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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: Marion Eisenmann

Artist’s Notebook: Bastille Day





July 11, 2010, Bastille Day in Los Angeles
“Bastille Day” by Marion Eisenmann

Marion Eisenmann called Sunday and suggested we visit a Bastille Day celebration in Elysian Park. I practiced my rusty high school French on the way there with Marion quizzing me “How would you say ‘I’m hungry?’ ” (My teacher, Madame Royce, would be so pleased that I remembered).

Instead of Paris’ Champs Elysees, the Los Angeles festival, presented by Passion Productions, was held in Elysian Park, at a quite pleasant, grassy area near Stadium Way and Scott Avenue around the bend from Dodger Stadium. 

And yes, speaking of “I’m hungry,” there were pastries and other delicacies at a variety of booths and of course, some folks were watching the World Cup on TV. But most people were listening to the music and sitting at tables or lounging on the grass.  And in Los Angeles, a Bastille Day celebration included dancing by the Polynesian dance group Fetia Rangi from Orange County because it’s French Polynesia.

Marion says:


It was a great occasion to be surrounded by a European clique, with food and music from France, a country not far from where I originate. The illustration captures a peaceful and French ambience, of “picnicking” people, combined with a distinct view from Elysian Park overlooking parts of downtown. Very contrary to the busy and crowded celebration along the Champs-Elysees in Paris.


Note: In case you just tuned in, Marion Eisenmann and I are visiting spots around Los Angeles in a modern version of what Joe Seewerker and Charles Owens did in the 1930s with The Times’ Nuestro Pueblo feature. 

Anyone who’s interested in Marion’s artwork should contact her directly.

Artist’s Notebook: Outside the Edison



2010_0329_edison
“Outside the Edison,” by Marion Eisenmann.


I thought it would be fun to write about the crowds that have revived downtown nightlife in the last few years, so late one Friday, Marion Eisenmann and I strolled up 2nd Street from The Times and studied the people waiting to get into the Edison.  It’s an ultra-hip club with an entrance in the alley and lots of arty-industrial metal stairs going down to what used to be the boiler room in the basement of the Higgins Building.

There’s usually a long line on the sidewalk on Friday nights and sometimes a stretch limo is parked nearby. The flashy young crowd lined up for half a block and the packs of bicyclists that take over the streets are quite a contrast to the many nights when I left The Times Building to find that I had downtown to myself.

Marion says: "It was easy to determine the color mode for this illustration. It was night, and the people lining up for the club were dressed in black or black and white."

Note: In case you just tuned in, Marion and I are roaming Los Angeles in a project inspired by Joe Seewerker and Charles Owens’ Nuestro Pueblo.

Anyone who’s interested in Marion’s artwork should contact her directly.




Artist's Notebook: L.A. Marathon



 March 21, 2010, LA Marathon

“L.A. Marathon,” by Marion Eisenmann

Marion Eisenmann and I decided to try something different from our exploration of local landmarks by going to Santa Monica to see the finish of the 2010 L.A. Marathon. I found a good viewing spot at the base of a light pole on Ocean Avenue just beyond the finish line, while Marion looked for interesting images to combine in a collage of the race.

The shouts from the crowd, growing louder and closer, announced the arrival of each contestant. The first were the wheelchair competitors on their exotic vehicles, and next were the bicyclists.

As the seconds ticked away, the area behind the finish line filled with photographers, security officers, police and marathon workers, all of them anticipating the runners. Edna Kiplagat was mobbed by photographers after she finished. Then Teyba Naser and Silvia Skvortsova came in.

The shouting for Wesley Korir started a long way off and built until he crossed the finish line. Photographers and TV cameramen swarmed around him so that all I saw was his hand, reaching above them and pointing, not as a victory sign showing that he was first but as a symbol of his Christian faith.

I always think of hard-core runners as lean, hard and leathery; raw and wrinkled from the sun with veins bulging like strands of rope under their skin. These elite African runners are nothing like that. Korir is a slight fellow, rather small and finely proportioned. I wouldn’t call him delicate, but you would never mistake him for someone who spends hours at the gym.

In the same way, the top two women, Kiplagat and Naser, were small and slight, and if you were to see Naser in a swimsuit at the beach, you might mistake her for a college student who goes running a few times a week. Only Skvortsova, with thick, muscled legs, looks more like my traditional idea of a runner.

After congratulating each other and giving a few TV interviews, Korir and Kiplagat were chauffeured away in motorized carts, along with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Although Marion originally thought of combining different visual elements like the Santa Monica Pier, sketches of the crowd and the runners, she settled on Korir crossing the finish line. 

Note: In case you just tuned in, Marion and I are roaming Los Angeles in a project inspired by Joe Seewerker and Charles Owens’ Nuestro Pueblo.

Anyone who’s interested in Marion’s artwork should contact her directly.




Artist’s Notebook: Travel Town




2010_0315_travel_town

“Travel Town,” by Marion Eisenmann.

Marion Eisenmann and I went to Travel Town in Griffith Park last summer because the old trains are popular with young children and I thought there would be some opportunities for interesting sketch subjects. It didn’t work out exactly as I thought because most of the youngsters were riding the miniature train that goes around the park instead of playing on the locomotives. 

Marion did this while I wandered through the old rolling stock and studied one of the streetcars – did you ever notice that they’re high off the ground and wonder about handicapped access?

Marion says: “A light key suggests the present  peacefulness of the place frequented by children and their caretakers.  The image has no challenging perspective and looks simple and  rudimentary. I felt a little bit like a deer in a nature reserve,  well protected against predators, knowing that the trains don't  move, as I was sitting right next to some tracks on a foldable  drawing chair. There was one exception to the idle gigantic  transportation machines, the miniature train that was filled with  cheering kids, and they  made it easy to hear when it was approaching.


“When I get a chance I will go back there.”


In case you just tuned in, Marion and I are visiting places that say something about life in Los Angeles in a project inspired by Joe Seewerker and Charles Owens’ Nuestro Pueblo. Daily Mirror readers who are interested in copies of Marion’s artwork should contact her directly.

Artist's Notebook: Drawing Salon






Everything and Everybody by Marion Eisenmann 

“Everything and Everybody,” by Marion Eisenmann.

Marion Eisenmann sends two sketches from one of the recent “Late Nite Drawing Salons,” which are held Monday nights at the E3rd Steakhouse & Lounge. We thought the salon would offer some interesting subjects for her notebook and convey the atmosphere of the downtown art scene. The revival of downtown Los Angeles, in which blocks and blocks of gritty, run-down skid row buildings have been turned into living and working spaces, is one of the remarkable stories of the last 25 years.

Marion says: The event was called the Gallery Girls Late Nite Drawing Club. Besides the models were not too many females in there, maybe two, three including me. Everyone was into their own business, whether it was painting, drawing, collaging or drinking a glass of wine. Yeah, it was indeed an eclectic evening, besides the visual atmosphere I was carried away by the music, which was a fusion of Bollywood film music and Kamasutra. – Enjoy.

I asked about the image in the background and Marion explained that a man “actually came out and drew these charcoal images on the graphite wall behind the models, which provided a constantly changing backdrop.”

More artwork on the jump.
Continue reading »

Artist’s Notebook: Sign Spinning




2010_0228_flying_ads 
“Flying Ads,” by Marion Eisenmann.

You find these young men (and they always seem to be young men) with their handheld signs all over Los Angeles, advertising pizza, condos or some other business.  I saw one fellow put on an amazing acrobatic show at 1st and Hill streets a few months ago and have been hoping to see him again so I could get his name and have Marion Eisenmann draw him, but he’s never come back. Instead, this is Marion’s take on “sign spinning.”

Marion says:  I did not see this particular scenario for real. I just thought  that that kind of motion advertisement is sometimes amusing, and  pictured somebody who made fun of himself and his costume and stabbed  his Styrofoam pizza body with his arrow sign. The first time I saw  these kind of acrobats was in Los Angeles, and I sometimes wonder how  far people have to branch out to make a living.


Note: In case you just tuned in, Marion and I are visiting local landmarks in a project inspired by what Charles Owens and Joe Seewerker did in Nuestro Pueblo. Be sure to check back for another page from Marion's notebook.

By the way, Daily Mirror readers have asked about buying copies of Marion's artwork. Naturally, this is gratifying because I think Marion's work is terrific, and one of my great pleasures is sharing it with readers. We have decided that the project is a journey about discovering Los Angeles rather than creating things to sell. Marion is busy with other projects and says she isn't set up to mass-produce prints but would entertain inquiries about specific pieces. For further information, contact Marion directly.


 

Artist’s Notebook: Corvette Driver



2010_0221_san_dimas_parkinglot2 
“Corvette Driver,” by Marion Eisenmann

Feb. 22, 2010: Marion Eisenmann sends a drawing of a Corvette and its driver that she saw over the weekend.

Marion writes: After heading out for a bike ride with two male friends at Bonelli Park, I short cut the second loop and made it back to the parking lot a little bit  earlier. Similar to the cyclist of the “Les triplettes de Belleville,”  I arrived there with my last breath. Suddenly, my attention was  consumed by a lady leaning onto the back of her red Corvette. 

Debbie was dressed in a petrol-towards-green blazer and  complemented her lips with pink. She was awaiting some of her 250  members of the PVCA, which stands for Pomona Valley Corvette  Association.

Of course she noticed my curious scanning looks, and  before she could say anything, I smiled at her and said "I am an  illustrator and you were an interesting object to me." She smiled and a  few seconds later, she said, "If I had known I would be observed by an  illustrator today, I would have lost 10 pounds."

We both laughed,  and I quickly gave her back "Just caught the moment in time."

I asked Marion if she draws cars so well because she worked on a project for VW/Audi. She says, "Well, yes, I did do my diploma thesis at their design studio, saw a lot of sketches, cars in development and learned about their visual construction, yet my interpretations were for a calendar and used to be more comical than anything else."

Note: In case you just tuned in, Marion and I are visiting local landmarks in a project inspired by what Charles Owens and Joe Seewerker did in Nuestro Pueblo. Be sure to check back for another page from Marion's notebook.

By the way, Daily Mirror readers have asked about buying copies of Marion's artwork. Naturally, this is gratifying because I think Marion's work is terrific, and one of my great pleasures is sharing it with readers. We have decided that the project is a journey about discovering Los Angeles rather than creating things to sell. Marion is busy with other projects and says she isn't set up to mass-produce prints but would entertain inquiries about specific pieces. For further information, contact Marion directly.



Artist’s Notebook: Grand Central Market



2010_0215_grand_central_market1
“Grand Central Market” by Marion Eisenmann


Marion Eisenmann and I made an art excursion to Grand Central Market on Broadway last year so she could try out a new Tradio pen on some sketch paper, but she wasn’t happy with the results, although I liked it quite a bit. Last week, we roamed downtown looking for subjects and went back to Grand Central. The market was fairly busy with shoppers, even though it was Super Bowl Sunday, and all the TVs were turned to soccer games instead of football. Afterward, Marion returned to her drawing and did what I think is a lovely job with it.


marion_eisenmann_2009_0710 Larry Harnisch / L.A. Times
Here’s Marion with two children who were in Grand Central Market when she was making the drawing. People always like to watch her work.

Marion reminds me that the kids were sweet but maybe a little distracting.

Note: In case you just tuned in, Marion and I are visiting local landmarks in a project inspired by what Charles Owens and Joe Seewerker did in Nuestro Pueblo. Be sure to check back for another page from Marion's notebook.

By the way, Daily Mirror readers have asked about buying copies of Marion's artwork. Naturally, this is gratifying because I think Marion's work is terrific, and one of my great pleasures is sharing it with readers every week. We have decided that the project is a journey about discovering Los Angeles rather than creating things to sell. Marion is busy with other projects and says she isn't set up to mass-produce prints but would entertain inquiries about specific pieces. For further information, contact Marion directly.



Artist’s Notebook: Echo Park



 Echo Park
“Echo Park,” Marion Eisenmann, Nov. 22, 2009
Marion Eisenmann says of this week’s sketch:

“I love the lake of Echo Park. I don't know why, but there's something about the muddy water and the diagonals of the birds' flight, which cuts the composition into triangles. (Well, not on this version of my illustration). I wanted to reflect the solitude of the lake and its peaceful settledness in a busy part of Los Angeles. The scenery also reminds me of the film ‘Chinatown.’ ”


Note: In case you just tuned in, Marion and I are visiting local landmarks in a project inspired by what Charles Owens and Joe Seewerker did in Nuestro Pueblo. Check back next week for another page from Marion's notebook.

By the way, Daily Mirror readers have asked about buying copies of Marion's artwork. Naturally, this is gratifying because I think Marion's work is terrific, and one of my great pleasures is sharing it with readers every week. We have decided that the project is a journey about discovering Los Angeles rather than creating things to sell. Marion is busy with other projects and says she isn't set up to mass-produce prints but would entertain inquiries about specific pieces. For further information, contact Marion directly.


Artist’s Notebook: Gustavo Dudamel



 Gustavo Dudamel Gustavo Dudamel, by Marion Eisenmann, Nov. 12, 2009.

Marion Eisenmann and I have been looking at Los Angeles landmarks as a modern version of Nuestro Pueblo, but we realized that the debut of Gustavo Dudamel as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic is also part of local history.  Marion was fortunate in being able to attend a rehearsal and she sends her impressions of Dudamel. She says: His personality, playfulness and passion speak in this study.


 

Artist's Notebook: 'Chocolate Factory'



Glenarm Station, Marion Eisenmann
“Chocolate Factory,” Marion Eisenmann, March 28, 2009
Marion Eisenmann writes of this week’s sketch:

"When I  first came here, I didn't know what kind of factory this is, the Gold  Line is traveling through it close to the 110 Freeway. It is a rusty building with a lot of pipes and iron construction, visually interesting. I called it the chocolate factory, until I found out what it really was."


As Marion discovered, this is the old Glenarm Power Plant, located between the Pasadena Freeway and Fair Oaks in Pasadena. The old storage tanks have been cleared from the property, which is being prepared for the expansion of the Art Center College of Design, across the street on Raymond Avenue.

Note: In case you just tuned in, Marion and I are visiting local landmarks in a project inspired by what Charles Owens and Joe Seewerker did in Nuestro Pueblo. Check back next week for another page from Marion's notebook.

By the way, Daily Mirror readers have asked about buying copies of Marion's artwork. Naturally, this is gratifying because I think Marion's work is terrific, and one of my great pleasures is sharing it with readers every week. We have decided that the project is a journey about discovering Los Angeles rather than creating things to sell. Marion is busy with other projects and says she isn't set up to mass-produce prints but would entertain inquiries about specific pieces. For further information, contact Marion directly.




Artist’s Notebook – Brookside Golf Course



Oct. 2, 2009, Marion Eisenmann
Oct. 2, 2009, Brookside Golf Course, Marion Eisenmann
This week, Marion visited a place in Pasadena.

She writes: It is a section of the golf course, viewed from the north side of the  Rose Bowl. I walked inside, and sat down in the shade of a tree  overlooking the idyllic scenery with plenty of ducks swimming in the pond, or better phrased a golfer's obstacle. I spotted the location riding my bike a few days ago. I went back today, at the same time,  which allowed me to get a similar morning light situation of the place, I felt very at peace.

Note: In case you just tuned in, Marion and I are visiting local landmarks in a project inspired by what Charles Owens and Joe Seewerker did in Nuestro Pueblo. Check back next week for another page from Marion's notebook.

By the way, Daily Mirror readers have asked about buying copies of Marion's artwork. Naturally, this is gratifying because I think Marion's work is terrific, and one of my great pleasures is sharing it with readers every week. We have decided that the project is a journey about discovering Los Angeles rather than creating things to sell. Marion is busy with other projects and says she isn't set up to mass-produce prints but would entertain inquiries about specific pieces. For further information, contact Marion directly.


2009_0808_olvera_street_thumb

Olvera Street, Marion Eisenmann
2009_0904_third_street_promenade_thumb

Third Street Promenade, Marion Eisenmann

Marion sends word that her two-week class in Plein Air watercolor painting on Saturdays at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens has been so popular that it may be extended if one or two more people sign up. Further information and registration is available at (626) 405-2128.
 


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