Thursday, August 28, 2008

2 Weeks for the price of one

I'm more of a slacker than a blogger lately! Here's 2 weeks worth of plein air sites.
Last week we had a gorgeous day - perfect temperatures. We were at Lake Cunningham, lots of birds, water and hills to paint. The birds cooperated pretty well, setting themselves up for a doze on the shore of the lake, or sitting on the pontoon. It was weird, though, sketching the idyllic scene to the accompaniment of loud disco music and screams coming from the water park next door! In the end I only put paint on one of my sketchbook drawings, which didn't turn out so well.

Today we were in downtown Los Gatos, sitting in a shady park with a view of Main Street. We were grateful for the shade 'cause it was a real hot one today - was up to about 96F by the time I left! Anyway, I started with a drawing in my sketchbook, then thought I would paint the scene.

The trouble with painting a street scene is that cars and buses are always pulling up in front of you and blocking the view. I tried to include some of the cars, but the scale is a little off - I don't think I wanted to block out the buildings so I subconsciously made them very small! It also made me realize that America is populated with the ugliest, most boring colored vehicles in the world. Almost every car I looked at was an SUV in either silver, grey or white. Yawn!
The painting is very unbalanced (& unfinished owing to the heat) and looks a little "melty", which describes perfectly how I was feeling.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Memorial Park

Ok, I'm a little behind on posting here. This is last week's painting from Memorial Park, Cupertino. Its a lovely little spot with lots of ponds, trees, play areas for kids, and, of course, a lovely war memorial (left side of my sketch, very tiny). While I was painting a supervised group of children were playing "What time is it Mr Fox?" on an open grassy area. It made me smile every time they shouted "dinnertime" and all the kids ran around screaming! Too bad I'm not a people painter or I'd have put them in my sketch.

Update on the thieving squirrel - a quarter of the seat cushion on my deck has disappeared into the little beggars nest and its now started stealing stuffing from the back of the seat! I have sprinkled pepper all over the chair in an attempt to keep the pesky critter away.

On a completely different note, my microwave has now started criticizing my eating habits. I put a casserole dish of leftovers in the microwave and pressed "reheat". After a couple of minutes the thing went crazy, flashing lights and alarms. The little screen told me "this setting is for one portion only". So now my microwave thinks I'm eating too much! Pah!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Squirrel Trouble

This week I didn't go painting - had plumbing problems to deal with instead! So my offering this week is a squirrel sketch I did a while back. We have a couple of squirrels visiting our deck and I caught one sharpening his/her teeth on the metal bracket for the bird feeder. This week I found out that the squirrel was using its sharp teeth to rip our chair cushions up and steal the stuffing for its nest! Cheeky devil! So far it's had a go at 4 of the chairs and the umbrella, and we've had to resort to keeping the cushions in the house. We left one cushion out in the hope that the squirrel wouldn't be tempted by the more expensive chair we have on the deck. So far that's working - the chewed cushion is disappearing at a frightening rate, but the good chair remains untouched! I can't imagine how large the squirrel's nest is by now though.
On July 31st we were painting at Gamble Gardens. The gardens were full of gorgeous blooms - all so beautiful it was hard to know where to start. In fact everything looked so good that when you looked down at your painting it was a big disappointment in comparison. Nature can be intimidating stuff!