Y3 – Day 51 – Oil on Canvas

IMG_3736This oil painting is by Charles Percy Austin (1883-1948) and it is called La Buena Ventura, c.1927. Displayed in the hallway of the original museum building that used to be an hacienda, it caught my eye because of the motif. It made me think of gypsies from the Andaluz area of Spain where my maternal grandfather hailed from. But this portrays a young woman in Southern California. Austin was an illustrator, art teacher, painter and art critic. His largest motif is the study of the San Juan Capistrano mission, Southern California landscapes and Spanish women.

Laid out on the floor by her feet are tarot cards she is studying to predict her own or someone else’s future. She’s holding the deck in one hand, leaning on her knee as she is slumped forward, chin resting on her other hand in a pensive mood, suggesting it is her own destiny she is contemplating. Attractive and brightly clothed, perhaps she is wondering what to do about a male suitor. I love that we are left to surmise on our own. The oil lamp on the upper left wall gives it almost an Arabian Nights feel of mystery. The saltillo tiles, her bangles, the jug of water or wine, the placing of the woman in a secluded corner and the guitar complete the look of exotic female in her hidden sanctuary.

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