Painted Ladies of San Francisco

The “Painted Ladies” of San Francisco sounds quite scandalous, but is actually a nickname for the city’s Victorian and Edwardian mansions with their genteel pastel hues and feminine façades, lacy wooden mantles and perfectly pitched roofs.

Postcard Row

One of the most photographed vistas is from Alamo Square on the corner of Hays and Steiner where you get a background of the modern city that contrasts with these lovely ladies. It is sometimes known as “Postcard Row.” The houses were built between 1892 and 1896 by developer Matthew Kavanaugh, who lived next door in the 1892 mansion at 722 Steiner Street.  The definition of a painted lady is a Victorian with three or more paint colours. So, even though the seven on Steiner Street are the most famous — there are several other painted ladies in the neighbourhood to enjoy.

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Explore the streets, parks and vistas around Scott Street, McAllister, Haight Street, Steiner and Pierce that tell the story of a Victorian era and discover more beautiful mansions, but be warned, it is very hilly around here so it can be quite a strenuous walk. Alamo square is a great place to sit and rest and admire the view after your walk around the neighbourhood.

I walked about 10 blocks from the Misión San Francisco de Asís on 16th Street which is some distance away, through Duboce Park. You can of course take public transport to Alamo Square, but then you’d miss an awful lot of this wonderful architecture. And don’t forget to look up!

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This monthly challenge is hosted by Dawn from ‘The Day After’ who invites participants to post pictures of any windows that  they find curious, inviting, photogenic, or in some way tell a story. Visit her blog to see more windows and/or to join in with the challenge.

how I express myself

The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery.
There is always more mystery.
Anaïs Nin

san fran lines collage
Looking for Lines in San Francisco

I express myself through my photography. My lens is my eye on the world around me. It makes me more aware. Of light, of colour, of shapes, of textures, of landscapes and details. Urban fragments, peeling paint. A rusty lock. Light through leaves. A blackbird. The perfect flower. The purest colour. It makes me look. And take the time to stand and stare. To wonder. I hold my breath and press the shutter. And hope that I have captured the perfect moment.

How do you express yourself?

Sunday Stills, the next challenge: Murals

Ed is a truck driving photographer from Tennessee who hosts a photography challenge blog called Sunday Stills here on WordPress.

This week Ed would like to see some MURALS.

Oh this is such a difficult challenge as I love taking photos of street art. So what should I choose? The amazing murals from Chemainus on Vancouver Island? Murals from Little Italy in San Diego? Or the random graffiti in Lisbon? Or what about the plethora of murals in and around Clarion Alley in San Francisco?  And then there are the murals in North Beach.  What a dilemma!

But some of my favourite murals, and the ones that have made the most impact on me, have to be the ones created in the Coit Tower, a 210 foot high Art Deco landmark in North Beach, San Francisco. You can get there by a steep walk up some steps or a #39 bus up Telegraph Hill – famous for its wild parrots, though I didn’t see any.

The views are good from the base of the tower, but I urge you to go inside to look at the 19 murals painted by 27 artists in the Depression era. Many of them studied under Diego Rivera. The themes focus mainly on “leftist” and socialist topics, popular in the 1930s.

The first painting you are likely to see as you enter the building is Ray Boynton’s Animal Force and Machine Force (with Diego Rivera’s eyes) over a doorway. (Above) Continue reading Sunday Stills, the next challenge: Murals