Pasadena Rose Parade Float Tuxedo Air Takes Flight

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In recent years, I’ve gone to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on New Years Eve to paint a float before it hits the parade route on Colorado Blvd. This year, my chosen float was Tuxedo Air. If you look at this painting, you might say, “The float is already on the parade route.” Well, that’s just the magic of plein air painting.

The Magic

I was out early on New Years Eve to capture as many sites as possible while I had light. My first stop was the Wrigley Mansion, which is also the headquarters for the Tournament of Roses. My next stop was Colorado Blvd., where I was treated to a classic car show. After completing this painting, I walked further east on Colorado Blvd to work on the painting you see here. My initial thought was to paint the buildings, leaving the lower right of the watercolor page unfinished. I would then return the next day and paint in a float as it actually traveled down Colorado Blvd. However, when I arrived at the Rose Bowl to do a fourth painting for the day, I saw the float, Tuxedo Air, I decided to put it into the previous painting as though it was painted during the parade.

There were several reasons I chose to put Tuxedo Air in the painting as I did. First, I was not certain I would return on the following day of the parade. I remember previous times painting at the parade; it was very cold and somewhat challenging to get close to the parade route unless I arrived by 7:00 am. Next, the shape of Tuxedo Air seemed to fit in nicely in the space available in my third painting. Finally, and most importantly, I have discovered over the years of painting at festive events, that most people are not predisposed to talk about spiritual matters. Since that’s the primary reason I go out to paint, I figured I’d give it and myself a rest.

Tuxedo Air

When I returned home and did a Google search to learn more about the float, Tuxedo Air. I discovered that it was built entirely by students from two Cal Poly universities, San Louis Obispo, and Cal Polly Pomona. Great job students!

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