With very high temperatures and strong warm winds -the Santa Anas , brush fires have been ravaging Southern Calfornia. We who live in west Hollywood have been lucky to escape the damage but malibu -only 20 minutes away has been hit badly-my friend Sara phoned to say the house next to her on the beach had been burnt to the ground and that she was not sure the portrait I had just done of her had survived the fire.Philip and i naively decided to go for a walk in Santa monica and Venice beach on monday believing the worst of the fires were over . the place was eerily empty and quiet with a huge yellow grey cloud blocking out the sun.we walked about 3 miles in this stiffling heat..Phil and I were blissfully unaware of the healthwarnings about the air quality the blanket effect the fires would have on the enviroment. I felt decidedly worse for ware after the walk -short of breath . we got home to find the fires had spread to Orange county and San Diego and that people were being evacuated.When I got up the next day I found a thin layer of ash on our car. never without a drama.