Tuesday, August 19, 2014


The leader and organizer of our Saturday paint-out group had a "house painting" project for us last weekend.  An old friend of hers asked her to paint, in watercolor of course, her home in San Marino.  We all thought it would be fun to meet there to try our hand at painting the house.  We always enjoy new subjects.  I didn't know what kind of house to expect to attempt.  San Marino has a very wide variety of home sizes and styles.  I've been on two past paint-outs where ornate Victorian houses were the subject and I was overwhelmed with the details.  So I was happy to see that it was a simple Mid-Century modern.  I thought gouache would work well for this piece.  I loved the tree shadows on the stucco which moved quickly with the sun.    

5 x 7" Gouache

Cool Mid-Century details

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Japanese Garden

It's been two months since one of the paint-out groups visited the historic Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden in Pasadena.  We were all very anxious to visit this historic garden that we've heard so much about but hadn't visited.  The garden was part of a private estate and hidden for decades.  It's been historically renovated and is now open only for private parties.  It's located behind walls and fences, and seemed to be almost just a rumor with artist friends.  We were amazed when we got a first glimpse past the entry gates.  The beautiful garden features two connected ponds, bridges, and an authentic teahouse.  

Since we visited the garden to paint,  I've been retouching my watercolor and going back to it to look again.  During our brief discussion of the paintings, the group generally thought the water we had painted seemed to look more like a lawn since it was green and murky.  In trying to make my watercolor look more like a pond than a lawn, I've added some blue sky reflections and some bright spots to highlight the crane sculpture I wanted to feature.  It was such a lovely morning of painting at the garden and the owners were very generous to allow our visit.  Hoping to visit again!

8 x 10" Watercolor

Authentic twelve tatami mat teahouse

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Iain Stewart Workshop!

I was very lucky to have a spot in Iain Stewart's workshop this past week.   The workshop, titled Sketchbook to Studio, was at Judy Schroeder's wonderful gallery and studio space in the City of Orange, California.  Old Town Orange was the perfect location for some plein air sketching and painting which we could develop further in the studio under Iain's expert guidance.  

Iain is such friendly and fun person while also being a generous and inspiring instructor.  What could be better!  Well, he's also an amazing watercolor painter.  Workshops are an opportunity for me to see how artists I admire translate what they see to the paper.  Seeing how they mix colors, handle their brushes, apply paint, and add special touches are as valuable as what they say.  I'm happy to have gotten so many terrific tips from Iain's workshop.  I need to pay more attention to a careful preliminary drawing before jumping in with paint, and Iain was an excellent artist to watch at all stages.  Now I'm also paying more attention to relationships and alignments.  I haven't been keeping a sketchbook but I'm inspired to do that now after seeing Iain's amazing sketchbooks.  Should be fun thanks to Iain!  

8 x 10" watercolor after Iain's demo of this view

Sketchbook page of the 55 Freeway after Iain's demo

55 Freeway way off in the distance at the right

Iain added some touches as Dan held an umbrella

Iain Stewart

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Last of the Season

My last plein air paint-out at Echo Park for this year's lotus season was a few weeks ago, the end of July.  The lotuses have more pods drying than new flowers now.  I posted my previous paint-out there, which was on a busy Saturday in Paleta Cart.  On this most recent visit, I painted my landscape from a spot on a hill in the park.  But I still didn't try painting or drawing the beautiful lotus flowers.  Some day! 

8 x 10" Watercolor

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Virtual Paintout 24!

The Virtual Paintout 24 means I've been participating for two years!  The Virtual Paintout for July 2014 was all of Greece.  Wow, kind of overwhelming with so many beautiful views.  The Google Street View vehicles hadn't been everywhere but certainly photographed many wonderful locations.  The thing I noticed most in Greece and the Greek Islands was the gorgeous skies and clouds.  And all those white buildings are so charming.  I chose a view on the island of Mykonos and another on Santorini.  Both views include a pretty, colorful dome.  A pop of color amid all the pale structures.  

Somehow I'm late with this post and tomorrow I'm off to a week-long workshop with Iain Stewart.  I'm very excited to be taking this workshop and hoping to get another blog post done!  

5 x 7" Watercolor, Mykonos

5 x 7" Watercolor, Santorini


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Arroyo Seco

A few Saturdays ago the paint-out group was at Arroyo Seco Stables.  I was there recently with another group and painted from the horse trail on one side of some of the stalls which I posted in The Stables.  The stables are located at the north entrance to the Arroyo Seco Bike Path.  At that point a cyclist, or dog walker, or painter can walk down into the Arroyo Seco Flood Control Channel.  There was a small tree providing some shade for painting, so I found my spot.  There is very little water in the channel now.  But to choose the view to the north and a large bridge, or the view south of the smaller, distant overpass?  I chose the view south since cyclists and walkers were coming and going from that direction so I thought I could add some figures.  I'll have to try some bikes next time!    

8 x 10" Watercolor

View to the south

View to the north with painting friends Laurel and Jean

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Meditation Garden

I need to post a watercolor instead of a gouache but I have this gouache piece ready, so here it goes.  The paint-out group that meets quarterly to plan our locations was back at the Los Angeles County Arboretum in June.  My last post about an Arboretum painting was Yellow Trumpets!  Our meeting takes awhile so painting time is a little short.  I had a greenhouse in mind for my painting but then when I looked at it again, it didn't appeal that day.  Running out of time, I visited the area of "Garden Vignettes" and chose the Mediation Garden.  It was shady and I liked the variation of plants, white roses and a willow tree.  A peacock was also hanging around there which is so much fun to see.  A peahen and her chicks on a walkway near the cafe were certainly used to people.  I really need to add one to a painting sometime!

5 x 7" Gouache