Daily Painting – Tujunga valley

Watercolor on 140# paper 7″ x 11″

Today one of my plant loving friends offered a potted ficus tree to a good home, and we happily drove over to his hillside home in Tujunga to pick it up. On the way back I was treated to a view of the valley from the vantage point of the Verdugo hills. It’s typical California chapparal – scrubby brush with dry grass below. But in the foggy cool light of the afternoon, the colors were atypically desaturated, a nice change from our usual tropical sunniness. A patch of beavertail cactus decorates the left hillside. And yes, that’s a datura meteloides (locoweed) plant growing close to the pavement. Its white whirled flowers are the ones that Castaneda’s Don Juan and Georgia O Keefe were both so fond of, for distinctly different reasons. So, bit by bit, you’ll get a feeling for my natural habitat.


  1. Kate (Cathy) Johnson
    October 16, 2006

    Lovely! So is beavertail cactus the same as what we call prickly pear? I saw lots of it out there…

  2. Karen
    October 16, 2006

    Kate, yes, it’s the same plant, although there are variations in species. The “fruit” is the prickly pear.

  3. Renate
    October 16, 2006

    I love to see your natural habitat in your sketches. It’s amazing how different it sometimes looks compared to our landscapes. Often it could be right around my corner, too.

  4. Gladys
    October 17, 2006

    Lovely different shades of green to define the trees. :-)

  5. Nancy Bea
    October 18, 2006

    Excellent painting! You have captured the sense of space and distance beautifully in this one.

  6. Nancy
    December 19, 2006

    I love the way you made the telephone pole and road look beautiful, part of the pastoral scene! Often I’ve looked at ‘civilized’ scenes and discounted them because I thought those traces of man ‘spoiled’ the natural view. You’ve changed my mind. Thank you!

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