Saturday, December 26, 2009

Downtown Davis California

I started this picture of the downtown movie theater years ago. While cleaning out my studio, I ran across it and decided to give it a facelift. The theater is still in Davis showing foreign films but the buildings around it have changed.
When I want to paint but can't decide what to start, I find an old unfinished painting and go to work on it. I feel free with it and experiment. It keeps me painting and sometimes is just the trigger I need to fire me up.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Clearing Fog on the Bay

Yesterday morning was foggy but it began to brighten and clear before noon. This painting captures the clearing fog with three distant hills of varying intensity or value. The boats are a counter balance to the larger mass on the right. It was done with 3 colors: ultramarine, Paynes grey and burnt sienna. It was pretty wet when I stopped half way through and let it dry. I then put in the water and the snaggle pines give it a story and mystery.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mendocino Water Tower II

Water towers in Mendocino are like hot tubs on high and wide platforms. I tried to be a little more realistic in my painting this time. My calligraphy is not as prominent as seen on the original but it was fun painting this version after doing the previous one. I did not block out and tried to save my whites by painting around them. Next time I think I would block out with something and then they would not appear wobbly.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mendocino Water Tower

A very common site in Mendocino are the water towers that remain from the past. It is cold and frosty in California these days so paintings are from memories instead of plein air. I love painting outside, on site, but not when it's cold or windy. One remedy for the cold is to paint warmer scenes. It is the placebo effect; you get lost in the painting and warm up. Save the snow scenes for hot summer days.

Monday, December 7, 2009

San Francisco Experience

I finished this painting last week and had it framed and ready to send to South Africa. When I found out the rate for shipping, I found another way to send a gift. I could have bought a one-way plane ticket for the shipping cost.
The planes make this painting of interest. The steepness of the hill is evident with several planes below and wires overhead. The silhouettes of people leaning toward the subject help to resolve the conflict of verticals and direct the viewer.

The Fixer-Upper

This house was on a photo I had from Mendocino, CA. Today, in California, there was cold with wind and I canceled my plans to go outside and paint. Instead, I played with the painting and tried a lot of different shapes. Notice the 3 eucalyptus trees in the left background and the puddles in the foreground. The laundry on the line was a balance to the painting. There is a lot in this painting and I usually only feature one subject with everything else subordinate. This is what happens when plans suddenly change. It was fun experimenting.

Wet on Wet Watercolor Painting

Have you ever tried to paint on a wet surface with watery color. You need to keep a couple of steps ahead with your plan and get it all on before the painting dries. One can add a couple of drops of glycerin to the water to slow the drying. It is difficult to judge the intensity of the color and, in general, it dries at a much lighter value than it appears at first. This is my attempt at a 15-20min wet on wet watercolor. The second one was done with more intense color because of the experience with the first.

This one took even less time, and I was able to save the whites. It is uneven with the intensities but the water reflections are somewhat forgiving. An artist I know that is successful with this technique uses only Lanaquerelle watercolor paper. This is more blotter-like and gives soft edges to everything.
I think that I will need a lot of trials to get one of these wet-on-wet paintings to my satisfaction. In the meantime, I will stay with washes and dry into wet.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

San Francisco Streets

This is a painting of Chestnut St in San Francisco. I was on Stockton and looking down. Had plenty of people to talk with as it was a nice day and many were out. I will have to go back and move up one street to do Lombard, the crookedest street.