Short, Profitable Trip to LA — The Faux Louvre pg264

Colorful companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic

Getty Museum with Princess Leonilla after Winterhalter
Los Angeles Country Museum of Art with Bouquet after Boschaert
Huntington: Baronet with Sam Chifney Up after Stubbs
Norton Simon Museum with Tulips after Cézanne

My sister was staying with friends in Los Angeles. She called and mentioned family was coming to visit for four nights and they needed her room. “I can’t afford a motel room by myself, and don’t want to sleep in my van.”

“You don’t have to,” I enthused. “LA is still on my to-do list. I’ll arrange rooms and an itinerary for a museum a day. Do you want to pick me up at the airport? We can go see the Getty, LACMA, Norton Simon and the Huntington.”

“Sure, but only if you navigate and watch for exits and parking spaces.”

There’s something rather dreadful about unchecked urban sprawl, but it really does take that many people and resources to maintain institutions as expensive as fine arts museums — even if they were originally built for collections of robber barons. That one trip generated 74 sketches that inspired 24 completed originals, nineteen of which sold. I did end up sketching in 28 different museums. The Faux Louvre series kept me enthused for over fifteen years until my attention shifted again.

Small little note of advice… if you are ever given the choice between Los Angeles or Paris, choose Paris. Even if you’ve been there many times — choose Paris. — End of Chapter 14

Updated number correction: Twenty-one originals from that LA trip have sold. I still have that Getty princess, a Botticelli Madonna and a lovely Italian Renaissance Cleopatra. Suicide with a snake isn’t a crowd tickler, so she languishes in my eclectic collection of leftover oddballs (currently in a close-out sale in my FauxLouvre Etsy shop through 2021).

The museum compilations pictured here are Photoshop doodles I did for no practical purpose other than to commemorate each museum visit when I remembered to take an exterior shot. Each includes a masterpiece from the permanent collection, the gesture sketch I did in front of it and my finished watercolor interpretation in a painted frame. I completed 300 originals and over 3,500 painted-frame prints, so amassed tons of stuff in piles, stacks and boxes over the years. Eventually you run out of storage space for art and everything to make and frame it with. Pixels become an attractive alternative when the desire to create more images can’t be controlled, and there is simply no more space. I eventually solved that problem by moving to a bigger space with a double garage — which is now full of fun frames I’ve found in thrift stores and yard sales that will become a part of new art. My poor truck has to live outside. I needed a bigger computer, too.

Painting the dramatic season shifts of my new landscapes here in the Hudson Valley keep me engaged until another idea for a new direction drops in from the sky. I also write about what all the stuff of my life might mean, and how all these smaller pictures fit into a bigger picture — which loops back to where this book starts.

A signed copy of Mernie’s memoir is available at

Unsigned copies can be ordered wherever books are sold.

Mernie paints and writes in Woodstock NY. A signed copy of her memoir The Incompetent Psychic available via

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