Thursday, December 5, 2013

Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz

What a gorgeous spot! Even on a cold day you can't beat watching the waves and seabirds at Natural Bridges. I took my easel today and it was much easier to be loose with the paint and use a big brush. I was quite pleased with the results.
Traveling incognito!
The day started rather chilly, so I dressed in all my winter gear. I might have looked a bit silly, but I stayed toasty warm all day!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A mixed bag!

I've done a mix of things lately, and been very lax in posting anything. Tsk,tsk! Anyway here they are, in no particular order.
First an abstract acrylic in Teal. I started off with collage and let the paint and paper tell me what to do. It was a lot of fun so I intend to repeat that process again very soon.
Teal Abstract, Acrylic
The next piece is completely on the other end of the scale. A pencil drawing called "Secret Valley". Its part of my valley series which started out with Thiebaud inspired drawings and watercolors. I've included a few of the creatures I see around my garden.
Secret Valley

The next painting is from our SCVWS trip to Gilroy Gardens. That was a wonderful day out, with lots of fun things to paint.  I enjoyed the color of the rides and this balloon ride looked especially interesting through the trees.  It was darned hard to paint though as it was on the move all the time - quite a challenge. A subject that is probably better rendered in the studio.

Here is a little pencil drawing of my sister's dog, Lily.  She loves her tennis balls!

Finally here's a couple of drawings I am working on. The Stanford rain one is a beginning sketch done from a plein air painting I did last year. The Rooftops one is a value study loosely based on a photo I took in England this summer.

Stanford in the rain


Sunday, June 23, 2013

San Juan Bautista

This was one of our long distance trips with the paintsites group and it's well worth the drive. There is sooo much subject matter there I didn't even get to look at. We were blessed with excellent weather - not too hot, although it did get devilishly windy later in the day. By the end of the afternoon I was hanging on to my hat, paints, paper...all at once!
This was the view from the Mission looking out over the fields.  The fields weren't this colorful (as you can see from the photo below) but having studied Wayne Thiebaud's work recently I had that in mind.  I like this enough to try a bigger version of it in my studio.

A classic view of the mission bell tower. It actually has 3 bells, but one was hidden from view.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Big Basin Redwoods

Slick Rock Area
Went on a great RV camping trip to Big Basin Redwoods last week. I'm not much of a camper,(having only had bad experiences in the past) but I actually enjoyed it!(Thanks Sue!)  Highlights were the hikes, and being mesmerized by the flames of our camp fire (despite my fear of fire!) Here are my sketches and paintings.
Campsite- seclusion amongst the trees

Fallen Redwood    
 There were a tremendous number of fallen trees, in various states of decomposition.

Sempervirens Falls

Lunch Stop- view 1

Lunch Stop - view 2

No paper large enough to capture a whole Redwood - but I tried!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Cummins Iris Garden

What an amazing place! So much to see and paint, it was quite overwhelming. I tried three things though, a view down the valley, a more immediate view of "stuff" with trees etc, and a closeup of an Iris flower. The Cummins' were so hospitable to us - delightful people and so passionate and knowledgeable about the Irises. I learned a lot.
Lots of "stuff" to paint

Started with a blind contour drawing so my Iris doesn't quite join up in the right places!

The big view - I made up the clouds there were none to be seen!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fabers Cyclery Building Damaged by Fire

Sadly, early this week the old Faber's Cyclery building was engulfed in fire and severely damaged. I painted this historic building back in 2009. It was being debated back then as to whether it would be preserved. Now it seems to be too late...

Linda Vista Park, Cupertino

I enjoy encouraging people to paint and so yesterday's "Intro to Plein Air" was a great opportunity for me to meet some new faces and help them feel more comfortable painting outdoors. It was a lively group and I think everyone enjoyed getting to know other SCVWS artists and share experiences.

Every white sheet of paper is a new challenge.  Caroline made a good subject out there on the grass. For some strange reason my scanner has intensified the colors and made the darks almost black - the original is not so contrasty. I'm painting redwood trees over the next few days so I hope to improve!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Kotani-En Japanese Garden

Gateway (studio painting from my sketch)
Many thanks to the owner of Kotani-En for allowing us to visit this wonderful treasure up in the hills. There was much to see and paint so I tried to sketch quickly. I was very taken with the view through the gate into the garden and did a painting from my quick sketch. I wanted to show the peace and calmness of the garden.

Gateway sketch

Brad and Jesslyn painting

Saturday, April 13, 2013

More Thiebaud inspired work

Valley View #1
Despite traveling a lot lately, I've been busy in my studio. After my Thiebaud inspired pen sketches the other week, I decided to work with that image and try painting it. Originally I was going to do a full sheet watercolor, but as I'm not working from life I pretty soon realized that I didn't know what the heck colors to use! So I started some color studies. Its such a lot of fun to do a series like this! Each time I do one I find some areas I like and others I don't, and new ideas keep popping up to try. The images are 9 3/4 x 9 1/4. Why that particular size you might ask - well, I have some frames and mats that fit watercolors that size so I was hopeful that maybe one or two might turn out well enough to frame! Plus they're small enough that they don't take all day to paint. Ha, why not be optimistic and creative with this painting lark!!
Valley View #2

Valley View #3 

Valley View #4

Valley View #5

Valley View #6

Jane's Garden

Another lovely day with the plein air group - this time in Jane Kwant's garden.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Kirk Farrington house and garden, San Jose

This is a lovely italianate style house built in the late 1800's. It is surrounded by gorgeous peony gardens which were just coming into bloom. We had another great turnout of 20 artists from SCVWS.

Marilyn painting in the garden - view from the gazebo

Thiebaud Inspired

Thiebaud inspired landscape #3

Sue and I have been looking at the work of Wayne Thiebaud and getting inspired by his landscapes and use of perspective. In order to understand his work we decided to copy of one of his paintings. The one I picked to copy was originally an oil painting 72 x 72 inches. My copy was in watercolor and a mere 19 inches square. That difference in scale and media creates a lot of problems on its own! I didn't think I had learned much - but decided to try painting in his style from one of my own plein air sketches. This was a little more instructional.
Then I took a break to make a cuppa, and BINGO! I looked out of my dining room window onto the perfect Thiebaud landscape! I immediately got out my sketchbook and started drawing. Suddenly I was able to think more clearly about exaggerating perspective and simplifying shapes. The view went from being impossibly complex, to something I could manipulate as I desired. Thank you Thiebaud!
My copy of Thiebaud's "Y River"
Thiebaud influence #1

Thiebaud influence #2

Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park made a great recent day trip with some friends. We explored the Bear Gulch Caves and pretty much had the place to ourselves (the benefit of going on a weekday!) The caves are fun and going up to the reservoir at the top is a surprise. I loved the way the rocks created the caves and there are some amazing views of big rocks perched impossibly overhead. I was seeing faces and creatures in all the rock formations - must have been something I ate!
I managed a quick sketch of some of the rocks at the reservoir, then sketched a few more from the parking lot.

Update - Calero Reservoir skies

 Its been a busy 5 weeks since my last posting - so here's an update. These paintings are from the plein air trip to Calero Reservoir. I tried to paint those darn trees on the hills so many times without them looking like green caterpillars or blobs - and I still haven't figured it out! The skies were fun to do though.
One highlight was the coyote who nonchalantly walked by our group as if we weren't there! You do get to see some fun stuff when you are quiet and still.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Santana Row, San Jose - in the rain

It was a cold rainy morning for painting - but heck, we plein air artists are a hardy bunch!  Nine people turned out despite the weather and we stuck it out until we were completely frozen at mid-day, when we adjourned for hot soup and conversation.
Santana Row in the rain

Gecko fountain

My first sketch was started in the dry, but mother nature soon had a hand in it and the raindrops can be seen!  The second painting just wouldn't dry, so its mostly unfinished and I only included the part of it that sort of worked. 
Vintage Wine Bar

Brad Painting

While the paints sat there wet, I took up my pen and did a couple of quick line drawings.