Thursday, December 7, 2017

Creek on RD 27

It was a chilly morning and we arrived at the little known creek on County Road 27. I had been here before in the spring. Setting an easel is difficult due to a steep bank leading down to the creek. There is little water in the creek and lots of scum. I painted quickly standing on the bank. Someone was using India Ink and I thought I would try it. Hence, some very black tree trunks. Trying to lighten the ink on the paper had no success. I found it good for making branches and worked because of the back lighting on the creek. This represents a quick painting done on a cold morning while struggling to stay standing on a slope. I actually climbed out and started another one.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

North Davis Pond

A beautiful day for painting, Our plain air group gathered at the North Davis Pond which is near my house. We all arrived ready for cold since the temp dropped to 35 degrees during the night. It quickly warmed up and all of the extras soon came off. There was still some color in the trees despite the winds this week. It was a good day to be out painting. Painting is therapy as I felt so good and met many of my neighbors.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Rain Over Davis

The rain arrived overnight and the Yolo Bypass got its fix. This is a stop on the migratory bird flyway and I have painted it many times. It is quite a large area with lots of marsh and water. I gave it some large thunder head clouds and lots of color on the far hills. During my teaching this past month we painted clouds with lots of successful paintings resulting. It is interesting since we do not see many cumulous clouds in our skies.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Painting the Davis Arboretum

Our plein air group was at the Davis Arboretum this week. A beautiful day and place to paint. The trees are still green with no fall color to be found yet. Everything is well maintained in the arboretum which is on the University of California, Davis campus. I painted on 2 different days because we had some clouds on one of the days. We don't see many clouds here in Davis. Both paintings included Putah Creek which runs through the campus. It is always a challenge to mix different greens to match the values.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Atop Berryessa

Our Wednesday plain air group went to Lake Berryessa Dam on a sunny warm morning. The rock formations are alluring so I settled by the roadside to paint them. It was tricky and far more difficult than I imagined. The morning sun was coming up so shadows changed rather quickly. This is always a challenge with Plain Air painting but with all the different rock edges casting shadows, it is daunting. I sketched out what I wanted to paint and put in some shadows. By the start of painting, the cast shadows changed and continued changing. Never the less, it was a good outing.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

I did this painting earlier in August but I am fascinated with the color complements I didn't do it justice with the range of color in the first attempt so i did it over today. I love the yellow against the blue and also against the violet. It is a simple composition but very effective. I also did more detail in the foreground.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Loading and Unloading at the Airport

I am back in California. Where I live, it is rare to see interesting skies for painting. This is what watercolor is excellent at capturing. Recently saw a painting of an airplane with a bright cloudy sky and white airplane so decided to try painting one in a wet into wet style. It is relatively fast to do it in the studio since I use a dryer. I like the stark white of the plane contrasting with dark shadow.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Last Days of Summer

Lots of painting and lots of guests. That has been my summer at Cape Cod. I have not posted all of the work. Some of it unfinished but this will serve as a bookend. I bought some new brushes, mops with good points and in 3 different sizes. They will be all I need for plein air work. I learned patience in watercolor and for me that is a big change. I like to paint quickly and do a couple of paintings when out. There is much to like about slow going with repeating washes. I did this painting of 3 boats plein air and used my new brushes. It is difficult to leave Cape Cod. Had some wonderful times. My grandchildren and children visited. We shared some tasty meals with all the fresh fish available here. I never slept so well. See you next summer.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Morning Fog at Saquatucket

I've been trying different approaches in painting fog. This is a typical morning scene here on Cape Cod. The fog is there and burns off. These are structures with certain dimensions so have to be shown in different values. The distant ones can have soft or disappearing edges but it is unlike painting fog in a valley or mountain. I experimented with cobalt blue and white acrylic as a wash but it still had an opaqueness. I used cobalt blue over the painting of this one. I did several washes. I had to be patient with drying since in previous trials the wash brushed away some of the painting.

Friday, August 18, 2017

HarwichPort Eatery

I painted a favorite eating place. I love George's pizza and subs. When we have our art show I slip out to George's for a grinder which is a submarine sandwich back home. They do a big business and will even deliver pizza to the beach. I painted from across the street and talked to a lot of people while doing it. It was early, around 8:30AM but plenty of people out on a beautiful morning. The usual topics: how long does it take to paint that, do you sell your paintings, how long have you been painting, etc. I can paint and talk and enjoy it. Occasionally, I meet a fellow artist and that is always interesting.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Rock Harbor Repairs

Spent a morning painting at Rock Harbor. It is not a pretty place but a busy place. There are many fishing boats taking people out to Cape Cod Bay. There are a few commercial fishing boats like this one that are in for repair. The crew probably works harder during this time than when out to sea. My vantage point was from the parking lot looking down at this dirty rusting ship being worked on by electricians and others. The water is a muddy green on the inside and blue to the left of the boat. There were plenty of ropes or lines and I put in some.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


It's been a busy week at Cape Cod. My grandchildren, some have been here for 5 weeks, all left yesterday. What a time we had. The youngest is 4.5 months and just starting to crawl or at best roll to where he wants to go. A very happy baby. The others tried soccer, baseball and tennis camps and loved the experience. My painting area has been occupied and my 3y/o has been doing some painting. I knocked this boat picture out today and was happy to get back to painting. I love the color of the boat and the cast reflections of different color.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Bells Neck

Battled bugs at Bells Neck and painted fast. I was covered with insect repellent but got plenty of bites. It is very humid this morning and I think that sweat attracts bugs. The painting was easy now that I am ready with many greens to mix. The bright green is a combination of quinacridone gold and sap green. Works great. I wanted to put a kayak into the scene but could not fit it in and so used an old birch that was still standing to have some focal area.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Hydrangea Festival

Yesterday was the Hydrangea Festival and every artist is assigned an area for painting. I painted in the Camp Ground. This is an old religious site that evolved into very small houses that then grew into closely packed houses that are mainly rentals. They are all very interesting; some originals that you could not get a family size pizza into. Lots of hydrangeas grow on Cape Cod. There is no shortage of places to paint. I am not a flower painter but liked the area with its hill and tall trees.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Herring River Redox

There were only 4 of us painting this morning. We were at the Herring River. It was a very bright hazy day at the start. The morning then became a little foggy and then dark. The rain had come earlier and the humidity was very high. My colleagues seemed unsure about finishing and packed up early. I stayed the course. The water was challenging with its cast reflections that kept changing. It ranged from very much white to big dark cast shadows. I was interested to see the cast reflections were darker than the actual color of the greens.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Ready to Sail

It was the day after a big 4th of July celebration and we came out to Wychmere Harbor to paint. I did several sketches and found these two getting the sails ready. They came by and I asked if they were going out once the sails were ready. "Naw, not until afternoon." I finished sketching and set up the easel to start painting. When I was ready the sailboat was gone. I did have the sketches, so went ahead with painting. It was such a beautiful day.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Saquatucket Harbor

Back painting on Cape Cod. I am trying to get others out for plein air painting. Last year was a complete failure so I pretty much painted by myself. This year I am setting a start time and place for car pooling. There were 5 painters out on my first try. I took pics of the painters at various stages of work and will post them with the email sent for next week's plein air event. The weather is perfect for painting. The Harbor was full with boats and people going on fishing expeditions, sight seeing and travel to Nantucket. A busy place but I chose to include only one boat and home off to the side of the harbor. When I finished all except for one, were gone.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Composition Study

A simple watercolor scene was painted to meet composition percentages. Two thirds mid-value and two thirds green values was the goal. The painting was done quickly in class but looking it over, I liked the simplicity with a well stated focal area. I think that there is surprise with rapid painting in watercolor. I switched media this week to guide a class in acrylic painting. This was done at the University for a group of 25 mostly non-painters. We mixed hues from only primary colors along with white and black. It amazed me what people came up with working from a simple sketch. It turned out to be a lot of fun and a big break from their three day retreat. No wine was served but this is the current trendy thing called "sip and dip" parties.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

House on Eureka in Davis

A group of artists arrived this morning to see and paint in Kris Bell's newly finished gardens.  Her yard is spacious and has lots of plants started.  The design and landscaping were recently completed.  It is well done and gives rise to many great spaces for plants.
I love the street view of the house because of the very tall mature trees that line it.  They really dwarf the houses along it.  I tried to capture that in this painting.  I tried out some of my new green mixes.  It was a nice sunny day and I met many of the neighbors while painting.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Putah Creek #3

There are 3 fishing turnouts along Putah Creek in Winters CA.  This morning we had this site pretty much to ourselves.  The sun was brilliant and the creek was running fast.  It is still high from all of our rain, but there is no snow melt adding to it.  It was just a wonderful day to be out painting.  I tried mixing several greens that I do not usually use and was happy with them.  One can never have enough green hues for painting in CA.  What a day; no bugs, plenty of shade and perfect temperature.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Path to the Creek

Our plein air painting group ventured down to Putah Creek at the University.  The creek has been running swiftly from all of our rain, and everything on or near its banks has been washed down. There are remnants of wood, limbs, etc. high in the branches of trees along the creek.  The water levels must have been incredibly high.
I had difficulty finding something to paint so I returned to the entrance path.  Several trees along the path were familiar and chose this combination to paint.  The outcome was not what I expected.  I was looking up the path and had difficulty separating the trees.  I did experiment with new combinations of color for my greens.  The sun was shining, although, it has cooled quite a lot from our 90+ degree heat of the past week.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


This was a challenge to paint something with a chair.  I made a totally abstract fantasy painting.  The table has a TV remote and the chair is headless with the shadow only of the chair and table.  How easy it is to settle in front of the TV and watch whatever.  I am convinced this time is wasted but it repeats too often.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Spring and Vacaville Hills

Our plein air group had a gathering in Vacaville, CA this morning.  There was some wind but it was sunny.  This park runs along side of the major freeway and each time I've passed by this spring I am excited with the amount of water.  We did get a lot of rain and it turned everything very green.  The hills along the freeway are like velour, a green velour, and I want to get on a motorcycle and drive over them.  They just have this attraction.  The tops are now turning yellow.  I painted a dead tree that  contrasted with all of this vibrant green growth.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Plein Air Painting in Winters

It was the monthly Art and Ag plein air painting day and I did the demonstration class. I chose a barn and tree because there was little that interested me at the site. It was a co-op of farms at the Land Teaching Center and instead of the usual big barns, equipment or bone yards there were many small teaching sites and a large walnut tree farm. I thought that we would be on the creek but that was a mile away. Nevertheless, we had a great turnout of artists and a good session. It warmed up and there was no big wind like the day before. The main emphasis was on shapes and values. Lots of questions and suggestions. I had a good time.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Cape Cod Sand Dunes

"If you're fond of sand dunes and salty air" then you will like painting on Cape Cod. Lots of sand as the entire peninsula is one big sand dune out to sea. The sand takes on many colors and I have painted it many times. I like to work wet into wet with an ochre to start and then add vermillion and cerulean blue. I vary the concentrations to get different shades. Much of my sand paintings on the west coast are more yellow than when doing it on Cape Cod.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

We painted a barn at my recent watercolor class. It was an opportunity to try blending colors. The boards were painted with the side of the brush and while wet other pigments were introduced. The paintings were brought in the next class for critique. There were lots of good paintings and everyone learns from critiques. One problem during the class was that we didn't have the picture of this barn for very long when painting. Our video setup kept going off and our tech support was nowhere to be found. I still have not found the answer, so am putting off any future PowerPoint presentations.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Another Wet Day

We went to the University Reparian Refuge along Putah Creek for plain air painting. Rain was forecast for the day but it was only misting this morning. (Not a good start for watercolor painting.) It takes patience to wait for some drying to continue painting. The grasses are very high and green after the record rain fall we've had this winter and spring. A couple was walking along a path and only their head and shoulders were above the grass. It is a challenge to find all the different greens to fit into the composition. I used sap green and burnt sienna for the darkest green. Pthalo blue and gold gives a vibrant green which then can be cooled with some French Ultramarine. I did not use any aurulean yellow mixes because they are also too vibrant.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Sky is Falling

This is the way I felt painting a Chicken Palace at Park Winters yesterday. I got into the weeds. Too, too much detail about this fascinating structure. I did edit but nowhere near enough. This structure was built from all of the parts removed from the restored main buildings. If you were a chicken you would chose this residence. As I painted different things that I found interesting, I strayed from my composition which I sketched out ahead. So, I decided to add some of my own touches to finish off the scene. I have a picture of the fox who is the guard (there are pictures on the walls) and I decided to let a couple of the hens out to follow the director. After all, these are very privileged ladies.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Ready for Retirement

Painted this barn last week as it is ready to be torn down. Interesting white stain on boards. This structure looks pretty good to me and I have painted lots of barns. Maybe there are other reasons for the decision. I could not see inside of the barn and there were no animals around.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Park Winters

Yesterday was a beautiful day for painting. Our group went to Park Winters which is an oasis in the country. It is a place with a restored mansion and new dining room/barn with food that deserves a Michelin star. We tried to find a place to paint among the gardens, old and new buildings. When finished in the morning, some stayed into the afternoon and others argued that we should return again next week. The gardens are robust and in bloom. The grounds around the house are beautiful. I love houses and with the sun hitting the side of this mansion, I couldn't resist. It is not white but a cream and has plenty of gingerbread. I stuck to basics trying to focus on the building and not get into the weeds with all of the detail. Can't wait to return.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Woodland Tomato Plant

This week we were treated to a tour of the largest tomato plant in the country. The trip through the many buildings was very informative. The photographers had a field day shooting into dark tanks, pipes and boilers as we toured. This was Art/Ag day and the few painters that came out had little time to sketch and paint. There was a jungle of pipes and tanks. Even with major editing, there was an awful lot of detail to decide on. My left brain keeps asking to make connections between the pipes. My right brain says it is alright to leave it out and I want more minimalism and simplification. I gave it my best shot in an hour of sketching and painting.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Swollen Creek

Our creek, Putah Creek, is over running its banks. This was the scene this morning as we painted on higher banks. There were trees hung up on picnic tables and plenty of islands created by the rushing water. The sun was out at first, but later clouded over. The hills are bright green from all the rain. It is difficult to paint the feel of rushing water without some waterfall or bubbling, splashing white water. The current amount of water here created new high levels but is smooth moving. I tried to indicate this movement with small swells pointing the way. It is like viewing the surface of a large pot of water just before it boils. It was fun and challenging.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Full Speed Ahead

I warm up for my painting by doing an abstract drawing and then start adding paint. Only 3 colors are used. I never know where it is headed until there is plenty of paint on the paper. I then sit down and try to see something and then add more embellishment. Love the bottle caps for circles, cling wrap for lines and sweeping lines to anchor dots that I start with over the paper. If you ever hit a wall, try this to break out.

7th St. Alley

Slept in this morning due to daylight saving change. Missed my sketch class so went out and painted in Davis. This is an alley with morning sun. One side shaded and the other bright. Many of our trees are budding and some in bloom. Davis has many alleys in the older or central core. They are not paved and have houses on them. They are pretty neat to paint because of the light changes. I will have to try some more.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Barn on 87D

The weather is nice again and our group was out painting on Wednesday morning. I have seen a big change in this barn which was a favorite subject in years past. The owners have horses, goats and sheep in and out of the barn. They have put new siding up on two sides along with canvas covers. Many of the old gaps are now patched. It is obviously more secure now but for me, less charming as a subject. I worked wet into wet and let the color of the wood mix with several different chroma. When almost dry, I went in and defined some of the boards.The horses never were still. I think they were excited by the painters. They went in and out and mostly stayed inside.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Broken iPhone

A colorful abstract in watercolor using three transparent colors. Starting with 11 random dots as anchors I use this for a warmup. It is fun. Watercolor painting should be fun.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Invited to a Beagle Birthday

Playing with abstract design in watercolor, this turned into a birthday celebration for a dog. Lot of angles and spots before anything developed, but definitely had a celebratory feel. This was one of my loosening up exercises for painting. Only 3 colors were used and when wet they mixed to allow others to form.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Rare Bird

Just returned from two weeks in Mexico. Had a group of 20 celebrating and every single one of us got sick for 1 to 7 days. Not a coincidence since this town has sanitation problems and lots of other visitors complained. We are home and all better but got little plain air painting done. I played with abstract watercolors and had fun. This is a bird of very rare plumage. I start warming up with 3 colors that are transparent. After playing with all the color I start to shape it up and this is the result.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Dreary Day

It was a cold morning for painting. No sun and threatening rain but I was out there with the Wednesday morning group. I did a lot of sketches and then setup my easel and painted an old familiar landmark of Winters, CA. At first, I was intensely occupied with composition and value; unaware of any chill. There was no color to the sky. Traffic moved but few people were out. After an hour, I was cold; it being 43 degrees. The only asset of being cold is a shaky hand for drawing tree branches, it helps. I did not touch up this painting and it is as painted. We all gathered later at the Cafe for some hot chocolate and soup and slowly everyone came back to life.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Welcome Home

I had to get away to a 'Trump free zone' this weekend. My daughter and wife could not refrain from talking politics. I went to my muse, the Davis Train Station. It was brisk but sunny. I painted for 3 hours and it really felt good. Davis has been so cold with lots of rain. I had to paint in the studio, which isn't my style. I love the outdoors and plain air painting. I sleep much better at night. The Davis Train Station is a restored Southern Pacific building. It is a busy train stop with all of the students that are here. I have always been attracted to it and painted it from just about all angles. I did not put any bicycles into my composition but there are lots of them parked there. Davis is a city of bicycles. It is perfect for riding since there are no hills and plenty of wide roads with designated bike lanes. It is the most popular form of travel for all ages. Kids peddle their bikes to kindergarten.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Mendocino Home

Did this painting this morning in watercolor group while a winter storm raged outside. It is from a very old photo taken in Mendocino, CA. What a wonderful location for painters. I took lots of liberties painting and completing it in an hr. My plan was to use paint on a wet surface by mixing colors when applying the paint There is some success if you look at the front of the building where you see yellow and cobalt blue. There are lots of surprises when you rush through a painting at high speed. I generated new ideas not planned with watercolors. I intended a picket fence and then saw the whites that were left and worked out the fence, steps and rocks that you see. You should try it.