Thrills like White Elephants

Thrills Like White Elephants

Thank god I finally have a blog where I can write my cheesy puns in peace. I was working on a staging job which called for much more furniture than I had hazardously stacked in my storage space. So a trip to my favorite thrift store in Palm Springs was in order. I can never go with out buying something from this shop, and alas, I came away with this large vintage elephant table.

It’s sort of Pier One-meets-Golden-Girls, where Blanche marries a former colonialist on safari and this table is on her “African” themed lanai kind of piece. The couple next to me assured me that it was “fabulous,” but it now sits shoved in a corner mocking me. When my husband and I talk about the “elephant in the room,” it’s literally this one!

I tried a little rehab, which looked like this:

El2

So now it’s more of a child’s nursery room table in a world where one puts loosely set glass- topped tables in a room where children play. That trunk could poke an eye out! For my next attempt I’m thinking fuchsia, olive green or even gold? I still think it could make an excellent entry table, or you know, a Craigslist “it’s on the curb now so come get it” ad.

 

Bear City

Bear City

I’ve had “Bear City,” the theme song to the fictional SNL TV show about a town full of bears in my head since winning this vintage California state flag on eBay. It all started two weeks ago when Andre and I were discussing the best state flags. I think California wins, bear none. (Thanks and sorry.) New Mexico has the best license plate for sure, but I love our state’s flag in its stark simplicity. These old canvas flags can get quite expensive, but I got lucky because this one is SO dirty. I was already researching ways to gently treat stained flags when we unfolded it from the package and thought- it looks great!

It’s currently living in Andre’s office behind the giant, wall-supporting X, because really, what else fits there?

California Republic

 

High Desert Tales

High Desert Tales

The first time I walked into Rose & Buster’s Wine Tasting in Yucca Valley I knew I had stumbled upon something special. It’s hard to say which is more colorful, the pastel walls with portraits of Native Americans and desert landscapes, or the delightful owners, Rose and Buster. They invited me to participate in their Narrative Night which features local storytellers and musicians. Last night I was thrilled to tell a couple stories of my own including the weird reasons I have so many names as well as my exploits as a valet parker.

Edgar Payne The Scenic Journey at PMCA

Edgar Payne The Scenic Journey at PMCA

My favorite California story also happens to be my weakest California story. The details are hazy: I was listening to an interview on the radio- or maybe I read it? An artist was talking about leaving So-Cal after living here for years. From his new home, the artist watched the infamous live telecast of OJ Simpson’s white Bronco ambling up the 405 and cried. Was he crying for the victims, for the fallen superstar, or the Knicks game being interrupted? No. He was crying for the light. The artist saw the golden rays alighting on that Bronco, a gentle light that is so specific to California, and was overcome by it’s beauty.

Plein-air painter Edgar Payne was similarly stricken by the California light on his first visit here in 1909. Though a native of Missouri, Payne set up a little framing shop in Laguna Beach and spent his free time painting the California coast. This body of work would become the cornerstone of California Impressionism. The Pasadena Museum of California Art is currently exhibiting a gorgeous retrospective, Edgar Payne The Scenic Journey through October 14th, 2012. Admission is free this Saturday along with a party celebrating the museum’s ten-year anniversary.

And now since you’ve indulged me with the OJ story, perhaps you’ll allow me a further divulgence: my father is a plein-air painter and he’s been talking about this show for weeks. Sadly he won’t get to see it as his terrain is the craggy rocks of New England. We can never take his car because the back is permanently crammed with an easel, palettes and still-wet canvases. There isn’t a dilapidated barn or beached tug boat that lost it’s tug that escapes my father’s quick eye. If a setting strikes him he’ll pull off the road, throw up the easel and and just sketch away.

I write all this to honor a beautiful art tradition that is fading in popularity though not in power. Impressionism is obviously associated with the French, but what could be more American than getting out into the land, being open to all the elements, and capturing the beauty of the pastoral landscape with canvas and brush? Tonight as I watch the golden light set on the thicket of trees outside my window I’ll think of a little of Payne, and probably my father, and I’ll likely tear up, as I have before, so grateful for the simple gifts of living here.

Read the full story over at Los Angeles, I’m Yours

Photo via 

 

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