Watercolor #15 in 33 Years: Los Angeles Zoo

by Pasadena Adjacent


Zoo_03enlarge to appreciate 

I was expecting plein air watercolor #15 to be Devil’s Gate Dam — from the western side of the bridge. But life is messy. Uninterrupted time is out of reach. Non interruption is how I process creativity. Lots of thought – occasional action. But since plans are in the making to spend this weekend with the shamans, Devil’s Gate Dam #2 may have to substitute for next Saturday’s session.

So this session was held at the Autry in Griffith Park. Only me and Barbara showed up (and she drove). The Autry was hosting an opening for ‘Western Painters.’ Highly skilled work but sadly anachronistic. What rocks is the extended show on beading. It’s onset, it’s influence, and as a practice that allowed for native wisdom (medicinal plants and beliefs) to be hidden from western eyes. Plus a small gallery show celebrating Jack Rabbit cabins out near Joshua Tree.

Barbara chose to paint the Autry sans the ding bats on the bell tower. A museum design so hideous Mr V refers to it as ‘Mission Impossible.’ She did a really good job on the redemption end. I painted the Zoo — mostly the sign (and in perspective). It’s an impressive sign featuring a California Condor. Did you know Los Angeles Zoo has played the largest role in rescuing the condor from the brink of extension? Something I was made aware of back when studying forestry at PCC. A precious few existed then. Maybe 17? Their return is something to be proud of.

[WARNING SHOP TALK] Where fools tread. Yes, first thing I chose to tackle was the signage with it’s one point perspective. Either you find the result quirky and charming or annoyingly inept. I parked myself on a curb at the far end of the parking lot, so as to keep a distance between myself and the onslaught of visitors. It also kept me from accurately seeing what I was painting — and once you set up, you can’t exactly leave to go in for close-ups. Didn’t help that I had left the chip out of my camera. So I interpreted what I couldn’t clearly see; like the entire entrance. The silverly softness of the palms as they make there way back in space is commendable. Palm trees and tiki lights lend a jungle air. And though the coyote is made up, it’s no stranger to the park’s trash cans. Plus it adds a touch of irony.