Friday, October 25, 2013

Museum in the Woods

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

Eucalyptus Gateway

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

Space for Rent

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

Amalfi Dreams

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

Point Reyes Station, CA

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

Above Tomales Bay

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

Heart's Desire Beach, Inverness, CA

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

Marshall Boat Works

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

Sails on the Lake

Spent the morning with Mikey and his watercolor class.  Resuscitated this scene from a black and white print that he had.  Lots of good pointers.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Rice Harvesting in Woodland CA

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

Two Minute Gesture

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

Lunch at the Burro Burracho

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

Cache Creek Remnant

The sun was bright while we were painting this morning in Esparto, CA.  The Cache Creek runs through with its stone riverbed.  Right now, the water level is low and debris from previous storms line the banks.  I found this spot with an old tree and set up behind it for a painting.  You can see the low water level in the background and the carved out river bank.  Everything is very dry.  This scene will change when the rains come in early winter.  My tree stump will probably relocate when that happens.