The Golden Bear
Paul Gavin, Ink & watercolor, 1986
Custom giclee on high quality watercolor paper. Unframed.
Most of Us Have a Bear Memory
Built in 1926 and demolished in 1986, Huntington Beach's Classic "Golden Bear" stood across from the pier at 306 Pacific Coast Highway. It was the first land side building south (east) of Main on PCH. The corner was a vacant lot that was used for concert parking, and the on Golden Bear's wall facing Main Street was a beautiful, yet aging Wyland mural of musicians painted on the bricks that you see on this print.
Most of us have a Bear memory. It might be the cocktails and that gourmet chicken or beef dinner or vegetarian dinner, or perhaps even the waitresses. But most likely it was the artists and their musical performances in that rustic yet warm, intimate venue that we remember. Mine in particular was Tower of Power — and their powerful horns that most likely made the building's ultimate demolition a little easier.
I also have another. Summer Friday and Saturday nights the corner of Main and PCH buzzed with music fans and late beach goers. Whether they were waiting to see the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, or walking with Steve Martin as he led the audience out on the sidewalk, or just hanging around at the side doors listening to Bruce Springsteen, there was always an eclectic and "beautiful" crowd outside the Bear along PCH.
Whether in line for a concert or returning to my upstairs 115-1/2 Main Street Studio after painting on the beach I enjoyed watching these crowds. So did drivers, as more than once I remember the too late squealing brakes and that deep metallic crunch and the sounds of parts falling on the street as another unfortunate PCH driver hadn't noticed that the cars in front of theirs had stopped.
In those days my studio was on Main and I lived at 5th and Walnut, spending many days painting around Main Street and along the Beach. In 1986, because the Golden Bear was to be demolished, Huntington Beach's then City Manager requested I do a Golden Bear "portrait" for posterity. The original pen & watercolor painting still hangs in the Huntington Beach City Hall.
This is a special limited edition giclee on high quality watercolor paper of that painting.