Friday, April 1, 2016

Work and Play

I'm lukewarm about this painting, but I tried something new.  I went to Pasadena's Central Park, where I've managed to produce a run of pretty nice paintings of the Castle Green, and I painted something different.  I can't even tell you for certain what it is, other than a view through the park and across the street to the west.  There's a little slice of playground, and some little painted children.  Previously mostly commercial and industrial, this part of Pasadena has become increasingly residential, and the park, once frequented by transient older folks, now seems to host an enormous playgroup of school-aged small children.  These are the slightly neurotic children of well-educated over-protective parents.  Sorry kids, but it's true.  I imagine the kids will be all right in the end.  No matter how much and for how long your parents protect you, eventually life is going to wallop some experience and character into you.  To clarify: I use wallop in a really figurative way, because I would be the last person to suggest we should return to a time when spanking was the norm.

I've railed before on this very blog I think about the trend toward safe and bland playground equipment.  There I go again sounding like I want children to get hurt.  It isn't that at all, but adventure, fear, risk . . . those are beautiful things.  Kind of almost worth flying through the air and landing hard with a mouth full of sand.  This playground equipment seems pretty safe.  No hard edges or hot metal, or free-fall from ten feet up, but still honestly it looked fun.  These little kids had their own challenges, trying to grow up under watchful eyes.

As it happens, I used to work across the street from this park, also to the west, but slightly further south, to the left and out of the picture.  I was only a few years wiser about the world than the children of the playground.  I used to walk across the street to the park for my lunch hour.  I probably even occupied the swings sometimes - those treacherous swings of a bygone era.  There were pigeons eating things they shouldn't and old tired men drinking from paper bags.


  1. That structure is next door to Fire Station 31. I'm not sure what it is, though. I agree about the importance of risk and spirit of adventure on playgrounds. I really like the view through the park and across the street that you created. I was saddened to learn of the recent death of Rocky Behr, owner and founder of The Folk Tree, which has been across from the park for decades.

  2. You have been posting and now that I can get back into my blog, I'm able to find yours. Love it when you write. And agree about playgrounds, ocean waves, staying out late on summer nights with bikes and no helmets, riding horses up into the mountains. I always appreciated the division between child and parent. They lived in a world of cocktails and cigarettes and we lived in ours. But I'm being nostalgic.


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