Thursday, May 21, 2015

Altadena Ranch

A few weeks ago it was exciting to visit a new to me plein air location for the Saturday paint-out.  It was a very dreary and overcast morning.  Our destination was a horse ranch which looked terrific with many views for possible paintings.  There was a wonderful old red barn, many horse stalls and corrals.  A few colts looked out at us from nearby stalls.  It's away from major streets, near some hillside horse and hiking trails which was a very quiet and relaxing atmosphere for painting.  A young girl and her Arabian horse were having a lesson and I enjoyed eavesdropping while I painted.  I didn't add a horse to my watercolor and I had to leave out some fences.  Maybe I'll try a horse next time.    

10" x 8" Watercolor


Wild cucumber pod

Sunday, May 17, 2015

La Laguna

Yesterday the Saturday paint-out group met at Vincent Lugo Park in San Gabriel.  Not an ordinary park!  It's home to La Laguna de San Gabriel a children's playground of giant, whimsical, cement sea creatures.  The animal sculptures were created by artist Benjamin Dominguez.  La Laguna and its sculptures are a state landmark and are being restored.

We weren't aware ahead of arriving that it happened to be the exact 50th anniversary for La Laguna.  Opening Day was May 16, 1965!  The last time we painted at the park it was very quiet but not for the 50th celebration.  There were city officials, old photos, music, a big cake, and even a drum line.  I remembered on my previous visit Ollie the Octopus had a broken tentacle and was fenced off from climbing kids.  It was great to see he's been restored.  I tried a pretty fast gouache piece since it was a hectic day at the park.     


5" x 7" Gouache








Wednesday, May 13, 2015

View Across the River


I'm really enjoying painting with the new plein air group that meets at various locations along the Los Angeles River.  The L.A. River has been going through revitalization and is becoming beautifully restored.  The river locations always seem exciting to me.  Very peaceful watery scenes but also usually accompanied by noise from a nearby freeway.  Somehow the freeway sounds are okay when I'm painting at the river.  My previous paint-out with the group was at Bette Davis Park and I posted that watercolor in Bette Davis Park.  It was fun to meet up with them again at a non-descript area near Rio De Los Angeles State Park.  There was no shade so I was lucky the morning was overcast and dreary.  To add some interest to my painting I was also happy to see some warehouse type buildings across the river and a water tank on the hill.


5" x 7" Gouache



Friends painting down by the water

Nearby Metro yards

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Matilijas!


It's Mother's Day so I think some beautiful Matilija "fried egg" poppies would be appropriate to post!  I've tried to paint these poppies quite a few times.  The plein air painters love Matilija blooming season and we're lucky to have some nice plantings of them nearby.  My latest post about them was More Matilijas! 

These Matilijas were blooming at Eaton Canyon in Pasadena.  It's a large nature center and there are usually several school buses of visiting kids on field trips.  Volunteers guide small groups of children through the nature trails.  While painting, I've overheard lessons on a few subjects like poison oak, lizards, and snakes.  I was painting these poppies near the picnic tables where a guide was sharing a small gopher snake with the kids after they ate lunch.  You can see a couple fellow painters in the distance.  Sometimes artists are interesting for the children to watch too and we have an audience! 

10" x 8" Watercolor




Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Bridge

Yes, the historic Colorado Street Bridge.  This graceful, curving bridge, built in 1913 is a landmark in Southern California, spanning the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena.  For obvious and unfortunate reasons the bridge was and still is known as Suicide Bridge.  The most recent tragedy was just last year.  Pasadena Heritage closes the bridge for a festival every summer.  Of course it's a popular filming location for commercials and TV shows.          

The bridge is also a very popular subject for plein air painters.  I've been putting off trying to paint it since it looks complicated to me.  All those arches!  Last week one of the paint-out groups met at a small park with a nice, distant view of the bridge.  I decided to give it a try in gouache since I can do some adjusting with that opaque medium.  I also liked the pretty weeds in the foreground!  


5" x 7" Gouache



Sunday, May 3, 2015

Hilltop View

On my third paint-out visit to the Southwest Museum in northeast Los Angeles I tried another watercolor from the hilltop.  The museum is located in the neighborhood of Mt. Washington and has a convenient picnic table under a tree in the parking lot.  I've sat at the same table to paint from twice before.  I posted my previous piece in Valley View.  That watercolor is looking east and I liked the way it went.  On our recent visit, the mountains to the north looked hazy which is something I like for a watercolor.  Wanting to try another bird's eye view from the parking lot, my picnic table spot was perfect!   

p.s.  Just noticed this is my 300th blog post.  Pretty exciting!

10" x 8" Watercolor


   

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Virtual Paintout - Bhutan!

April was another interesting month to participate in the Virtual Paintout.  Bill Guffey hosts and chooses a location that Google Street View vehicles have covered.  Bill posts the artists' submissions on his blog and on Facebook.  Artists virtually "walk" around and choose a view to draw or paint.  It's always exciting to see what other painters found for their views.

As always I wished for more time to browse around the Kingdom of Bhutan.  The internet says it is most famous for its ranking as the happiest country in Asia.  It's located at the eastern end of the Himalayas, very mountainous.  To me there seemed to be a peaceful look to the characteristic "castle fortress" architecture style, like the Buddhist monasteries built on cliffs in the clouds.  Unfortunately no Google Street View there!   


5" x 7" Watercolor


7" x 5" Gouache