Monday, May 7, 2012

Rows and Rows

Orange Grove Avenue in Pasadena used to be known as Millionaire's Row, thanks to the mansions that lined it south of Colorado Boulevard. There are some mansions left, but a lot of the mansions were replaced with upscale apartments and condominiums, providing housing for many more well-heeled Pasadenans, and no doubt turning a handsome profit. One radio evangelist, Herbert Armstrong, bought up several of the mansions and opened a college - Ambassador College. He also opened up a pretty swell auditorium that hosted wonderful musical performances. Eventually, the fortunes of the Armstrong family took a turn for the worse, and finally the property was sold. It is now occupied by a private high school - Maranatha, a church, and only very recently quite a lot of construction activity. Some painters. A lacrosse tournament. I've just glossed over about a hundred interesting stories, because I decided to tell you about palm trees.

I like palm trees a lot. Even if I didn't like them, they would probably show up in most of the landscapes I paint, because that's how it looks around Pasadena and Los Angeles. Everywhere you look, rows of palm trees adorn the horizon. Movie location scouts have to look really hard around here to find places that look like New York or Nebraska because of the palm trees. The most common palm trees are washingtonia or fan palms. They put forth prodigious amounts of seeds which sprout everywhere like weeds; the leaves are shaped like fans. The next most common palm is the Canary Island palm. Canary Island palms tend to be a little shorter and stouter; their tops look like big pompoms. The palm tree in this painting is yet another kind of palm tree. It's either a king or queen palm - I'm not sure which - they are similar. The trunks of the king and queen palms are smoother; the greenery looks lush and feathery. You may wish to practice your palm tree identification skills by visiting Southern California, or by paging back through the blog.

10 comments:

  1. Must be a delight to enjoy live! It is a lovely view you got here..here in oman where I live, the date palms line the roads and now summer is the time when the fruits have started, trees are always beautiful wherever they are!

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    1. It is lovely here, just as there. The trees help make it so.

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  2. I love the subtlety of your water colors. You've managed to suggest the tile roof with just three colors.

    the palms, I have it on good authority ( a friend whose been in the palm business for 3 generations). The most common palm around is the Mexican Fan Palm which is not native. It's the Washatonia that is a stout, tall palm with fan leaf. You see them on Orange Grove. They were are first landscape palm. Oldest but not as much used now.

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    1. I think I got my palm information from an old issue of Home magazine. But I am a serious amateur tree-lorist. Los Angeles has completely stopped using palms for parkways, which kind of makes sense - they shed a lot, and are virtually worthless for shade. It's a wonder people like them.

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    2. I found this photo of a Washatonia fan palm from 1895 at the San Fernando Mission. See how the trunk is thicker then so many of the palms we see?

      http://palmtreenation.blogspot.com/2009/10/palm-and-arcades.html

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  3. I've learned more about palm trees coming here. Beautiful painting - love the shadows, how you've painted them.

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    1. Thanks Sandy. It was a beautiful day.

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  5. Your sky is such an exquisite shade of blue and really makes the whole painting wonderfully full of sunlight. I remember how beautiful the palms were when I was a little girl growing up in California.

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    1. Thank you Claire. I usually have a tough time getting my skies vivid enough to make the white sparkle.

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