Friday, September 18, 2009

California: the final journal entry

The trip along Big Sur down to the Hearst Mansion was full of wonderful "views".  Then off up into the brown brown hills sits this castle. So out of context.  

I remember thinking that the brown dry hills of CA, as we flew across them into San Jose, looked like "an old army blanket someone had laid over a lumpy bed".  Huge contrasts in geography in CA! North to South and East to West. The pools and gardens of the Hearst Mansion was no exception set as it was amidst the dry brown desert of September hills.  

Hearst, like Vanderbuilt who dreamed up Biltmore, were 2nd generation wealth and both pretty over-the-top.  Hearst's father discovered silver and mined it and that was the source of the wealth that began that empire.  His father was dirt poor and hard working and willing to clamber over mountains with horses dragging ore, if I remember the story in the film correctly.  Hearst was no slouch either...starting the huge newspaper empire. But the seed money for that came from silver mines.  

And like so many of these mansions (Ringling included in Sarasota) they were built as party homes for the rich and famous.  And the hosts actually hardly lived in these places much of the time.  Those kinds of weekend or week-long parties must have been something else. People moved in and had these mini vacations with other rich and famous people.  The accommodations for guests were unbelievable, of course.  I'll bet a lot of hanky-panky went on!!!  

The windows pictured above were just part of a small guest house...there were several larger. It was covered in bougainvillea.  I loved all the gardens and pools with statuary and took a lot of photos of that.  This sketch was done after the time to stop on a guided tour.  I decided to paint the ticket stub which was quite picturesque and showed the outdoor pool and Greek columns.  I put my brother in law in with his back to us holding his camera just to give my perspective to the size of the windows.  So there is our trip to CA completed.  Although there are a ton of photos to think about painting for the future!!!


  1. A wonderful trip and a VERY classy way to remember with your wonderful journal.

  2. Thanks Barb. have you had a chance to look at David's Love-Challenge yet? Fun.