I JUST had a fabulous opportunity to paint at the site of William Shatner's riverside retreat here in Three Rivers, as part of an amazing garden tour held on April 16th. The Hiddens Garden Tour of Three Rivers was sponsored by the Three Rivers Union School Foundation, as a fundraiser for the local school. Six foothill gardens were open to the public, along with food catered by local restaurants, music, and art.
THANK YOU, William Shatner, for graciously offering to share your beautiful Belle Reve Ranch for this one day special event.
ARTISTS of the area were invited to be part of this tour, offering an environment where guests could watch us paint on site. I jumped at the chance. I had seen the river space before, but never in this capacity. Two weeks before the event, I took my camera to get photographs for local advertising, and spent an hour soaking up the beauty and serenity of this magical place.
THE PROPERTY is located in a little valley created by Salt Creek Ridge and Dennison Mountain. Most of the flora is native to the Sierras, boasting oaks, sycamores, grasses, ferns, and even a grove of baby giant sequoias. All the paths, which eventually lead you to the river, are donned with life-sized redwood sculptures crafted by R.L. Blair, the artist who created Country Bear Jamboree at Disneyland. He designed his statues of Yokuts men, women and children, just as if they were alive today – weaving baskets, carrying wood, and passing on tribal stories to the young. Prehistoric mortar holes, in granite slabs overlooking the river, further enhance the feeling that you have time-traveled. I was so inspired that I decided to paint these Yokuts – as real as they appeared to me that day.