Sunday, May 29, 2011

Secure in the Slip

It looks like a new sailboat or certainly new to those managing its careful mooring. They were very excited securing this boat after getting ashore. This watercolor is from a sketch that I did on Cape Cod last summer. With the start of summer near, I am getting ready to move to my little cottage on the Cape and sketch and paint some landscapes. Cape Cod has fantastic light that makes things jump out. Everyone comments on this and it is true. It must be from the land surrounded by water. A lot of artists work on the cape. Summers are hot and humid but the ocean is always close. Plenty of seafood is available and on Wednesdays and Saturdays, I join up with my friend, John, and go clamming at low morning tide. This is the life.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Waitng for the 9:19

Took my group out on Friday morning for some plein air painting. Big turnout but the sun went in and the sky clouded over. We decided to paint a scene that included some of the Davis Train Station with our theme 'waiting for the train'. Being Friday with an up-coming holiday weekend, there was plenty of activity at the depot between trains. My initial sketch had some shadows so I put them in at the end. It is a problem painting at the station, since parking is limited to two hours. We made the most of it with some quick painting. I had a foreground to fill in but time ran out so I cropped it. (No parking tickets.)
I really value the time painting and teaching my group. During these sessions, I don't take the time to carefully paint, but I just let it go and try lots of things. I like to save time for some individual help and critique. The time goes quickly.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Napa Valley Farms

I painted last week with my friend, Jerry Stitt. This is a favorite theme of his and he has done many versions of it. I tried my version, quickly throwing the paint on and keeping it wet. I then went back in and scraped out the foreground fence and weeds which requires thick and wet paint. I was done in half an hour. It is very uplifting to paint loose like Jerry. He really encourages it and we hit it off. I love to paint fast, while standing and dancing around my painting. While I may throw more paintings away due to this style, I enjoy it.

It was too windy to paint outside so we talked and then painted.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Davis Train Station

It was sunny and about 80 degrees and I had to get out and paint. I wound up at a favorite site, the old Southern Pacific train depot in Davis. This is a busy place with students and teachers coming and going. At this time it was very quiet. The station has undergone remodeling over the years.
I did all of my color mixing on paper, direct glazing. It is much more juicy when done this way. I try new colors and try them on the paper. It would be better to try them on a scrap piece of watercolor paper before, but I have not done that. I can usually remove or add color so that it approaches what I want.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

On the Davis Greenbelt

Friday was the perfect day for painting en plein air. It was warm, sunny and without wind. I volunteer teach at the Senior Center and brought the class outside. For some, it was a first to see what the artist sees in nature. Many had to manage alot of stuff to get painting and were certainly not as comfortable as painting inside at a table. They are a wonderful group, good sports, who are excited to paint watercolors. They are also very appreciative and let me know it.
I stressed that it was not necessary or wise to paint the exact scene but to edit and use the things they like. Then, do some thumbnail sketches stressing value and composition. They are 75% done at that point and need to put it on watercolor paper with paint. Most were not finished and will complete at home and bring it in for critique next week. It is fun.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Road over the Hill to Leo's

This steep climb on this road is not exaggerated. It is in Zihuatanejo, Mexico and you take it to one of the neatest places for lunch. It is a wooden shed with corrugated roofing. The lunch spot serves abalone, octopus and also, barnacles. The barnacles are unusual and have a pearl like handle on them. Prices are good and service great.

The road keeps climbing and you have to know where to go. It is a very colorful place. I sit across the canal and under the tree to sketch and paint. Without the shade it would be nearly impossible to stay very long.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Painting Watercolor Abstracts

Want to have some fun? I've envied abstract painters since taking up art. I just never tried it and this past week ran across a book by Rolina Van Vliet, 'Painting Abstracts, ideas, projects and techniques'. What fun trying the exercises. They are planned for acrylic paints but still fun with watercolor. Lots of ideas to try with geometric or small size color spots, high key color or one I call 'Totally out of control".

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Plein Air Painting on San Francisco Bay

After being away in New York City for 2 weeks it was wonderful to get out painting on the bay. The day was perfect with a warm sun and no wind. 'Sunshine almost always makes me high' was John Denver's mantra and I believe it.
I visited a lot of art galleries while away and saw the American Watercolor Society show. The latter is always a treat because it is my media. I object to the selection of recurrent theme paintings. These were great ideas the first time done and selected, but to keep selecting new versions of the same subject by the same artist in the show eliminates new works by others. I have a fascination with abstract modern art. I think that it is art to new level and takes me awhile to take it in. There was plenty to see in New York City.