Venice: Where Art is a Lifestyle

Yup, another tour!

This time my friend Cari (of Cari’s Illness fame) and I went on the Venice Art Walk yesterday.

This first home we visited was owned by Frederick Fulmer
an artist who lives in both Joshua Tree and Venice. 

This was some type of giant honeysuckle in his backyard. We probably lingered too long at Frederick’s home and garden. I think we only saw about seven of the 50 or so homes and galleries on the tour. 
I have to admit that I didn’t pay that much attention to the actual “art” featured in the homes, or the artists. I was too distracted by their homes and gardens–how they lived. This is another home, and it was packed with great sculpture, both inside and out. 

This was in the backyard. A place to hang out. That’s all. And it was great!

Onto another residence. This one was designed by one of the “it” architects of modern design right now, according to Cari. Everything was amazing, including this tepee, swing-set play yard in the front yard. 

I wonder if their kids use it as much as the visiting children here. My kids never seemed to use anything we built for them like this. They preferred to play in the muddy vacant lots next to our house. 
No doubt the plantings and side gardens were amazing, lush and visually pleasing in all directions.
Along with their mix of organic and industrial materials, they featured focal points like this sweet planter.

This is where Cari and I wandered off our nifty map of home stops. We noticed people walking into this pathway, which was between rows of homes that were all facing each other. 

That is, instead of facing the street, these homes faced each other with only this path separating them. 
Forget the art tour, we loved THIS!

Another shot along the pathway. Every home and garden had a different style and feel. We felt like we stepped into another world. Cari thought the neighborhood has several of these pathways between homes.
 (We didn’t even have time to check out the funky homes on the tour along the famous Venice canals.)

Having a really unique gate seemed to be part of the HOA requirements. 

Just kidding. No annoying HOAs around these parts!
But the gates alone were wild.

Another home along the pathway that we ogled. They had these round cement pads all over the gravel yard. 
So simple and it worked!

And you had funky garden art like this mosaic, 
which was about 12 feet tall in one person’s front yard off the pathway.

Then we spotted another one of the tour balloons, and stepped into Lynn’s home.
 We could have stayed here and listened to Lynn all day!

I don’t know much about her background, but her sweet little cottage was packed with nature treasures, such as shells, feathers, cut flowers, snakes, butterflies, dead birds, and this giant nest sitting on the piano.

Step into her small cottage garden and walk the little path to her tiny studio behind the house.

Lynn said she was on the Venice garden tour earlier in the month. 
She said these were the last of the poppies.

We went nuts over the poppy pods like these.

Lynn, who was way too nice, gave us seeds to take home.

Here is some of her artwork. She told us she had just taken out a baby rattlesnake (yes, dead) out of her freezer. I assume it was to paint it.

Everywhere you looked was nature and art and color and design and it was simply a visual feast.
Lynn had several caterpillar “farms” going in glass containers. 

She told us about how she had ordered the seeds of Luna moths from back east, and after a year of waiting, they finally hatched into caterpillars and how one day she literally heard them chewing their way out of their cocoons, emerging as giant, pale green moth fairies, and how they floated around hier studio for several days before they perished. They don’t have mouths, she told us.

You get the idea that Lynn loves to look, very, very closely at all living things, every chance she gets. Cari and I could have both planted ourselves next to Lynn Hanson and listened to her for hours. 

So we finally dragged ourselves away from Lynn, and look who lived across the street. They had a sign on the left that read, “Please don’t feed the squirrels.” Why is that so funny?

I have no idea what artist lived here, but we liked this little corner of her or his yard.
Again, nothing on the official tour, just a walk-by house, but we loved the veggies in the front lawn, simple front deck, the mod chair and ocher-colored front door.

This is the last place we saw. Another enticing space, filled with overgrown trees, and deliberately forgotten furniture and the owner’s artwork. The garden had mirrors all over the place, some cracked, some round and spinning.

Sorry again. I didn’t catch her or his name. A red table. Perfect!

To me–and I’m starting to think I’m pretty weird–but this is about as inviting as it gets. Rusty, bouncy chair, a slab of stone for a make-shift table, a comfy place to plop down, light filtering through the thin, bamboo fencing. And I’m all good!
This was behind the garage. Is this THE coolest fire pit you have seen yet? It’s hanging!
I feel a little guilty that I wasn’t very interested in all these homeowners’ artwork. Maybe you have to be in the mood or on the prowl for art to appreciate the works. But we sure loved their homes and gardens, and were so grateful they opened them up to visitors like us. I know both Cari and I were inspired to devote some time to creating our own art. Next year, though, we are going to get a much earlier start!

6 thoughts on “Venice: Where Art is a Lifestyle

  1. If I had a dollar for each time I sighed heavily while reading your post….

    Seriously. Living where I live in Brooklyn and seeing the photos of your tours…it's like an instant infusion of some vitamin that is lacking in my neck of the woods. WOW.

    Thank you for all the time you take to share these always amazing, inspiring pictures.

    I am getting closer and closer to wanting to pack up and move to CA every time I read your fantastic blog. How can there be so many oasises (what IS the plural of oasis?) in one area? SO awesome.

  2. Hey cool. A few of the same houses I posted pics of when I went on the garden tour. Loved that one with the goldfish pond and seating area in the front yard. And love the bit about the luna moths not having mouths. Isn't that weird? Turns out quite a few insects that go through a metamorphosis don't have mouths when they are in their adult phase because there only purpose is to breed and then they die. All their eating is done while they are larvae.

  3. I have the same problem on the Venice garden tour, straying off the map. I think the answer is to get to Venice more often, so it's not such a visual overload, but oh, that freeway traffic to get there…

  4. Yes, it's THE coolest fire pit we've ever seen! My husband is sitting next to me as I read your post (which is awesome, as usual) and we are both LOVING that fire pit!!

  5. The slender Koi pond set this post off to a good start 🙂 A feast for the eyes, beautiful area and as you said it's life stepping into a different world.

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