Saturday, December 28, 2013
The kids are here for the holidays and we are painting. Did a quick rooster for them and turned them loose. They took their paintings with them on a visit to friends so I don't have any to show. It was fun. By the way I let the watercolor blossom around the eye and it created the perfect circle for paining in an eye.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Constant wind off the ocean creates beautiful changes in cypress trees. These hardy trees stand up to the force but the canopy takes the hit. Here, I painted a cluster of cypress trees on the hill. The wind effect is evident. A familiar scene for travelers going along the Pacific coast. The light source is from the right. The sailboats are there to create some informal balance to the composition.
Friday, December 20, 2013
This was a perspective study originally. I decided to try it again with a wet into wet approach using bright colors. The horizon line is 1/3 down from the top. All of the buildings are below so a lot of roof is seen. I imagine looking over my toes while sitting in bed. The wet approach gives some blossoms which I used along the right side of the wharf. The sky was also an experimental wash with several colors. It was a fun piece to do.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
It was a frosty start yesterday in Arbuckle, CA. The sun eventually warmed the place. I chose to paint the old railroad station and stay in the sun. The station is actually fenced in with a large sign on it requesting donations for restoration. I remember seeing this beauty several years ago with all sorts of things growing up through the platform and building. These have all been removed and it just sits there naked. I removed the fences but I painted a rickety structure that has plenty of work needed. The sun created some nice shadows from the exposed beams.
There was not a lot of activity in Arbuckle but a few cars stopped to pick something up on Main St. A long train rolled by. The large parking lot remained empty except for a few painters. It was great to be outside.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Several years ago while painting in Acapulco, Mexico, someone took me to the river in the morning. The water was shallow and strung across the water was laundry, hung out to dry. There were rows and rows of sheets, clothes billowing in the breeze on makeshift clotheslines. I climbed over the road fence with my easel and paints and trekked up the river bank. It was not nice. Rats scurried and there was garbage and trash all along the water line. There, I saw the women, scrubbing the laundry. Some of them had some shade from branches, others did not. There was an assembly line from the wash tub to the clothesline. I painted away as the sun rose and it got hot. This is a redo of that original work.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
More indoor painting as our temperature stays cold. Just thinking about summer and Cape Cod warms me up. This scene is a complete head shot as I remember Main Street in Harwich Port on Cape Cod. There always seem to be people cruising up and down between the Kite Shop and George's Pizza. I have done paintings of both these places many times. This painting was done with a lot of thought about color. Wherever possible, I put in complementary colors to create conflict. I purposely put in many figures to enliven the scene. My light source is 3/4 Right and I imagined the cast shadows. All in all, it was an afternoon of fun.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
The Urban Painters retreated inside as the temperature dropped and an arctic blast arrived in town. What better than paint in Patris's Gallery with hot coffee on hand and even some freshly prepared soup to finish up the morning. This time of year is when I drag out all of those plein air studies that could be redone or refinished. The interval is short as I will head to Mexico and be back outside doing my painting.
This still life is 12X22 and on 300 lb Arches paper. I loved putting the persimmon reflections on the blue bowl and the on the surface drape. I also saw this fold in the cloth they were on and put it in. This careful painting is something that I rarely do when outside. I am more of a gesture painter and usually leave the details for the viewer to add.
Friday, November 15, 2013
Painted at the Park Winters in winters CA yesterday. Great buildings. Some old ones including a pump house and main house that are totally restored and some such as in this painting. It is a venue for weddings and meetings. There are grounds for just lounging along with a swimming pool. The vista is sweeping with the blue mountain range.There was a nice noisy chatter from sheep grazing in the alfalfa fields. It was a good feeling to be out there and painting.
The trees are showing some color. It was a bright and hazy most ot the morning with the sun coming out fully just when I was leaving. There were shadows from time to time. I need those projected shadows for my painting composition. This outing was part of an Art and Farm project, so painters will return on Saturday.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
What is more urban than alleys and trash containers? We set out to paint alleys Sacramento on Wednesday. It was adventurous as we disturbed some homeless late sleepers as well as found a new litter of pups. The trees now have color and provide a nice frame to our scenes. Many of the trash barrels were lined up in the alley. There were long shadows from sunlight this morning. I kept debating whether to place figures in the scene but then decided that the trash containers told a good story.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
This painting was done from my plein air painting on Wednesday. The fog that rolls in over and under the Golden Gate Bridge is always fascinating. The ocean side of the fog (origin) is wintry and grey while the Bay side remains sunny to its approach. There is a sharp divide. This act plays all summer long on the Bay. As the fog builds, puffs of it on top of the grade spill over. Eventually, San Francisco and Sausalito get fogged in.
In painting the scene, I tried to have no sharp edges to things consumed by the fog and contrasted that with the area out of the fog being very in focus.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
It was a pretty day on the bay. I was painting with friends in Sausalito yesterday. The weather was perfect and we set up at Fort Baker. This awesome view of the Golden Gate Bridge is from below at the Coast Guard Station. The sailboats were out and it was not windy. This is a first, since I have painted from this vantage point before, but always needed shelter from the wind. It was a clear day except for a low cloud just above the horizon. The sky was streaked with vapor trails from air traffic taking off just down the Bay.
The bridge was back lit so it appeared black or silhouetted. It is always a challenge to paint the sloping wires but I gave it a swipe. I did do the rocks with warm colors to accent an otherwise cool composition.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
This is a large watercolor done on stretched 140lb watercolor paper over stretcher bars. It is the first time I tried this and the paper is tight as a drum. You can tap on it and it is a drum. To achieve this tightness, you soak the paper and stretch it over the bars, stapling as you go. The paper then dries taut and remains this way. It allows framing without glass. I plan on giving this to someone with a summer house. They have a large community room and fireplace. It should fit perfectly above the fireplace.
Friday, November 1, 2013
Plein air painting this week was on Broadway. Looking across the main street is the Tower Theater. It is a complex of businesses but the theater is still running and its tower is the highest on Broadway. It gave rise to many 'Tower' stores along Broadway and side streets, eg Tower of Records, Tower of Books, etc.
This was a wet into wet composition done rather quickly. You can see some water stain at the top as the tape held water and it puddled out. The tower is stark white and the vegetation is well overgrown around the front. I tried mixing greens on the paper with some success. It was a wonderful day that started cold and warmed. We ate lunch right behind our painting location at Willie's.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Return to my place in Inverness took me by this house. I stopped, sketched and painted it. The painting was done on a vertical format to capture the tall trees. The redwood and forest dwarf the building which is a museum. This could be the place for a nursery tale. It is at the bottom of the hill and tucked in quite a lot of vegetation. The tall roof must result in some interesting space inside, especially on the second level.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
The eucalyptus tree thrives at Point Reyes. There are plenty of them springing up in otherwise barren spots and they are as common as redwoods. This was a midmorning painting. I was in the parking lot with the sun high in the sky on a perfect day. I was worried that I would overwork the tree canopy as I painted it. My goal is to paint watercolor with as few brush strokes as possible. The bark is also interesting. It becomes very light in large areas. The tree behind the eucalyptus is a fir tree, probably spruce and the trunk color is constant. There is also one of those leaning green cypress or juniper type growths behind the spruce. These are also characteristic of the north coast. They lean from the wind and have a spear appearance.
I need to go to the library and consult the references on trees. Isn't it amazing how curious you get from painting and observing>
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Can you imagine living behind a giant billboard? The Urban Landscape Artists painted this morning in Oak Park. This neighborhood was one of the finest in Sacramento but fell on hard times. The homes are lovely and many have been repaired. Most are two story houses. Because of flooding, the living space was on the second level. Business sites are many along Broadway, but there are plenty of vacancies and closed down buildings. There has been a huge effort to resuscitate this section of Sacramento.
I chose this corner for my painting because of the vacant billboard space for rent. It is symptomatic of the area. I like the cast shadow of the billboard on the side of the house. The chain link fence is all too common along Broadway and may indicate removed structures. I was particularly fascinated by the cast shadows from the morning sun. I took a photo of the site for comparison.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
A year ago I was on the Amalfi coast of Italy. It was a busy place trying to tour the different towns. Crowds were everywhere especially, on the buses that leave you standing. I came across my sketch book from that trip and decided to try putting together an imaginary scene from those sketches. The steep walls with roads and tunnels dwarf all of the boats below. It is an awesome place. I would love to return and just set up and paint.
Monday, October 21, 2013
Arrived at White House Park and painted on the creek. The fields are yellow and the hills brown at this time of year. The characteristic brown hills of Point Reyes are in the distance. The time was just before noon yet the hills are shadowed which helped to give them a good three dimensional mass. I left the white in to connect up with the house structure and not isolate it as a bulls eye.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Driving along Tomales Bay in Inverness, CA I had a bird's eye view. Down below the tide was out and the ship wrecked Tomales Bay vessel is aground. A home with a long, long walk is high on stilts. The brown hills lacking vegetation that characterize Point Reyes frame it all in. I stopped, sketched and painted the scene to the somber sounds of a bag piper standing on the shore. It was a great day to be a plein air painter.
Friday, October 18, 2013
This is a nice state park at Point Reyes, CA. We arrived early with no one in sight and started painting. Soon, the beach filled up with picnickers, swimmers and party goers. The trees close to the beach are laden with moss which hangs down. A few sailboats anchored off shore and we met some boaters who live on board and home school the kids. But, it all started off very serene with a blue sky that did not have a cloud in it.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Painted this morning in a boatyard on Tomales Bay in Point Reyes, CA. Beautiful blue sky and lots of boats. I selected a few along with a couple of the trash barrels, posts and wires that seemed to fill the yard. I did it all in 2 1/2 hrs. It was quiet with a few people on passing on bicycles. The best thing is that the boatyard is next to an oyster farm. I bought some ice and took a couple dozen oysters home for dinner.
Friday, October 11, 2013
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Was at the Conaway Ranch this morning trying to find a place to sketch and paint. It was cool and breezy looking over 26,000 acres of rice fields that had been harvested. Lots of birds in the water and trenches of the field. I spotted this harvester that was back lit with the rising sun. Below was a water channel and there were many grasses that reached very high along the borders.
The way that I proceeded was to wet the sky area and around the harvester down to the horizon. I dropped 3 primary colors in spots and then tilted the board and mixed them. I laid it down on the road to dry but it was quickly found by ants. Next I wet the harvester and distant bank of the waterway and dropped 3 primary staining colors in and mixed them. A halo was left around the harvester and some grasses with a candle. Back lighting produces a silhouette so no details were painted on the harvester. The foreground was warmer and again, all grasses. I painted these and left a little white for the water.
Overall, I liked the concept but this is probably a studio project.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Each week I try to spend time sketching the figure. The two minute gesture pose is my favorite. No fuss over detail. I try doing these with different approaches; volume, continuous line, geometric lines, pen and ink and watercolor. The results continue to amaze. I have volumes filled with these sketches and have not made an attempt to save them from smudging. Now is the time to start and maybe they will be useful for paintings.
Friday, October 4, 2013
Made reservations this morning to spend a week at a favorite place in Mexico. For many years now this has been a winter retreat and I have done lots of painting and conducted workshops. This is just a week with the family in November but it will be fun. Just thinking of it made me get out the paints and paint one of the local spots, the Burro Burracho or the drunken burro. The memories of surfing, sun, casual dining and just hanging out are potato chips for the soul. Can't wait to get there.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
This was my final day of painting on Cape Cod. I returned to the Harwich Conservation Area where I had painted earlier in the month. The morning was crisp but sunny. The area is an overgrown cranberry bog for the most part but has this water channel running through it. There are birds chirping, crows squawking and even a fox out for a stroll. It is fall and there are plenty of yellow and red colors to add variety. It is a wonderful day for the senses.
Monday, September 23, 2013
There is a nip in the air. The greens are now golden. Birds seem to be more active. We went to our spot on Thursday to paint. The tide seemed to be running out and it was quiet but beautifully sunny on the river. What a day to paint. I captured the furthermost house with its boat in front and chose to ignore the few houses along the road on the left side of the river. That way, I have a focal point that is not compromised. The eye path has a reward at the end. I finished the entire painting on site and have not done any more to it. It was a great day of painting.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
A private beach on Narragansett Bay off Cape Cod. The perfect setting for wading and playing with the kids. There are lots of sand dunes where I live. You can have your own private spot. Dunes are a challenge to paint with the shadow and sand color. The sand doesn't stay the same depending on where the grasses are growing. I probable would have an easier time if I got out there at sunrise or sun set to catch shadows.
Friday, August 30, 2013
Summer is winding down but the beach is crowded. Everyone getting their last time before heading back to wherever. A beautiful day today. I got my clam rake tuned up and ready to go tomorrow. It will be low tide in the afternoon, so it won't be nippy cold getting into the water. I will have to do a painting of us clamming. I really enjoy this activity. We rake up clams and discuss the world problems. It is a great social outing and the water is warm. We go at low tide and some days the tide is so low that you think you could almost walk to Nantucket. I took my friend and he wrote about the experience. He loved it but described it as a wonderful activity for old men. Maybe he is right.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Yesterday, the morning was bright and sunny. There was little shade near the beach and I had no umbrella. I worked fast and stood in some green off the road and kept wondering whether it was poison ivy...no rash today. The area is called Bass Hole. It is in Yarmouth on the Bay side of Cape Cod. There were visitors using the boardwalk. There is a boat launch. One little guy was very excited as his grandfather was launching and he was going deep sea fishing.
At the start when sketching, the land in the water was quite long but as I set up to paint, the tide came in quickly and everything grew smaller. The sand dunes on the middle land were topped with dark green growies and the marsh grass was almost lime green. These are colors that I rarely see on Cape Cod. The water was very still. I did most of the work on very wet paper and later added the shadows.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
This is the scene entering the Cape Cod town of Harwich Port on Rt. 28. The steeple of the Pilgrim Church dominates the skyline. There is plenty of traffic during the summer. The power lines are atop tall poles and seem to string their way through all the streets.
I painted this in the morning today. I had it in mind during our session of Art in the Park yesterday and I awoke dreaming about the painting. This happens and I usually head out and try doing a painting of the scene.
Friday, August 16, 2013
This is the third straight day of ideal painting weather. The air is clear and the light is perfect Cape Cod. It's the light that brings all the artists here. DennisPort is getting busier with new shops. The bakery and cafe is a magnate for people.
I wanted to paint that side of the street but the sun was overhead. I still went with the side and did a cobalt blue wash to darken it. There are lots of cars parked and continuously moving in and out.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
I've done this painting many times. I'm fascinated with all the colors. I first painted the scene when visiting back in the 70's. I was at a party the other night and there was one of my paintings of the old original Kite Shop on the wall. Wow. There are a lot of them out there.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The rain ended this morning and bright sunshine brought many out. Harwich is a popular town for visitors on Cape Cod. A painting of this strip of Main Street is iconic. It has two very important shops; for adults there is George's Pizza and for kids there is Dr. Gravity's Kite Shop. George makes a delicious Greek Pizza and is always busy. This is late morning and he already has customers. The sun was nearly overhead and cast downward shadows. The color of a cast shadow is a slightly complementary color to the surface it falls on. So, the cast shadow that crosses white is blue and the cast shadow falling on red is a greenish red.
Had a lot of people stop and chat. I am amazed at how many paint watercolor. I suppose painters find their way to the Cape to enjoy that special light and quaintness for painting.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
My beach is just down the road from my cottage. It is a friendly place with lots of kids and families. I exaggerated the umbrella in the foreground to create the focal point. I was tempted to put more figures into the painting but didn't want the 'where's Waldo' look. I will do it again and try that approach. On any weekend day there are many umbrellas, kids and swimmers. I am not a beach guy, but do go there with my sketch pad and gather material. I sketch in the cast shadow of a big beach umbrella.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Wednesday was our plein air day. My late arrival left me alone with the Harbormaster who had lots of stories about the harbor. Meanwhile, some very large thunderhead clouds began forming and passing over the area. I did this painting quicker than usual and let it remain as done. There are so many boats anchored in the harbor that it was difficult to choose what to paint. I intended to paint more on the left but thought that if I speeded up I could get away before the rain.
It did start to rain just as I put my easel away.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Painting on the Main St of Harwich Port, MA is informative. This pizza joint is a very busy place in the afternoon. A little further down the street is The Kite Shop. I have painted this building many times. Harwich Port is bustling with summer vacationers. Everyone stops for something at this section of Main Street. This was a very quick sketch because the Port was getting ready for the Wednesday 'Music in the Port' which turns out hundreds of families and kids and almost completely blocks the street, which is Route 28. There are 5 different bands playing and moving around. Lots of temporary food stands appear and plenty of ice cream is served. It just doesn't get any better.
Thursday, July 18, 2013
It was so nice to be out painting yesterday. I've had 3 false starts and finally finished a plein air painting. Brewster is a quaint old town on Cape Cod with this nice park and the Grist Mill. The water runs down behind and in front of the paddle wheel. It was a cool shady morning at the start but the sun finally caught up with me. I had several interested vacationers come by and comment.
We are in a prolonged heat wave and, fortunately, I have A/C at my cottage so get a good nights' sleep. Have been cooking with the clams I harvest from the harbor and have had plenty of happy diners. It is hectic around here but fun with all of the family and friends from years past. Celebrated my grandson's 9th birthday with an ice cream cake and lots of presents. It is great to see these kids on the beach going from one activity to another.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
A sunny day for painting and a lot of comments. The urban landscape group set up on 33rd St. next to a popular breakfast spot. Those who dined indoors, came out right where we were painting. Everyone was pleased with breakfast and very chatty about painting. The usual 'I can't draw a straight line' and 'do you sell your paintings' comments were there along with my favorite, 'how long does it take you to do a painting'. My answer is 45 years.
I chose the site because of the warm color notes and cast shadows. The power lines and poles clinched the deal. We did worry about the one hour parking but received a gift. The meter maid came around the corner and the little truck went up in smoke. Following a major kerfuffle, the tow truck came and hauled it away- unlimited parking for the rest of the day.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Painted with the Urban Landscape Painters in Oak Park. We meet on Wednesday and find an urban venue for painting. A bright sun was shining from the left onto this building. The tree cast strong cool shadows on the side and this caught my eye. I quickly sketched the shadows which were changing. Then set up my easel and started. The structure was first done with raw sienna and while still wet, I did some direct watercolor glazing with manganese blue. There is always risk in direct glazing since you have to wait for the final color to develop with drying. The method does produce more vivid hues.
Lots of visitors; some offering advice like, 'be sure and get the trees behind'. I love this urban scene for subject matter. Oak Park was once a very elegant neighborhood and is currently undergoing major changes. You still do not have to go far to find the old face of Oak Park.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Painted yesterday at a sketchy spot in the next town. This motel has the old signage that attracted me. When I set up I realized this was the run down part of town. A 'good morning' to a passerby is more or less a challenge. Maybe they are fighting a hangover or a pulsating eyeball, but in general, they nobody was pleasant. The motel had steel doors on the units which were occupied. At times it takes diplomacy doing plein aire painting. The painting was done wet on wet and when dried, I added some dry brush strokes. The paper curled up on me, so I will have to rewet and flatten it out.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
The old Coca Cola Bottling Plant on Stockton Blvd is closing down. The Urban Landscape Plein Aire Painters were out yesterday and we chose the structure as our subject. It was a beautiful morning for painting and there were nice shadows at the time. We set up across the street in a shady park that was perfect.
I know the area very well as I traveled by it daily on my way to work. I once brought my 7 y/o son and we had a tour of the place. It was impressive with all of the bottling equipment going. Inside, there is very little space that isn't occupied by the stainless steel tanks and tracks.
I'm unsure of what will happen to this landmark but it will be missed.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
This is a large (24x28 inch) watercolor painting. It includes several of my favorite subjects like barns, tractors and Volkswagen bus. I just finished up a teaching session and while doing a demonstration, I thought of this composition. The light is from the left casting shadows so it could be morning. The sky is a warm yellow and the painting is warm. The gradated wash of the sky gives a depth to the distance. I like the composition and the story. I am reminded of a rural location in Northern California or Oregon.
Monday, June 3, 2013
Just finished teaching a 5 week watercolor course and it was a success. I actually got people outside several times to experience plein aire painting. They all agreed that it is more difficult than painting from a photo. It was especially difficult to edit what you see and simplify. Many had their greatest challenge with perspective and wanted to know how I do it. This was difficult to answer since I rarely think about it. I choose the tallest structure in my composition and then sketch what goes off to the right and left. My left brain supplies the logic and my right does the creative thing. Overall, it was appreciated that you could see details and value changes that were not there in a photo. When you sketch and add color to your sketch on location, you go back to the studio and it is just as you remember. That doesn't happen with a photo.
When I do a sketch, I give it a name so I have a record of what story I was trying to tell.
There is such gratification from my teaching. I love doing it.
Friday, May 31, 2013
These water tower converstion houses popup everywhere in wine country and along the north coast. I love putting them into my paintings along with other farm equipment. I presented this structure to a large class of watercolor painters that I teach. They did some wonderful things with it. Introduced fog, hills with grape vines, telephone poles, and fences. We had fun with it.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Was up and out early this morning so that I could get to a farm. About 10 of us went off to this wheat farm in Yolo, CA and the weather was magnificent for painting. No bugs and the shade kept slipping away as the sun rose in the sky. What a day for painting. I didn't put any of the wheat field into the painting as I could not imagine how to make it interesting. Instead, I captured this long road onto the property and the arching foliage. The clouds kept passing through an otherwise, blue sky.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Was out on Wednesday with the plein air
urban landscape painters. It was hot. We stood in a parking lot where we were allowed to park and went to work. This was a very quick study of the roof. I tried to change values and create some varied edges. This was my thought to create some depth in the structures. We did rush to finish.
If I return, I will paint from a greater distance which will be more forgiving in dealing with a tremendous brick structure. It will allow an introduction of some contrast color such as shrubs.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
This painting was done in the late afternoon during the Winters Paint the Town event last week. I wasn't sure whether the cloud cover would break. I settled on this rural road. Signs kept telling me 'No Outlet' but I did get enough height to look over the valley and the cloud cover started to break up. There were cast shadows on the fields from the clouds. The color was exceptionally vivid. I'm glad that I waited around.