Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Slide Rock Stormy Day

(painting above) oil on canvas panel 10x8 inches

The painting on the right was painted on location just before the rain and hail came. (Posted on May 18th). The one on the left was painted from a photo on my laptop while sitting barefoot in my studio, listening to music and sipping iced tea. I enjoyed both. I'm not sure if one is "better" than the other...just different. What do you think?

Thursday, May 26, 2011


oil on Raymar canvas panel 8x6 inches

These pickles are SO yummy. If you haven't tried them you probably should.

Yay! My pickles got picked by Rosa as her favorite painting for today! Thanks, Rosa! Check it out at Rosa's Picks.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


oil on Raymar canvas panel 4x4 inches

Back to my series of one thing on a small canvas, I painted this one a while back. The variations of off-white made it lots of fun. For the most part I was able to make a stroke and leave it, so I'm happy with the result.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


While in Sedona, my fellow artist and good friend, Martha Cowan and I took turns painting each other. Back in our hotel room after dinner, we adjusted some lamps and one of us reclined on the bed watching TV while the other painted. I was very happy to have gotten a fairly good likeness. Joseph Todorovitch taught us the order of learning how to paint portraits: first strive to make it look human, then make it look female, then like the person. When I first started drawing the figure again (after 30 year break) all my heads looked ape-like! Martha and I had some hearty laughs about me trying to not make her look like a monkey! If you see a hint of tears in her eyes, it's because she was watching something sad on TV! To see her portrait of me, click on her name link above.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

That-A-Way Truck-sold

oil on canvas panel 6x8 inches

This old truck in Jerome, Arizona had so much character with that big red arrow...and of course I love painting text, so here it is. It was sitting on the drop-off side of the street (seemed like the whole town was on a cliff!) and the distant valley below showed in the background. Transparent red oxide is perfect for rust, and mixed with ultramarine blue makes a rich black you can swing toward warm or cool. After lunch we followed the big red arrow to the mine and loaded up our cameras with more trucks to paint! Whoopeeee! Can't wait!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Grazing, Chino Hills-sold

oil on canvas panel 6x8 inches

We'll be heading home from Sedona tomorrow morning. Today we drove up to Jerome, an old mining town, now a funky artsy historical and magical place. Wow! There were a million things to paint, and the sun was out!!! I didn't get a chance to shoot my truck painting so I offer the above painted from a photo on my laptop inside the Sedona Art Center yesterday afternoon when a few of us took refuge from the hail. The reference photo is from hills just a few miles from home. I was painting with Lisa McDill that day when 1800 sheep came over the hill. What a sight!

Our workshop ended today with a great critique from Jennifer. Below you can see my work laid out on a board. All in all, it was a great experience painting in good weather and bad, meeting artists from other parts of the country, and learning from such an accomplished painter.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Slide Rock

I painted this 12x9 in the morning and had to stop abruptly as the thunderstorms and freezing rain hit. I would have made quite a few changes to it, but it was really starting to come down as I quickly packed up. This area is so beautiful, and in the summertime folks slide down the stream and swim in the pools. Maybe I'll work on it more from photos I took. I did use my familiar palette and had a peaceful enjoyable time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More Fun In Sedona

Ahhh....sunny Sedona! NOT! Temps dipped into the low 40's with wind, frozen rain and a bit of thunder. Exciting! We huddled under an overhang at Slide Rock State Park. Try as I might to get a good value study, the light was changing minute by minute. One painted, one wiped, and one measley color study. If I had been happy with my painting I wonder if I would not have felt so cold. It's all mental. I rehearsed my motto: "Paint a lot of paintings, and some of them will be good."

Martha and Jennifer under the overhang.

Value study #1, color study under changing conditions.

Last study from yesterday with some changes: toned down the barn color, simplified the bushes and lower right corner. Working with an unfamiliar palette is hard. Thinking about sneaking my old colors in! Tomorrow more rain is expected. More fun!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Value & Color Studies- Sedona

Today our workshop session was at a park near Cathedral Rock. It's reportedly the most photographed spot in Northern Arizona and I can see why. The value studies came easier today after yesterday's practice. The trick was to stick to the value study when using color even though the light was changing. Using Jennifer's limited palette is a fun change. We had milder winds and perfect temps. I looked for my plein air snake, but didn't see one. All in all, a fantastic, instructive day. Tomorrow rain is expected...we'll see what happens!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sedona Plein Air

Today was our first day with Jennifer McChristian. After the morning orientation at Sedona Arts Center we all headed out. The emphasis today was on value studies. Jennifer did a great demo for us and then we spread out to do 3-4 small value studies of our own. This was such a great exercise for me! The biggest challenge was keeping shapes simple, and the wind! It was pretty steady with gusts I would guess around 50-60mph! So we found out it IS possible to paint in the wind. Lots of easels blew over but we carried on. I lost all my turp and painted the last two studies without any. Oh...and I only saw one snake! It was a blast. Below are my studies on a 9x12 divided with tape. I took the photo with the canvas on blacktop. I liked the effect, so didn't edit it out.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


oil on canvas panel 4x4 inches

This tomato would not stand up, but I liked the strongly lit stem hovering over the shadow so I painted it the way it landed. The translucent red of a backlit tomato is a beautiful thing.
In other news, tomorrow I'll head off for Sedona with my friend, Martha. We're taking a five day plein air workshop with Jennifer McChristian. I'm very excited about more plein air instruction and in such a beautiful setting. I'll post when I can and let you know how it's going!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Yellow Pepper

oil on Raymar canvas panel 4x4 inches

Back to my series of "one thing on a small canvas". I don't think I've painted a pepper before. The shapes reminded me of painting pumpkins and gourds. The light was glowing through the back wall which made parts of the inside in shadow and other parts glowing....really tricky. The stem is my favorite part.

Other news: In August I'll be teaching a two day workshop on Daily Painting and blogging for the Trails End Art Association in Oregon. For more information, click on the link.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mom's Buttons

oil on canvas panel 6x6 inches

Happy Mother's Day to everyone! I spent the day with my mom, taking her to her church she loves so much, then lunch where there's free WiFi and reading to her from my laptop all my blog posts from February forward. She doesn't use the computer and wants to see every painting and hear every word. Ahhh....a mother's love! Last night, in anticipating our day together, I spilled out her old buttons from her cold cream jar (remember cold cream?), found a pleasing arrangement and painted away. I love the color and abstract quality. Mostly, I love my mom. The photo below was taken of us on her 90th birthday last September. She's an amazing lady with a mind still sharp as can be!

I may not be able to post for a few days. My daughter-in-law and granddaughter are coming from Idaho for a few days. Lots of family fun up ahead!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Eco Reserve Spring

oil on Raymar canvas panel 8x8 inches

Yesterday's plein air day with Lisa McDill was held at the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve in Murrieta, a beautiful place for hiking and painting. The day was perfect...breezy and in the mid 80's, and we crossed paths with only one snake! :-) The dark trunk of this tree and colorful grasses caught my eye. I set up next to a tree for shade and a wind block. I had a blast! It all seemed easier after Lisa's great demo, and with her advice along the way. The words I'll remember most are, "Now stop....THINK!" I tend to plow forward sometimes counting on instinct or luck! Up top is the finished painting. Below is a view of the scene (slightly different vantage point) and the painting before I made some changes.

That big ugly dark shape is right in the middle of the canvas. I added some mid-values to break it up and alter the shape. I took out some wildflower dots to simplify the foreground. The distant pointy trees on the left are distracting. I simplified the outline. I'm making progress with plein air. Can't wait to go again!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Grapes -SOLD

oil on Raymar canvas panel 4x4 inches

Today was a fantastic day of plein air, but I'll make some minor changes to that painting before posting it....and hopefully the bugs stuck in the paint will fall off too! In the meanwhile, this is #2 in my series of "one thing on a small canvas." Have I said that I love painting grapes? The painting is better than the picture. I know, I've said that before too.
This painting is available at Vander Molen Fine Art, Arcadia, CA

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Baby Gala

oil on Raymar canvas panel 4x4 inches

I've been getting really fussy lately, so I thought why not paint a single object on a little canvas with a big brush? And why not do a series of these? An apple makes a good start. It's still a bit fussy, but with a colorful gala like this I can't stop myself. Maybe I can stop myself on the next one.
Tomorrow I'll take a one day plein air workshop in Murietta with Lisa McDill. I hope I have a good painting to post, but mostly it will be fun and instructive for sure!
Tomorrow is the Opening Reception for the Ontario Open Art Exhibition at the Museum of History and Art. Two of my daily paintings are in the show. The reception is from 5:00-7:30 and the exhibit runs through June 19th.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pear'd Up and Preschool Demo

oil on Raymar canvas panel 6x6 inches

Yesterday I was invited to my granddaughter's preschool, where some very lucky four-year-olds are learning about famous artists and their work. When I arrived their teacher, Mrs. Haus, was talking about Mondrian and how he balanced his paintings by starting with a grid. They'll go on to study Van Gogh, O'Keefe, Monet, Picasso and Pollack. The children will later create their own little paintings inspired by these masters. Kudos to Mrs. Haus and her creative vision for these kids!

My granddaughter, Emily and I

I showed them how every color can be made with the three primaries, watercolor paper and equipment, and how we use the white of the paper instead of white paint. They really liked the word "scumble" and Mrs. Haus said she's sure they'll do some scumbling of their own. I gave them each a piece of "real" watercolor paper with a triad on it so they can paint their own triad and do their scumbling. It was SO much fun and over way too soon!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Grapes With Pear-sold

Grapes are one of my favorite subjects to paint. I love the subtle variations of translucent color, and I enjoy softening their curved edges.

oil on canvas panel 8x6 inches