Sunday, August 5, 2012

Little One

Yesterday, I set out to paint at La Casita del Arroyo.  La Casita was built by Pasadena and its Garden Club in the 1930s as a community meeting house.  The wood to build the building was salvaged from the velodrome from the 1932 Olympics.   The Garden Club maintains the beautiful gardens that surround La Casita.  Matilija poppies were still blooming yesterday.  In addition to some of my regular painting companions, there was a plein air painting class all the way from the Antelope Valley.  Perhaps one day the plein air painters and the roving archers will face off in a competition for scarce Arroyo land and  parking resources.  Speaking of which, La Casita has the most beautiful parking lot - a parking lot only a garden club could dream of. 

It also happened that La Casita had been rented for an event.  Staff arrived and unlocked.  A truck load of tables and chairs arrived.  It was suggested that we should probably vacate the parking lot and go down below in the Arroyo to paint.  I complied, not because I'm an agreeable person, but I hadn't started painting and I had seen some promising views below. 

I thought the event would be a wedding.  I know people who were married here.  Then I heard it was a first birthday party.  Seriously?  I thought, renting a hall and round tables for a first birthday party?  It seems to me that people indulge in some pretty ridiculous excesses these days, especially for small children who have simple tastes and short attention spans.  But after I returned home, I spoke to somebody who is more culturally aware than I.  I learned that first birthdays are huge in many Asian cultures.  An important part of the celebration is when several items are set out before the child, things which may include rice cakes, a spool of thread, a brush, a crayon, a pencil, a book, money, a ruler, a golf club, and a bow and arrow.  The child picks things up, showing more interest in some than others.  The child's choices enable proud and optimistic parents to predict the child's future.  Since I only just learned about this, I missed the chance to try it myself, and I missed the chance to try it with my children.  What would we have picked?  Knowing what I know now, I would pick the crayon.  Or the tree.


  1. Barbara, some nice greens in your painting, as usual! And thank you for the tidbit on birthday celebrations! Sounds like a really fun birthday tradition we missed.

  2. I would have grabbed a cat

    Beautiful: you are so good with shadows

    1. And what would the cat have grabbed?