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WITH THE KIDS

An elvish sighting in Pasadena

June 09, 2005

Fairies and gnomes aren't typically associated with the avant-garde. But Harold Gaze, a portrayer of fantasy garden creatures, made his mark as a nonconformist, gossamer wings and all.

Gaze, a New Zealand-born children's book illustrator and author, settled in Pasadena in the late 1920s when most Southern California artists were obsessed with Impressionism. "He was doing something different from everyone else, and he cultivated his own market," says Maurine St. Gaudens, curator of an exhibition containing a dozen Gaze watercolors that will serve as the backdrop for a midsummer's eve of fairy tales, craft-making and tasty treats at the Pasadena Museum of History.

"Twilight Stories in the Garden," for children ages 4 to 8, will start with a gallery tour of Gaze's works. Next, youngsters will plop down for fairy tales among the gnomes and other garden sculptures from Pasadena's defunct Busch Gardens. Then there will be crafts and photo opportunities in the gardens, where fairy punch and elf cookies will be served.

The source of Gaze's fascination with fantasy isn't known, says St. Gaudens: "He became an actor in England to put himself through art school. This gave him the ability to write very well, and he had an imagination that he let go wild."

Zan Dubin Scott

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"Twilight Stories in the Garden," Pasadena Museum of History, 470 W. Walnut St. 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and June 21. $10 to $12; reservations required. (626) 577-1660, Ext. 10, www.pasadenahistory.org.

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