John White didn’t have to worry about residents objecting to his setting up his easel in the middle of town when he recently did some plein air painting in Bodie, California. Bodie is a ghost town.
The Long Beach, California, artist was in the area after dropping off his daughter at a camp near Yosemite National Park for a summer job.
About 110 of Bodie’s buildings remain intact.
Bodie was a gold-mining boom town after gold-bearing ore was found in 1876, but the lode wasn’t as rich as miners speculated, and by 1912 the town was in a precipitous decline. At its height, Bodie was big enough to support a Chinatown and a red light district. It is now a state historic park with about 110 of the original buildings still standing.
White reports that the painting experience in Bodie was a bit of a rush, albeit not one of gold. “The scenery was breathtaking and the weather fantastic,” he says.