Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wind on San Francisco Bay

Back painting with the group in Sausalito and this was a very quick painting. I wanted to concentrate on clouds and sky but it just would not dry fast enough so carried on with some sailboats, a la Jerry Stitt, and cypress trees showing the wind.

Air Conditioned Barn

I have been away restoring a brownstone in Brooklyn and it was work but very satisfying. I did this painting before but went back to do it again plein air. This time I was tasting something very strange and then realized a tractor was out there spraying. I packed up and left but had this almost finished on a much larger paper. The sheep are still staring. I kept it a yellow painting with some red in the foreground and on the roof which is rusted and metal. I am also experimenting with photographing my work. I always used the 'auto' settings and this time tried manual with a camera stand. I am not sure there is a difference.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Putah Creek Below the Dam

Still finding paintings from last week. I did a lot of them and then selected only 3 for exhibit. This scene was a group activity below Berryessa Dam. It was sunny and cool. There are steep hills around the creek forming a canyon which includes a park and motel. The creek has logs along the edge along with plenty of growies. The birds come and go, so I put the egret in for a focal point. I would put the horizon line higher in the painting if I did it again so I could get more reflections. I was thrown off by being so close and feeling the height of the canyon walls. Everything is so green after all of the rain.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring Tune Up

Back painting on San Francisco Bay after a week in farm land. Found it a little difficult to shift gears. This scene was taken from a long row of boats in the inlet for the Army Corps of Engineers. They did bring in a huge crane and I did several sketches but returned to what I initially saw as a painting. The workers on the sail boat kept directing each other with some urgency. I thought they were ready to sail.
It is a blue painting with informal balance. All the boats were white and had blue canvas, so I went with it. It was a great day on the Bay for painting.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Alley Chat

A popular dining spot in downtown Winters, CA gathers the locals. I was across the street painting this and noted that people meet outside or are waiting for the 4th in the party. It is a very large restaurant, but with the weather so nice, why not outside?
I liked the shafts of light between the front awnings and between the buildings on the alleyway. I did paint buildings in original color tan because it was a local show and a big deviation from original would be rejected by the locals (Not purchased). You can only have so much license. The owner stood by me during much of the painting and wanted to know why I left certain things out.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Air Conditioned

Drove by this fantastic barn that basically had a roof and little for sides. The sheep were suspicious as I came around and set up to sketch and paint. It was a glorious day with sun and shadow. I put it in the Winter's Show and it sold.
You know when you get it just right.

Walk on Main St. Winters

This colorful Victorian style house is for sale on Main St. in Winters and attracts a lot of visitors. While in Winters this past week for the Paint the Town, I sketched and painted this picture. It was my third painting of the day and was done rather quickly but I like the feel. A giant sycamore tree is just blooming and the hedges and lawn are very manicured. I struggle with greens and variations for trees and lawns and believe that I am not alone. I combine a couple of yellows, my favorite being raw sienna, with different blues to create as many shades of green possible. The most distant vegetation I paint light blue.

Friday, April 2, 2010


You can see the clouds overhead, so there was a rush to finish this plein air painting in Winters. It turned cold and windy by the end. This old corrugated metal barn on an almond ranch had plenty of old equipment and ladders scattered. The tractor caught my eye and is the 'bride' of the show. It did rain on the way home but the painting was finished and packed away. Rain isn't good for watercolor work. There is merit to be under the gun to finish a piece, whether it is threatening weather or changing shadows. The work ends up fresher and loose.

Fixer Upper on the Creek

Just finished a week of plein air painting in Winters, CA. It is an annual event at Briggs Gallery. Winters has lots of farms, a quaint downtown area that is very popular with bicycles, and plenty to paint. The weather did not cooperate except for the first two days. It was stormy and overcast most of the days. Still, lots of artists could be found out on the hills and downtown.
My 'fixer-upper' was my second painting of the day and done in a little over an hour with plenty of chatter with the locals. Great light and shadow. When you are ready and fast and loose, the crispness of the work shows. The house is just about to fall down.