Thursday, December 19, 2013

"Hansen Dam Fall Colors"

Hansen Dam recreational area is about 14 minutes from my front door and offers incredible views that seem like you are thousands of miles in the wilderness.  There are many waterfowl in the reeds and weeds along the banks, especially beautiful white Egrets that might really add a nice detail to this painting.  I can add them and welcome any feedback as to whether or not to include the fine feathered beauties.  A rain storm moved in today and may have wiped out a lot of the gold leaves but if not it is a glorious place to paint in between the holiday festivities.  

oil on canvas, 14" X 18"

Saturday, December 14, 2013

"Evenings Splendor" ©

It's December, a time full of parties, shopping, cooking and a non-stop march to the 25th.  I have to admit painting on the fly with all the distractions is not a skill I am gifted with.  Three paintings all poorly executed lay taunting me, around my easel.  To quell any thoughts that I am not at the easel this month, today I took charge, blocked the Christmas carols and decorations out of my mind and brought this painting to an end.  The scene is the trail heading down from Elsmere Canyon to Whitney Canyon in the Santa Clarita Valley.  The evening light is truly lovely.

Oil on Canvas,  18" X 24"

Monday, December 02, 2013

"Nuestra Sra de Belén" 18th Century Sculpture at Mission Carmel

Today is the entry deadline for the California Art Clubs exhibit, "California's Heritage: The Mission Trail." I decided to enter at the last minute and painted this sculpture from a digital image I captured last May during the Carmel plein air event.  On a break from painting I slipped into the Carmel mission to explore what I had heard was one of the most beautiful of the 21 missions.  This sculpture display of the Virgin was the one thing above all on the property that I wanted to paint, so I photographed her and filed it away.   As a landscape painter it's hard to justify slipping into another subject area and yet the call for entries from CAC opened the door.

Oil on canvas, 20" X 16" 

Friday, November 29, 2013

"Cloud Chasing"

Purely for the fun of it, I painted this warm soft sky today.  The location is on the coast in the small magical seaside town of Malibu.  Todays rainy weather had clouds gathering together quickly and separating just as fast, reminding me when painting a moving sky, you just have to pick a pattern in the clouds and stick to it.  

Oil on canvas,  14" X 18"

Monday, November 25, 2013

"Elsmere Canyon Glow" ©

Got this one fairly close to finished and dumped it face down on my palette while trying to get a decent photo of it.  It reminded me that rushing just never works and trying to squeeze a painting in while getting ready for the Thanksgiving Holiday is ridiculous, and yet I cannot find the discipline to stay away from the easel.  I will tidy up the nice blue, orange and white blobs of paint here and there and bring the piece back to something desirable in between brining the big bird and washing floors. 

Oil on canvas, 14" X 18"

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Placerita Creek" ©

Green and gold mixed together as fall sinks into winter, is the story behind this painting.  Placerita Canyon creek runs though the nature center where I discovered this view last week.  The color is leaving more and more each day as the weather cools.  It's tough for painting,  short days and the briefest of daylight striking the ground from the south quickly approaching.  The good news is that it is too cold for snakes to be very active, the bad news is my new car was hit today.  What can you do, life marches on.  

Oil on Canvas, 18" X 24"

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Cottonwoods in Shades of Green" ©

Often I see a spot and know it's a painting but the timing is off.  Either I am driving somewhere with a timing issue or working on a show or I am just not up to painting the piece technically.  A while ago another artist Janet Anderson and I spotted this idyllic scene as we were driving from Jackson Hole back to Scott Christensen's studio in Victor, Idaho.  Both of us wanted to stop and paint but time was banging it's drum loudly and we couldn't spend the time.  My delay in trying the painting was technical, I could see the painting in my mind but couldn't make the connection to my hands.  Without the pressure of a show in the wings I decided to give it a go and feel pretty good about the painting.  Since this photo I have changed quite a bit but you can get an idea of the serene scene of the Cottonwoods on a gray day.  

Oil on Canvas, 20" X 24"

Sunday, November 03, 2013

"Beginnings of a Bright Day" ©

A couple of days ago the coastal fog was making it's way over the mountain into our valley and I zipped out the door to capture the unusual view.  By the time I got to a good spot, the fog had disappeared leaving a bright morning scene in it's wake, at the trail head leading to the old Walker Ranch.  Still beautiful in the cool quiet morning light I went ahead with a painting.  

Oil on canvas,  20" X 24"

Monday, October 28, 2013

"Golden Poplar Trees" ©

 Usually I would paint and post the plein air piece first but in this case the studio piece was painted and posted first (see the previous post).  I went back to Pine Mountain Club on Saturday to actually paint the Poplar Trees from life.  The golden leaves rained down with each gust of wind, people passed by with their dogs curious about the 5 ladies painting and we, the painters (Marian Fortunati, Sharon Weaver, Diane Nelson Gold and Nancy Angelini Crawford) were in heaven.  

12" X 12", oil on linen

Friday, October 25, 2013

"Autumn Poplar Trees" ©

Earlier this week I had a few days to explore Pine Mountain Club near Frazier Park, California.  The Cottonwood and Poplar trees are just ablaze with golden light, contrasted against the deep blue distant mountain ridge the word "glory" came to mind.  

Oil on canvas, 14" X 18"

Last weekend while I was exhibiting and selling paintings at the Craftsman Expo in Pasadena, my painting "Canyon Trail" won Best of Show at the Santa Clarita Artists Association, 2013 Art Classic XXIV.  Here are the judges comments:

*​​​​​​The Best of Show was awarded to the one painting that simply took our breaths away. It is a stunning landscape that excelled in all criteria. The color was impeccable, beautifully muted tones with lots of atmospheric perspective that led us round every bend, over the hills to the mountains beyond. The brush work was evident and it energized the painting. It felt as if the artist loved his/her subject and it showed.*
​ *Landscape breathes of the local back country's light, shapes and textures. There was a slight haze in the air as the light rose or sank in that canyon. Composition, foreground, mid-ground and background, shapes, colors, tones, textures all blended into one true experience of the power of nature. Not a Wagnerian nature of huge mountains and fluffy white clouds but the nature we visit to renew our spirits and come back from with our perceptions elevated.

Monday, October 14, 2013

"Eaton Canyon Evening" ©

This weekend I will be exhibiting 22 paintings at the 22nd Annual Craftsman Exposition at the Pasadena Convention Center.  The Craftsman weekend includes tours of local Craftsman homes, lectures on antiques and art collecting, besides the Expo full of venders of all things Craftsman.  If you want to learn more about the weekend please visit the Pasadena Heritage website.  

Oil on Canvas,  16" X 20"

Thursday, October 10, 2013

"China Cove" study

China Cove in the Point Lobos State Reserve is a tough spot to paint.  It's hard to find a place along the trail that won't interfere with hikers and at the same time offers a good view of the cove.  The trail sweeps around the cove and out onto the land mass so you are looking back at where I am standing for this painting.  The pristine water and pure white sandy beach, untouched by humans lets you dream of what this hidden cove would have been like to discover 100 years ago.   This painting is the "first draft" of an idea.  Lately there has been a lot of discussion online of the value of plein air paintings versus studio work.  Every artist works differently but I need a balance of both painting outside, observing nature first hand and studio work.  Without the direct study paintings I think my studio pieces would suffer.  

Oil on canvas, 12" X 16"

Thursday, October 03, 2013

"High Desert Highlights" ©

The rabbit bush is blooming!  This is one of those paintings that I spent hours moving bushes around.  Now seeing the image on the computer I am questioning the bunch on the right.  Generally it's frowned upon to have a grouping that is set apart without connecting shapes and this is a good example of why you would want to keep to the rule.  Having an element floating like an island just "feels" wrong.  Tomorrow morning I will solve the problem by adding some more rabbit brush on the right.  

oil on canvas, 16" X 20"

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

"Eucalyptus in Cambria" and don't do what I did....

Oil on Canvas, 16" X 20"

After painting oceans for a week it was a pleasure to paint dance in the eucalyptus trees of Cambria California.  Now for the bad news and a lesson to pass on.  I painted a nice little study of a wave with the master Ruo Li.  He had requested a long canvas which I didn't have so making "do" I took some linen and taped it to a panel with black tape.  So far so good.  Then at the end of the day I slide the wet painting into my new Raymar wet panel carrier facing the back because I had a bunch of other panels flopping in the front sections.  For those who are unaware of Raymar's wet panel carriers, they are light weight and have inserts down the sides to accommodate different panel sizes.  

Upon arriving home I slide the painting out of the carrier, only to find the corrugated walls of the carrier left nice straight lines across the painting.  It was my fault completely, since my taping job wasn't tight enough to keep the linen tight to the panel.  Even so, I was very disappointed.

Here is the painting on my studio easel with it's lines.  I took a soft brush and tried to obliterate the lines.  Later on I may try to save the piece.

Here is the panel carrier.  Again it wasn't the fault of the carrier, I have them in all sizes and have used them for years without a problem.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Wild Surf" ©

Today I had the pleasure of watching Ruo Li painting a seascape at the Keystone art center.  He talked a lot about the process of painting and what he felt was important for artists today.  Interestingly he suggested that every artist should know how to use photoshop and be able to manipulate images to paint.  I came home from the day inspired and even though the paintings and show stuff from last weekends show in Thousand Oaks is still not put away completely, I painted.

Oil on canvas,  11" X 14"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

"LA River, Atwater River Walk" ©

Joe Linton has written a great guide to the Los Angeles River with access points, history and maps for bike rides and walks.  This painting was painted where Sunnynook ends at the river.  Hard to believe such a peaceful spot exists just yards from the 5 freeway.  While painting I listened to the distant freeway noises, as families of ducks floated down river, fishermen passed by poles in hand and several people walking dogs and pushing strollers pounded down the trail.  If you are interested in the Los Angeles River check out the group, FoLAR, Friends of the Los Angeles River. FoLAR Website

Oil on linen,  11" X 14"

*On another note, I will be showing a booth full of paintings at the 10th Thousand Oaks Arts Festival this weekend, 10am - 5pm Sat. & Sun.,  2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., My booth number is 39.  The event and parking are free.  Come on by and say Hi..... 

Monday, September 16, 2013

"Morning in the Canyon" ©

Elsmere Canyon was slated to become a landfill for the San Fernando Valley.  Our city council members and community activist fought long and hard to keep the canyon pristine.  They won and now the canyon is a designated open space, protected forever.  Next month I'll be showing in Pasadena at an event that celebrates the Craftsman lifestyle and this piece may find a home.  

Oil on Canvas,  20" X 30"

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"Cruising" ©

It's been a while since I took the time to paint some feathers and I sure enjoyed all the hues of white.  This painting was an experiment.  I have painted several ducks over the years but never on a canvas primed in copper paint.  At first the paint did move as I was use too but once I got the surface covered it went well.  I think the copper base allowed the glow within the feathers to really have a nice affect.  

Oil on canvas,  11" X 14"

Monday, September 09, 2013

"Mailbu Canyon" ©

When I started this blog 7 years ago and I saw paintings that I thought were finished on the computer screen I would see glaring portions that I had failed to address.  Usually I had things all lined up in a neat row or the values so close that shapes were not clearly defined or a very strong angle screaming for the viewer to "look here", all very wrong for my style of painting.  After posting on the blog I would then "fix" these issues and move on to start the next painting.  

For the first time I posted this painting on Facebook before the blog and again I saw many little things that needed tweaking.  I hope this helps other artists when critiquing your own paintings.  So often we paint in the vacuum of our own studios without another set of eyes to look at a painting and a viewer to offer helpful suggestions for improvement.  Try photographing the painting and looking at it on your computer monitor in a small size.  You might be surprised at the different perspective the computer screen provides.  

Oil on Canvas,  20" X 24"

Thursday, September 05, 2013

"Quick Draw, Paint the Lakes 2013" ©

Here is my "Quick Draw" Painting from last weekend at the Paint the Lake 2013, plein air competition. During the quick draw the artists had 2 hours to complete their painting and turn it in.  I had picked this spot to paint out when I visited Lake Arrowhead with my Mom a few weeks before the actual event.  She can paint anything and loved the little boats and red roofed buildings, complete with a clock tower.  If she had painted in the event that would have been her subject which she could paint behind her back.  On the other hand, I am a landscape painter and am much more comfortable with nature.  So I chose the scene you see below.  In the early morning the light catches the little strip of sand brilliantly and that was my focus.  It worked!  The judge Helga Batman-Koplin awarded my painting First Place and Best Use of Color.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

"Lake Gregory", Paint the Lake 2013 Plein Air....

Painting on the shore of Lake Gregory the sun was shining, then clouds blew in and finally rain patted on the water.  This was my first painting and standing there I was relishing the cool mountain air while getting adjusted to the variety of surrounding greens.   Last weekend I was one of the artists painting the lakes in the area for the Mountain Arts Network event "Paint the Lake 2013".  My number was 48, so I guess there were at least 48 of us with a possibility of a few more "w, x, y & z's".  The event was so well run and organized I would recommend it.  On top of the normal stuff everyone was so friendly and the painting locations gorgeous, it just can't get much better.  

I had to pick one painting to enter for judging by Karl Dempwolf, California Art Club Signature Member.  Of the four paintings I completed, these two were my favorites and I had to pick one to submit to the gallery.  Thank goodness for email and here is why.  I was able to send the image to Cassie, my daughter and tough critique and let her pick which one to enter.  I still wasn't sure and headed to the gallery with both paintings under my arm to decide last minute and I ran into Harry Flock the frame dealer.  Harry is an old acquaintance and was willing to get me his advice and he picked the same one.  So I went with the majority vote and I am glad I did because it won 2nd Honorable Mention.   All of the paintings are on exhibit and available for purchase at the Mountain Arts Network Gallery in Lake Arrowhead until September 15th.

"Lake Gregory",  11" X 14"

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Janet's Boat" ©

What could be better then a day of art making at a friends house?  My buddy Janet make a Greek dessert platter, fashioned from a description in a book she is reading about the building of the ancient aqueducts of Europe, for all of us to dip into now and again.  Having just returned from a trip Janet shared a photo she had taken of a little boat listing on the beach in Scotland and allowed me to paint a little painting of the scene.  I'll fiddle with it a bit then she can have it for her collection.  A nice way to end a perfect day.  

Oil on linen, 8" X 10"

Monday, August 26, 2013

"Estuary of Carmel" ©

Twice I have stood on the sandy beach beside the spot where the Carmel River greets the ocean painting as the sun sank behind me into the Pacific Ocean capturing this view.  It's a tough scene with all the rocks and shifts and yet so very inviting I can't help but try to get it down on canvas.  I used the little plein air pieces to work out this larger canvas.  Those little babies are worth their weight in gold.  One time I was told to never sell the plein air pieces because of all the information they contain and I understand the thinking better now then ever.  Meanwhile I am preparing for a trip to Lake Arrowhead to paint in the event "Paint the Lakes" starting Thursday morning.  I can't wait to meet the other artists and explore the 3 lakes we are allowed to paint.  

Oil on Linen,  18" X 24"

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"Art Alfresco and El Matador Beach" ©

Today was the monthly California Art Club paint out, hosted by George Malone.  George picked El Matador beach for our gathering spot and the day couldn't have been more perfect.  With most children back in school the parking lot and beach had plenty of room.  So you don't think I paint with sun on my palette and shade on the painting you should know I turned my easel for the photograph, since I had my back to the sandstone cliff as I couldn't get back far enough for you to see the whole spot from where I was actually painting.  One thing I learned today is not to set up so close to the cliff as the wind blew sand off the cliff onto my painting.  It's covered in sand and the paint as some chunks floating on the surface.  The other thing I learned today is Gamblin's new warm white is a luscious and good replacement for Titanium white when painting outside.  I can't wait to try their other newly introduced colors.

What grabbed my attention was the lone big rock lit from above with the shadowed bigger rock behind it adding to the drama of the scene.  

Oil on panel, 9" X 12"

Last weekend I showed paintings at the Ventura Museum for their event "Art Alfresco".  Below you can see my booth set up, before they opened the doors to the public.  I was able to meet several new art lovers and collectors and the weekend was a success for everyone.  I'll be back in two years for the next event.  If you are ever in Ventura looking for a dinner spot, try out Sushi Marina.  The service and food couldn't have been better.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

"Elsmere Sentry" ©

There is a moment at sunset, when everything turns brilliant orange and lavender above the park and ride at the Elsmere Canyon entrance.  I have wanted to try to catch that moment in time and finally took a break today from framing and packing for a show tomorrow in Ventura to give it a go.  If you are in the area of Ventura on Saturday I am showing 25 paintings at the Ventura Museums event, "Art Alfresco" from 12noon to 5pm.  Anyone is welcome to come from 12 noon - 2pm there are tickets available that include lunch and museum admission.  From 2pm - 5pm there are $5.00 tickets for admission.  If you come please say HI!

Oil on Canvas, 12" X 12"

Monday, August 12, 2013

"Summer Evening" ©

Hard to believe this spot is behind the Jack In The Box restaurant in Lebec but you can see it while you munch on a burger, right off the 5 freeway.  

Oil on Canvas,  24" X 30"

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

"Point Dume" ©

Point Dume is one of the many beautiful beaches in the Malibu area with long stretches of white sand  rimmed by majestic cliffs welcoming long walks alone or a day at the beach with friends and family. 

Oil on linen, 11" X 14" 

Thursday, August 01, 2013

"Rocky Mountain Retreat" ©

Last month driving to Leadville Colorado in the Rocky Mountains we came across this view.  The spot seemed so perfectly peaceful, accented by a few squirrels and birds I knew I wanted to paint it.  It has been a while since I posted my process and so with this painting I took a few shots as I went along.  You can enjoy my struggle, along with me.  

The canvas size is 18" x 24".  At this point I am just locating the various elements and deciding on value patterns and placement.  I prefer to work on a white canvas so that any of the lighter values are as clean and bright as possible, allowing the canvas to contribute to the success of the piece in the end.  The paint is very thin and I am using mostly transparent paint.  Rembrandt and Gamblin manufacture my favorite transparent oil colors.

At this point I have paint all over the canvas.  I have located my darks and lights and decided that the main focal area will be the sandy beach and the secondary focal area will be the distant mountain, bouncing the viewer between the two with little side trips into the trees.  

Now that the canvas is covered and I have all the different elements figured out I need to start really finessing the paint quality and placement.  What I am going after is a variety of brushwork, edges and areas of the painting making sure that every move supports the main idea and that particular element that I am painting.  I had difficulty painting under studio lights so I painted the rest of the painting outside in natural light.  That is something that might be helpful to artists, take your painting outside and look at it, up close and from 20 feet away.  Critiquing is much easier and you will spot issues that had eluded you inside.  Another reason plein air painting is so wonderful.  

Here is the finished painting.  After the paint sets up a bit I'll go in and tighten some edges and make changes in anything that calls out to me.  Another advantage of oil paint is the ease in which you can alter the painting whenever you chose.  

Saturday, July 27, 2013

"Palm Tree Trio" ©

While I was painting this one, a comment made was that the palm trees were "scruffy".  Looking around at all the palm trees I thought they all look a bit scruffy this dry hot summer.  I did add a little more to the fronds for the paintings sake.  One of the many advantages of painting, just putting down what we wish to see in the end.   

Oil on Linen,  16" X 12"

Monday, July 22, 2013

"Calm Waters" ©

The whole idea of this painting was to suggest calm water flowing gently around the bend.  I had painted this scene before not knowing how to handle a some of the passages, this time the piece is better.  

Oil on linen,  16" X 20"

Friday, July 19, 2013

"Coastal Cypress" ©

The Museum of Ventura County is planning their 3rd bi-annual "Art Alfresco" fundraising event on Saturday August 17th.  I was invited to exhibit my artwork for sale, so all of the construction work on the home front will have to wait a bit, while I paint new work for the show.  Looking at my collection of available paintings I decided a few more coastal/water scenes would compliment the group for the event.  

Oil on linen,  16" X 20"

Monday, July 15, 2013

"Coastal Cliffs" ©

Home from Colorado it was nice to get back to the ocean.  Next month I'll be exhibiting at the Ventura Museum and thought a few ocean scenes would be nice for the show.  

Oil on Linen,  16" X 20"

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"Sunrise on the Rio Grande" ©

The Rio Grande works it's way south though Alamosa Colorado heading for the gulf of Mexico.  If I lived in Alamosa I would be on the banks painting often.  Only in town for a few days it was a race to get a feel for the area.  One morning this was the view as the sun was rising over the LaVeta pass.

Oil on canvas,  14" X 18"

Monday, July 08, 2013

"Navajo Land" ©

Headed from Durango Colorado to Canyon de Chelly Arizona we crossed into the Navajo reservation.  These rocks were a common sight along the highway.  I loved watching the light change, the weird shaped rocks and distant mesas.  This little 9" X 12" painting will never be a studio piece but I had good time figuring out how to create the illusion of separation between the formations.  The Navajo land is open range, so we had to keep an eye out for cattle on the road.  Here is a little photo so you get the idea....looks like she is trying to hide behind the sign.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

"Summer Waters" ©

The Rio Grande river is still flowing, even though our country is so very dry.  This was the scene early in the July morning headed from Monte Vista to Center Colorado on the San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad.  

Oil on Linen,  12" X 16"

Saturday, July 06, 2013

"Alamosa Sunrise" ©

Walking out the back door of the Comfort Inn in Alamosa Colorado last week, this sunrise view greeted us.  One of the other travelers giggled and said "hey, that looks like a painting", I grinned back with a "OH YEAH".  

Oil on Linen,  16" X 20"

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