Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"Winter's Light" © Santa Clara Riverbed

Hundreds of people whiz past this view on McBean Parkway everyday.  While Christmas shopping I whizzed by, slammed on the brakes, found a nearby parking lot and walked back to the spot, stunned at the sunlight bouncing here and there in the riverbed.  I knew I had to paint it and finally have had the time after the holiday commissions and celebrations.  My wish for everyone is a wonderful holiday and the most important thing of all, good health next year and always. 

Oil on Canvas,  20" X 24"

Monday, December 17, 2012

"King Tides" © Newport Beach Back Bay

Oil on linen, 11" X 14"
Source Tek panel, Oil Primed 

King tides is not a scientific term, it describes an unusually high tide that only occurs a few times a year.  Last Saturday painting at the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center we watched the King tides  cover the bay in silver strips and bands during the morning and then give back the marshy brush completely by the late afternoon.  Painting along side me was Rich Gallego, Lorelle Miller and Bruce (sorry Bruce I didn't get your last name).  Rich is painting on the ridge and Lorelle is set up on the hill.   All you heard while painting were sea birds, jets from John Wayne airport and the feet of the many walkers/runners on the sandy trail.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"Corriganville Park, Winter" © Simi Valley, CA

Every month George Malone, fellow member of the California Art Club arranges a paint out for one and all.  Today when the sprinkles puddled up on my panel I packed up my gear and figured I had enough work on the panel to stop on this one.  Corriganville Park was a gem that George had found for us.  The area reminded me a bit of Vasquez Rocks with the addition of trees, paths and elevated spots.  Even with the flat light of an incoming storm the park had views to paint in every direction.  

Oil on panel, 12" X 12"

This is the best plein air location organizer and all around nice guy, George Malone, painting under sprinkling skies.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

"Sunlit Glow" @ Santa Clara Riverbed

In between the gentle rains I found this view of the Santa Clara Riverbed from the parking lot of the Midas auto repair shop.  The leaves were freshly washed, adding to the sunlit glow of the trees.  A couple of kids asked me what I was looking at for the painting and it took a minute for the idea to crystalize in their minds.  I think they will see the riverbed in a new way from now on.  

Oil on Canvas, 14" X 18"

Friday, November 30, 2012

"Bits of Gold", © McBean Bridge, Santa Clarita, CA

In between the rain, the clouds broke enough to paint the riverbed.  The storm has been so gentle that the last of the leaves are still dangling, leaving bits of gold in the riverbed.

Oil on panel, 6" X 8"


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Fox Field Find" © Quigley Canyon Open Space

The cloud cover seemed to dampen the sounds of nature in Fox Field this morning.  The rain coming in later today will fill the riverbeds and give this dry canyon a drink.  A rider and horse galloped by and the deer I was hoping to see stayed bedded down in the cool morning air.  If you are a painter or hiker the new Quigley Open Space in Placerita Canyon has several loops of beautiful trails in the wilderness to explore.

Oil on panel, 10" X 12", plein air

Saturday, November 24, 2012

"Rabbit Bush", Placerita Canyon ©

For weeks I have been telling my painting buddies about the Rabbit Bush blooming at the end of my canyon.  Today Lorelle Miller and I headed out with our gear to paint the golden bushes.  

Just after setting up to start this painting I was reminded of painting on Catalina Island.  I wonder if other plein air painters experience the recollection of other  painting trips while painting out.   I think it was the sound of a distant motorcycle on the 14 freeway that sounded like a dingy motor on the Avalon bay.  Go figure.  In this photo you can see the beginning step of the painting, blocked out in large shapes of light and dark.

In this shot the painting is half way completed.  I took this photo and the lens on my digital camera decided not to retract.  It still is hanging out.  I can't be too hard on it, this Cannon has traveld the world with me taking thousands of photographs.   Today I was thankful for the little camera on my cell phone and an old point and shoot I have stashed in my car.  

Almost done......

Off in the distance Lorelle, was painting a lovely painting of the Rabbit Bush from another vantage point.   I love the oak tree that dwarfs Lorelle.  

This is a general photo of the area.  We are at the corner of Placerita Canyon and Sierra Highway.  If you paint and live nearby, it's a super spot.

Oil on panel,  10" X 12"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Colors of Sedona" © Sedona, AZ

Taking a quick break from cooking for tomorrow I painted this little sketch, to practice the beautiful colors that cover the land before the sun sets on Sedona.  


Oil on panel,   8" X 10"

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Fall Colors", © Sand Canyon, Santa Clarita, CA

Lately I have been painting walls rather then canvas but I slipped off for an afternoon and found a spot down the road on the side of Sand Canyon that just glowed in the late November light.  I would much rather wield an oil paint brush then a roller full of egg shell latex paint, that is for sure.  

Oil on Panel,  12" X 16"

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"City Lights, Universal City Overlook" ©

Landing on the runway at LAX the city lights have always reminded me of jewels laid out on black velvet.  Looking at the city lights from the Universal City Overlook on Mulhulland Drive was my best shot at a simular view.  This piece taught me quite a bit about attempting to paint a city view at night.  I have to admit I had a great time painting this one.  

Oil on Canvas, 16" X 20"


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Zion, Morning" © Zion National Park, Utah

After 6 years of blogging I have finally reached my goal of 1,000 paintings on this blog.  In this posting I am showing the process working from the small original to a larger studio painting.  Leave it to the family to spot an area that needs addressing.  My daughter suggested that I change the width of the river  as it recedes from the viewer and I agree with her.  Fortunately working in oil I have the luxury of making changes as long as needed to create a decent painting.  So I'll keep after this one.

This is the very beginning of the painting process.  On the left you can see the little study that has all the information for a larger painting.  Sometimes the larger paintings never measure up to the little guys but I am going to give it a go here. 

At this point I have paint all over the canvas and each shape is addressed in large flat color.  

Slowly I am fine tuning each area, checking values , color and design.  If the painting is lacking in any of those areas I have the option of pushing or pulling until the piece works thanks to working in oil paint. 

"Zion, Morning", 20" X 24"  Oil on Canvas  

Friday, October 26, 2012

"October Light" ©

It's nice to be able to walk out the front door and paint the brush late in the day.  With the wind kicked up the amount of dust in the air is elevated and the world has a golden glow till the sun sets.  

Oil on Canvas,  11" X 14"

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Cottonwood Cove, Lopez Lake" ©


Painting very early in the morning on the edge of Cottonwood Cove the only company I had were several mule deer and about ten wild turkeys.  When I was packing up my gear I turned around to see  two large birds warming their wings in the morning sun.  It was difficult to decide if they were Condors, Turkey Vultures or one of the other 150 species of birds that inhabit the lake.  I was reminded of the lesson to keep a closer eye on what is going on around me while painting in the bushes.

Oil on Source Tek Linen Panel,  12" X 16"

Maybe one of you know what type of bird these are?  They were huge!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Before and After, 21st Annual Pasadena Heritage Craftsman Weekend

After a day of driving, unloading and hanging here is my little booth and home for the weekend.  I am exhibiting my paintings at the 21st Annual Pasadena Heritage Craftsman Weekend show at the Pasadena Convention Center, Pasadena, CA, Saturday and Sunday 10am - 5pm.  The paintings are hanging on Pro Panels and those were one of the best investments I have ever made. I took these photos with my cell phone so the paintings are somewhat washed out but you can get the idea, I hope.  

This is what you get when you walk up to your space at the convention center.  I moved the table behind the curtain and will use it for wrapping paintings that have been purchased during the weekend.  The chairs will probably never be used.  Somehow the days fly by and eating/sitting never happen.  It will be a great weekend and I am looking forward to talking to everyone about the paintings.

If you are in the area stop by:

The Pasadena Convention Center, Exhibition Hall B
300 East Green Street
Pasadena, CA 91101
10am - 5pm

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Morning Fog" © San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival

During the San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival I left my hosts home at dawn every morning so I could set up my easel for the early morning light.  I was driving out a ranch road in Arroyo Grande and saw the fog just lifting allowing the sunlight to backlight the distant trees.  All the color in the fog was too much to pass up.  The original painting has subtle hues of violet, viridian and ochre in the fog.

Oil on Linen Panel, 9" X 12"

This is how the little "Morning Fog" painting looked after I framed it for exhibition in the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Pismo Dunes" © San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival

This plein air painting is a view from the Pismo Dunes looking inland towards the Monarch Grove.  The ocean is to my left across the dunes and sandy beach offering slow rolling waves sparkling in the distance.  What I wanted to capture was the morning light just grazing the distant dunes and trees, from the cool shade of the pines and cypress trees.  This was the largest painting that I created during the San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival.  

Oil on Linen, 16" X 20"

On Friday morning each artist turned in six plein air paintings from the week to the museum staff and chose three to be hung for jurying.  After the exhibition opening night the artists could hang additional artwork to their portion of the walls.  The exhibit was hung beautifully and the staff could not have been more professional in handling the artwork.  It was a real pleasure to participate in the event.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

"Monarch Grove" © San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival

Early in the morning I was hunting a painting spot, turned around and spotted this view.  I ran back to my car and gathered up my gear.  Then standing with the ocean singing to me from behind I painted the distant trees where the Monarch butterfly's hang in golden clumps on their journey south.  

My original view long gone with the time passing here is an image of my little set up.  The umbrella is an addition to my standard gear.  For years I used John Cosby's advice of just turning your easel away from the sun, rather then dealing with an umbrella.  My friend Lorelle and I were discussing umbrellas and the advantages and so I thought the San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival would be a super time to try out using an umbrella.  I think from now on it will be a a permanent addition to my gear.  I purchased this one from EasyL and it was a piece of cake to adjust as the sun shifted.  The vents on top help it resist blowing away and there is even a small leash to ty to the tripod leg so if it did start to fly away it wouldn't go far.  This was very comforting painting up on cliff edge tops.  

Oil on Linen,  11" X 14"

Monday, October 08, 2012

"San Luis Creek" © San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival

Last week at the San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival I participated in the "Quick Draw".  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, artists are given a set amount of time in which to have their canvas stamped, set up an easel, paint a painting, frame it and deliver the finished piece to the staging site.  Talk about pressure, at first you feel as if you have "hours" to get the job done, then you glance at your watch to see only 20 minutes remaining to pull the painting together.  Meanwhile people are watching and chatting with you about your choice of paint, subject, what they are painting at home and about the process.  I enjoy the whole event and especially the people.  I painted in the creek beside the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art and in this image you will see my finished painting hanging on my EasyL Easel.  

Once all the artists were told to set down their brushes we all framed our paintings and brought them to the mission walkway for display.  People walked up and down looking at each one deciding on which paintings they would like to win at the auction.  At the same time a judge picked a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner of all 34 paintings.

This is my painting at the auction.  I was in the back sitting on a rock wall watching the action.  It was a real thrill to see several people bidding on my painting, trying to win it as the price kept climbing like crazy.  I felt giddy, grateful, excited and relieved when it was all over.  What a rush!

I won 3rd place and received a ribbon which I gave to the collector that purchased the painting, a King of Frames gift certificate and a bundle of SourceTek panels.  In case you are curious about the other winners my friend Raymond Harris won 1st place and a new friend John Guernesy from Georgia won 2nd place.  It was quite a day and nice way to end the week.  

Oil on Linen Panel, 12" X 9"

Saturday, September 29, 2012

2012 San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival

The car is packed with 18 frames wired and ready for a wet painting, tons of paint, panels, brushes, easels (2), a case of water, couple of jackets and some snacks.  I am heading for San Luis Obispo to paint for a show and sale at the San Luis Obispo Art Museum.  We are allowed to paint anywhere in the county and must turn in 6 finished paintings Friday morning.  I have been looking online at the county and there is everything from the ocean at San Simeon, inland lakes and vineyards of Edna Valley.  Here is a listing of the events:

30 | Sunday: Welcome Party, 6 – 8 pm, kicks off the 11th annual
Festival. Meet the artists and learn their favorite painting
locales so you can follow their artistic explorations beginning Monday. Reservations required. Party location with event payment. $25 SLOMA members, $50 general
1 | Monday: Artists paint the unspoiled landscapes of San Luis Obispo County. View their diverse painting styles on exhibit at SLOMA. Free
2 | Tuesday: Artists paint all day, following the sun and their hearts. Get your map of the artists’ favorite painting sites at SLOMA. Free
3 | Wednesday: Paint SLO Day. Artists concentrate their talents within the City of San Luis Obispo, capturing the charm of historic homes, parks, outdoor caf├ęs, and creekside views. Artist Richard Lindenberg’s Art Talk “How We Paint,” 6 pm Free for SLOMA members, $5 general  (
4 | Thursday: Film and Poetry Night, 6 – 9 pm, enjoy a charming film about the Plein Air life, plus a poetry reading and art show by local poets who shadow the Festival artists during the day, then bring their inspired words and artwork back to SLOMA for a poetry reading and art show. $5 SLOMA members, $10 general
5 | Friday: Exhibition and Sale Opening Night, 6 – 9 pm. The top 100+ new paintings from Festival Week vie for Best of Show. Vote for your favorite! Meet the artists and enjoy first pick of the paintings. Free for SLOMA members, $10 general
6 | Saturday: Quick Draw, 8 – 11 am. Festival artists race against the clock to complete a painting before the bell. Follow the artists back to the Mission Plaza, stroll past the easels of new paintings, and pick out your favorites before the paintings go on the auction block.
Live Auction, 1 – 3 pm, Mission Plaza amphitheater.
Kids Paint Out, 10 am – noon, materials provided, SLOMA lawn. Free Festival Exhibition and Sale at SLOMA, 10 am – 5 pm. 
7 | Sunday  Free Festival exhibition and Sale, 10 am - 4 pm

If you are in the area please stop by and check out the paintings.  It should be a super show!

The museum in at 1010 Broad Street (at Monterey)
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

phone: (805) 543-8562

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"September Light" ©

The fading light of a late September day adds a warm rose color to all the dry brush that is patiently waiting for rain.  I wait all year for this effect that only lasts a couple of weeks.  Sunday I leave for San Luis Obispo to paint for a week and I am curious to see the difference in the light and terrain up there. 

Oil on panel,  9" X 12"

Monday, September 24, 2012

"Bowman Bay" ©

I was told that Bowman Bay was one of the favorite "unknown" spots for locals on Whidbey Island.  I found the tiny bay late one afternoon and just stood there wishing all my painting buddies and family could see this beautiful place.  I think this little study might grow up one day to be a larger studio piece that I could spend a long time orchestrating the cliff and trees.  

Oil on panel,  11" X 14"

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Rosario Beach" ©

Rosario Beach is near Deception Pass, and the location of the last painting posted.  You can see the islands of Washington offer painters stunning views everywhere you turn.  I wish I could have stayed longer as I only scratched the surface in exploring the area.  My next painting trip in a about a week is to San Luis Obispo, totally different palette and terrain.  I'll be painting in the plein air competition and can hardly wait to get going.  

Oil on Canvas, 18" X 24"

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Afternoon at the Edge of Cornet Bay" ©

Just a few trees had started switching from green to gold in Washington last week.  I found these at the edge of Cornet Bay, near Deception Pass.

Oil on Linen Plein Air Panel, 9" X 12"

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"A New Day on Whidbey Island" ©

Painting on Whidbey Island reminded me of how quickly the water moves with the tides.   Painting out I am always aware of the path of the sun and on the coastal islands of Washington the tide was an additional consideration.  By the time I finished this little study the water was all the way up to the cliff bottom.A super tool for landscape painters are the sun bleached trees scattered like giant toothpicks along the shore.  Even from a mile away the logs can create a brilliant white sparkling shoreline.   

Oil on Panel, 12" X 9"

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Painting on Coupeville Pier"

Usually there isn't anyone around to ask if they would be willing to take a photo while plein air painting. Or if there is I forget to ask.  This time I was fortunate to be painting near Christine Troyer, an artist from Mount Vernon, WA and she eagerly "shot" me painting.  Thank you, Christine!  
Many artists asked about my easel set up so I thought I might blog about painting in the great out of doors.  My easel is an EasyL by Artwork Essentials in Irvine, CA.  This one is the 11" X 14", that I have siliconed a piece of glass onto the palette area because I will sacrifice the weight issue for the comfort of mixing paint on a glass surface.  I have sprayed the back of the glass with a neutral dove gray at about a value of 3.  When I wreck this side of the glass cleaning up used paint with razor blade I use Easy Off oven cleaner to remove the paint on the backside, paint the wrecked side and flip the glass.  This way I use each piece of glass twice.  Once side usually last about 6 months.   The easel comes with the tripod and a quick disconnect for attaching the easel to the tripod.   I love the level bubble on the tripod.  When setting up, if your easel is crooked then anything you paint will be too, especially when painting cityscapes.  In my backpack I have a few auxiliary colors and a big tube of white.  Because you can preload the palette with nice big piles of paint, you don't have to carry the extra weight of several tubes of paint.   To ward off bugs a foil pack of "Skin So Soft" by Avon rubbed all over bare skin, keeps any flying winged creatures from finding you appealing.  I know some of you are wondering "whats up with the dark glasses?"  Well, if you start out wearing the dark glasses it's best to just keep them on but frankly you never want to paint wearing dark glasses and I never do.  Only when I am going to post a photo of myself painting (just kidding).  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Zion Study" ©

Flying home from Washington, California looks so very brown and dry.   While in Washington I had the pleasure of attending a workshop at the Pacific Northwest Art School by Kathryn Stats.  I went to the workshop to learn Kathryn's thinking about color, which I did.  The biggest lesson for all of us attending was never, ever use brown in a landscape.  Kathryn exchanges lovely violets in place of the browns.  Over the 5 days we were together she imparted little gems here and there.  I picked up as many as I could.  One of her tips was "Brush Shaper" made by Mona Lisa, to give your splayed bristles new life.  A tip I learned from Jane Wallis was an ap for your ipad or smart phone called "Artrage".  This little ap allows you to upload a painting and digitally play with it  quickly to decide on a direction to take the painting without having to actually paint your ideas, until you are sure of your next move.  Artist Emiliya Lane was great surprise as our artistic lives have crossed paths over the years and I loved catching up with her and painting together.  If you need a painting teacher in Washington, check out Emiliya!  Another tip that I haven't tried yet is using Simple Green to clean your glass palette.  That one came from Delores Jordan, who was the workshop assistant.  Claire Hurey was also a class assistant and I appreciated all of her hard work, keeping thing moving and together everyday.

Oil on Panel,  9" X 12"

Saturday, September 01, 2012

"Back Road" ©

I am heading to Washington state in the morning to paint for a couple of weeks.  Next Wednesday I am taking a workshop with Kathryn Stats, one of my all time favorite artists.  Her beautiful use of color, so delicate and bold at the same time, creating a symphony of the landscape has been a mystery to me for many years.  Finally I will have the opportunity to watch her paint and try to understand her process.  If I can get online I will blog about the workshop and what I learn during the 5 days on Whidbey Island.  

Oil on Canvas
11" X 14"


Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Placerita Trail Head" ©

We had some clouds this evening, which is very rare.  Usually, if there are clouds or a summer thunder head by sunset they are blown out to nothing.  This spot is the back trail head to the Placerita Nature Center, down the road from my house.  I bought a new EasyL easel from Artwork Essentials and wanted to give it a whirl.  If you are an artist looking for a super plein air easel that won't set you back a set of tires, I would highly recommend an EasyL.  I have been using one for many years and the support that Peggy gives is above and beyond what any company should do.  Once I broke a piece and called her from Laguna Beach where I was painting and she delivered a replacement part the next morning personally.  What more can I say, other then these little lightweight easels make painting plein air a breeze.  It's hard enough to paint a painting in the great outdoors, without having to struggle with your equipment.  So having an easel you don't have to wrestle with is worth it's weight in gold.  

Oil on Linen panel,  9" X 12" 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

"Canyon River" ©

More practice on canyon lands painting, this little study allowed some experimentation with using Hematite Violet (DaVinci), a color I had never used before.  It's a great "mother" color, easily influenced by any additional color.  I used it in every mixture and fell in love with it.  I have no idea where the image came from or the place but it looks like Zion or somewhere in the canyon lands of Arizona or Utah.

Oil on Linen, 9" X 12"

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Mission Hall" ©

My elementary school was built mission style with these types of hallways.  I remember how cool the air was walking back to class after recess in the hot months sandwiching summer.  

Oil on Canvas,  20" X 16"
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