oil 9x12 inches magnify/purchase The last day camping I ventured down into the sand for this one. There was a cold wind blowing, so I practically had the cove all to myself. Having had limited experience painting moving water, here was a great opportunity. I had a blast.
oil 8x10 inches magnify Second day at Moro Campground I painted this right within the campground. It was early morning and the clouds were clearing from rain the night before. Atmosphere is what I was after here. Not for sale at this time, but you can click on "magnify" to see brushwork.
oil 9x12 magnify From my "paintcation" to Moro Campground, Crystal Cove last week. Standing on the edge of the bluff within the campground was this stunning view of next bluff to the south. Can't beat the views in Laguna Beach. And even on the last day in March I got a bit too warm! I could feel summer coming! I had a great time trying out manganese blue in sky and sea, a recent addition to my palette. It seemed to work well for that Laguna water.
In an effort to lighten my backpack, I ordered the James Coulter mini palette and did not put glass in it. Reduced my 23 lb. backpack down to 16 lb. I thought mixing the color right on the wood might bother me, but it was really no problem. I figured painters have been working on wooden palettes for hundreds of years. The smaller mixing space compared to my compact palette still worked fine. The fresh blobs of paint kinda soaked into the wood even after several coats of linseed oil, but after some layers of paint, I think it will be well seasoned. The palette fits right inside my Kelty Redwing 3100. Dare I say, I was a happy camper!
oil 12x9 inches magnify/purchase This is the second study from the Qiang Huang workshop. The color in this piece is much nicer in person. Below is my set up and my sketch, or placement stage as Qiang calls it.
Tomorrow I'm off for a few days of camping/painting at the beach. I'll post again on Friday.
oil 12x9 inches magnify/purchase Over the weekend I attended a workshop taught by Qiang Huang. My friend, May and I had a great time, and though I have been painting a while, I learned so much! He is an effective and methodical instructor, breaking down painting into 5 basic steps: placement, value, color, modeling and consolidation. Most helpful to me was how to keep darks transparent and lights opaque. A simple tip I had not heard elsewhere: rub a very thin coat of linseed oil on your blank canvas to ease the application of paint, then use a soft brush to paint in your darks. Below are pics of my set up and value stage, then Master Qiang at work.
oil 12x9 inches magnify
Melanie lives in the high desert in a barn converted into a house. Now it's an art cottage oozing with creativity and joy. On Wednesday a few of us drove up for an art day together. I could have painted in any room because there was eye candy everywhere. This is the doorway into her art room. I especially loved the light coming through the blinds straight back, and the painted concrete floor. She let her little grandsons paint it with her. Out in her flower beds lie small rocks painted in bright colors. Prayer rocks, each with the name of a friend or relative. What a fun and inspiring day! Thanks, Melanie!
watercolor and gouache approx. 8x8 inches magnify/purchase The wind howled and rocked the RV one afternoon. I stayed inside and used a photo reference I had taken earlier in the day. I loved how the awning pattern reflected into the shadow it cast. The two chairs and two fan palms made it romance in the desert. This is the same little trailer I painted the day before.
oil 10x8 inches magnify/purchase
Second of the paintings done at Anza Borrego. Coming up next are two little desert watercolor sketches I did inside the RV. Reluctantly, I have decided to take some time off from painting. There are matters I must attend to related to my mother's passing. I guess I'm a one-thing-at-a-time kind of girl. So once I get those responsibilities in order, I'll be able to focus again at the easel. I have some fresh ideas, and can't wait to get back to it!
oil 6x12 inches magnify/purchase
This was my first time painting on location in the desert. After so many months of drought, there were few spring flowers, but still plenty of color if you have the eye for it. Spindly twiggy bushes are a challenge I decided. At the start I looked carefully for correct values in the distance, because I wanted to convey the vast desert space. I'm especially happy with that aspect of this painting.
Monday I took myself and my dog in our little RV on a paintcation to Anza Borrego Desert State Park. What I loved most about this spot was the quiet and the very dark starry nights. I painted outside in the mornings, as the afternoons were either too warm or windy. The rest of the time I spent inside piddling around with my watercolors. Oh, and there might have been a couple of margaritas and pints of ice cream. Meanwhile, my little malte-poo waited patiently to go home. I guess to her, the whole place smelled like coyote! Here are some pics of the first day. It was 75 degrees in the shade, but I swear it felt like 90 in the sun! I don't get that. I came home a day early to avoid driving in the high winds expected for today. Better shots of the paintings will come once the rain stops and I can photograph them.
watercolor and gouache approx. 9x11 inches magnify/purchase
I bought flowers at a local farmer's market. Later that day, they pulled my raffle ticket and I won a huge basket of fruit, veggies, bread, nuts and a fragrant bunch of stock to add to my flowers. Lucky flowers! I nursed the bouquet along for a week. Here are the survivors barely hanging on. I liked the prospect of making a lively painting with a not so lively subject. I kept it loose and left my marks alone.
oil 6x8 inches magnify/purchase Sorry about the glare. I continue to try different approaches in my work. Here, I worked with low natural light rather than a set up strongly lit from one side. For so long I have mixed paint on my palette, made a stroke, then the next, avoiding painting on top of previous strokes. Now I'm exploring the possibilities of mixing paint on the canvas with my strokes. Along with using thicker paint, this is freeing. I feel like I can do anything I want to and see how it turns out. I've begun to question the "wipe out" in favor of working with the paint, pushing it around, trying different stuff and letting it be. In the end, it is what it is. Maybe this one looks like somebody else painted it! Ha!
watercolor & gouache approx 11x8 inches magnify/purchase Reading about John Singer Sargent this weekend got me in the mood for some watercolor. Not surprisingly, he produced about 900 oils. But did you know he did about 2000 watercolors? And he had no problem using some opaque paint here and there. I had fun with this, then even more fun playing with some gouache on top.
oil 12x12x1 1/2 magnify/purchase
Meet Grandma Tina from Amy's Farm in Chino. She's a gentle old cow who doesn't mind being led past a line of school children so they can get a sense of how big a cow really is. She always wears her halter and bell. I had a hard time getting a good shot of this piece due to it being wet on five sides. There is glare on the bottom third obscuring some nice warm darks. Painted on 1 1/2 inch deep gallery wrap canvas, ready to hang.
oil 8x10 inches click for purchase info and magnifier
I didn't have much painting time in January, but the month definitely ended in a positive way, paint-wise. Yesterday I got out to Irvine Regional Park in Orange where this old tractor asked to have her portrait painted. Mostly the light was cloudy and overcast which allowed me to slow down and enjoy myself instead of racing against changing conditions. As I painted, the Shetland ponies nearby snorted and chewed, and the little train clicked by again and again full of young children on field trips. One painting, then one wipe-out in the afternoon. Having had good dose of dirt, trees and fresh cold air, I went home a happy painter.
oil 6x6 inches click for purchase info and magnifier And now the kid version. My Maine friend brought me this rock from Maine. It's a long way from home. Credits to my granddaughter, Grace for the painted paper.
oil 6x6 inches click for purchase info and magnifier "Rock, Paper, Scissors" is the name of the salon where I get my hair cut. After my cut a few days ago I had this idea. That's a serious rock not to be messed with.