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Alex does not omit the modern details. Emphasis upon the painting’s foreground directs the viewer’s focus onto a traffic signal holding cars at red stoplight. Stop. Focus.
The sand-squatting hulk of a grey concrete west highway residence takes up center space of this painting, and the beach itself, although public visitors have to stay “seaward of the mean high tide line.” A smudge of an orange 76 ball announces the gas station.
Telephone poles. A singular streetlight. Shadows lengthen across PCH suggesting late afternoon. The light is cool, so perhaps the season is winter, which would account for the noticeably minor flow of road traffic.
The coast road leads the eye north past Latigo Cove. Gratefully, here Alex indulges the viewer in an undeveloped landscape of muted colors of grey-green-brown, although this cove is heavily developed with the four-level Tivoli condominium complex, and many townhomes and single-family residences.
Phone and power lines form a wave pattern above the highway at the top of the rise. The pale sky, relatively indistinguishable above the horizon. A bit of each blends into the other.
Sandstone. Asphalt. Sea. Amarenth.
La Jolla Cove, painted by Alex Schaefer in 2009 ::
and here is the same view, painted in 1936 by Alfred Mitchell ::
Alfred Mitchell (1888 – 1972), “La Jolla Shores, 1936.”
Oil on canvas, 40 x 50 inches
Always check the CalTrans Road Conditions page before venturing out on California State Route 1 over these next 6 months.
Seen in The Malibu Times:
Malibu Green Machine obtained a PCH improvement permit from CalTrans, allowing the nonprofit to beautify Pacific Coast Highway with a median landscape project.
A ceremony will precede the project which is tentatively scheduled to begin February 16th. Funding allows for about a mile and a half of beautification. Construction manager Bill Ropp told agencies involved that the beautification project might be constructed in phases. “One thing we know is that a landscaped highway has a calming effect on traffic, so it has the potential to make it safer, and it will deter people from making illegal U-turns.”
In addition to hoping the project will improve safety along Pacific Coast Highway is the obvious benefit that the drive will be more aesthetically pleasing. The highway medians would also provide fire safety, (an issue of consideration in Malibu), because they will be irrigated.
What’s amazing about this story is how long it took to plan this project. Over two years of work by a non-profit to coordinate with both local government and CalTrans. There is obviously more to merely planting plants in the middle of the road.