California Art: From Nature and from Human Hands

California Art: From Nature and from Human Hands

URBAN LIGHT (see below)

We Californians may have to save water: never let the water just run, plant dessert cultivars, time our showers. But the up-side of our continual good weather is that we can almost always walk out the door and fulfill a plan to experience works of art: art from nature and art from human hands.

Today my husband and I were up for trail walking at Wildwood in Thousand Oaks. And wow, did we get a taste of covering the miles and I’m talking not only the 5.7 miles we covered but the elevation and descent which was 606 or the equivalent of going up and down 60 stories. We burned 934 calories, but quickly replenished some of them when we got home. The photo above and the ones below are sights we saw today at Wildwood Park. There is lots of history here, as many of the wild west shows that aired in the 50’s were filmed in these hills. And yes the falls were still flowing, fed by underground springs. Nature supplies many gifts.

California Art: From Nature and from Human Hands

Paradise Falls

California Art: From Nature and from Human Hands


California Art: From Nature and from Human Hands

California Art: From Nature and from Human Hands

A little shade on this trail.

And when you are hungry for art that was sculpted or painted with a brush or was first California Art: From Nature and from Human Handssimply found objects now placed and arranged in unusual and compelling ways, there is always LACMA, Los Angles County Museum of Art. We visited there ten days ago and were delighted with what we found. URBAN LIGHT is a large-scale assemblage sculpture by Chris Burden located at the Wilshire Boulevard entrance to LACMA. The installation consists of 202 restored street lamps from the 1920s and 1930s. Most of them once lit the streets of Southern California. The cast iron street lamps are of 17 styles, which vary depending on the municipality that commissioned them. They range from about 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters), are painted a uniform gray and placed, forest-like, in a near grid. The lights are solar powered and switched on at dusk. (above, URBAN LIGHT AT NIGHT. Top of the post: URBAN LIGHT, midday.)

We also experienced a work of art that my son-in-law was eager to see. It was a brilliant afternoon when we encountered and explored from all angles LEVITATED MASS. This is a 2012 large-scale sculpture by Michael Heizer. The installation consists of a 340-ton boulder affixed above a concrete trench through which visitors can walk. The nature, expense and scale of the installation made it an instant topic of discussion within the art world. Tongue in cheek comments: Let’s start with the numbers, which are impressive: a 150 million-year-old granite boulder more than 21 feet high and weighing in at 340 tons. It took 11 days to transport that boulder, via a 206-wheeled trailer, the 105 miles from Riverside, CA to the campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art at a cost of $10 million, to be put in place as part of a massive and controversial artwork. (from

California Art: From Nature and from Human Hands

Looking up from the front side.

















California Art: From Nature and from Human Hands

This reveals the amazing scale of the project.

California Art: From Nature and from Human Hands

Visitors can walk under the rock to experience every angle. We did.










Though art is all around us and we are soaking up as much as we can, I do miss the change of seasons and I know right now in my old haunts there is art all around. Yes, the colors of those brilliant autumn leaves are painting pictures as they toss in the wind or create colorful piles in the grass. So here’s a photo–simply to remember them. But YAY, I don’t have to rake them up!

Photos credits: Beth Havey,,, jessiestrails.blogspot, David Stillman, Wildwood Park, Thousand Oaks Thanks to Wikipedia.

One of my oak trees from the house in Des Moines.

Autumn: A Time of Atonement and Bounty

8 thoughts on “California Art: From Nature and from Human Hands

  1. I think I recognized some of the landscapes from the likes of possibly “Gunsmoke” or maybe “Wanted Dead Or Alive”??? Fun Boomer Highway!!

  2. Thanks, Karen. Me too. There’s is something powerful yet calming about them. Have a great day.

  3. I love those street lamps. I’m so glad they weren’t just cast into the dark, never to be seen again.

    That’s quite the hike you both took. Good for you!

    • Thanks! I love the street lamps too. They are truly lovely. Yes the hike was awesome. Next time more water and sunblock. Beth

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