Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Elephant Hill

I painted at Elephant Hill several months ago with a new (to me) group, New Group!  It's a nice location with several great views so I was happy to return with the Saturday group.  The morning was a little overcast which made the distant hills very atmospheric with muted tones, softened lines.  I decided to try a view of Elephant Hill and the distant hills which included a sharp diagonal with some dark, dry and rough trees clinging to it.  I would like to try this same view again next time.

8" x 10" Watercolor

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Pocket Park

Our city is adding two new pocket parks.  What nice way to use small vacant lots.  Community meetings are still being held so that neighbors can participate in the planning of the parks.  We also had a paint-out a few weeks ago at one of the parks on a Saturday when a community meeting was scheduled.  

It was a very overcast morning and we painters arrived a couple hours before the meeting was to begin.  I wondered how many people would be attending the meeting, how much interest.  I hoped to have my painting well under way by the time people would start arriving.  There were some chickens living at a home next door to the planned park.  I wanted to add them to my watercolor even though they weren't in the backyard I chose to paint.  It turned out to be a very well attended community meeting with many neighbors offering their ideas.  Wonderful to see this addition to our neighborhood.

10" x 8" Watercolor

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Twenty Minutes!

On Facebook last month I ran across Mary Gilkerson's painting challenge which, well, sounded like a challenge.  The challenge was to paint a 20-30 minute painting a day for 5 days straight.  Subject matter, medium, and size were all the artists' choice.  I really wasn't sure how I would do with a painting challenge like this one but thought it would be fun to try.  Most of my paintings are done outside, not a large size, and I know those take me an hour plus.  My smaller plein air pieces are 5" x 7" which I can spend at least an hour painting.  I decided to try that size for the 20-30 minutes, and of course plan ahead and paint quickly.  I took a photo in a corner of my backyard for reference.  Got my paints ready, clock ready...

I knew this would be a valuable exercise.  Simplifying shapes and not getting too detailed would be the goal.  I was pretty much finished at 25 minutes and I liked the painting.  I think my biggest problem was that I couldn't use as much water as I usually do.  With the time limit, I needed to go back into areas which were still too wet.  Not a good thing usually.  I did have fun and learned from the challenge although I only painted two views.  I decided to try more paintings at a smaller size.  Coming soon!

7" x 5" Watercolor

7" x 5" Watercolor

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Canyon Drive

The Saturday paint-out group met in a Monrovia neighborhood the weekend before Christmas.  I thought it would be a casual, calm painting location.  But no, parking spaces were hard to find on the busy street where we met.  There were so many people out on Saturday morning, taking this main street for the hike up into the Monrovia Canyon area.  So many hikers and dog walkers.  I chose a view I liked from a bit of a front lawn next to the street where I was out of the way of the hikers.  I started a small piece, including a utility pole, and soon a gardener's truck arrived and started mowing the lawn.  I painted faster and was happy it was a small painting.  I was ready to stop when the mowing got close to my set-up.  It's always an adventure!  

5" x 7" Watercolor

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Soaring Teapot!

It's a new landmark in Temple City...the Soaring Teapot!  A very creative sculptural fountain where a huge soaring teapot pours water into a cup below.  We met there today to paint the giant teapot.  It's also the first day of the Lunar Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dog.  While driving to the paint-out I spotted a New Year float, featuring a big dog, heading to L.A. Chinatown for the afternoon parade.  The teapot is located in an outdoor shopping mall which was decorated with many red lanterns.  I wanted to include them in my gouache piece.  We had to paint quickly as the shade we had was shrinking fast.  A fun morning of painting with friends as always.  

7" x 5" Gouache

Friday, February 9, 2018

Sierra Madre Villa

I'm late with my blog posts for February and very late with this watercolor I painted in November.  We returned to the Villa Del Sol D'Oro, the 1928 Wallace Neff designed villa in Sierra Madre.  Now Alverno, a private high school, it's a special place to have the opportunity to visit and paint.  This is my previous piece painted there of the west side, The Villa Revisited.  For my recent visit I had decided to try the north side of the villa.  After finishing, I noticed the east side might be fun to try next time.

8" x 10" Watercolor

Villa's east side

Villa's south side

Preparing for a Villa wedding...A chandelier hung in a tree 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Ranch Garden

The Saturday paint-out group usually visits E. Waldo Ward Ranch in Sierra Madre before the holidays.  There is a gift shop, handy for holiday gifts, which features all of the jams and marmalades that are produced at the Ranch.

On my previous visit in July we painted in the late afternoon to take advantage of some different lighting from our usual morning paint-outs, Ranch Afternoon.  I'm late in posting this gouache piece I painted in early December.  Someone works hard on the plants and casual gardens here and there around the property.  I always enjoy seeing what new garden areas have been developed.  A garden urn surrounded by blue gray succulents caught my eye this time.

5" x 7" Gouache