Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Children's Fairyland, Oakland

The entrance to Children's Fairyland is through the old woman's shoe.  Remember her? Had so many children she didn't know what to do? 

Unlike my fellow sketchers, I didn't grow up in California and have no childhood memories of Fairyland. But there are many lovingly maintained three-dimensional figures and objects to sketch here, like the genie standing atop the front entrance. Curious that because of his location with his back to the entry, he's most noticeable as you're leaving the park and only if you look up from your cell phone!

There's a little wooden birdhouse, thick with the paint of generations of park preservationists. Atop a pole five feet off the ground and partially filled with straw, it has the curious sign, "Owl Sleeping, Go Away Squirrel Nutkin!"

In The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin by Beatrix Potter, sassy-mouthed Squirrel Nutkin loses his tail and narrowly escapes flaying by an Owl called Old Brown. Powerful stuff!! A commentary on 19th century British hierarchy, class and power, the story was first published way back in 1903, after the success of Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Thanks to Shannon Taylor, Fairyland Art Director and Sonia Tamez, Urban Sketcher for this sketching opportunity.

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