SketchBook: Silver Lake artist paints the night with pastels

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Pastel art conjures up images of  muted and pale colors. The pastels of Silver Lake artist Nancy Popenoe, however, are anything but washed out. Instead, many of Popenoe’s pieces are filled with intense colors as she captures  street scenes – often at night –  from Atwater, Echo Park, Los Feliz, Silver Lake and other neighborhoods nearby. Popenoe, who works out of her garage, explains her interest in the night time scenery:

“I paint what I’ve grown to love about Los Angeles, it’s cafes and businesses, the bungalows from the ’20s and ’30s that were built to house the immigrants looking for the sun and glamour of Southern California.  My subjects range from the everyday to the eccentric but they all have a character that compels me to rescue them. Night scenes are illuminated by the city lights and are often haunted by the shades of their inhabitants.”

Photos by Jesse Saucedo

*Note: In a previous life, The Eastsider owned a gallery that exhibited Popenoe’s work.


  1. Absolutely lovely and evocative.

  2. These are amazing!

  3. Thank you for profiling one of my favorite LA artists. Love the studio photos detailing her work space.

  4. Thank you, Nancy, for capturing the spirit of nighttime of my hometown.

    Night in Los Angeles is a diff animal than other major Amer cities.

  5. These are stunning! I love that they stress the wondrous light, color and space that is such a hallmark of our neighborhoods.

  6. Sooo noir and beautiful! I’ve lived in Silver Lake for 30 years and love seeing these familiar scenes in Nancy’s creative and evocative paintings.

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