Thursday, June 15, 2017
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 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
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
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
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
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
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
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.