I decided to take a month off from the studio this January, and instead refreshed my visual senses with a trip to the west coast. For months I had been feeling the creative tug of painting landscapes again. A fresh breath, so to speak.
I had seen a quote by Vincent Van Gogh attached to the new Hockney/Van Gogh exhibition coming to Amsterdam this spring (https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en). In a letter from December 1882, the artist wrote “Sometimes I long so much to do landscape, just as one would go for a long walk to refresh oneself, and in all of nature, in trees for instance, I see expression and a soul.”
I couldn’t agree more, So in the beautiful Descanso Gardens in the hills on the outskirts of LA, I found my muse.
I had been to the gardens before, and one of my favorite spots is the Japanese Garden with its striking red bridge.
The camellias were blooming. In 1942, when people of Japanese ancestry were forced in to internment camps following the attack of Pearl Harbor, E. Manchester Boddy, who owned the working ranch, purchased 100,000 camellia plants from friends, two Japanese-owned nurseries.
Now a non-profit organization, the Descanso Gardens Guild manages the gardens in partnership with Los Angeles County.
This gorgeous place showcases the beauty of nature at its best and the desire to preserve it for future generations.
I’ve visited the gardens on many of my trips to LA, and I never get tired of it.