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A Natural History of Western Trees Paperback – June 29, 1991
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About the Author
Paul H. Landacre was a renowned print artist. Paul, a noted naturalist, spent much time in the secluded spot gardening and befriending local wildlife near his home in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles. He famously rehabilitated a wounded petrel, and the two became so attached that the bird would sit on his shoulder while he read the newspaper on the house’s front porch. He later adopted the petrel as his monogram (perhaps his affinity for the bird was related to his own handicap, for Landacre, a former champion at track and field, had become disabled by a streptococcus infection while in college). Many of his engravings were in fact inspired by the landscape around the El Moran property, and virtually all of the works that he created during his and Margaret’s time there were made on his own hand press: a fact which some have credited as a turning point in his career, for it enabled him to constantly check the progress of his work, as well as personally select with which paper and ink they would be printed. Paul Hambleton Landacre (1893-1963) and his wife Margaret moved to 2006 El Moran in March of 1932, having acquired the deed for the Depression-era price of two thousand dollars. They moved to El Moran shortly after the artist published a book of his works, titled “California Hills.” At the time, Landacre had already begun working exclusively in the art of printmaking with wood engravings, having studied at the Otis College of Art and Design (he would later teach there). Paul Landacre passed away in 1963, due to complications in the aftermath of a suicide attempt made soon after Margaret died. His work is considered by many to be the standard by which engraved wood printmaking is judged.
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" One of the outstanding characteristics of the Valley Oak groves is their open spaciousness. The trees almost invariably stand well apart from each other - held off, no doubt, by competition of their root systems in a wide search for water. Yet they are gregarious trees, almost never found out of sight of many of their fellows unless the axe and plow have intervened"
Isn't that evocative? And that small taste hardly does the sweep of the book due credit. When I need to breath forest air and can't get away I pick up this book and start to read. Anyone who respects talented and passionate writing will cherish this book.