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367. California State Flag. Part 3. 

I had no idea that working on the California flag would take so much time, energy and work to get down to a new design. (I was a bit nervous about it all in the beginning if you recall. Chalk one up for instincts.) One thing about working on a design in your own state is that you can really do some nice legwork, actual physical reporting. Over the past week I traveled down to Monterey and visited the Colton Hall Museum, the site where the California State Constitution was signed way back in October of 1849. There's a small gallery of artwork and a recreation of the meeting room, complete with old letters and books of the time.

Colton Hall Museum, Meeting Room Recreation, in Monterey:

As it may have looked back in the 1800s:

Of particular interest to me—and to this project— and the reason I traveled down to the museum in the first place was to get a look at the original Charles Nahl watercolor of the California Grizzly used by Don Kelley as one of the two main references for the bear currently displayed on the Bear Flag. I couldn't get any great shots of it due to the way that it was framed, but hopefully you'll get an idea of what Kelley was working with. 

The Original Charles Nahl Watecolor of the California Grizzly:

In my best infomercial voice, "But wait—there's more!"

I also drove down to Santa Barbara for a little vacation and besides capturing a few amazing beach shots, while on the pier I noticed a row of flags. And because I'm working on this project I quickly realized (and blurted out) that those were the 12 flags of California's history. I also had the chance to impress a few folks nearby, by knowing the Russian-American Trading flag off the top of my head. Little did they know.

12 Flags of California in Santa Barbara:

It's quite cool to be able to experience some of the history behind a flag in person, and it's a shame that I can't travel around the country and do the same thing for each state, because I'd do it in a second. Anyway, I thought you might enjoy a little more background behind California's banner. Now onto Colorado. For real this time.

Finally, here's a little taste of the beach life I experienced while doing this homework. (Zero photoshop work on this guy, by the way.) Nice gig if you can get it.

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Reader Comments (2)

Hey JJ, found your blog posts after searching extensively for the "official" CA state flag, thanks for the education and explanation as to why they all look slightly different! That said, would you be willing to (or do you already?) sell your version?

November 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaty
Katy, I'm hoping to have all of my final flags (I still might go back and tweak a few) produced in a gallery for a show, and perhaps making them for sale, but I'll need to get manufacturer lined up. This is certainly the goal. Thanks for your interest and kind words.
November 19, 2012 | Registered Commenterjj

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