Even though they’ve only cropped up in a few of my plein air paintings, palm trees have become an obsession of mine, particularly the Mexican fan palm (the tall skinny ones), so I’ve done a few small painting studies.
Wherever I drive in Los Angeles, they seem to be the one constant reminder of where I am… and it’s comforting. Sometimes I get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the city life, but if I look up, I see them swaying gently in the breeze, and they tell me I am home. It may have to do with the fact that I grew up with a similar skyline in Phoenix, AZ. Perhaps it’s because they are transplants like so many of us in Los Angeles. Although meant to improve the landscape, I still think they’re kind of funny looking. They seem fragile, as though anything could snap them in two. They can withstand the strong winds however, because they have many intricate roots and their trunks are built like a steel cable made of many smaller woven cables (what?). Perhaps they are more like us than we thought or represent what we hope and strive to be.
According to this article: How Did L.A. Become a City of Palms? And Other Questions About California’s Trees, the Mexican fan palm will not be as prolific in 50 years as they are now. I hope it won’t be true, but that is the nature of a city. As the people grow and change, I still look forward to seeing how the skyline will reflect that growth.
If you were or are a current resident of Los Angeles, I would love to hear what the palm trees represent or mean to you in the comments below!
Update: If you read my previous post on Marina Del Rey, you can now find the finished Western Grebe painting for sale at this link.