Thomas Schaller’s Paintings Prove Once and for All That Yes, L.A. Has Seasons

One artist creates a visual narrative of America’s reigning City of Light
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The coming El Niño notwithstanding, Los Angeles weather is known for its consistency. But any Angeleno will tell you that Southern California is not all sunshine and blue skies. (It’s only mostly sunshine and blue skies.) We commissioned Venice-based artist Thomas W. Schaller to capture the city’s nuanced climate through his preferred medium, watercolor. His landscapes prove just how seasonal L.A. can be. Then we asked him to tell us what he sees.

Seasons in LA

Painting by Thomas W. Schaller

Spring Morning
Venice Canals
“I love fog and what it does to light—the refractions and reflections are all very different. This image was inspired by early mornings, when the marine layer is in. Here we have the benefit of knowing it’s going to burn off in a couple of hours, so it has this sort of ephemeral feel to it. It’s not sad or depressing. It’s a respite.”

Seasons in LA

Painting by Thomas W. Schaller

Summer Midday
Hollywood Farmers Market
“So many things here speak to me of summer, but farmers’ markets are a way of life. The shifting colors, the way the muted, middle-of-the-day light subtly contrasts with strong shadows from the booths—you don’t get many places with such compelling, abstract compositions of etched shadows and bright sun.”

Seasons in LA

Painting by Thomas W. Schaller

Autumn Afternoon
Laurel Canyon
“When I moved out here from New York, people said, “Aren’t you going to miss autumn?” Well, we have it in L.A. There’s a noticeable shift in the air: The leaves change color and fall; the light gets warmer. Those long shadows are the most magical kinds of light you can find—just as magical here as they are back east or in Vermont or anywhere.”

Seasons in LA

Painting by Thomas W. Schaller

Winter Evening
Chinatown
“We don’t have eight feet of snow, but it’s just not true that we don’t have winter.
It rains. And when it rains in L.A., it’s like a unicorn. I like the Chinatown area because it’s a walking destination, and with those beautiful lanterns, I can play up the reflectivity on the wet sidewalks.”

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