Pasadena Adjacent

Life Lived on the Edge of Pasadena

Watercolor #40 in 35 Years: Singer Park Pasadena



I had a bad feeling about this location. First off, I was still working on the ‘Old Mill’ painting and wasn’t prepared to switch gears. When I did arrive at Singer Park, I noticed all my fellows were huddled into the north east corner. An indication that that might be the only focal point worth pursuing. Or at least one with shade. But just to be certain, I followed the circular path taking photos along the way. And this view was my first stop. The restroom.

To be fair, I did make it over to the gang. And I did try with all my heart to draw the Pergola that was near them, but it just wasn’t happening. So I went back to the restroom, did a little drawing, a little painting – all with disastrous results. At some point it occurred to me that painting a public restroom is probably not a wise choice. People like paintings with yellow in them – they don’t like bathrooms. Which might explain the endless argument on how to hang a roll of toilet paper. But I liked the apartment buildings on the other side of the fence. So there you have it.

[WARNING SHOP TALK] Barbara, upon seeing my sad start, encouraged me to turn the paper over and began again – she also said she had faith I could turn it around too. I took option B, got up early the next morning and made the restroom painting work. Then dropped in on the PCC swap meet, picked up a bunch of brushes from my favorite vender, returned home, and made everything else work. Mr V suggested keeping the background apartments low key. If I could change anything, it would be to remove the trees from behind the bathroom. The apartments are interesting.



Watercolor #39 in 35 Years: The Old Mill in San Marino



A blistering day awaited us when we made our way to the Old Mill in San Marino. Otherwise referred to as El Molino Viejo. Upon arrival we found the joint set up for a wedding. This made certain areas off limits, and other areas too hot to endure. What was left was a rounded pergola with a view obscured by a Huppah and a whole lot of chairs. Barbara took advantage of the situation and painted the scene ‘as is.’ And if the likes on Face Book are any indication – to great success. Me? I did some drawing, laid down some paint and came back the next Friday to work – without benefit of a wedding.

[WARNING SHOP TALK] The cooler Friday weather put me in a productive mood, resulting in a decent painting. I brought it up to the point where I could come home and put in the final details. Mr V. looked at it and encouraged me to bring up the darks (watercolorists generally work from light to dark) slowly; preserving the subtlety that was in the underpainting. Screwed up the stairs, put in a bench to take attention off of them, and eliminated the black metal handrail. Mainly because my fine line brush is much like my truck’s tire alignment – it veers to the left.

They let us take home a pomegranate.

Watercolor #38 in 35 Years: My Childhood Home



Barbara, our glorious leader and location scout was out of town the Saturday before last. So I was on my own to find something to paint. Since I spend more time at my childhood home then I care to, I thought I might as well paint it. Those in the ‘know’ might remember that it’s that space to the right of the brick chimney that the man in the Porche SUV managed to drive through uninvited. 8 months later, Mom now suffers with PTSD. Thanks asshole.

My father bought this house without my mother having ever seen it. A dilapidated wreck on a busy blvd, with a high end address. I still remember mom walking through the rooms crying. But my engineer father saw it’s potential and with a talent for landscape design, and a sensitivity for balancing squares and circles, he laid out the concrete walkway and the swerving architectural bones. He also went out to a tree farm and selected two crated olive trees (one that JUST died) and that beautiful Japanese Black Pine. It’s shaped like an oversized Bonsi Tree. Having noticed it was stressed, I’ve been babying it with a soaker hose. It’s in my painting. So is mom’s cat Bubba – and all those power poles the parrots like to hang out on.

[WARNING ART TALK] Grabbing my mother’s half walker/half chair apparatus, (those who’ve taken care of the elderly are familiar with this geriatric hybrid) I loaded it up with my supplies, wheeled it out front, locked the brakes and used it as a seat. That shadow on the lawn is missing from my piece. Why? because it wasn’t there when I painted the house in the late afternoon. I went back the next day and took another photo when the house was drenched in afternoon light. I suppose I could put the shadow in, but I don’t think it would make sense if you can’t see the tree casting it.

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