Thursday, April 12, 2012

Historically Speaking...

David Griggs, Director/Curator Carpinteria Valley Historical Society and I

Donna Jordan, Carpinteria Beautiful and David Griggs on Wullbrandt Way

Quite some time back, Foster Markolf and I made an appointment with David Griggs, Director/Curator of the Carpinteria Valley Historical Society at the Museum, 956 Maple Ave., one block east of Wullbrandt Way. At that time, we were exploring ideas for the direction the mural might go. We considered images of old downtown Carpinteria that are in the Museum's archives. This changed once we landed on the theme "World's Safest Beach". Coincidently, around the time I was refining my final rendering that included the 1978 images of the Pannizons from Virgil Cooper's popular postcard, the Museum had their Annual Meeting  with a presentation by Carpinteria State Beach Supervising Ranger Scott Cramolini titled "Carpinteria State Beach...The Good Old Days".
I could kick myself for not making it to the meeting and seeing this important program.
My Grandparents were among the founders of the Historical Society and my Grandfather, Clyde Wullbrandt was instrumental in  securing the place where the Museum is built. Prior to it's groundbreaking, he farmed the very spot with many crops from corn to peanuts. He grew so much corn that my sisters and I would fill our little red wagon full of it and perch ourselves in front of Safeway (now Vons) and sell it for 50 cents a dozen, long before the "Farmer's Market" was dreamed of.
If you love Carpinteria and want to know more about it's rich and fascinating past, please visit the Museum and may I suggest you become a member while you are there!

Now that we are digging into the past... I have plenty of things to post that took place before the Dedication Ceremony April 6th, 2012.
I needed to get through the dedication ceremony before blogging again... Allow me some time to get those entries posted...

Friday, April 6, 2012

Please scroll down to mid Feb. for "START" of World's Safest Beach Mural

Scroll down to mid Feb. for "START" of blog on Carpinteria Beautiful's "World's Safest Beach" mural.
And Check out CVN insert put together by Stefanie Harrington...grab a hard copy!

Happy Carpinteria Beautiful Month Everyone!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

And the Oscar goes to.....

 Please go to this link for entertainment until I can post the many photos and stories I have yet to add:
 And Join us for the dedication Friday, April 6th at 4pm on Wullbrandt Way.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Back Against the Wall

Another week has past and the "unveiling" ceremony is fast approaching. I can see just how popular the mural has become already. One morning, fired up on coffee, I was deep into painting when I sensed someone behind me. I spun around and with my back against the wall I caught this shot... one of my favorites... it is "So Carpinteria", a phrase I often hear when people comment on our mural.

Sally Galati, PR person for Carpinteria Beautiful, with reusable bags

Stefanie Herrington, Mary Wullbrandt with copy of Carpinteria Magazine and Donna Jordan with mock-up of plaque.
Plans are in the works for the dedication party on April 6th, at 4PM while we have been putting details into the mural here and there. Some areas have needed to be strengthened, other areas toned down and lots of picky little things all over. Plenty of visitors continue to stream by:

Some stopping to chat with me, others stopping to sniff at Zorro.

Early one morning I had stepped away for a bit when my JC called me on my cell phone yelling "get back here right away!!! You have to get a picture of this!!!". I ran back to find the "First Start" kids visiting from Main School a couple of blocks South of the mural, across the street from my childhood home and where both my Dad, Ernest and I started Kindergarten.  I could not find my camera!!! For the first time, I had left it at the ranch with the battery recharging. Fortunately a responsible adult with a phone camera caught this photo and emailed it to share with you. It is another of my favorites so far.

First Start Against the Wall

So may things happened that day that I missed getting shots of. Later that day a group of people arrived and introduced themselves as the Mazzetti Family. A very distinguished Mrs. Mazzetti gave me a warm greeting and informed me that she was one of the owners of the building our mural is being painted on. She was out celebrating her 95th birthday and honored me by listening to my stories and gave me her full attention. One of her sons, Alan Mazzetti, is an excellent artists and fine painter ( Another son was kind enough to take some photos and email them to me. What a wonderful family!

Happy 95th Birthday Mrs. Mazzetti

Old friends continue to appear. Some on a regular basis like my good friend Eric Nagelman.

Eric Nagelman

 Some I have not seen in Many, many years like Carpinteria Warrior and Surfer John Floyd.
John Floyd
Then there are Carpinterians like Anne and Dan who roll through almost daily and brought Susan and Tricia by one sunny morning:

Anne, Dan, Susanne and Tricia

Maybe in the background of some of these photos you can see I have added some Deep Green and Burnt Umber to the trees and grasses in the salt marsh along with some highlights of Lime Green, Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre and Cadmium Orange. An "old friend" in a blue car (the only person who has asked to remain anonymous) stopped and handed me the most delicious bottle of orange juice through the window... can't believe it was pure juice... read the label carefully over and over. 

The legs on the Heron received another layer of Neutral Grey with plenty of Black. All of these were "reflected" in the "water" while the palette was still wet. The Nova Color acrylic dries so fast, it is good to do all I can in the color that is out as quickly as possible. This helps keep a "flow" and a little spontaneity to the brush work. Also adding plenty of Matte Medium when painting the reflections in the water along with making the strokes horizontal and slightly blended helps create the appearance of reflections on water.

A few more Beautiful People strolled by. Some Officially "Carpinteria Beautiful People" while others are naturally beautiful people.
Dennis and Melissa Johnson

Lete with a Bouquet

Carpinteria Beautiful Chairperson Diana Freeman

So Another week spent on Wullbrandt Way, up against the wall with gobs of paint and people. Just before loading up the truck and moving it to get my "progress" shot, I dabbed a bunch of colors still wet on the palette to populate the beach. My way of remembering all of the wonderful encounters I had this week, only a few of which made it into this post.

Off to the grocery store, stop and get gas and head back up Chismahoo before the rain. Have a pipe to fix that collects water for the cows up on the ridge and make it back to the ranch before dark.

3/24/12 from Chismahoo looking back toward Lake Casitas and Ojai Valley
Before I close, I want to mention the passing this week of a most colorful patron of mine, His Majesty King George of Tonga. As artist in residence in this South Pacific Island Nation, I enjoyed a personal friendship while creating the art that adorned his personal villa. I admired his great talent as a story teller and include his photo here with a parting "thank you" for his support of the arts.

Rest in Peace, Your Majesty

Thursday, March 22, 2012


The LEFT, RIGHT and CENTER portions of our WSB mural are blocked in and getting attention to detail while the top sky portion is missing 3 more Pelicans. The Panizzon Family now have festive beach blankets that remind me of magic carpets. Palm trees are beginning to peek over the lifeguard tower and more people are beginning to populate the beach. Visitors from near and far continue to populate the sidewalk and the area we now call "world's safest parking spot". One onlooker said he was sitting having a meal in "Nutbelly" a few doors up on Linden Ave, and said the mural looks like a "Jumbotron"... which I took as flattering like almost all of the comments. lol!

Standing on the far left of the mural with me is my friend Haile from Oxaca Fresh, a block down Linden Ave.

 On the right stands the very beautiful Abdulla Family out on an evening stroll. 

And in the center of the mural is the image borrowed from Virgil Cooper's postcard from the 70's which I am pointing out to Boys and Girls Club Director, Rich Medel who was a couple years ahead of me in school.

Somehow the Carpinteria High School yearbook continues to creep into the story.

 I've mentioned before, mural committee member Slivia Echeveria was the 1969 Chismahoo editor. Suzie (Christie) Panizzon, who is in the center of the mural, was my co-editor in 1970. Today Mr. Romero showed up carrying a 1941 Carpinteria High yearbook called El Rincon at the time. He was in school with my Dad Ernest and they proudly served our country during the same time. I believe my Dad, eager to answer his country's call during time of war,  joined the Navy before graduation ceremonies but was eventually given his Carp High Diploma.  "Johnny" Romero and I stood in the morning sun on Wullbrandt Way going page by page refreshing our memories with old photos of people from what seems like Carpinteria's distant past. The book was published 10 years before I was born so many of the students were adults by the time I knew of them.
One photo was of "J. Wullbrandt".... We agreed it had to be Joe, my Dad's cousin ( I call "Uncle Joe")  the welder who's shop on Linden for many years 1/2 way to the beach is legendary.

As is his wife, perennial Republican Delegate and my Aunt, Emily Wullbrandt caught here wearing white and blue and to the LEFT of me!!!

Yet in a family tradition her daughter, my cousin Jill is in RED and seen here holding her invitation to the mural dedication ceremony being planned by Carpinteria Beautiful on Friday, April 6th at 4 PM.
Many people have done sweet things for us as we paint. Sandwiches from Marla and chocolates from Robitaille's for the "starving artists".
Of course I can't post photos of every wonderful person who wanders down Wullbrandt Way, but...

Nancy, Cuyler and Catalina were more than happy to pose for this blog...Hi Ladies!

So I mentioned the "party" planned for April 6th. This is the first of several events planned by Carpinteria Beautiful for Carpinteria Beautiful Month. The group's annual newsletter will be appearing as an insert in the local paper and will have details, grab one when they come out! Stefanie Harrington is working on a piece for it highlighting our mural. I caught her here, interviewing our celebrated local Architect Andy Neumann who's offices are inside the building our mural is on and who is responsible for much of the beauty in our downtown area. Andy was supportive of our mural from the start and gave an eloquent speech to the Architectural Review Board for which I remain grateful. His creative and thoughtful nature compels him to shoot candid shots of the mural and email them to me. His sharp and discriminate eye and cell phone camera has produced better photos than I.
I close tonight with a couple that arrived as I am submitting this post:

5 photos by Andy

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Fun is on "The Way"

Last night as we loaded the paints and ladders, moved the truck, set cones out to keep the space open in order to take my "progress" shot (see "February" post, scroll to "Start here"), some young ladies out having fun with their cameras began frolicking on "The Way" in front of the mural. As I have mentioned before, it is no coincidence that the image beckons interaction and photo ops., but I had no idea how popular it would be. The design was also intended to be as "friendly" as possible. I get questions about who and how we created the design. Thankfully I was not told what to do by the Mural Committee, although I credit them with selecting the name and overall theme (and a ton of other stuff I will cover in a future post). And I have to thank JC for talking me into doing it.
The mural design that was presented for approval last summer had only a slight revision by the Committee in the drawing stage. Originally I had a Cormorant warming it's out stretched wings atop the rookery and a 5th Pelican overhead. It was suggested that I replace these creatures with dolphins and I am happy with the results.

I was reminded of this design change early Thursday when a Vulture landed outside the window and posed in the morning sun here at El Rancho Botello.

Then the phone rang. Steve Todd, our "Ojai Hay Guy" would be at the bottom of Chismahoo and we needed to meet him there with our hay trailer at 11 AM. So much for getting an early start painting, but will be glad to have food for the animals before the much anticipated rain this weekend. We left the trailer near Hwy 150 and headed to "The Way" with plans to put some detail work in on the Harbor Seals, Shorebirds and seaweed.

JC painted in the whiskers on the seals and the legs and beaks on the birds with a small detail brush and some White, Black and Grey followed by sprigs of ice plant in various shades of green and yellow. I started tracing the Panizzon Family from a projected drawing on paper using graphite paper.

A parade of old and new friends have joined the fun and here are a few fan photos:

Dick W. on bike with JC

Pups and Grandmas
Stefanie and Boulder Harrington
Juan Pablo, Maricela and Diego
Carpinteria Beautiful's Dame Donnie Nair

Love your hat and glasses, Donnie!

Dick and Libby Wienberg

Bicycling Bob Henry

Kathy Henry and friends
JC with Meredith Brooks Abbott, Artist Extraordinaire

David Powdrell, Photographer Extraordinaire

And so another week slips by as rain clouds blow in. Yes, we bucked the hay into the barn before it finally poured. What a way to have fun! Glad to have you along for the ride!

Zorro on a Chismahoo Hay Ride back home from WSB