Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Green and Growing

Businesses come and businesses go.  Big chain stores replace independent stores.  But in and around Pasadena, nurseries abide.  In Pasadena there are three independent nurseries that have been in business for over 80 years.  This is one of them: Bellefontaine Nursery.  The other two are Lincoln Avenue Nursery and Burkhard Nursery.  A little distance to the southeast, and huge, is the San Gabriel Nursery.  I admit it; I've bought plants and potting mix from the chains, but I'm not going to do that anymore. The history of these nurseries reflects a larger history: German immigration, Japanese immigration, war and Japanese internment, community spirit, perseverance.  In the present, these nurseries are run by people who honor their heritage and know and love plants.  

We almost didn't get to paint here, and I'm really glad we did.  There are beautiful and surprising shrubs and trees.  Huge butterflies flutter from flower to flower.  Hummingbirds are on to it too.  There is a smell of sweet roses and ripe concord grapes.     

Monday, September 17, 2012


I've painted and posted the Old Mill in San Marino a couple of times before, here and here.  This time I felt compelled to paint a different view, and so I painted the back.  I suppose I also need to come up with something else to say about it.  I've reviewed the Old Mill's good website and the Wikipedia entry, as well as the Yelp reviews.  If you are planning a visit, I suggest you do that too.  There isn't much there in the way of interpretive displays.  What I love about the Old Mill is that the admission is free, and it's kind of quiet and hard to find, and you could just park yourself on any of a number of nice shady benches and inhale history and nature.  If you went a couple of weeks from now, the thousands of huge pomegranates would be ripe.  The Old Mill has been the Old Mill since 1823 when a new mill was built next to Mission San Gabriel. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


It is both a huge comfort and an appalling affront that life goes on in its same ordinary way.  Painting is all right. 

This is Lacy Park, which is an easy walk from where I grew up.  It is so sweetly familiar.  Memories of Lacy Park are sprinkled through my life.  Our beagle.  Babysitters.  Y day camp.  Fourth of July.  Watergate.  The rains of 1970.  Kisses.  Tutoring.  Softball.  Frisbee.  A company picnic.  A class reunion.  My sons learning to ride bicycles.  The summer I was off work. 

Nostalgia is an ailment that mainly affects older people, but I don't think anyone is immune.  Even pretty small children probably long to go back to a time when they didn't understand the news, when they believed in fairies and Santa Claus, and when they fit comfortably and safely in their parents' arms. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Saints and Angels

I pretty much keep my personal life and family out of my blog, probably more because I am a private person; I don't think they mind one way or the other.  I have absolutely the greatest family.  They usually don't make visual art, but they do make music and joy and acts of goodness.  They are my biggest fans and supporters.  My wonderful husband died last week and my world seems very quiet and almost empty.  It would be wrong not to speak of it.  I showed him this painting of St. Vincent Court; it was the last painting I got to share with him.  But who knows?  Maybe he sees plenty of things from another vantage point.  Maybe he hovers around me and shines in the colors.  Remember to treasure your lives and your loved ones and leave the world better than you found it.