Monday, April 21, 2014
Monday, April 14, 2014
I love river rock buildings. Another painter was telling me that around 100 years ago, property in these Southern California foothill communities was advertised as including its own building materials. He also said that several stone homes in the Verdugo Hills had recently been damaged or lost. There is a small sign outside the Lummis Home I never noticed before; it indicated you might be unsafe in or near the house, because it's unreinforced masonry, and in case of an earthquake it could all come crashing down. We had an earthquake pretty recently. Maybe that's when they put up the sign, or maybe that's why I noticed it.
You tend to take for granted that stones stay put, particularly the large heavy ones. But they don't. Their edges are smooth because they rolled, knocked about in the river against other stones. In the times when I lived alone, I lived on North Chester in Pasadena. I lived close to the railroad right-of-way, where train tracks used to be. The tracks were already gone when I lived there. I wanted a garden so bad, but it was a cheap little triplex unit, with a fenced in patio in the back, and tiny little planted area in the front. I made a stone border for the front - carrying stones one or two at a time by hand from the right-of-way back to my unit. I didn't have much luck planting any plants there, except some sunflowers on the other side of the driveway. I took good care of the plants that preceded me. The stone border looked nice. It's probably still there. The house I live in now came with a stone border. I added a few more stones from elsewhere in the yard, two I took from the Santa Fe dam, and two more I took from a neighboring yard, when the house was run down and on the market. I can't tell which ones anymore. They all look like they belong.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Friday, March 28, 2014
Saturday, March 22, 2014
A couple of weeks ago, it rained. It rained after a long time of being extremely dry in Los Angeles, and it rained quite a bit. The rain let up on Saturday morning, so I headed out to paint. I'm pretty habitual about Saturday painting, and mostly undeterred by weather. Last Saturday, I skipped painting to keep watch over a couple of lost puppies, but that's another story.
Anyhow, nobody else showed up to paint on that wet Saturday, and the farmers' market got cancelled. I liked this scene because of the old beat up aluminum trash can and painted wooden picnic table. I hardly ever see those in public parks anymore. About an hour into the painting, the rain got serious and I packed up painting stuff. At that point the painting was clearly unfinished. It stayed that way for a while, and then I finished it at home one evening when the television was broken, with the uninitiated cat trying to drink paint water.
I think the painting has a little moodiness that I really like It's simple and it shows pretty competent technique. Damp weather is ideal for watercolor painting. I hope it works out tomorrow. But tomorrow the oils are having an outing.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Thursday, February 13, 2014
I kind of wish it were a valentine. Maybe inside the house on the first floor, there's a sturdy kitchen table. On the table is a half-made valentine, lettered and painted, with scraps of ribbon and lace, and that super-fine sparkly glitter. Some of the glitter will stick to the tabletop for all time and defy every effort to scrub it off. Kind of like love itself, and what it leaves on your heart.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
I painted at Heritage Square last Saturday. I usually don't take the painters to places that cost money, but I'm kind of a fan and supporter of Heritage Square. I also think on a typical Saturday HS has a really great ambiance; like you've gone back in time 150 years, and there aren't any cars or leaf blowers or plastic bags. It's quiet and lazy. They have recently installed a reproduction of an old timey pharmacy, filled with a huge collection of antique pharmaceuticals, beauty supplies, prophylactic devices, liver pills and snake oils that were amassed over the years by a family of pharmacists. I looked for, but could not find, Colonel Green's elixirs. But I could have missed it.
There's something a little strange about this painting, and I can't quite figure out what. Someone suggested the shadows were a little ominous. There's a kind of pointed absence of people in broad daylight. Suggesting that a shoot out could be imminent. You wouldn't know it if I didn't tell you, but that's my red car just beyond the gates.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Although this is clearly in the style of a church, the temporary structure is known as the Little Christmas House. It may be San Marino's effort to separate church and state, but it isn't a more non-sectarian holiday house. Santa Claus used to show up there one day a year, and talk to kids about whether they'd been good and what they wished for. Maybe he still does, but I don't know. He gave out Christmas themed Little Golden Books like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Biggest Most Beautiful Christmas Tree. I met Santa there. I got my book. I also sang carols there with Brownie Troop 97 and our dads. I have a picture. My dad isn't in it, because he took it.
It was a odd place to paint, sitting out in the middle of Huntington Drive, looking a bit like a hobo and worrying about runaway cars.