Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Past is the Present

Lately the past has a way of becoming the present. Thoughts of my former days in Los Angeles have found new life in my imagination. I loved living in LA. It was so different. So big. So full of unlimited opportunity and the unexpected. Not only because it's the land of dreams, but also because it is quite literally endless. By contrast San Francisco is a great big small town. It's a village full of villages and I grew up in one of them, the Sunset District. I wanted to sample the vastness and contrasts that could only be found in the giant southland. UCLA was my gateway. Of course, I now live in SF, but I miss many of the feelings I associate with my time in the megalopolis. Feelings that I hope to bring to life again with a fresh perspective and open enthusiasm. One of the top reasons I moved north is illustrated in the painting above. I made this plein-air study on the fire-trail where I often ran to escape the urban madness and strengthen my resolve. It winds steep and wraps around the top of upper Mandeville Canyon off Sunset Boulevard in the westside of town. The lush canyon was at one point designed to be gardens for botanical research and exists now as a community of ranch-style homes surrounded by enough flora and fauna to make you think you might live anywhere else but LA. That's why I drove thirty minutes from my home to go running there. That's why I painted my running trail. That's why I left LA. There's just not enough natural beauty left to embrace. No places to run. I wonder what gems I might have discovered had I remained there but now I'm here. There's an abundance of natural beauty right outside my front door, full of unlimited opportunity, and the unexpected.


  1. Thank you for bringing my past into my present, Jay. I remember Mandeville Canyon well. I never knew it's history. I miss the rugged beauty of the Southern California coastline and mountains. England, where i live now, is far too manicured. The Open Drawer sure beats a cup of coffee in the morning, or tea for that matter, for kick-starting the senses, ;)

  2. Awesome post. I never knew about Mandeville Canyon - I will have to check it out!