Entries in Los Angeles (5)


Quasimarine – Sunset, Sunday, 5 July 2015

William Van Doren, QUASIMARINE. Sunset from Stony Point, Albemarle County, Va. Oil on canvas, 24 x 30.

Big soft but somehow superficial gray clouds rolling in at the end of the day reminded me in a strange way of the nightly marine layer in Los Angeles.


Southeast Santa Monica, 1981

Walk up 33rd Street toward Pearl. The sky is blue water. Trees are short. Birds drink the air and the sound of their drinking is singing and their flying is swimming. The street is wide and I wait for it to buckle from the shifting of the ocean floor. At one spot the sidewalk has already popped up. An old gentleman in a light blue hat greets me every day. We speak words but I don’t remember them, only his grace and dignity until I realize he’s a friendly old fish and there were never any words, just bubbles.


Sunset, Saturday, 26 December 2009

William Theodore Van Doren. Painted at Stony Point, Albemarle County, Va. Oil on watercolor block, 16 x 20.

We managed to get out today after seven days of being snowed in. While we were traveling around the roads and parking lots lined with dirty snow and slush, the sky made me think about the beach in L.A. A strange thing about a city that borders the ocean is that no matter who you are or where you live or how you stand in that city, when you get to the edge, that ocean is yours as much as anyone’s.


West Hollywood, 1982

Vacant lot, you’re a world unto yourself. 
I thrill to stop and gaze into you.
I see crusted truck tracks through an old puddle, a topography – a topography for Christ’s sake, 
I’m so hungry to see some shape in the dirt,
I see borderlines of tall weeds 
And grass growing in bunches of an infinite variety of heights. 
Even your tin cans look good – they’re so crumpled and dusty.
Vacant lot, I ache, I literally ache when I see you. 
How long will they let you go on like this?


L.A. – Virginia

Mutual of Omaha blinks its superfluous tower light from Wilshire,
I sit writing screenplay in loft looking downtown,
This isn’t what I really want to do,
I want to be out there,
In all that,
So I promptly end the quest for screenplays,
Walking out into the empty streets,
Walking & walking until I run into something substantial –

It was the Alleghenies.