After I posted last week’s story of where art takes you I went on another “art” journey. And I went looking for jacaranda trees that are beginning to burst with impossibly bright purple flowers. I had seen quite a few when I was at the Mount St Mary’s University Doheny campus the day before. Mount St Mary’s is right near USC, the California Science Center and the Museum of Natural History. The tiny university is just two city blocks, but my my they had some lovely jacarandas blooming there.
So the next day, I headed to where I knew some of these trees were blooming a little closer to home—in Glendale. And of course, this “art” journey became something of an all too familiar journey I had often done in this part of Glendale a couple years ago. So a quick sketch of a SoCal spring blooming jacaranda tree began an art gambol through the Glendale hills, where I greedily captured what I saw around me as I went. As I sat on my sheet of bubble wrap on the very cold concrete I formulated this plan of trying to capture several views as I walked along with my folded and cut watercolor paper, similar to the Sketchcrawl I wrote about April 27, 2019 on May 4, 2019. I must say that I was actually not inspired to sit there very long as every time I moved even the slightest bit I could hear the tiny bubbles pop that were trapped in the plastic. I knew it wasn’t going to be long before my posterior was sitting on the cold concrete on a thin sheet of plastic, sans air bubbles of insulation. For this first one I wanted a kind vertical 3 rectangle sketch, emphasizing the expansive branches of the bright purple upper story, narrowing down on the left to the dark trunk of the jacaranda. (Isn’t that a great name? Jacarandas are not native to CA, like so many other flowering trees you can see down here, but comes from tropical and subtropical places in Mexico, Central and South America as well as islands in the Caribbean.) I was pretty excited about what I might see on my next stop, but kind of had the idea of going to the amazing pink stucco house that’s coming up next. I used walked past it on previous walks in this Glendale neighborhood. (See August 5, 2017 entry.)
Because of this kind of journey, I didn’t want to wait for anything to dry, so I didn’t add water to any of these pieces until I got home. Once I had the jacaranda just where I wanted it, sans water, I started the climb up the hill to this view. I have walked past this house countless times, visited with the next door neighbors, watched a for sale sign go and then down. And now the newer owners have added a massive fountain next to the pink wall in front. So, I stopped and sketched what you see here, focusing on the new fountain. Birds were coming and going and I wanted to capture it, with its bubbling water, that had invited new life to the pink stucco house. For the shape of this image, I dropped open the bottom right vertical rectangle, below the jacaranda, and went to work. I liked the idea of doing this as a small 4 by 6 vertical piece because if I folded up the jacaranda just right, the welcoming fountain could be the front of a card I might put in an envelope so I could send it to someone. I have to admit, I really cheated on this one as I only did a pen and ink while standing there, adding the color and water when I got home. If you have ever stood and sketched anything, you know that it’s a little tricky to add too many elements to the paper when you are standing, as you are shifting materials in and out of a bag or pocket with one hand while holding the pad of paper with the other. So, I was there just long enough to see a couple birds, get the basics down, take a photo and head further up the hill. I wanted to capture one more piece on the back of my cut and folded watercolor paper before I headed to a Coffee Bean for a lovely double shot cappuccino.
It was truly a strange event for me to even stop and really look at this house. I normally don’t walk past it on Kenneth. I’ve driven by it, but have never really taken a good look as I speed by. For my usual journey through this neighborhood of Spanish revival houses, I come down the hill past just the corner of this one. And I have walked past there countless times, wondering who had painted this Italian villa inspired stucco house a couple odd shades of pink and ochre. There was also a small addition being added to this side and I was distracted by that as well. Yes, you could see some flowers here and there, but there was just too much boring grass and I didn’t realize there were so many palm trees in and around the house and lot. But for this Glendale gambol I found myself walking past the front of the house on the other side of the street. I noticed the whole house had been painted a rather lovely cream color. It was at this point I really noticed the amazing rose garden that was in full bloom the entire expanse of the front. I kind of stopped and almost gasped at my previous lack of attention to all this loveliness. I knew I wanted this image. So, I folded my paper into a long horizontal view so I could capture this lovely Italian looking stucco house with fountain and roses that a were bursting with color all along the low wall. I had the whole backside of the jacaranda and pink house fountain watercolor paper to do it. Woo hoo!
Finally, I had constructed the perfect three-piece art of my Glendale gambol. And it was all inspired by a lovely jacaranda tree. I don’t really have anyone in mind to send it to, so I think I’ll keep it awhile to remind me to always look again at things we think we have already seen. I was glad I had gone on my art journey, back to a familiar place to discover something new. Maybe it was good to be gone so long because it was fun to see it again. Where would you go visit again if you could? It doesn’t have to be a fancy far away place, it could even be something, or somewhere, in your own California backyard.