Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Archway

Our Saturday paint-out group met at Sycamore Grove Park a couple weeks ago.  I had driven by the park many times but never visited.  It's one of the oldest parks in Los Angeles, officially since 1905.  The park is 15 acres and home to many Sycamore trees of course.  I have a hard time painting Sycamore trees in watercolor which means maybe I should practice those more often.  But, looking across Figueroa from the trees, there was the very colorful and historic Glen-Mary Archway.  It grabbed my attention and I kept going back to it.  I loved the hillside above the archway as well.  The archway was the trolley stop for the Pacific Electric Railway when tracks ran up Figueroa from Los Angeles to Pasadena.  In 2010 a mural was painted at the now enhanced bus stop.  I painted a gouache piece so I could convey the feeling of the colorful mural.  A woman watching me for awhile pointed out that I left out the trash can.  Artist's license...

5 x 7" Gouache

Before the mural was painted in 2010.

We thought this looked like the old snack bar.  

Friday, November 14, 2014

E. Waldo Ward Ranch

I recently painted at The E. Waldo Ward Ranch in Sierra Madre again.  A producer of "Gourmet Food Products", their history goes back to 1891 when the land was bought and orange trees were planted.  In 1902 a large, beautiful home and a red barn were built.  Both are still in use at the homey property.  On my first paint-out there, I tried my first plein air gouache piece and posted it in Ward Ranch.  This time I tried a watercolor from across the street, looking down the main driveway, capturing a bit of the old home and red barn.  I'm working on applying some things I hope I learned in the workshops I took this summer.  One of the paint-out groups is returning to the Ward Ranch soon and I'll have another opportunity to paint and shop in their small store.  It's always a fun day.  

8 x 10" Watercolor

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Central Park

On a rainy Saturday morning the paint-out group met at Central Park in Pasadena.  At 8 AM the weather looked like no painting for us, but at 8:30 the sun was out.  Central Park has a beautiful view of the historic Castle Green Hotel.  I painted a watercolor of it on my last visit and posted it in The Green Hotel.  I like that piece and didn't feel like trying the difficult 6-story hotel again.  I looked for another view.  

There is an old building at the south part of the park which is the home of the Pasadena Lawn Bowling Club that I thought of trying.  I finally chose a view beyond the rose garden to an old brick building across the street.  Reading its exciting history, built in the 1880s, it was Pasadena's first African-American owned hotel, The Hotel Carver.  In the '40s and '50s it was the venue for the jazz and blues nightclub The Onyx Club, later The Cobra Club, where some famous musicians reportedly played.  

I did something new for me.  I took two "in progress" photos of the gouache piece I painted.  It's taken me some time, and trial and error to learn how I like to use gouache.  There were dramatic rain clouds to add as well.  Finally a little rain for us.  

5 x 7" Gouache

First stage I'm letting dry some.

Second stage and more drying needed.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Giant Pumpkin

We were back in the city of Sierra Madre on the day before Halloween.  Our location for the paint-out was Alegria Street where there were many homes with decorations.  The most elaborately done house ended up being on TV that night.  While we were there a news crew arrived to film and interview the home owners.  They also interviewed some of the painters in our group but they didn't make the news.
I chose another, less colorful yard to try in gouache.  I loved all of the trees almost hiding the house at the back of the lot, and the chain-link fence in front.  There was also a giant pumpkin awaiting a face.  As it turned out, I left out most of the trees and the chain-link fence.  Maybe another time!  

Just a quick report on my substitute teaching gig at an adult education watercolor class.  It was a lot of fun of course, mostly because the people were so nice.  I took in paintings to show them as well as a still life set-up.  I thought we could all paint the still life and I could help with a tip or two.  Instead, they wanted to watch me paint the still life...my first "demo".  So I jumped in and started painting.  Luckily I've been painting regularly and it went OK!   

5 x 7" Gouache

6 x 8" Watercolor

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


On a recent Thursday the paint-out group met in Sierra Madre at Kersting Court.  It's a small triangular park at the center of the quaint city.  We had a large turnout of painters and shade to paint under was at a premium, mostly under two pepper trees.  Two years ago a huge 125 year old pepper tree was cut down due to old age and disease.  It would have been great to sit under and paint a view to the north, up the main street.  Running out of time to choose a view and get a painting done, I decided on Happy's liquor store across the street to the south.  I liked the light and colors, and the building was old and charming, with bright accents.  Finally someone sat on the park bench in front, the perfect figure to add.  

I'm substitute teaching for a friend at an adult education watercolor class this evening.  Since I haven't done any teaching before, I'm a little nervous.  Taking in some paintings to look at, and I may report back on this...    

5 x 7" Gouache

The ubiquitous movie trucks as I walked to the park. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Virtual Paintout 27!

This was my 27th time participating in the Virtual Painout and I wish I had started sooner.  Looking at the list of locations I missed, there were some interesting places.

County Kerry, Ireland was the location chosen by Bill Guffey for the Virtual Paintout, October 2014.  Artists use Google Street View to look around the designated area and choose their subjects to paint.  We submit our pieces to Bill and he posts them on his blog and on Facebook.  I had fun looking around this part of Ireland.  I wanted to find a view with some sheep and I did.  Looking forward to next month's location!

5 x 7" Watercolor

5 x 7" Watercolor

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Yellow Apartments

Our recent paint-out location at St. Luke's Hospital in Pasadena was interesting, as always!  The old hospital is closed now and is a popular location for movie and TV filming. When we met there some months ago I painted two pieces and didn't quite finish either one.  I thought I might bring them both to finish.  It's lucky I didn't.  Where I sat last time, at a medical building across from the hospital, workers were doing some major tree trimming.  I wouldn't have been able to work on the paintings at all.  As it turned out, we all painted from the hospital area, looking toward the mountains.  In the morning, some cloud shadows on the mountains made them a dramatic backdrop for the yellow apartment building which was in the light.  The medical building in front was in shadow and I liked the way the yellow looked so bright.  Still needing to finish those two paintings!  

8 x 10" Watercolor