Thursday, March 22, 2012

Venice Beach: An Iowan Explores a Corner of the LA Metropolis: Part I

As a getaway from winter, my husband and I spent two weeks in Southern California, in late February and early March. The first week was in Joshua Tree. See my 3 posts showing my view of the Mojave Desert by starting here.

Our GPS predicted 2-1/2 hours to drive to our rental house in Venice Beach, a charming beachfront district of Los Angeles. It took closer to 5 hours--the extra logged on the abysmally backed up freeways closer to LA proper. We're wimps when it comes to traffic: once we finally made it, we vowed not to use the car until we drove to the LAX airport to go home. Okay by me, I had a great week walking, biking, drawing, and basking in the SoCal sunshine.

"Palm Trees", ubiquitous with Venice Beach. These drawn quickly, soon after we arrived, with watercolor and ink in a new square format sketchbook (7"x7") that I really like.

Venice Beach has a charming neighborhood of walk streets. Mostly small Craftsmen-style houses front onto narrow pedestrian lanes. Our first full day, I made a beeline for a spot on Marco Place with amber glass globes hung from trees in someone's front yard, one dangling above the public walkway, that I had discovered on an earlier visit to VB.

"Venice Walk Street" done with Neocolor II wax pastels on black paper (11"W x 13.25"H)

I'd rented a bike for the week. The wheels of choice in VB are beach cruisers: wide tired, one-speed, brakes in the pedals, and in bright colors. It made me happy that mine had pink rims. Here's my set-up, when I got up to stretch my legs. Hard to believe this is less the a block from the busy Highway 1 that spans much of the California coast.

With the drawing in progress, a closer look with my trusty folding stool and boxes of NeoColor II wax pastels. The boxes are cedar Jamaican cigar boxes I inherited from my father.

I did this watercolor September 2011 in a bound sketchbook (5.25"Wx16.5"H), when I last was in Venice Beach. "Venice Beach Garden" is of a  rental cottage's courtyard garden, also on Marco Place, very close to where I drew the NeoColor II above.

This will be the first of three posts, showing my exploration of Venice Beach. Stay tuned.


  1. Venice walk street drawing is just crazy... I LOVE it! It smashes me... So bold, so intense, so vibrant! Bravo dear friend!!

  2. I love the juxtaposition of the power lines and cactus! And what great color, Marcia...

  3. Thanks, Masha and Cathy, for your enthusiastic comments! (I'm just now figuring out how to "subscibe" to comment threads, so I don't miss out on reading and responding to them, like I did with these).


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