Used a section of this abstract watercolor of poinsettias (inspired by a workshop I took at the Pacific Art League in Palo Alto) for our holiday card this year. Hope everyone has a relaxing holiday and a very happy new year!
After our Friendsgiving in LA, we drove out to Joshua Tree for the rest of the long weekend. We stayed in a cabin close to the park entrance.
Dinner on Friday evening was at Crossroads Cafe. It was packed! I liked the pulleys hanging by the window, so I did a quick sketch of the hungry crowd.
There are few good options for fine dining in the immediate area of the park, which is surprising since Palm Springs is a good 45 minutes away and there is no concessionaire in the park itself. Note to self: If I ever have enough money to invest in restaurants.... :-)
The park was vast and beautiful, filled with joshua trees, cholla cacti, and massive boulders. We were surprised to have the landscape to ourselves for much of the time; we expected many more visitors given the holiday. Perhaps the chilly weather put off the climbers.
I was glad to have layers, a hat and gloves as we hiked in Hidden Valley.
The joshua trees had unique "personalities." Even the desert rock formations were picturesque, especially near Skull Rock. This one had a top that looked like E.T.!
We meandered down the remote Black Eagle Mine Road before the swiftly setting sun forced us to turn around. The watercolor on the bottom was done from our cabin window -- that was the view out back!
We drove all the way through the park and had dinner at the Purple Palm, at the Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs. The dining room boasted vintage decor, including tasseled drum shades and detailed wallpaper.
In the morning I spied a jackrabbit in the yard so I sketched it while M. went on a bike ride. I don't know what it was eating, but it seemed very focused.
Unfortunately the wind was too intense for a second day's foray into the park, so we headed home. After some torrential rain as we neared LA, the skies cleared up again. And this happened:
I managed one final sketch during our molasses crawl northward on the I-5, of the intense post-storm light and thick clouds over the flat farmland.
Once again we found ourselves in balmy southern California for Thanksgiving. We left for LA very early in the morning, driving through thick fog. It soon gave way to the green and gold hills of Pacheco Pass.
I put away my sketchbook and settled in to listen to Mindy Kaling's audiobook. It made the monotony of the I-5 somewhat tolerable.
After a quick stop in Van Nuys to see M.'s cousin, we headed to Venice where we wandered along the canals and stole glimpses of fancy turkey day feasts taking shape in the waterfront homes.
Then we made our way to the beach, because what's Thanksgiving in LA without sandy toes and a balmy breeze?
Dinner was Korean BBQ at Genwa with an old friend, followed by drinks at the Culver Hotel. The next morning, we headed to Wi Spa for a soak and sauna before heading to downtown LA to meet USk friends Virginia Heim and Shiho Nakaza. We wandered around The Last Bookstore while we waited for them, and then had lunch at Bar Ama.
After lunch, Shiho and I sketched at Grand Central Market's G&B Coffee before we hit the road to Joshua Tree.
Saw the fantastic "Nutz Re-Mixed" at the Hammer Theatre a few weeks ago, featuring the a cappella group SoVoSo.
Their singing was a perfect complement to the acrobatics of the performers.