While running, hiking or biking on Mt. Tam, have you ever imagined what it would be like to ski or snowboard down the mountain into the village square? Artist Llewelyn Ludlow unleashed his creative juices when he embarked on one of his passion projects– to paint what he had always imagined growing up in Mill Valley…a Mill Valley ski mecca.
Mt. Tamalpais…This beloved mountain has a long and storied history, which dates back to a time when the climate was much warmer and the sea levels were much higher. The permanent snowpack on Mt. Tam that we see today was non-existent then, and in those early days snow rarely fell, and less often would stick to the ground at all before melting.
The cataclysmic volcanism of the early part of the century along the entire pacific rim had put vast amounts of volcanic ash, dust and smoke into the atmosphere, and cooled the climate enough for snow to start falling on Mt. Tam with great regularity.
Today, Mt. Tamalpais is one of the leading resorts in the country, and certainly the finest of those in the coastal mountains of California. Its beauty, size and proximity to the bustling metropolis of South Farallon are just a few of the reasons to visit, along with the 2578 ft of vertical terrain that alpine enthusiasts of all types can enjoy. Mt. Tam boasts over 4000 skiable acres and is bordered by four quaint village resorts.
The town of Mill Valley, although smaller and much less populated than it was in the early part of the century, is rustic and charming. The downtown area that was partly spared during the volcano of 2023 has a unique character, populated by musicians, writers, dancers and artists. The slow pace of the town, noticeable during the week, livens up on the weekends.
Llewelyn and his “sweetheart”, Rose Leilani now reside in their artfully curated home in Bolinas. As a diehard, Mill Valley local for much of his life, Llewelyn paints West Marin landscapes and his beloved ocean. His sunset mural as you enter Proof Lab’s parking has reached locally iconic level status for its vibrant colors and scale. Llewelyn, an avid surfer and skier/snowboarder wrote his artist statement above as if he was post 100 years from his Tam High 1983 graduation. His creativity extends beyond his exquisite landscape paintings in his version of Mount Tam 100 years from now as a bustling ski resort, complete with a gondola, chairlifts and runs named after historical Mill Valley businesses, restaurants, residents, friends, neighborhoods, including Weirdos for Bob Weir Run, Red Rocker’s Run after Sammy Hagar, and mountain bike legend, Gary Fisher. Over the course of two years, he meticulously researched Mill Valley history at the Mill Valley Historical Society, and based on his own knowledge of growing up here all of his life because he “wanted to spark the imagination of those, who, like me, look up at Mt. Tam and wonder what it would be like as a premier ski mountain.”
To learn more about Llewellyn’s limited edition prints of Mill Valley USA, please visit his website: llbro.com