The Hippie arrival and back-to-the-land movement is the subject of this panel, surmounted by the word “love” for “the love generation” and “The Summer of Love” in 1967.
San Francisco was the epicenter of the “Summer of Love,” and during the next decade many flower children (and their actual children) moved north, including throughout Mendocino County, to live close to the earth, with an emphasis on sharing, openness and peace.
Over time, the newcomers and the established community transformed each other to produce the diverse and mostly tolerant society we now enjoy. The hippies put down roots and created an economic niche for themselves by cultivating marijuana, which you see here.
This underground economy had a huge boosting effect on the region.
This panel became the most populous of all, with 21 human figures including 14 portraits, plus a dog portrait. Many of my source images came from a local history project documenting first hand the stories of these young, idealistic newcomers. Promise of Paradise, Back to the Land Oral Histories of Mendocino County
Portraits from left to right, top to bottom:
- Builder and sculptor John Stevens and Lisa Grant with son John Jr.
- Lisa Grant shows off her giant turnip in front of an iconic “live-in” converted school bus, modeled on the one I came to California in with my two sons.
- Karen Rizzolo (then Buickerood) milking a goat with baby son Abel and daughter Jessie looking at one kitten, while Sarah Stevens holds the other.
- A scene inside a cottage representing natural childbirth and home birth based on an image of midwife Renee Vinyard with new parents and their baby.
- At the center of the foreground scene is Jonathon Frey from a 1976 photo at Alan Chadwick’s Garden Project in Covelo.
The large family of Marguerite “Beba” and Paul Frey, both progressive doctors devoted to country living, started Frey Vineyards, America’s first organic and Biodynamic winery, in 1980 and were part of Mendocino County’s back to the land movement. Their son Jonathon was the first Frey winemaker. In the mural he is shown holding Biodynamic Certification from the Demeter Association.
Who is that puppy? No panel would be more appropriate for a dog portrait than “love.” She is my son Adrian’s sweet and smart sheep-herding/possible McNab mix named Koa!
What do the people in my mural think when they see their portraits? I always want my portrait subjects to be happy, and I think usually they are:
In the foreground of the panel is another element spilling over from the last panel where three historic winemakers were portrayed, here a contemporary winemaker, Cesar Toxqui.
Cesar Toxqui moved to Mendocino County from Mexico when he was just sixteen and his first job in the wine industry was tying down grape vines at Fetzer Vineyards. He studied viticulture while working full time and became a winemaker for his love of the craft. Cesar Toxqui Cellars produces small batches of wine from specific terroirs (earth) that speak through the flavor of the wine, unique each year.Read about Cesar’s life and trajectory as a winemaker in the Historical Society of Mendocino County Journal, Volume 59, September 2020
In the lower right of the panel I needed to paint puppy Koa and a loving family:
A local couple modeled so they could fit into the exact shape of the composition.
Tracy Windish and Tom Reid with their boys Kaius and Raiden posed wearing the perfect clothes, including a green leather suit commissioned in 1972 with embroidered marijuana leaves by one of the original hippies at Greenfield Ranch.