Friday, February 20, 2015

Happy New Year

It is the Chinese new year of the sheep or goat. Since I was around sheep for a long time while living in New Zealand, I feel quite close to them. I found a picture of these two just standing there on the green grass and used it as my subject for this acrylic painting. Sheep are very timid animals, never wanting to be alone. They are always moving inside the group. Our border collie, Brett, would race out and herd them for my inspection and I was so impressed at how efficient Brett was in putting them in the pen. He would race back and forth, keeping them together as they approached the entrance. Brett really didn't need me to direct. This is a 16x20 painting on stretched canvas. Maybe I'll put it up on the bedroom wall to help me count sheep when I can't get to sleep.

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Davis Alley

Spring was in the air this morning. Instead of class, I decided to do some plein air painting. I remember seeing all of these alleys in Davis back in the late fall. I did some painting of them at the time but wanted to return. After finding all of the wonderful alleys in my town in Mexico there had to be something just as good her in my little patch of Davis. The light was strong and cast long shadows. Everything pretty much stayed in place while I sketched and did my painting. This was an improvement over my plein air work in Mexico where everything was in motion. I limited my palate and used a wide tonal scale to accent the alley. I like it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Workers Live Here

This painting is a composite of several attempts at painting alleys in Mexico. This imaginary one goes down to the beach and shows two methods of transportation;horse and truck. Most of the alleys in my neighborhood in Sayulita are not paved and the back or side of the house comes out to it. It is a place to park. Most are not cluttered with bottles or paper. The sides that are on the alley usually need some fresh paint or at least a good wash. It makes good subject matter for a painter.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The High Rent Neighborhood

This is the far end of our beach in Sayulita. I'm not sure whether one of the buildings is a hotel, but there are plenty of people. A single lane road leads into the area and there are dining tables with guests along the side. I guess the few parking spots limit the dangers. I painted the scene from the beach which has many fishing boats. There are fishermen casting into the sea and catching fish. Another time I will return and paint the boats. For me, painting is a little different here. During the heat of the day the paint dries quickly. Since I like to work with wet paper and plenty of water, it takes getting used to. This painting was done quickly since it was lunchtime and I didn't want to keep friends waiting.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Dining in the Shade

Our Mexican neighborhood has many little eateries. This one is just down the street from us. I was attracted to the sunlit yellow wall. I sketched without a problem but when it came time to paint, I was blocked by cars from the local taxi company. They are all lined along the lane awaiting calls for business. The drivers want the shade as it was a very warm morning. They polish their cars and drink coffee and chat with each other. All are very professional-looking with white shirts and black pants. Eventually, all were off picking up customers. I must remember this as it is the second time it has occurred while doing plein air painting.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Alleyway to the Beach

Returned last evening from the warmth and sun of Mexico. It is raining here in California and we welcome it for our severe drought. This painting was done on location right next to a primary school. All of the children would come to the corner of their play area and tell me how well I was doing with my painting. Of course, they spoke Spanish to me so I am not sure about all of the critiques but I did hear something that made me think they liked it. (Wish I spoke some Spanish.) The painting hue is done in a high key. I see this after getting it back home, but while painting in the bright sunlight it is difficult to judge the values in a painting. I just keep comparing and see relative differences. The horses are left there and keep being moved or exchanged as someone comes to ride them. The lane is also used by the local taxi group and they park cars in the lane. Despite all of the distractions, I would do it again as it is quite enjoyable.