Saturday, November 24, 2012
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
I spend a day a week sketching 2 and 4 minute gesture poses. It is a wonderful exercise to sharpen your eye and drawing skills. We start with 10 two minute poses and I try all sorts of things to make each one different. I use charcoal, sharpie, pencil, and watercolor. I try circles, contour drawing, and negative space approaches. At the end of the session, I am tired. Drawing the human figure from short poses is work.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
I pass this old boat in front of the marina on my trips to Sausalito. It probably will not last too much longer as boards have sprung and there is plenty of rot. In the past I painted it on site but this time I stopped and took photos. It sits on a bed of ice plant, propped up on a skid and cinder blocks.
What I want to happen, is for a repair crew to come and resuscitate this grand model of fishing craft. As I think back on the scenes that attract me to painting, I keep finding old retired equipment, dilapidated houses, broken fences, etc. Is this a result of my aging?
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Just returned from painting at Muller Ranch in Yolo, CA. What a beautiful day for plein air painting. My painting location was found at the first stop on this huge ranch of vineyards and olive trees. I am fascinated with old farm equipment and there was plenty of stuff here, although, not very old or bone like. The owner told me that they replace stuff all the time so nothing remains for long. The colors caught my eye in this nice sunny spot.
I tried to connect all of the 'stuff'. Putting things in front of or overlapping creates new subjects and ties them into the composition. For example, the barrel was off alone and I painted it in front of the bright yellow box which overlaps the grey box. It wasn't difficult because most of the stuff was already pushed together.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Monday, November 12, 2012
I have played with this scene several times over the past year. A very similar composition was accepted in the 44th Annual Watercolor West Juried Exhibition. I like the simplicity of the painting. Originally, it was done plein air on a river in West Harwich on Cape Cod. This time, I chose only a single structure, creating a sense of loneliness in the wild. The structure is the focal point. One eye path is the river with a pointer (the stake) that appears on a point of land directing you to the hideaway. There is also a graded wash on the river which goes from foreground to the structure. Finally, there is a white track leading to the white house.
Most of my painting is done plein air. Occasionally, I will work in my studio with a painting that I particularly like, and make some changes. It is easier to do, when you have been looking at the original for awhile.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
This painting resulted from my class demonstration of side lighting. The purpose was to show shade and shadow projections. It was totally imaginary but served its need.
There are plenty of water towers around my area of California. Because of the extensive farming, the tower was a part of the farm. Now many are used for other purposes.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
What a fun place to be as families arrive to pick out pumpkins for their Halloween celebration. Larry's Produce Stand in Vacaville, CA, is always busy, but it goes all out for Halloween. There are mazes with hay bales, huge pumpkins, old farm equipment, hay rides, drinks, etc that are added for the shoppers. The produce is always the best and inexpensive. You can even pick your own. The shopping is done in wheelbarrows.
I had plenty of visitors as I painted. Kids wanted to tell me about their paintings. Others debated which pumpkin to buy. The general rule that I heard from several parents, 'you have to be able to carry it to the car'. This is a plein air painting experience that is among the best.
Friday, November 9, 2012
We have such glorious weather for painting. I was at my favorite site, the Davis Depot, for some plein air painting. It was quieter than in the morning. Major train traffic occurs mornings and late afternoon from my experience. The southwestern architecture of this building appeals to me and by catching it at different times, the shadow and shading change. This creates a new scene for my painting of a familiar landmark in Davis California. I can make the composition just the way I want it by moving something or leaving it out. Everyone still knows where the place is from the painting.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Little known secret: Dixon California has a train station even though no trains stop there. The station is currently used by the Chamber of Commerce. The train tracks run along the front and there is a path across them. While I was painting, many trains came whistling through at high speed. The warnings at the crossings all go off and gates come down on roads that cross the tracks.
Some day, when the population increases to some size that warrants a stop, this station will be in business.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
The Davis Train Depot is rather iconic for the city. It is my favorite place to paint when home. There are many people coming and going, especially students whose bicycles are left all over the place. This is a first, painting from this vantage point. It is down the tracks and behind the iron gated fence that prevents wandering onto the track. I didn't expect any visitors but one women from Pittsburgh was very interested and came to chat. Fortunately, someone yelled to her as they climbed aboard the Chicago bound train. They had to hold the train as she had to circle back for her luggage and then get out to the train.
I finished in about 2hr which is the parking limit. Davis has very efficient parking attendants who hand out lots of tickets.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Took a long break in October but did a lot of painting. This is the last of my watercolor paintings from my time in Italy this summer. We took a water taxi from Amalfi to our hotel. The view from the water is very different than from the road. I did this painting on Arches 140 lb paper that is glued to board. No wrinkling and painting on paper is soooo much better than fabric or clayboard. I am interested to see how it holds up.