Saturday, October 20, 2012


There's a restaurant in South Pasadena known as Shakers.  It was previously known as the Salt Shaker, but the name was changed.  The name might have been changed because the Peppermill, which was owned by the same people, went out of business.  It may have been because the population became more health conscious, and reduced its salt intake.  Possibly it was just because Shakers sounds snappier, and might have any number of possible meanings.  This is painted from a photograph I took of shakers at Shakers.  It was a happy day.

I've been eating at Salt Shaker/Shakers for many years.  Used to go there sometimes after the bars closed with English friends who liked eating liver and onions, and breaking into song, which the waitress said was not all right.  My husband and I ate breakfast there on weekends with our infant son in the carrier and our neighbor and the Los Angeles Times.  There's a dish that includes chili and eggs, that has at different times been known as Great Eggs and Eggs Incognito and Great Eggs Incognito.  A family favorite.  There was probably a smoking section at first, and then the smokers were relegated to an outside patio.  We had quit smoking long before.  Finally a city ordinance banned smoking altogether, and the only the patio remained.  The patio became the place to dine with your dog.  And we had a dog and loved our dog, and what could be better than dining with a dog?  If you don't have a dog, or you don't love your dog quite so much, there's some other stuff to like about Shakers.  It has extremely anachronistic architecture.  It has really good fresh baked goods.  It's so old and familiar to me, I'm not really sure whether it's good or not.  It's kind of comfortable and familiar like an old uncle or an old sofa.    

I used to think still life paintings were kind of trivial and useless.  But I figured out that with the right composition of light shapes and dark shapes, they had as much visual validity as any thing else.  I like dramatically lit inanimate objects, because drama and stasis are juxtaposed, and I'm confused and amused.  I've also been reminded of the power of objects.  We give power to objects, because they are the repository of our memories.  Sometimes things outlast the people who owned them and used them.  There is comfort in the solidness and usefulness of objects.


  1. I can identify with your Shakers story! You remind me of this piece by Octavio Paz -
    OBJECTS - They live alongside us, We do not know them, they do not know us. But sometimes they speak with us.

  2. Barbara, I'm starting to think your a bit of a poet " I like dramatically lit inanimate objects, because drama and stasis are juxtaposed, and I'm confused and amused. " maybe a philosopher is more apt. That sentence has me thinking. And I think your still life is really exceptional.

    My Salt Shaker choice is keiche lorraine (sp) and I remember always seeing the Williams from Arroyo Seco stables dinning there,... that plus my sister worked the counter one summer while attending college