What a nice surprise: I was invited to paint live for a few days in the atrium of the San Diego History Center, representing Noel-Baza Fine Art and their gallery there. Very flattering (and only a little panic-inducing!)
The San Diego History Center is in Balboa Park, near the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. They are currently featuring all things Centennial: all about the great expo of 1915, for which our wonderful park was built. Part of that celebration is a show of artwork that appeared at that famous expo one hundred years ago, and a gallery run by Noel-Baza Fine Art of works by contemporary San Diego artists. Very grateful to be included in that, too.
There I was, painting away, enjoying the comings and goings of families and groups of school kids, old folks, art lovers, history buffs, kind volunteers and staff, and a huge gaggle of History Center new members being given a tour. Only managed to finish two little pieces, but got a good start on a third one. Fun to work so small after a couple of years of working large. (Wish I had been living large all that time, but we do what we can!)
Go check out the artwork; the current group of historical works will be switched out in July. The contemporary works are frequently changed out as well, so there’s regularly something new. Fun to see how old and new takes on San Diego have changed… and not.
Talk about nostalgia! This terrific show is the most serendipitous thing that’s happened to me for a while: As part of the celebration of the centennial of San Diego’s Balboa Park (and “The Panama Exposition” that occasioned the development of our famous park), The San Diego History Center reassembled a show of San Diego Landscapes that appeared at the 1915 expo, and there they hang once more. I mentioned this to my mother recently, and she told me something I never knew: that her parents came to San Diego to spend their honeymoon at The Panama Exposition. I got all goosebumpy, knowing that my grandparents had seen this very art show on that honeymoon trip. And here I am exhibiting my work right next to it… .
Noel-Baza Fine Art, formerly a brick and mortar gallery in Little Italy, has taken up residence as a sales gallery in the History Center, and are exhibiting a sister show of contemporary views of San Diego. My two pieces above are just a couple of the many they are showing. I am in the wonderful company of a big group of excellent San Diego artists:
Alison Haley Paul
Truly a bit of history, and some lovely, exciting painting. If you haven’t made plans to help celebrate our city’s jewel of a park, this is a great excuse. It’s a diverse eyeful of places you will recognize and appreciate differently after seeing them through these artists’ eyes – from the perspective of then, and of now.
In the summer of 1940, an artist named Belle Baranceanu created a WPA mural (shown in it’s original form at right) on the proscenium arch at La Jolla High School’s theatre. It had been the original La Jolla Playhouse, begun by Gregory Peck and other famous theatrical community members, before it became the auditorium at the high school.
It was a wonderful theatre, a real theatre with flies, real lighting, elegant banked seating, a balcony, and the signatures of many performers, famous and not, all over the backstage brick walls. A magical, dark, wondrous place. We reveled in it.
In 1975, it was torn down without warning, and therefore without fanfare or protest. Deemed unsafe in earthquakes. So many structures were retrofitted for earthquakes, I have always wondered what the real reason was. Insurance? In any case, a terrible loss.
This year, when it came time for a big decade reunion of my class, I felt that this venerable and universally loved memory deserved an homage. Given the proportions of the hall where the party was–as compared to the proportions of the theatre proscenium–I had to do a lot of jiggetying and editing. Sadly, the orchestra got all but cut out. Did what I could. Mine is merely Prismacolor on mat board, a flimsy tribute to a huge fresco that should have lasted many generations. But it did indeed bring back memories.
Time marches on. Good memories need a nudge sometimes.