Carmel Magazine

Spring/Summer 2020

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H ydrangeas, roses and wisteria flourished on the Sonoma-area proper ty where Bob Ellis and Jane Bernstein lived as the Tubbs Fire took hold in 2017. One evening, with flames roaring across the surrounding vineyards, a friend encouraged them to depar t for safer ground. By the time the Tubbs Fire ended, it had scorched nearly 37,000 acres and thousands of homes—including the one owned by Ellis and Bernstein. Six months later, Bernstein passed away. As Ellis mourned the loss of his wife, he set about rescuing and repotting a few scorched plants that he thought might have survived the flames. He was especially hopeful about a unique shrub rose that had long grown against a stone wall in the yard. While discussing the fate of the cherished rose with his friend, Carmel artist Elizabeth Barlow, Ellis asked if she would commemorate it in a painting. This March, six months after first putting paintbrush to canvas, Barlow presented him with a six-foot commission called "The Phoenix Rose." Fourteen flowers in shades of pale pink and peach bloom across vibrant emer- ald leaves and a rich, blue-sky backdrop. "It's filled with luminous roses at various stages of opening, and they have this dramat- ic way of changing color. She's surrounded them with beautiful leaves and an amazing- colored sky, which is not so different from Bob Ellis lost his home in the Tubbs Fire in Sonoma in 2017, and soon after, his wife Jane Bernstein passed away. Ellis commissioned Barlow to paint a rose shrub that survived the fire. 110 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 2 0

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