Thacher School Centennial; Study Hall and Library

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Thacher School Centennial; Study Hall and Library                                                    Paul Gavin CdeP 1971 Pen and Ink Watercolor on Board, 28" x 16"                        Painted on Location

Limited edition lithograph on paper remarqued on the lower right with a drawing of the Dining Hall. 22" x 13". Unframed.

Art poster on paper. 22" x 13". Unframed.

Original Watercolor ; Please contact the Artist 

The study hall, original classrooms and the library were the center of the school from 1911 until the end of the 1960's.  Most classes were held there and assembly took place inside the Study Hall until 1969 when the gathering was moved into the Auditorium or outside on the Pergola and the Study Hall became became an art studio.  The new Science building had recently been finished about the same time and other classroom buildings were also built in the area in the years following.  Just recently that "new" science building was replaced by the new Gates Art and Technology center.  But this original Study Hall and Library complex remain the historic visual center of the campus.

Paul graduated from Thacher in 1971, a time he calls 'explosively creative.' The focus at that time was not primarily on career. “There was an emphasis on doing what would result in a satisfying life as opposed to what would give a stable career.” Paul listed at least 6 classmates who went into the arts and knows more kept their artistic talents alive even in other careers. Edgardo Catalan gave Paul some pointers and some sketches resulted, but as he describes it, “My vision of what I wanted to accomplish always seemed so far off from what I could actually do that I hated to try.” So, while at Thacher, trying to capture the beauty of the School and the valley was a frustrating experience for him.  But he stubbornly persisted, getting a degree in Studio art and then painting outdoors on location anywhere it looked interesting with a modicum of success and was able to return years later and get some satisfaction when he painted the now Old Dining Hall, this piece, and the view of the Ojai Valley from the Outdoor Chapel.

When he finished this watercolor of the Study Hall and Library Paul said, “It captures what I wanted. There is so much more I see, but I think it captures the soul of the place.” In addition, his sense of preservation through art has been satisfied: “You don’t realize it until after you’ve done it. This painting has become part of the history of Thacher that so enchanted me while I was there. It is a living work.”

More about the Artist:  Paul has a strong connection with Ojai and Ventura county.  A 7th generation Californian through his family of Ventura County farmers and a Santa Paula rancher, hIs father’s mother grew up at the eastern end of Ventura Avenue, began teaching at San Antonio School in 1917 and told of Sherman Day Thacher inviting her students up to Thacher to play tennis. She later married and moved to Ojai where Paul’s father grew up and went to Villanova Prep where after WWII at a Villanova Prep social event he met his future wife and Paul’s mom.  They married and after living in Northern California for a short while they brought their growing family back to Southern California. Paul and his brothers and sisters grew up spending most weekends and summers with their grandparents in Ojai and at the Ferndale Ranch in Santa Paula and he was also fortunate enough to attend Thacher where he fully enjoyed and appreciated the “Place”.  Through the years he was thoroughly imbued with Ventura County’s unique and magical physical geography from the mountains to the sea and enjoys expressing it through the paintings of the area and he still drives his 1951 Ford Pickup he got from Ferndale Ranch, license plate 51 ARTRK.