Pasadena Adjacent

Life Lived on the Edge of Pasadena

Watercolor #37 in 35 Years: Beckman Auditorium Caltech



The folks at Catlech may refer to this building as a “wedding Cake” but Edward Durrel Stone, it’s architect, saw it as part of the 1960’s ‘New Formalism.’ A contemporary interpretation of a circular Roman temple using modern materials. Sadly, because of the drought, all four disk fountains that encircle the auditorium, are out of operation. I imagine that at night, properly lit, they added greatly to the architecture’s overall drama. The building celebrated it’s 50th anniversary last year.

[WARNING SHOP TALK]  It’s really really hard to draw – and that’s all I’m going to say. This time instead of me telling you what works and what doesn’t, I’ll let you do that.


Watercolor #36 in 35 Years: Pueblo de Los Angeles



Last Saturday we plein air painters met up at Union Station. Well, the others met up at the station. I was too busy loosing money to METRO in an effort to purchase and fortify a TAP card. 10 Bucks! I also managed to write down the incorrect deadline on the South Pasadena Utility Box competition. Which is a shame because I had an idea waiting in the wings that I felt excited about. It’s just been that kind of year. Crappy. Did I mention I had a tire blow up while driving mom to the insurance office in Hacienda Heights? Happened on the overpass between the 210 and the 605 south. Mom refuses to get on a freeway in my truck, so we took her Honda. Seems mom’s insurance company decided to drop her after 50 years of loyalty, so we were on our way to meet up with her new insurer; an outfit called “Two Guys From Italy” (not really – Lloyds of London; at double and a half). If someone tells you there’s no such thing as accidents, they’re bullshitting you.

[WARNING SHOP TALK] Despite the beauty of Union Station, finding a location to sit and paint it’s architecture is difficult. The front of the station was in shadow, so I decided to cross the street and look for opportunity there. The best shade spots were taken up by the homeless – and who can blame them. I eventually found this little plaza area on the east side of Olvera street. The building to the right is an original adobe with an old grape vine. I like this painting very much. Especially it’s austerity and muted palatte. It’s well composed. If I were to fault it, I’d be critical of the sky and maybe the palm fronds. I love the palm trunk though. And the tile mural. It’s just very simple.

BTW – on leaving, I looked through a window out into the station court yard and saw my fellows. Good thing too. Barbara helped me buy a return pass home.

Watercolor #35 in 33 Years: The Rose Home




I believe this little house is recorded as being the oldest wood structure in the San Gabriel Valley. It was built in 1861 by Leonard J. Rose. A senator, rancher and father to California Impressionist Guy Rose. It’s where you get all those ‘other’ rose names – Roses Rd, Rosemead, Rose Hills. Very close to where I grew up – behind Clairbourn school. I went to a party here once – that blue rectangle in the mid area is a swimming pool. I wish I had a pool.

[WARNING SHOP TALK] The best viewpoint would have had me sitting in full sun or coming back in the late afternoon to catch the right light. There’s not much I dislike or particularly like about this painting. Most of it was done on site. I  wasn’t inspired. Too close to the ‘house of pain’ – my childhood home. The historical nature of the house got lost a bit and I wish I had extended the foliage of the oak beyond the picture plane. It looks too much like buzz cut. The background and the hedge on the right works. A kind of tropical feel.

More on the history of the area here

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