Friday, December 26, 2014


I was invited to paint a valentine for the annual Valentine Show at the Nelson Gallery at UC Davis. I had this pair of stilettos from a white elephant gift exchange at the neighborhood poker group Christmas party. It just opened a flood of thoughts for a valentine. I painted the shoe and was putting a For Sale ad next to them; FOR SALE BY OWNER, USED ONCE, CONDITION NAUGHTY. When I finished, I read the instructions for the show and nothing was to be larger than 12x12 inches. My Stiletto painting was 16x20. My 10yr old granddaughter arrived and thought the painting was wonderful but could use some eye lashes. And there you have it; a painting is reborn.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Canadian Rentals

A friend reports that he rents a house in an isolated location for fishing. They have the waters to themselves for fishing and catch plenty of fish. It is a great getaway with fresh fish for dinner each evening and plenty of good wine brought along for the week. I've never seen his pictures but would imagine a place in the great northwest would look something like this.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

View from Casa Manzanillo down on Manzanillo Bay in Troncones, Mexico. Just returned from two weeks in the sun and surf of this wonderful part of Mexico. Food and company wonderful and can't wait to get back. It was hot and painting watercolors has some interesting issues such as drying too quickly. I didn't have my spray bottle because it melted while sitting in my easel. I resorted to using a lot of water to wet the paper and painting with real wet watercolors. These paintings were done as quick sketches. Hopefully, they will get incorporated into larger ones.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hacienda Eden, Troncones, Mexico

This place is fantastic. Located on Manzanillo Bay in Troncones Mexico, it has few rooms and always seems filled. I have been going to the area for years because of the great surfing and could never get a reservation here. This was my first time staying here at Eden. Great service and wonderful delicious food. Friendly staff always available and helpful. You can swim in the surf or in their new pool. Will certainly return.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Manzanillo Bay, Troncones, Mexico

Spent the last two weeks here with family and grandkids. No crowds, clean endless beach and great surf. It is early in the winter season but the press has not been kind to the area. People are afraid to vacation here, so the locals are struggling to make a living. I have been here for the past 15 years and never tire of coming back. Two weeks spent here can be dangerous though, but only because one starts considering the meaning of life and maybe not returning home.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Safari to Hacienda Eden

Just returned from a couple of weeks in Mexico. Hacienda Eden in Troncones Mexico is the perfect spot to laze. Great surf, food and guests. Had some of my family with me and the grandkids were lots of fun. I brought along some watercolors but didn't get a lot done. The long conversations with others, the eating and drinking and a good book took the rest of my time. It was great to vege-out. There is no Safari bus to Eden but I decided the sketch needed one.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Old City of Cartegena

I did this acrylic painting from my sketches and photos from Cartegena, Colombia. We had a wonderful trip there and explored the old city for a week. The city was walled in after many ships bombarded it and stole all of its treasures in the early days of the Spanish explorers. It is now being restored and we had the opportunity to see it with one of the architects who has done much of the historical research and work. The streets are very narrow with balconies and flowers. The buildings are colorful and this church looked like the frosting on a wedding cake. It was extremely ornate and colorful. I did a wash of acrylic paint over the buildings on the left so the the church would stand alone as a center of interest. Like my teacher used to say, 'you can have only one bride'.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Farmland Color Change

Waiting for autumn color on my patch in the world has taken great patience. There are many farms here where I have painted but, thus far, little fall foliage color. We are pretty warm during the day and that may have something to do with change. So, in this painting, this is what I imagine I would like to see. Why not create your own? I did thicken my watercolor paint with some Aquapasto, a product made by Winsor Newton. It is fun to push the color around with this and I think I will bring it with me when out painting on location.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Uncles

Bluefish Inn

I painted this during the summer and I just redid it. The light hit this building in such a spectacular way, that I had to stop and paint. It was a Sunday morning and though, not sure, I guess the two women were returning from church, the way they were dressed. The greens of the trees were lush and I mixed several different ones that complimented the yellow orange of the Inn. It was a fun day painting

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ice Cream Man

A major attraction at our beach is the arrival of the truck with the ice cream man. There is a rapid migration up from the beach with the little ones leading the way. I think that he schedules an appearance twice a day. This is from memory and done in acrylic.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Little League Reliever

There is no relief for parents or grandparents with your grandson on the mound. This was a picture I took several years ago of him pitching and he was pretty good. Now, he has gone on to more serious baseball endeavors and hoping to play in college. He is good but no longer a pitcher. I painted this with acrylic paint and finished it with a high gloss. Seeing it brings up some wonderful memories.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Remember, It's Only a Game

I snapped this photo of my grandson and his mom walking to the parking lot after a hard loss at soccer. It was the final day of summer camp when the championships are decided. Needless to say, he didn't win after making it to the finals. Just one of those growth experiences of childhood. I painted this in acrylic using rather thick paint and then spraying with a gloss finish.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Arboretum Morning

It is still warm enough in the morning to paint on location. This is a plein air painting of the local arboretum on the University campus. I keep waiting for fall colors to show, but they have been slow developing. The challenge in doing this scene is to mix a lot of greens. New gamboge and thalo blue, French ultramarine and new gamboge, raw sienna and ultramarine, burnt sienna and ultramarine mixtures give a nice range of greens. The shadows were quickly changing but it was a wonderful feeling, painting. It is an idyllic place with busy runners and gardeners all around. Everything is well kept. Seems like the ideal place to give a workshop.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pleasant Valley Road

Painted this scene in watercolor and now I am doing it in acrylic. It is a rural country road in Winters, CA. It is fun to watch the bike riders cruise down this valley. I did this plein air in watercolor and then tried it in acrylic. This painting has a completely different feel to it in comparison to the original watercolor version.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Our Neighborhood

Acrylic painting is difficult for a watercolorist who likes to blend colors on the paper. There is much more glazing with acrylics. I need more practice with the media. The jury is still out. I have tried en plein air painting with acrylics and have been completely frustrated because they dry too fast, even with retardant. It is warm where I paint and maybe with the fall coolness I will have more success. The painting is a copy from a photo that I switched around. It was a very quick study.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Home Run #1

My grandson, Theo, has become quite the baseball player. This acrylic painting is from a photo on his first Little League baseball team. I think it was called the farm team. He came up and hit the ball over everyone's head and had his first home run. What a thrill for all of us.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Horses, Horses, Horses

A little morning chill but sunny and clear for painting. We visited a horse farm in Winters. There were lots of horses, individually housed in a luxurious stable in a French Chateau like building or in small stables or sheds. They all had plenty of room to wander around and that created a problem. I'm not used to drawing or painting horses especially moving ones. After plenty of quick sketches, I set up at the beginning of a road that ran between some stables. I was fascinated with the mottled light from the cast shadows of the young trees. After several sketches I settled on one. Behind me was a huge arena which was continuously used by owners exercising their horse or riding them. Plenty of chatter with the attendants about the health of their animal. It must be wonderful to own a horse that you can ride and talk to anytime of the week.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Best Corn on Cape

I have painted this corn stand before and it seems that each time is an experience. The young cashiers run across the street, the passing people hang out asking questions or the owner wants to see what I am doing. I did a lot of editing on this painting. To get a good focal paint I placed the sign behind the wagon and people. I left out all of the detail of the shop behind since it was in shadow. I love looking at this scene since it is such a strong reminder of summer on Cape Cod.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Autumn on the American River

This morning it was cool but the sun was shining. All 10 of us turned out to paint on the river and the day was perfect. The fishermen were out and the fish were jumping. I was told that they are salmon. There is little change in color to the tree canopies but nothing very pronounced. I think that we need some cold nights and the yellows and reds will be brilliant. As the morning progressed, the clouds moved in and the shadows grew darker. I was done in 2hr.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


The pumpkin patch was busy with young school kids. The buses were in the parking lot by 10AM and there was excitement. We were there to paint, although there were far more people photographing the scene, especially the kids climbing on hay bales and in the petting zoo. Every size pumpkin was there and I chose the largest group. I'm not sure how you would cart these off. It would need two or three to get one off the ground into a wheelbarrow. This painting took a great amount of editing before painting. There are so many things to either put in or leave out in a pumpkin patch that is staged for school children.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

First Rains

Painted this morning from under a bridge. The light was not the greatest but watercolor and rain are not a good combination, so we stayed dry under the bridge. The plein air painting was done at a remote site on the University campus. There were 7 of us braving this first rainfall of the season. The steady drizzle and brought some leaves down. I decided to use only 3 primaries to paint the scene. I figured on using greys, so mixed raw sienna, permanent rose and manganese blue. These combinations provided all the colors that were needed. One issue though is that my paper (Arches 140 cold press) stayed wet and the paint always diluted out and made it difficult to get edges. There was no way to dry it while painting.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Train is Running Late

Was at the Davis Train Depot this morning. Beautiful day with a very active scene. After setting up to sketch, a few trains came and then there was only this man on his phone. I sketched him. He eventually got up and wandered over to see what I was doing. He gave me his story about waiting for the train to Missouri and it was late. And a long story ensued about coming to Davis. Eventually, another wave of people arrived for trains. As I look at this quick study, I am thinking of Edward Hopper. He always had some melancholy theme to his work. I am not sure why, because I was bright eyed and well rested and doing what I like to do. My friend Naomi was also there painting along side. I don't know what the dynamics are for a feeling in this painting.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

North Davis Pond

I go by this location every day. This morning at 6:AM a full moon was up casting its light across the pond. It would have been a great scene to paint but I jogged by. Later, this morning, I was back out there painting with my plein air group. We painted many different views of the pond. It was a nice warm sunny day and I had my new umbrella to keep my easel in the shade. I did this in a loose, quick fashion. I experimented with a number of made up greens. The important thing is to keep the palate clean and keep making them. I also do much of my mixing on the paper.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Wychmere Habor, HarwichPort, MA

This is the most photographed area in our Cape Cod town. It has a large number of boats moored and I only put in some of them. Most Cape Cod buildings are white or weathered grey with shingles. Here, I left everything white so the unusual shapes and roof lines stand out. It is a favorite wedding venue. I undertake a painting like this every time my sales drop off at our little weekly art show. This painting always sells.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Foggy Boat House

My friend, Larry, sent me a picture of a boat house and it was entirely monochromatic. What fascinated me were the lost edges and greys that are so common in the early morning harbors. I wondered what would happen it I put just dropped the smallest amount of color into it, so I painted a similar scene with some spots of color. I was careful not to make the color too bold. I like the result. I have painted many marine scenes with boat houses and will try this approach on my next one.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Kite Shop

An iconic marker for HarwichPort is the Kite Shop. Every kid visiting the area has made at least one stop. The shop has expanded lately with candy that can be chosen in the old fashion way; one selection at a time, and you leave with a bag. Also, the main sidewalk in front of the shop is usually filled with summer items. I am attracted to paint it because of the myriad of colors. The flags, wind socks, whirly-gigs, etc. are sure traffic stoppers. I paint from across the street and have plenty of company from the strolling vacationers.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Back from a summer on Cape Cod and out to paint on the Delta this morning. A group of us turned up at the Old Sugar Mill Winery were trying to find the right scene to paint. I wanted to include a lot of the tanks and machinery which were puffing and straining with the current harvest. It was a fun morning and I shook off some of the cobwebs from not painting for a couple of weeks.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Should We?

I love to paint boats and found a site with a few boats for sale. Interested buyers were among the boats. I sketched and painted this scene on site. Never spoke with anyone but buyers kept showing up. It was a beautiful day on Cape Cod after an intense storm with torrential rains and hail. The next day the air was crystal clear and everything just pops. That is why there are so many artists here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bluefish Inn

Drove by this Inn the other day and the sun was hitting the front through the trees. I stopped and sketched and painted it. I had a wonderful feeling about the place and will return at a different time and do it again. Currently, I am on Cape Cod without my camera so have not been blogging. I have done plenty of paintings and even sold some of them before taking a photo. Not good, but now I think I have found a way to post. Will keep at it.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Barn at Chowdown Farm

Another hot day coming up but it is not hot at 8AM.  Our Yolo ArtAg farm for this month's paintout is the Chowdown Farm in Esparto.  I found my way around to the back of the barn because the sun was there.  It is a great old barn that stands in the weeds and is still used.  This side of the barn is pretty much boarded up.  I like the finding of reddish boards used to close the openings.  It was a wonderful morning of painting except for the disturbing gun shots that continued all morning.  I later found out that the sounds are played from a recording to keep birds out of the orchard.

I painted under an umbrella that has a solar shield.  I need to get used to it's effect on my color since the reds came out much redder than they appeared on wet paper.  All in all, a wonderful morning of painting.  Eventually, the flies found me and kept pestering.  It always takes awhile but when you are found they don't quit, so I quit.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Path Along Putah Creek

It is going to be hot today.  I was up and out early to do some painting.  I even arrived before the summer campers.  They did eventually trail along this path several times to go for a swim and I got lots of nice comments on my work.  The Creek is down the bank on the right.
I mixed several greens to get some value changes.  The darkest greens were distant and the closer greens had more yellow.  They cast very strong shadows.  I was very content to be there painting and staying cool.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Old Woman

Ran across a film featuring faces of women from India living in the Himalayas and marveled at their faces.  I tried a sketch and then decided to paint it with acrylics.  The weathered face and wrinkles were prominent in my attempt.  I will have to give some more thought to painting such fascinating faces.  I vacillated between realism and adding some gesture painting.  The painting needs to go one way or the other.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

River Launch

I have painted this several times, even using it for a demonstration in my senior watercolor class.  I just saw it today and decided to do it again with more contrast.  The effect is to bring out the people around the boat.  The darkest darks and the lightest lights bring this into direct view.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sutter Buttes

We painted in Colusa, CA at a city park on the Sacramento River.  Looking down the river you could see the Sutter Buttes, the world's smallest mountain range.  It was a warm day and it was only morning. It gets very hot in Colusa during the summer.  We were finished shortly after noontime.  At this time in June, there is plenty of water in the river but it will dwindle due to our severe drought.

This is an acrylic painting done from two watercolors that I did on location.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The 'Hood'

Got back to my acrylic paints this morning.  After being away for two weeks and doing little painting and sketching it felt good to do a quick acrylic painting.  The dicipline of daily painting is important to move on.  I have not tried a painting a day, but can see the benefit, particularly, if you do the same subject for a week.
It is summer here in terms of tree foliage and warm temperatures.  This should get me out to doing more plein air work.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Herring River Retreat

This is a large watercolor painting (28X34) that evolved from many smaller attempts.  I have sketched and done plein air paintings on this river at various times of the year.  It is a quiet, peaceful and rather lonely stretch. I suppose if I were a neighbor, I might witness some activities going on.  I tend to do my painting early and that maybe, is the answer for my description.

I like the eye path that the river makes to the focal point of houses.  The greenery is lush and that means mixing a lot of different greens.  I use pthalo-blue and combine it with my yellows, including raw sienna and burnt sienna.  That gives me plenty of green variation.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sunshine on the Delta

What a glorious day today.  I painted on the Sacramento Delta at the Reamer Farm in Clarksburg.  Temperatures have been up to 100 degrees by mid-afternoon, so I was out there a little after 8AM.  Some birds kept me company but it was a cool quiet morning and I had my umbrella to protect me from the sun.  No bugs were around and the grape vines were very robust with the drippers going.  This water is actually a slough which runs off the Sacramento River.  There are many of them which make up the Delta.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Church on Broadway

The Urban Landscape Painting Group headed out to Broadway in Oak Park last Wednesday.  It was a nice warm day with plenty of sunshine.  I set up my new umbrella that I just bought at Costco.  It allowed me to be out on the sidewalk to paint this scene.  I bungied it to a fence, otherwise, it would require a jackhammer to put it into the soil (made for beaches).
I always go on about Oak Park.  It is a changing scene with new housing units and shops opening.  Right next to us, they are completing a brewery with outside dining area.  The area has wonderful alleyways, old homes and plenty of homeless.  

Saturday, May 10, 2014


This acrylic painting was done a number of times switching colors.  I first did the portrait with a smooth blending of color and then did it a second time by putting in patches of mixed color.  I liked the latter so put it on my blog.  The blending technique gives a more photo-like appearance.

I doubt that I will ever become a portrait artist but it is challenging to do something different.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Pleasants Valley, Winters

Another wonderful day of plein air painting in Winters, CA.  We met at the coffee shop and went out early to Pleasants Valley where we enjoyed the warm summer-like morning temperatures.  It is so quiet out here, that it seems you can hear someone speak from miles away.  There are deer and other critters scurrying around.  It is a communion with nature.

I have found many new greens from mixing pthalo-blue with raw sienna, new gamboge, or burnt sienna.  The green shades are always a challenge and it is mixing that makes the different ones.  Once they are down I sometimes add more blue while they are still wet to create darker shades.  Adding red to them creates almost a black for cast shadows.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Winters' Watering Hole

I was up early to catch the eastern light.  It was a beautiful day in downtown Winters.  This is the Buckhorn Restaurant which is not open in the morning so I added some patrons.  The light was perfect with the west all in dark shade with cast shadow.  The breakfast smells of bacon, eggs and pancakes were driving me crazy.  They were coming from the crowd at the Putah Creek Cafe.  This is across the street and where I was painting.  It is getting warm in California.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cantelow Road

The Winters' Plein Air week has started. There are wonderful places for painting, wherever you turn.  Out in back of the lake there is a favorite route for bicycles and they go over Cantelow Road.  The vista to the east is spectacular.  On a clear day you can see the buildings of downtown Sacramento.  The view to the west is this valley with undulant hills and small farms.  While I painted, the bikes came speeding down the hill and at first, sounded like cars.  While I was not at the top, the bike riders managed to get up a lot of speed.  The road is a single lane and has some rough spots.
The red roofed farm below has a pond behind it and a long field of mustard trailing back up the hill.  There was mist in the valley beyond which separated the tall mountain.  It was a beautiful day for painting.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Got Any Bites?

This is an acrylic painting (18X24) done form my sketches this week.  I have noted before, my attraction to San Francisco Bay especially, at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge.  I had this in mind for a painting when there, but is got so windy that I only did a sketch.  I think that wind is the most difficult condition to deal with when painting.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fort Baker

Joined up yesterday with two painters on San Francisco Bay.  Finished some sketches of moored sailboats with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.  When I was all set up to paint, the wind really started blowing.  I turned around and moved next to a building for shelter and quickly painted one of the old structures at Fort Baker.  This watercolor, (12X15) took about 30-45 min. to complete without a sketch.  It was fun to see what can happen without sketching and just letting go with the paint.

At one time, the military owned some of the best real estate in San Francisco and along the bay.  Fort Baker is in Sausalito and has been turned into a tourist destination with lodging in the old officer quarters and a fine restaurant.  There are some dynamite views of the city and bay and it is a wonderful place to do plein air painting.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Main Street HarwichPort

This painting was done from memory and I put the VW bus on the street because I like them.  The Main Street of HarwichPort is an active place during the summer.  The Kite Shoppe has everything a kid on vacation could want.  I have been dragged there many times by my grandkids.  On Wed nights during the summer the place is a mob scene with something called 'Music in the Port".  Even though it is a main traffic artery, very little gets through with 4 bands playing and all of the vendors selling their wares.  The population of this town goes from a year round 8000 to 56,000 during July and August.  That is when I am there and loving it.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rose Garden

Sacramento has a park that is busting with blooming roses.  It is well cared for and the lawn paths between the different rose beds set off this riot of colors.  It was very challenging for me to paint.  Do I focus on the biggest cabbage type blooms or separate trellises?  I decided to put streaks of color after squinting at the site and how I would paint it.  It was a wonderful day to be painting.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Medium Rare

I painted this as a class project.  I found an 8 oz. glass Coke bottle to go along with the half eaten hamburger.  This was the size for soda bottles when I was a kid.  The painting is a large acrylic (18 X 24) done on canvas.  It is pop art and was fun to do.  It was this painting that I abstracted in an earlier blog posting.  Having fun with the acrylic paint.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Morning on the River

Spent the morning painting on the river.  It was a beautiful morning.  There were six of us painting along with an equal number of fishermen.  What a peaceful scene.  Warm, sunny with lots of chatter between painters.  A great way to begin the day.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


A kayak moving down the river in the spring is a cool refreshing picture.  This was painted on a 16X20 stretched canvas using acrylics.  As I become more experienced with acrylic painting there is a luminosity I can see.  It is rare to get this much punch with watercolor.

I did have a disaster with plein air painting of a farm scene.  It was very warm day with a strong breeze.  My acrylics quickly dried despite spraying with water and using a wet palate.  I am not giving up on them quite yet, and will try using a retardant when doing plein air since it gets so warm around here.