Our wonderful Saturday plein air paint-out group visited Champion Place last weekend. In Alhambra, California, just a few miles from where I live, an artist's colony flourished in the 1920's and 1930's. It was mainly situated along Champion Place, only a block or so long. It's a narrow, unassuming street, but it's very picturesque, overlooking an arroyo with many large eucalyptus trees. The founders of the small creative and supportive group attracted a lot of other well-known artists and famous personalities. In 1915, one of the founders, Victor Clyde Forsythe, became unknown illustrator Norman Rockwell's mentor. Years later in 1929, Rockwell visited Forsythe at Champion Place and met his second wife there. The Rockwells visited Alhambra often from New York, sometimes staying the whole summer. Norman Rockwell was seen bicycling daily around Alhambra, and he sought out local faces for his illustrations.
It was fun to visit narrow, historic Champion Place and find a view to paint. While we were painting several homeowners stopped to ask us if we knew it used to be an artists' colony and that Norman Rockwell lived there. I chose a rustic home with a bit of some commercial buildings showing in the background. The homeowner arrived halfway through my watercolor, parking directly in front of what I was painting. He kindly volunteered to move his car. I'll enjoy giving him a print of my painting.