South Pasadena Plein Air Genre Oil Painting – Fourth of July Parade 2009

South Pasadena Fourth of July Parade
8 x 10 oil
Plein air painting

This one was a lot of fun to paint, because the crowd was so lively and colorful. Because I know some of you are thinking – how can you paint a moving parade while it’s happening. The simple answer is I paint the things that don’t move (trees, buildings, distant crowds and then roughly indicate the things that are moving and finish them later from refrence photos. In this case the tractor pulled float with balloons was the big moving thing in the scene, so I could only block in the outline as it passed. I needed a photo to get the detail on the tractor. I painted the cheerleaders from memory because they didn’t stay put for long either. If I got your uniforms wrong, sorry girls, but Go Tigers!

If anyone knows the name of the group riding on the float pulled by the tractor, and the name of the tractor driver, let me know and I’ll add their names to this blog post. I’m thinking Brownies or Girl Scouts but I couldn’t swear to it.

South Pasadena is the most wonderful slice of Americana you can imagine, and on the 4th of July you can feel like you’ve stepped backwards in time in the very best way. Parades, flags and bunting, families gathering, sack races in the park … I just love it.


  1. Leslie Saeta
    August 4, 2009

    Thanks for your wonderful comments about South Pasadena. I love South Pas and it really is a slice of Americana!

  2. annie
    August 5, 2009

    You always capture that wonderful atmosphere in these community
    gatherings. We had Old Home Day parades back East, every year, and July 4th or Memorial Day celebrations.

  3. Cafe Pasadena
    August 8, 2009

    Well, he’s dragging with the tractor a brunch of elementary school age girls so it’s probably brownies. I hear the tractor driver is Mr Mike Fox a long-term So Pasa resident. The building to the rear is actually a shade of white.

    Go Titans!

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