August 25, 2018

Little Church of the Flowers
Little Church of the Flowers, Forest Lawn, Glendale, March 25, 2018 (mixed media)

For my mom’s “March 25th” birthday this year I went to Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale to do some sketching. I thought it would be nice to commemorate her birthday in the exact spot where she and my dad were married August 30, 1952. They often spoke of their wedding at the Little Church of the Flowers near the front entrance of Forest Lawn, Glendale. It was a beautiful spring day and the grounds around the church were lovely. So, in fact this sketch represents two special dates in my mom’s life, as well as very special “life altering” dates for my brothers and me. Seeing the church for the first time in my life, I was reminded of how in love my parents were when they first met. My mom was head over heels for my very handsome dad. OK, I kind of jumped ahead to the beginning of their life together without mentioning the actual funny part of them being married at the Little Church of the Flowers. It was always the family joke that my parents were married in a place where most people go to be buried. And even though they were married at Forest Lawn, neither of them was buried there. As you may have read in last week’s blog equal parts of my mom are buried in Mariposa and Cayucos, while my entire dad is in the cemetery in Cayucos.

I already mentioned that it was a beautiful southern California day, with fluffy white clouds hovering in a perfectly blue sky. I imagine there were no such clouds when my parents were married there in the afternoon at the end of a hot August. My mom had spent the summer tending kids in the Grizzly Club in Yosemite and I am not really sure what my dad was doing earlier that summer. But they were young college students and this was the perfect time of year to get married, as it would give them time to also honeymoon in Point Lobos before UCLA started its fall 1952 semester.

When I go on a sketching adventure I normally look for a bench to sit on or I roll out a sheet of bubble wrap on the ground and start to work. There was no bench to sit on in front of this church. I found the almost perfect spot on the ground (at “gutter level”) to sketch. But after a few minutes of sitting there I realized I couldn’t get all the parts of the church I wanted for this horizontal view. That steeple was just too tall and it would have been a literal pain in the neck to try looking way up to its tip-top and then down to the watercolor paper over and over. So, I positioned my car so I could sit in the back with the hatchback open, thereby seeing what I wanted and working without neck pain. I started with a quick pencil sketch, and then I inked in the hard edges of the building. I mentioned in last week’s blog that I seem to reach for my ink pen these days when doing hard edges, like when I am outlining/detailing a church and/or cemetery. What you see here is actually a second attempt, as I just couldn’t get the brickwork to look right the first time. I also struggled with the green patina of the roof shingles and copper flashing. I like the way this one turned out much better.

I have mentioned in previous posts that sometimes people stop by to see what I am doing and sometimes not. But on that day a very official looking man in a suit walked by. And when I told him that it was my mom’s birthday and my parent’s had been married in the Little Church of the Flowers he stopped to chat. He said that it was not really uncommon for people to get married there as it’s a lovely place and can be rented for a fairly reasonable price. (I knew that’s why my parent’s were married there.). But he went on to say that Ronald Reagan had married his first wife, Jane Wyman, at the Little Church of the Flowers in 1940. Neither one of them was buried there. Ronald Reagan and his second wife, Nancy Reagan, were buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. That’s actually kind of weird. I wonder if anyone else can be buried there. Could other family members be laid to rest at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library? I guess first wives would not be allowed. Jane Wyman remarried (somewhere else) and was buried in another Forest Lawn Mortuary and Memorial Park in Cathedral City.

I mentioned that my parents got married at this church because it was cheap. Throughout my mother’s life she had a way of picking out unpleasant details of even the most special events, and that included her wedding day. First, she frequently talked about not feeling well the day they got married and that she spent the morning in bed. Then, I guess the best man was to be the photographer for their special event, but it appears he was having such a great time that he forgot to take many pictures. He took three at the church—one was a fuzzy shot of my mom way off in the distance in front of the altar. My mom had made her dress and she was tiny and cute. I am sure she looked pretty that day. Sadly, I never got to see her dress because after the wedding she gave it to her father to store at his house in Mariposa. He put it in the “brooder house” (where chickens had once lived) and somehow rats got in and ate her dress. (I am not making this up. No kidding.) There were no pictures of my dad at the church. Mom said he had a suit dyed blue, but it turned out to be a shade of blue that defied description and it did not look good according to my mom. Of course, if the best man had actually taken my dad’s picture you would never have noticed the color because I think he only had black and white film in his Brownie camera. But I must end this strange wedding tale with a fun memory of their reception that was held at the YWCA co-op just off the UCLA campus. Mom and dad met there and refreshments included a sheet cake and cool aid. (Cool aid was served, as alcohol was not allowed at the Young Women’s Christian Association.) Somewhere, I think there is a cute picture of them eating cake with all their college friends. But maybe there isn’t and I have invented in my mind this very attractive and happy couple toasting each other with paper cups of grape cool aid. And in my mind this picture is in living color, ugly suit and all.

August 18, 2018

Old Mariposa Graveyard
Old Mariposa Graveyard-Brown’s in foreground, June 23, 2018 (mixed media)

Before I start a sketch, I picture in my mind what I hope it will look like when I finally decide I’m done. I also think carefully about the medium I will use for this all-important first step. Will it be a graphite pencil (not too soft), Inktense pencil, colored pencil or pen and ink? Sometimes I just do a line drawing with one of those drawing implements without any watercolor. I have gotten into the habit of doing just that when I go to the Norton Simon Museum because the museum artist policy states that no wet media is to be used on the premises. Of course the last time my sketching group went to there I saw one of our members fill up a waterbrush right there in the back pond. None of the museum guards seemed to notice what she was doing. I have one of those brushes, but need to practice a bit more with it because I just seem to get blobs of water on the paper or nothing at all comes out. Maybe I need to get braver and try such a tool again—brazenly filling the hollow tube grip with water from the back pond of the Norton Simon in front of God and everybody. I’m not really brave enough to try any other wet material there. (Another one of our little artist gang often sits way at the back of the garden and quietly paints with her various inks. I think she is a very courageous artist rebel.)

The folks at the Descanso Garden don’t seem to mind artists like me using watercolors there. (I have even seen some paint with oils and pots of ink in the rose garden. I think the guards by the pond at the back of the Norton Simon would have a stroke if someone decided to whip out their oils and paint right there in front of God and everybody.) Lately I have been starting my Descanso watercolor sketches with either a graphite or Inktense pencil. I look at a landscape that’s caught my eye and decide if there is a particular color that seems to be calling my name based on what my imagination has conjured up. Sometimes I squint my eyes for a kind of soft light inspiration. Then I look through my Inktense pencils and sharpen that particular color—it’s often a shade of green, deep indigo, baked earth or bark. If no color seems to grab me, I just sketch with my “B” Staedtler Mars lumograph graphite pencil. However, when I look to add structure to my art, or I am at a cemetery or drawing a church, I ink in outlines and some texture lines with my “F” Faber-Castell black pen. Such lines are not meant to speak up and disappear into the landscape as a pencil line.

It may appear that I get overly stressed about making the “materials” decisions I have described here. I really enjoy this planning stage. I challenge myself to see if I can choose the perfect medium that will reflect my vision that’s inspired from squinting at my surroundings. And if something beautifully unexpected happens, it’s just like extra sprinkles that have landed on a favorite chocolate cake landscape. But in reality these are just sketches, not finished works of art. Maybe one in a hundred might possibly be considered for framing or given as a gift. It’s all a matter of enjoying every painstaking moment without some grand imagined payoff with each sketch. I do remember doing a sketch with another artist at the Norton Simon a while ago now. I left early, but it seems that someone there asked if they could buy our sketch, right there on the spot. I was so excited to hear our sketch had been sold until I heard she had gotten a dollar for it. She promised to get me the 50 cents sometime soon. Haven’t seen her for a while. Hmmm…

At the beginning of my summer break my son and I went to the old Mariposa Cemetery to spread the rest of my mother’s ashes with her parents who are buried there. Before my mother died she requested we bury some of her ashes with her parents. Her other half is with my dad in the cemetery in Cayucos. Yes, there is a story here, but I just don’t have the will to write about her strange thoughts, and comings and goings right now. Before spreading her ashes I had actually planned to sit on a sheet of bubble wrap near my grandparents graves and do this sketch on the spot. I am ashamed to say that I had never visited either grave before and didn’t know where to look, and this old cemetery has no map or directory of who’s buried where. We wandered around the tombstones, up and down a couple hills, and were about to give up and head for the motel when my son finally spotted their headstones. We had been looking for over an hour and it was a very warm afternoon. Before he had found them I thought we might try again the next morning, when it would be much cooler. So, by the time I took a picture of the scene you see here, I had given up the idea of sitting there to paint. I decided to capture it later from some photos I had taken with my phone.

But there is a story behind the photo that inspired this sketch. It actually included my son. He had a rather large grin on his face as he stood at the foot of the “Brown” plot. Oh, and he was also proudly holding out the rest of my mother’s ashes in a medium-sized ziplock bag. I don’t know, I didn’t add him because it seemed kind of weird and almost ghoulish. So, after I took this picture I opened the bag and carefully spread her ashes throughout the Brown enclosure in front of God and everybody. (There was only my son and I in the whole place.) I hadn’t noticed, but it seems my son recorded the event and even caught all my ramblings as I moved about the area. When I finished spreading every last bit of her, I couldn’t remember exactly what I had said. But upon listening to the recording, I heard myself tell my mom that I had kept my promise to bring her home to Mariposa to be with her mom and dad. When my aunt died, my brother, mom and her niece and nephews spread her ashes on this same spot in the old Mariposa Cemetery. (All of my aunt’s ashes are there.) And my cousins later added a plaque in her memory next to her mom and dad. My uncle, the only one missing from this little family, was not buried anywhere near here. In fact he was not buried at all. He donated his body to the UC Davis School of Medicine, and his wife at the time did not invite any of us to the ceremony they had for him there. But that’s not the weirdest part of this family burial story. Not that long ago I clearly remember my uncle saying that when he died he didn’t want a fuss. He said we were to “stake him out in the backyard and let the buzzards have him.” And all of this in front of God and everybody. I have no words…

Final note about the old Mariposa Cemetery

As my son and I had spent so much time wandering the old cemetery, I noticed a lot of red remembrance poppies and markers for veterans who had served in WWI all around. (If you look closely at the background of my sketch you can see a few dots of that red flower.) My grandfather had been in the balloon corp. during WWI and had a marker and small bouquet of poppies beside his headstone. Mom said that he even spent some time at the veteran’s home in Yountville just before he died in 1957.

I had your ashes in my closet for almost two years, mom. And every morning I walked into my closet and said good morning to you. Mom, I miss all the time we spent together. (died August 15, 2016)

And happy birthday Grandma Brown! (born August 24, 1897)

August 11, 2018

Nov sunflower
Dried sunflower, November 1999 (Prismacolor colored pencil on toned paper)

At the time I created this piece I was doing a lot of art on toned paper. Canson toned paper works well with dry materials like colored pencil, graphite and ink pens. I have used gouache on such Canson paper, but it’s not really made to get very wet and will pucker some after it dries. Not really a fan of that. I use toned paper in my art for very specific effects. For example, since the sunflower and morning glory were to reflect an autumn hue and time of year, the gold background supported the color of the dried flower as well as the time of year. Another example of my use of toned paper was posted with my April 7, 2018 Trib story. That featured a couple of tulips on grey toned paper. (For this illustration I actually did use Prismacolor colored pencil over gouache. But I applied the paint using a dry brush technique, so the paper didn’t get excessively wet—no puckered paper there.) I wanted the grey color to make the red flowers topping the thin green stems pop off the page. Of course when the story was printed, the background was eliminated—so much for that affect. I also used the grey toned paper for an illustration (done for a San Luis Obispo children’s a magazine story) of a couple sparrows drinking water from a wine barrel fountain in my backyard. The grey background echoed the color of the grey/brown birds as well as the grey patina of the oak barrel. And I used bright blue and white Prismacolor colored pencils on the grey toned paper to render water spilling into the barrel. Pastel colored pencils were used to look like a child had drawn a rainbow on the wooden surface. Again, the pastel colors popped nicely off the grey background. I have also seen toned paper used to great effect by other artists when he or she wished to add white gouache highlights. As I have said, I don’t usually do that because the final puckered paper bothers me more than the wondrous effect of white highlights.

Nov sunflower story
Telegram Tribune, SLO, November 1999

This article was originally written for the San Luis Obispo Tribune as something a mom or dad (family) could do with his or her child in the garden in the fall. It described a fun activity where a child would be encouraged to walk around outside, picking up seeds (e.g. dried sunflower seed heads etc), cones, bark or whatever seemed interesting. For added fun I encouraged the reader to also collect fall seeds on his or her feet by putting on old wool socks over their shoes for their journey. Some dried seeds will inevitably stick to the sock and hitch a ride to somewhere else. And when the walk is done you can plant the sock in a pot of potting soil, water and wait to see what grows. It’s often just a bunch of weeds, but there have been times those weedy plants have produced a California poppy or two (Those seeds are way to tiny to see and pick up. You just have to be lucky, I guess.)

So this week, as it has been extremely hot, I am imagining a cooler time of year. In fact, it is so hot my tomato plants are an “all over” golden color. It’s like the white-hot sun has bleached out all the green, leaving the plants a pale crispy yellow. A couple weeks ago it was so hot that every cherry tomato on my giant plant shriveled up. They looked like they had been cooked right there on the vine. (I was imagining I could cook some eggs on the sizzling dirt dusted hot concrete, adding just a few sun-dried/sautéed tomatoes to a gritty outdoor omelet.) I am left wondering how to save the tomatoes I have left. I have a fair amount of experience gardening, so when I plant something in my garden I have certain expectations of what should happen. And this summer’s strange crop has been anything, but what you might expect.

Is there a farmer in your genes?

When my son and I lived in Paso Robles our mailbox had been planted in a wine barrel filled with dirt out at the curb. (All the mailboxes on our cul-de-sac, and nearby neighborhood, also had the same “wine country” curbside mail delivery set up.) I planted that barrel at different times of the year with annuals. Early in the summer of 1999 I filled that planter with sunflowers. About mid July I added morning glory seeds (Ipomoea purpurea) to the soil. The intent was to have the drying sunflower stalk as a kind of natural stake for the twining wildflowers. (The art you see above reflects exactly what it looked like.) It was nice to have that round mailbox planter filled with such color year round. I remember that we had a very grumpy mail lady on our block. The first summer we were in that house I gave her a bouquet of my heirloom sweet peas that were growing in the planter, right under her generally disapproving nose. She told me later that it made the cab of her little mail truck smell heavenly. After that, she was rather nice and we had pleasant conversations every time I saw her on her route up our block. Not all my neighbors planted their wine barrel, but I always kept ours looking nice and even replaced it when the wood got rotten and started to pull away from the circular metal hoops that held the planter together.

I know there are a fair number of people who think gardening is for the birds, but I love it. About the time I was writing stories for the Trib I was also doing editorial work on gardening books for Sunset. Most of the time that work was fun. I got to talk to gardeners from all over the country, with most of my focus on gardens in the Pacific Northwest and the South. I spent a lot of time on the phone with these people, asking them about photos of plants in their gardens that were to be used in the Sunset books. I remember speaking with one gardener in Alaska that described thick plantings of 8 to 10-foot cornflower blue delphiniums she had around the perimeter of her log house in summer. She said they were extremely tall and thick because of Alaska’s extra daylight hours during that season. I guess I was lucky to have spoken with her at all that summer day as she had just gotten back from an extended Alaskan kayaking trip. She was also a painter and said that one of her greatest joys was to look out her studio window at snow-capped mountains that framed a nearby Juneau ice field. (I just this minute looked back at the photos of her garden in the book, “Gardening in the Northwest,” and it must be truly sublime to live there amongst all that garden beauty.) For the same book I remember interviewing an interesting gardener who was obsessed with abutilon and had them in pots all around his Snohomish, Washington garden during the summer months. I think I heard that Snohomish, an hour north of Seattle, is not a particularly hospitable place for such a delicate flower year round. In fact, I think I have also heard that the weather up there could be summed up as 9 months of winter and 3 months of late fall. So, his precious plants needed to be brought indoors during the cold weather months. He told me that all of the pots were brought inside his house and placed at every available spot he could find, including on his clothes dryer in the laundry room. He also added that he had to farm out many of his plants to indoor spots at friend’s houses as well. Such dedication to beauty!

I have many such stories of gardeners around the US, but I thought I would finish up here with a gardener I spoke to in North Carolina. His family has owned an apple nursery, Century Farm Orchards, for generations and they specialize in heirloom apples. He said that they were trying to find grafts of apples that were grown in his area during the time of the Civil War, but had somehow gotten lost over the years. You may or may not know that the apples we eat do not come from trees that started from a seed, but rather as a graft on an existing apple tree rootstock. Apples grown on trees that started from a seed, like those that planted by Johnny Appleseed, are used to make cider. And it seems that those early American settlers grew a lot of apples to make cider. If you want to know more about those early apples there is a wonderful book called “The Botany of Desire—A Plant’s Eye View of the World,” by Michael Pollan. Mr. Pollan not only describes Johnny Appleseed and apple cider made by pioneers in the early days of the US, but he also describes our human relationship/desires for 3 other plants—tulips, marijuana and potatoes. Very interesting reading.

So, like it or not, someone in your family was a farmer. And you probably wouldn’t have to go back too far to be able to name that someone. My grandpa on my dad’s side worked as a sharecropper and took care of horses for someone else on their farm in Nebraska and Wyoming. My dad’s mom’s family “worked the sugar beets” in Minnesota when my grandma was a girl. I don’t know as much about my mom’s early farming roots. It seemed that her parent’s families were most recently from cities in the east. Of course my mom told great stories about how her dad had come to California to be a farmer. He had chickens, rabbits, hogs and a huge garden when they lived in Mariposa. My son’s other grandparents were definitely raised on farms growing up. His grandma’s family settled part of Adelaida and raised almonds and walnuts. And his grandpa’s family settled part of Estrella and dry farmed wheat.

My dad had this old saying that drove us all crazy, and it went something like, “…you know my mom and dad were the first generation off the farm.” I was never sure what that meant, but it almost seemed like an excuse for their struggles to earn a living in Long Beach in the 30s. Of course there was a depression, so maybe everyone was struggling, whether they were fresh off the farm or not.

So, don’t be afraid if you find yourself at a nursery looking for something to plant, or you put on a sun hat and go into the garage to look for a shovel. And if you find yourself weeping with joy when a friend brings you a load of compost, soil amendment, or manure just go with it and plant something beautiful.

August 4, 2018

top of the Descanso, 6:28
At the top of the Descanso Garden, June 28, 2018 (watercolor and Inktense pencil on watercolor paper)

The background of this landscape is the San Gabriel Mountains. And the silver-white sliver of buildings in the middle ground is part of the small town of La Canada/Flintridge (population 20,447 as of 2016). If you have been following my blog you may have noticed that when I plop down to paint at the Descanso Garden I almost always turn right out of the main entrance and head straight for the rose garden. As you can see, I have changed my ways. Lately, I have been circling the garden on paths from left to right and then right to left—settling down anywhere but the rose garden to paint. I found this spot completely by accident, during one of my wanderings to the left of the main entrance. The trail to this view is not featured on their website or map of the grounds. It feels like a wonderful secret place that I have found and it’s almost like no one knows it’s there. Here you can sit up high on a flat piece of granite and look through layers of lovely oaks to the San Gabriel’s off in the distance. I can’t see anyone down below as the trees hide me from view. I can hear voices, but thankfully I can’t really make out what anyone is saying. It’s pretty wonderful and a perfect place for me, even if I don’t take out my sketchpad.

Oh, I still go to the rose garden, but only to stop briefly when a tart little rose is just too beautiful to pass by and I bend in to smell something wonderful. In fact, I have noticed that our summer heat intensifies the heady perfume given off by most of the Descanso roses. (Well I guess there is one good thing about the intense summer heat we have been experiencing.) But even though there are colorful clusters and single stems of wonderfully scented flowers all around I have decided that I am just not comfortable sitting there for any extended period of time right now.

Of course there is a story…The other day I was sitting comfortably and painting under the shade of a tree in the rose garden. A group of three moms, with three strollers, wandered by and then stopped at a nearby patch of lawn. They laid out their blankets and visited with each other while attending to their tiny infants. All seemed fine and I continued to paint. But soon, the women got quiet, save one. She had begun a grizzly and suspense-filled tale of the recent experience of giving birth to her youngest child via Cesarean. I was trying not too listen, but it was hard to avoid her description of the trauma for both the mom and baby leading up to the unexpected surgery—complete with her description of the individual organs that needed to be set aside so the doctor could reach in and get the baby out. What she was saying was way too personal for a public place, but she shared every gritty detail with great gusto. After a few minutes of this I found myself hurrying to finish my watercolor so I could leave. I’d had enough. Just as I put the last hurried bit of color on the page and was standing to let everything dry, she finally finished her story (with thankfully a happy ending for both mom and baby). Then it got really quiet and I heard the other mom’s muffled voices say something about needing to get home. So, they all gathered their baby items, babies, and left. I know if I had been one of the silent moms I would have been planning for the moment she took a breath so I could leave too. Yikes! So, I slowed down my planned flight, finished up and packed my bag. But I think the universe was trying to give me one last “beware of people (or new mothers) in the Descanso Rose Garden” message because on my way out I came across a dirty diaper on the grass. I’m not kidding! The next time I went to the Descanso I looked for a new hangout, away from just about everyone—especially new moms with strollers who looked like they had a tale to tell, or maybe just hadn’t quite gotten the hang of diapers. I’ve said it before, but I just don’t know if I really like people.

I saw my doctor the other day and somehow we got to talking about our mutual need to be away from people at times. (I didn’t tell him about the talkative “baby momma” at the Descanso…) But he had a lot to say about such feelings of being too near to others that kind of resonated with me. He described early humans as nomads, wandering around in their small family group looking for something to hunt or gather. There just weren’t a lot of people yet and there was always somewhere else to go without running into anyone you didn’t know. Even though I think I like the idea of having almost no one around (especially when there are way too many people at the beach). I get it. Even though I love the idea of walking a lonely strand of sand without seeing a single soul, there really isn’t anything romantic about being nomadic. It must have been tough, taking great effort to live and thrive in such a world. I guess life got a little easier when some of these same nomads learned to domesticate animals and farm—slowing their need to move around so much. But my doctor said that he thought humans were still basically nomads, with some deep primitive need to move on, move to someplace new. He likened it to the early settlers in North America who were moving westward, looking for something unspoiled and new. But there really isn’t anywhere new to move anymore. We’ve gone as far west as you can. We mused that some think it’s time to move off the planet into outer space. We both laughed and decided that living on Mars would be a terrible idea. I reminded him that there were no oak trees on any other planet, so space would definitely be “out” for me. He mentioned that he had recently become a grandpa and I knew he wasn’t going anywhere.

On my way home from the doctor’s office I thought of a wonderful story I had heard on the radio a long time ago, about very early human nomads. I don’t remember the “radio” guy’s credentials, but I think he was an anthropologist… Anyway, he started out by saying that our human brains haven’t really changed much since the days of the Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens. He didn’t go into great detail about the actual size or shape of those early human brains, but focused on their possible cognitive abilities (e.g. memory, attention etc) as it related to those early family units roaming around together. I distinctly remember him saying that such an early person probably knew, or remembered, a total of 50 people. That’s all he or she would ever encounter. That would include those in his or her actual group, and maybe the members of another group they might come across every so often. Seeing/knowing/remembering only 50 people in my “year in/year out” life seem like a manageable number for my 21st century nomad Neanderthal-like brain. I’m not sure if early Homo sapiens, or Neanderthals, had names, or if they even talked to each other. I can’t even tell you how many different people I have seen in my life, but it’s way more than 50. Bet you can’t either. I do find it amusing that I probably have 50 plus random facts that I can call up at a moment’s notice, but have been known to forget someone I have just met, even when they are standing right in front of me.

I just finished reading “The Enchanted April,” by Elizabeth Von Armin (1922). The premise of the book is very appropriate for this story. It’s about four English women looking to escape their “dreary” lives for various reasons. They don’t know each other, but are brought together by chance when they rent a medieval Italian castle for a month in April. I particularly like how one of the characters, Lady Caroline, ardently looked for a secret place to hide out while at the castle. Ms. Von Armin describes it as “…a little place jutting out from the great wall, a kind of excrescence, or loop, no doubt used in the old distrustful days for observation, where it was possible to sit really unseen…” And if that was not enough to keep her out of sight Ms. Von Armin adds a “thick clump of daphne” that grows in just the right place to further block any intruder’s view. So, Lady Caroline claimed that spot as her “hidy hole.” The hilarious twist to her wanting to be unseen is the fact that she liked to sit there and smoke, but her puffs of cigarette smoke obviously gave away her location to anyone coming even near to that spot. Of course this kind of information makes me wonder if she really wanted to hide away and be left alone. I think there are probably a lot of “I want to be left alone” pretenders out there (Greta Garbo, Grand Hotel, 1932). Just sayin.’

Final note about my secret spot at the Descanso

I took my son to this very spot the other day. He thought it pretty special too, but without any prompting he noted that the view would be better if there were no buildings. I had thought that very thing when I did the watercolor, and almost left them out. It made me smile to think that he is definitely a chip off the old anti-social nomadic Californian block. That’s a relief!