- and is definitely quite majestic in its history and Native American folklore.

The gentle curves of the lower foothills draw you in 
The shadows are soft on this day 
The sky is bubbling with frothy clouds
The air is warm
The wind is soft 

Before returning to the busy streets of Marin County, I have to say this was the perfect antidote. With my recovery 90% complete, 
a relaxing Sunday drive is … oh so good for the soul.

Enjoy this series as much as I did ~