Monday, February 2, 2015

History San Jose Museum

This is engine 1215, retired in 1957 I believe, but revitalized in my painting! 

Kat and I went on a little sketching visit to History San Jose and found some interesting things to paint.
Another "retired" vehicle! Poor rusty old Ford, but still attractive from an artistic point of view.

Sunnyvale Baylands Hike and Sketch

We had a foggy start for this Hike and Sketch, but it soon turned sunny and quite warm.  If it wasn't for the bare tree branches you wouldn't know it was winter! 

These two tiny sketches were done with watercolor pencils.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Working from plein air sketches in the studio

I'm working in my studio from plein air sketches I did last week, trying to work in a loose, washy style.  I wanted something atmospheric and suggestive, without drawing every detail. Usually when I work plein air I draw with a pen, but in these painting's I am drawing with the brush and doing more negative painting initially. Direct painting like this makes it harder to get proportions correct, but in doing the painting several times over I should figure things out! The subject matter is very complex so although I peeked at my photos periodically, I didn't have them in front of me when I painted.  I tried to be more focused on what is going on with the paint, rather than reproducing a photo.

In this painting I felt the figures would be a nice focal point and give some scale. This is done on Arches Palatine paper, which has a smooth surface.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sikh Gurdwara San Jose, plein air and studio paintings

 Our visit to the Sikh Gurdwara Temple in San Jose was a feast for the eyes.  The temple sits up in the hills with a panoramic view of the valley.  There are beautiful arches, columns and domes, plus fountains and the hills behind. Way too much to take in on one visit!  It was a little chilly, but I did my best with some sketches and a little sketchbook painting of the domes.

 This last sketch was done later in the afternoon, the shadows changed minute by minute so I tried to work very quickly.

 Today I worked in my studio,from my sketches, trying some loose impressions of the temple just with paint - no preliminary drawing.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Almaden Quicksilver Hike and Sketch

Rotary Furnace for turning ore into Mercury
Jenny and I had a wonderful hike in Almaden Quicksilver Park last Wednesday. What an interesting place that is! There is still a lot of machinery and some buildings remaining from its old mining days and the park authorities have done a good job of putting up informative boards to tell you all about it. Jenny had discovered this wonderful furnace building with its rusted metal pipes and knew that I would want to paint it.
The furnace part is the long pipe on the right. Originally it had a building around it. Crushed ore was fed into the furnace and heated. The gases were condensed using the pipes on the left behind the little white shed, and liquid mercury was the end product.  It must have been horrendous working there with such toxic substances.
On the ground near the furnace I found the skeleton of what must have been a deer - sure proof that the warning signs about mountain lions should be heeded!
Chimney at Church Hill
This lovely fireplace and chimney are all that remain of an old building on Church Hill.  It looked so incongruous amongst the trees.  Of course it was surrounded by a fence, but the joy of painting is that you can leave out boring stuff like that!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Teaser for our "Mother/Daughter" Open Studio!

This is just some of my artwork which will be on display Saturday for my first Open Studio!  I'm very excited - especially as some wonderful people have actually said they will come! Yay - THANKYOU!! :)
I have already sold one painting but I have lots more work to show and Kat, my daughter, will have her lovely posters and cuddly crafts on display too.  I think we'll put on a good show.  See you there!

Murphy Street, Sunnyvale

Another great day plein air painting, this time on Murphy Street in Sunnyvale.  We arrived before the stores had really opened so it was fairly quiet, although the wonderful aromas from all the restaurants had my stomach growling before I even started painting!  Above is my view before stores opened, below is the same view after they opened.  My second painting was much quicker, looser and more fun (for me anyway!)  I loved the mannequins that the Isobella Boutique put out on the street.