Sunday, December 23, 2012

Those Who Inspire

Gerald Garden in 1976, photo courtesy of the 1976 Blair High Yearbook
              At my high school, Blair High in Pasadena, 1972-1976, the only art classes they really offered was Sign Art and Cartooning Class. I took them both but I took cartooning all 4 years. My teacher was Gerald Garden. I did very little cartooning and did more illustration work. Mr. Garden would come up to me with an editorial cartoon from Time Magazine or out of the LA Times newspaper and ask if I thought I could do I did and I think it sort of, maybe just slightly, amazed him how fast I could redraw an editorial cartoon without the aid of tracing paper or a projector. I liked drawing the old Sunset magazine covers. I also liked to draw just whatever popped into my head. I had gone to see Jaws one weekend and on monday decided to draw the boat from memory and it wasn't half bad. I had a great time in Mr. Gardens class. Here was a grown-up who took drawing seriously. I had never seen that. I think Mr. Garden made me feel that creating art was something some people actually did for a living...that it was even possible.
              After I came home from 3 years in the Army I worked and took classes at our local community college, PCC. Years later I mentioned Mr. Garden in one of my online Bio's and his daughter stumbled on it from a Google search. That put Mr. Garden and me back in touch and we occasionally emailed each other. Mr. Garden was then retired but working for the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum, now called The Autry. He did the cartoons and artwork in their newsletters. I lost his info when my hard drive crashed one year but after moving up to Solvang I found his phone number doing a Google search. I called him and turns out it was his birthday! We both got kick out of the odds of that happening.
Some of my projects at the end of my senior year at Blair 1976
               I enjoyed sending him things about art or cartoons or news I had via email and I was happy we had the chance to keep in touch...the least I could do to thank him for his inspiration and guidance when I needed it. I found out recently that Mr Garden had passed away and felt a great loss and sorrow but at the same time I felt very fortunate to have known him and that we had kept in touch. I would say that the sign of a good man is the impression they leave on you, the thoughts you carry around about them and the inspiration they have imparted on you. My best wishes and thanks to Mr. Garden for his life of teaching and the inspiration and guidance he gave to so many.      


Monica Burnette said...

What a fabulous story, Ron! Hope you and Linda have a wonderful holiday.

Mick Carney said...

A perfect example of how people can have a life changing impact on each other. We should all be thankful for what Mr. Garden has given us through your work.

All the best for you and yours over the holiday.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Monica,
Thanks so much for commenting Monica. It has been a while since I've spoken with you...hope all is going well and maybe Atlanta might get some snow for Christmas. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family Monica!!

Hi Mick,
I had so much fun in that class and enjoyed every second of it. Mr. Garden gave me the best materials he had and tougher assignments, I think, as I progressed in my drawing. I will think of him often over the years. Best Wishes to you and your family for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Mick!!

Diane Cutter said...

Ron, like you I have also been blessed with some very sharing artists. Often, when working in the studio, I feel a mystical connection, that they are with me as I create. We have been blessed.

A very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful Prosperous New Year.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Diane,
Many times I've painted something and said to myself "how did I do that?". I'd like to think it was someone (s) watching over my shoulder and I'm sure they were:)

Thank you for the Christmas and your family have a Wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year Diane!!