August 14, 2021

This week was all about beginnings and endings for me. Or maybe it was more like endings and beginnings? It all started with my completely filling up another sketchbook. The 8/8/2021 sketch was the final one, thus ending the second in a series of Canson Mix Media 7 by 10 inch sketchbooks (Yes, I have completely filled two of them now and about to start another.) On 8/11/2021 I began sketching in the next Canson 7 by 10 inch sketchbook. But before I did that sketch I looked at the first couple sketches I had done in the beginning of the book ending with 8/8/2021. Are you with me so far? I was curious where I had been when I started that one. Those first few renderings reflected a spring “nests” theme going on at the Descanso at the time. If you look at the April 3, 2021 One CA Girl post, featuring those drawings, you will notice they were also done with pen and ink and Inktense pencils. And they were all done at the Descanso Gardens. What a surprise, right? It was fun to sit in a similar spot the other day, looking again at the same metal arbors at the entry area of the garden. Now, those rebar arbors are covered with life size butterflies (Descanso’s summer 2021 theme). As I walked around there this week, I noticed that they had also taken down many of the other nest displays. And they have removed the dragon fly I featured in my July 3, 2021 art/story. My, my, but seasonal beginnings and endings seem to be happening everywhere. I bet the Descanso’s getting ready for their fall themes. It was nice to get an invite to their 2021  “Carved” pumpkin and subsequent “Enchanted Forest of Light” outdoor events. Both were cancelled because of COVID worries.

Even though I was glad to hear the Descanso was planning to reinstate their outdoor fall/winter events (Carved and Enchanted Forest of Light), it seems that other SoCal venues may not be so lucky. The Gamble House, in Pasadena, started giving tours of the house’s interior late last spring. Prior to that time they had been closed for several months because of COVID transmission worries. However, due to recent COVID worries, they have again stopped giving in-person tours inside the house. You can still tour the outside of the house in person and they have a virtual tour of the inside. But if you can’t get inside you will miss experiencing something truly extraordinary. (You may or may not be away, but the Gamble House exterior was used as Doc Brown’s house in the movie “Back to the Future.”) Not being able to step inside is sad news on so many levels. If you are a fan of craftsman architecture (specifically Greene and Greene buildings) it us heartbreaking to imagine you can’t experience the glorious textures and craftsmanship of the wood, glass and furniture of that time. But more heartbreaking for sure is the fact that their junior docent program will again be interrupted. Each year adult volunteer docents teach middle school students about that house, training them to give tours. Then elementary school students are invited to tour the house with the middle school student docents. Cool, huh? As the inside of the house will be closed, none of the recently “virtually” trained middle schoolers will be able to conduct those tours. Breaks my heart…

But my endings/beginnings story does not end with a couple sketchbooks, seasonal changes at the Descanso Gardens and/or the status of visiting The Gamble House. Another ending/beginning SoCal story for One CA Girl will begin on 8/16/2021. That is the day summer break ends and the 2021-2022 school year begins for LAUSD. That means I will be back on campus. I am cautiously optimistic for that beginning and truly looking forward to seeing all my students. Here’s to a new beginning! Wish us luck!

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