California as an Imagined Place
One of the angles I am working as I begin this project is the idea of California - specifically Southern California - as an imagined place. I find it necessary to determine what people thought of this western land as they were pondering a possible move. Sure - they were well versed in the Ramona story. But there were a number of images from which they could draw to hopefully envision the landscape that they would soon call home. Today I offer one vision - an ocean/arboreal scene by one of the great California Impressionists of the late nineteenth century, Guy Rose. Could this be the quintessential California landscape? One might observe the colors and the light playing on the leaves and water and suggest that the work is amiss to a degree. Born in the San Gabriel Valley in the 1860s, Rose trained in Europe and New York before returning to his native land - and he brings a visitor's eye to his work on the Pacific coast. But would this have struck a familiar chord with migrating easterners trying to imagine and accept as their own a place so seemingly foreign? That question is certainly worth asking. So I will be asking it frequently. Because that's what I do.