Thursday, April 21, 2011

Old Country Bridge Over Creek

It was raining at 8:30AM but a few of us went on our Wednesday Paint out. The sky stayed overcast and finally started to warm. Hey, what is this? It's the end of April in California. Rain is usually an exception at this time of year. It is a given that every day will be sunny and warm from this time of year. There was only slight shadow cast from the rust eroded rails on the bridge. It is a gravel road but the bridge road was concrete and smooth. Only one car came through all morning. Plenty of birds chirping and someone shooting off a shot gun in the distance. It is a great day to be out in the country. I do not know what species of tree is growing up out of the creek. While it looks like a wide trunk, it is actually a group of tree trunks growing next to each other.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Davis Icon Gone

It's fun to go back and review previous paintings. I painted this structure 23 years ago. It was a tower seen from the highway driving by Davis to Woodland. It is gone. Rarely, do I make changes in a painting done in the past and signed. As I look around my walls at paintings there are many that I would like to tweak this way or that.
I remember painting this. I felt at the time that I was too close to get a good perspective and it was so hot, that I just wanted to finish and get into the shade. Things were drying so fast. I have since found a trick to keep the painting wet longer. A couple of drops of glycerin in the water does the trick. Too much and it will take forever to dry.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring in Willowbank

It was a chilly morning and I found a sunny spot to set up and paint. Lots of green veggies to deal with. Mixed a lot of different greens on the paper. The tree in the foreground was massive; I'm not sure what variety of tree it is but lots of little green leafs starting to pop. The tree was done wet on wet. I painted a silhouette of the trunk and branches with clear water and kept dropping in color and it turned into some wonderful colors. The figures at the end of the path were put there so there would be some reward for following the path out. It turned out to be a good morning painting.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Around the Corner

This is one of my favorite paintings of the plein air week in Winters. I have painted this alley several times before, but always from the street. This time I went up the alley and looked out at the street. The light was perfect. There were three different colors of brick in the wall. The yellow is an old painted sign on the side of the building. The bottom is pink brick. Lots of power lines are winding around poles and buildings. After my success with this alley, I went around and looked at some of the other alleyways in Winters. They are possibilities. I got the brick colors by starting with raw sienna and then adding alizerin crimson over in streaks and while still wet added cobalt blue to the darkest red. The direct glazing technique gets amazing color that just pops. Once it dries, add the shadows to define structure.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Contented Cows

What a wonderful week of weather for plein air painting. I was across the highway from this barn. I originally went to the house on the side but no one but a dog was home. So, rather than stay there with the dog barking, I moved across the road. A couple of years ago, a dog, out of sight, barked as I sketched and got ready to paint. All of a sudden, an angry pit bull came racing at me dragging his chain...never finished the scene. There is always a curious cow that gets a close view of you by standing and staring. As I said, in a previous post, the grass is very, very green do to weeks of rain. I toned it down a bit.
The Winters Plein Air Festival ends today with a gallery show. Winters is buzzing today with tents set up for wine tasters and the usual breakfasters. The week always ends with a 'quick draw' in which you start and finish a painting between 9AM and noon. Part of the allure of plein air painting is listening to all the sounds, talk and enjoying the aromas from big breakfasts. Winters is the place for breakfast.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring Tuneup

The Winters' Plein Air Festival is underway this week and I have been over there painting in some of the best weather of 2011. At the end of Railroad St is a garage that seems to be busting at the seams with cars. Hoods are up and the lift is constantly raising cars. The garage is at the bridge on Putah Creek. All the new spring growth can be seen behind. Had a lot of chats with locals wandering by and asking about painting. I had to mix a few grays for this painting.