RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life

Art of the Santa Monicas at the King Gillette Ranch in Malibu

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king-gillette-ranch

“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” ― Lewis Carroll.
That certainly sums up my life. Although, who wants to sit around on their thumbs complaining about being bored? That will never be me!

king-gillette-ranch

So on Sunday a friend and I drove the 27 miles from Culver City out to King Gillette Ranch in Malibu. A mutual friend was exhibiting her artwork at the Allied Artists of the Santa Monica Mountains & Seashore art show on the property. As I have wanted to visit the King Gillette Ranch for eons (well, for at least a year since I first heard of it) this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

king-gillette-ranch

If you are interested in the history of the ranch, you can go to the website. But very briefly, the 588-acre ranch opened to the public in 2007. It was owned by the razor magnate King C. Gillette (yes, that Gillette) in the 1920s who hired the famous architect of the day, Wallace Neff, to design some of the buildings.

king-gillette-ranch

This is the courtyard of the Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center where the art was displayed. What could be a better setting for art of the Santa Monicas?

king gillette ranch

From the brochure: “The broad meadows and low ridgelines serve as a wildlife corridor in the geographic center of the Santa Monica Mountains range. Several sensitive species are present. Raptors and other birds forage and nest among the plant communities of valley and coast live oak savannah, grassland, costal sage scrub, chaparral, riparian woodland, and southern willow riparian vegetation.”

king gillette ranch

Some of the neighbors hanging out in the hood.

king gillette ranch

The leafless Sycamores competing with the artwork for attention. I guess the trees won!

king gillette ranch

And a parrot poking his beak in too!

king gillette ranch

Sycamore trees seem even more beautiful without their leaves.

king gillette ranch

After viewing some lovely plein aire and landscape paintings in the exhibit, it was time for lunch. We found a quiet, shady spot among some oak trees.

king gillette ranch

I had brought El Pollo Loco and it never tasted so good. Why does food always taste so much better at a picnic? Even a lowly hard-boiled egg turns into a sumptuous feast.

king gillette ranch

My friend noted that she was completely at peace in this setting.

king gillette ranch

If you can’t get enough privacy in this tree, you can check into the bird motel.

king gillette ranch

Taking time to stop and look at the details is part of the wonder of being out in nature.

king gillette ranch

I liked the shadows thrown by the bare branches. And people think we don’t have seasons in southern California. The trees tell us otherwise.

king gillette ranch

A dry creek reminds us we are living in the arid climate of southern California.

king gillette ranch

king gillette ranch

This is the reservoir built next to that dry creek. Love that sparkly light on the water.

king gillette ranch

Shady road winding past the picnic area.

king gillette ranch

king gillette ranch

This is the seminary built by the Claretian religious order in 1955 including dormitories, classrooms and a chapel. A prime example of what I call “southern California eclectic” architecture. A mixture of Moorish arches, Corinthian capped columns, Mexican tile roof and a very traditional front door.

king gillette ranch

The back side of the seminary building.

king gillette ranch

A hazy, sunny southern California March day. The ranch is splat in the middle of the Santa Monica Mountains.

king gillette ranch

Lest we forget we live in Hollywood, “The Biggest Loser” sign over the door of this building reminds us of that fact. The show is filmed here.

king gillette ranch

king gillette ranch

The 25-room Gillette Mansion built in 1928 by Gillette was purchased by the movie director Clarence Brown in 1935. He added a pool, tennis courts and an airplane landing strip. A nice little retreat away from the bright lights of Hollywood.

king gillette ranch

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more.” John, I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Returning home and browsing through the brochure (printed, by the way, on 100% post-consumer waster recycled paper with soy ink) I realized we had missed the Botanical Center… rats. Well, only an excuse to visit another day.

We also missed the Trail to Inspiration Point. But that was my fault as I had stupidly not changed into my trail shoes which were sitting in my car. When I saw the first part of the trail I realized I could not take a chance walking up there in my running shoes. I have too many injuries to my ankles, knees, hips, etc. to risk doing any more damage. Next time I am putting on those shoes and making the trek as apparently there is a not-to-be-missed 360 degree view of the surrounding Las Virgenes Valley.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, please check with us first for proper usage. Thanks!

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Author: RMW

I am an explorer and creative person. I've had many jobs, careers and interests... everything in life and the universe fascinates me. Born in Brighton, England, I've lived my entire adult life in Los Angeles, California. A few years ago I rediscovered photography which is a great excuse to get outside and look. I'm also in the process of re-writing some of my unpublished short stories and possibly a novel. .

2 thoughts on “Art of the Santa Monicas at the King Gillette Ranch in Malibu

  1. You could be a “cyber” travel agent with all of the lovely virtual tours you provide 🙂

    Like

  2. Thanks, Laurie… I do have some ideas…. but in the meantime, as a “real” tourguide I think it’s important to know all the nooks and crannies of the LA area as I never know where people might want to visit and it’s best to be prepared!

    Like

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