Sunday, December 29, 2013


Our Saturday paint-out yesterday was lots of fun.  One of the artists in our group has mentioned that he and his wife have chickens and we were welcome to paint at his house.  I've really been looking forward to it happening and it finally did!

I've been painting gouache pieces lately because of the colder winter weather.  It was beautiful and sunny so I thought I'd get back to a plein air watercolor piece.  Well, you know chickens don't hold still.  Maybe they pose for a few seconds but that's it.  They are so much fun to watch.  I wish I had some chickens!    

8 x 10" watercolor

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas with some vintage holiday graphics....from the 1920's to the 1950's!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Paint-out 2013

I was looking forward to our holiday paint-out at Barbara's house again this year.  Barbara Field is the organizer of our Saturday plein air group and writes her blog What I See.   Not only does Barbara have some great ideas for places to paint, but she also invites us to paint at her house in December.

It was a beautiful, sunny day for painting.  Last year I tried a gouache piece of the house that I posted in Holiday Paint-out!  There were other painters I joined in the front then.  This year we were all in the back yard where I chose to try the bird bath in gouache.  Barbara feeds birds and grows milkweed for monarch butterflies so her garden always has something happening.  I had in mind to paint the milkweed since it's an interesting plant but it was in a different stage this December than it was last year.  There were still some colorful caterpillars and even some monarchs in December.  Looking forward to next year!

5 x 7 gouache


Monday, December 16, 2013

Return to Hollenbeck Park

The Saturday paint-out group had a beautiful, sunny day for our paint-out in Hollenbeck Park.  It was almost exactly a year ago that we painted there, my first time, and it was a dreary day with sprinkles just holding off.  I posted that watercolor in Hollenbeck Park.  It's an old park near downtown Los Angeles and very busy on Saturday.  I don't remember the resident flock of pigeons being so large last year.  Some visitors were feeding them and they came up to us painters to see if we had some pigeon food.  Besides pigeons, since there is a lovely, long lake of course there are lots of ducks and even cormorants.  I decided to try a gouache piece this time.  I added just a few of the many birds.  

5 x 7" gouache

Friday, December 13, 2013

Oregon Fields

While working on my last blog post about Vinita Pappas's online watercolor class Create 38, I realized I haven't posted two of my favorite paintings.  These watercolors were both painted for the online class.  The rural views that Vinita has near her in Oregon are so appealing to me to paint.  

The first piece below of an Oregon field is a recent one and a favorite.  It was fun to paint and I think it was successful.  The piece below featuring hay bales was also rewarding as well as a challenge.  My first try at hay bales!  I find a lots of inspiration as well as challenge in these views.  Next I need to see this beautiful area in person!    

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

One November Day

It's December, I know...  In the Create 38 online watercolor painting class, taught by Vinita Pappas, we just finished a neat challenge for November.  Each member could submit a piece that represented something about themselves and their lives.  Vinita posted all the submissions in an online exhibit titled One November Day, complete with a worldwide map and a pin for each member who submitted a painting.  It was fun to see what each person chose to paint, and of course where we are all located.

I was stumped over what to paint for my submission until I was out in my backyard moving plants.  Oh! my colorful California pots planted with warm-weather succulents that I like would be fun to paint!  I took my gouache outside to paint some pots, and added a ceramic garden frog that happened to be peeking into the scene.  

In November, Vinita also posted a watercolor demo titled Glenbrook Barn which we could try ourselves.  I always love Vinita's demos and tips.  This was the first time I tried adding a wispy puff of smoke or steam.  And I always love painting barns and cows since they aren't plentiful subjects in my area.  I had fun with these two pieces. 

5 x 7" gouache

8 x 10" watercolor

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Observatory View

On Friday one of the paint-out groups met at the L.A. River.  I've painted there twice before and posted two pieces in L.A. River.  My watercolor from another visit is waiting for me to finish.  Our location next to the river was "downstream" from where I painted before.  At first I didn't think the views were as plentiful as the other spot.  But then I noticed a stunning view of the Griffith Observatory, far away on a hill in Griffith Park.  The day had sun glancing through clouds and when I spotted the Observatory the light was shining brightly on it.  Wow, no reason to look any further for my subject.  

One if my very early plein air paint-outs (just last year!) was at the Griffith Observatory which I blogged about in Space!  What an exciting day that was.  Last Friday at the LA River it was just the opposite...very relaxing painting next to the river with friends.  Well, there IS a busy freeway just across the river.  I decided to do a small gouache piece thinking I'd like to use it for all the details in the scene like plants and trees by the river, structures on the hillsides, and the freeway.  I had fun painting this piece and I was happy to be able to include the Observatory. 

5 x 7" gouache

Gateway to our river painting location


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Holidays Coming

The Saturday paint-out group recently painted in Sierra Madre at the Memorial Park.  There are mountain views, as well as some interesting homes and churches to paint in the neighborhood surrounding the park.  That day we all chose views to paint from the north east corner of the park.  It turned out that it was the Saturday morning for the crew to decorate the sidewalk lampposts with holiday garlands, topped with red bows.  

I chose a home across the street to paint.  There was a pretty tree with some fall colors and I wanted to include one of the holiday lampposts.  Since the morning was cold and a little dreary I decided to use gouache since it dries faster than transparent watercolor.  I still went to the car once to use the heater to dry the first stage of the painting.  I planned to add a figure to the piece but couldn't decide where to put a person walking on the sidewalk.  I had a suggestion to have a person in the doorway of the house.  I went with the idea and added a lady leaving to go shopping for the holidays!        

5 x 7" gouache

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Virtual Paintout Iceland!

It was Iceland for the November 2013 Virtual Paintout.  I really enjoy participating in the Virtual Paintout each month.  I'm sure I'll never get to see Iceland in person, so I can at least see some of it with Google Street View which artists use to find their virtual location to paint.  Last month in Lima, Peru, I enjoyed painting some grand official-looking buildings and looked for a "capitol" area in Reykjavik but didn't find it.  I'm sure with devoting more time to browsing I would find what I was looking for.  One waterfront tourist area with whale watching tours caught my eye and I kept going back, even though on the day the Google car was there it was very overcast.  I tried that view in gouache.  I finally found some sun in another area for my second painting.  One thing I've noticed from browsing around cities for the Virtual Paintout challenge is the graffiti.  It's pervasive, spread throughout the world, even Iceland, which surprises me.  Looking forward to the location for December!

5 x 7" watercolor

5" x 7" gouache

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and a huge Thank You for visiting my blog and commenting.  I really appreciate it!  

After years of illustrating hundreds of greeting cards I was thrilled to find out that many beautiful, vintage cards are still available.  It's been really interesting and inspiring to see the gorgeous and changing graphics and illustration styles over the years.  I've accumulated quite a few from past decades, and I think the holiday cards are always my favorites.  I hope you enjoy four Thanksgiving greetings from the 1920's, and have a wonderful holiday! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Peck Road Park Revisited

Peck Road Park is such a calm and lovely place to paint that I was excited to have it as a paint-out location again.  I was just there in October with another group and wrote about my visit, and two paintings in Peck Road Park.  As I mentioned in my last post, there was a lot of construction going on which is continuing.  They are making some nice boulder-lined paths and adding some plants.   The park seems to be a work in progress. 

It's the beautiful lake and mountain views at Peck Road Park that are irresistible to paint.  Both times I've visited, the mountains have been overcast by a cloudy, gray sky which changes constantly.  It's fantastic to watch the reflections in the lake water transform with the changing clouds and sky, which makes it a challenge to paint.  We just have to start with what reflections we see and try to remember how they looked.  Of course there are many birds to watch as well. 

I thought I would just paint a watercolor but then couldn't resist trying to squeeze in a smaller gouache of the same view in the time I had.  I painted from a different part of the park from my last visit and realized there isn't much color there, except for some magenta bougainvillea on a far embankment.  Since I missed adding a visiting egret, I added three mud hens (coots) in each piece.  I'm looking forward to our next visit.

8 x 10" watercolor

5 x 7" gouache

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Roofers

I noticed Joseph Zbukvic's newest DVD is titled People at Work in which he paints a lot of figures.  One of the examples from the trailer is his demo of some men working on road construction.  Their orange and yellow vests reminded me of a gouache piece I painted of workers wearing the same vests which I hadn't posted.

A location for one of the paint-out groups in August was at the Los Angeles County Arboretum.  It's such a lovely place for plein air artists that I've done four previous blog posts of pieces painted there.  It was a very warm day so I didn't venture far from the entrance area and the cafe where we meet to look at each other's work.  As soon as I started walking in search of a view to paint I noticed some men working on re-roofing the gift shop building.  From one of the walkways, I had a great view and they were so colorful that I had to try a painting.  I used gouache because of their bright vests which really caught my eye.  I really enjoy these not-so-romantic subjects.

5 7" gouache

We always have peacocks checking out the art.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

November Roses

One of the plein air groups had the Wrigley Mansion on the schedule for this month.  Since 1958 it's been the headquarters for the Tournament of Roses which organizes the famous Rose Parade on New Years Day in Pasadena.  The Wrigley Gardens is an official test garden for the American Rose Society with 1,500 roses.  I painted there in June with two paint-out groups and the roses were gorgeous of course, my three paintings posted in The Wrigley Gardens.  Since it's Southern California I was confident the roses would still be very lovely in November.  

The roses weren't disappointing and were still gorgeous.  Since the garden is a test for some new roses, I noticed a bush of chocolate colored flowers.  Definitely not my favorites but might be nice for a certain color scheme.  I painted one watercolor that went pretty well and added a figure for some interest among all the foliage.

During the morning, a security guard told some of the painters who were out on the sidewalk painting a view of the building that a group would be demonstrating at noon.  Since it's the headquarters for the Rose Parade which features floral floats, the group was protesting some aspects of the Sea World float and wanted it banned from the parade.  An ABC News crew also arrived.  Two of my artist friends were interviewed about the demonstration, but their segment didn't make the 6 o'clock news when the story aired.

8 x 10" watercolor

Chuck Kovacic and Lynne Fearman

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fall at the Old Mill

It was another beautiful day in October for a paint-out with one of the groups at the The Old Mill, El Molino Viejo.  The wonderful old adobe building, from 1816, and surrounding patios and gardens had some lovely fall light.  The California Art Club maintains a permanent gallery in one room so we also wanted to see the current show, The Missions of California.

I've painted at the Old Mill quite a few times now and have posted all of my watercolors and one gouache piece.  My last post about painting there was Spring at the Old Mill.  And almost exactly a year ago, I painted two pieces in the Pomegranate Patio, The Pomegranate Patio.  A visit and paint-out there seemed appropriate for fall 2013.  In October last year, the pomegranates were everywhere but this year I guess they got ripe earlier and most were picked.  I had to add some of the remaining fruits to my view since some nice red ones were hanging over where I was sitting.  Now I'm looking forward to a spring visit.        

8 x 10" watercolor

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fall at Arlington Garden

Arlington Garden in Pasadena, California is such a special place.  It's a public/community garden which is unlike any other garden.  The plein air painters were there every week in the spring when it was full of flowers and butterflies.  Every group I go on paint-outs with visited so I think I've painted there six times now.  When we met at the garden last month I was excited to see what I might find to paint in the fall season.

Arlington Garden is made up of many "garden rooms" and "plant communities" which all change with the seasons.  It was a beautiful morning for a visit and I was inspired to try a watercolor as well as a gouache.  After looking around at the variety of fall views, I settled on the Mediterranean Allee area.  This "room" is considered more formal with Spanish lavender planted between two rows of olive trees, with a pomegranate tree in each corner.  There are chairs, tables, and even room to play bocce.  From the quiet table I found on one end of the bocce court, next to the olive trees, I painted my two pieces including some red, almost ripe, pomegranates to add some fall color.

8 x 10" watercolor

5 x 7" gouache

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Artists' Alley

Our wonderful Saturday plein air paint-out group visited Champion Place last weekend.  In Alhambra, California, just a few miles from where I live, an artist's colony flourished in the 1920's and 1930's.  It was mainly situated along Champion Place, only a block or so long.  It's a narrow, unassuming street, but it's very picturesque, overlooking an arroyo with many large eucalyptus trees.  The founders of the small creative and supportive group attracted a lot of other well-known artists and famous personalities.  In 1915, one of the founders, Victor Clyde Forsythe, became unknown illustrator Norman Rockwell's mentor.  Years later in 1929, Rockwell visited Forsythe at Champion Place and met his second wife there.  The Rockwells visited Alhambra often from New York, sometimes staying the whole summer.  Norman Rockwell was seen bicycling daily around Alhambra, and he sought out local faces for his illustrations.  

It was fun to visit narrow, historic Champion Place and find a view to paint.  While we were painting several homeowners stopped to ask us if we knew it used to be an artists' colony and that Norman Rockwell lived there.  I chose a rustic home with a bit of some commercial buildings showing in the background.  The homeowner arrived halfway through my watercolor, parking directly in front of what I was painting.  He kindly volunteered to move his car.  I'll enjoy giving him a print of my painting.    

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fuller Seminary

I came across a watercolor from a couple months ago that I haven't posted yet.  I painted it on a Saturday paint-out with the group at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena.  This location was also where I first painted with the Saturday group over a year ago.  At that time I had only been to a few plein air paint-outs and although I liked a couple areas in my painting, I was hoping to improve on my second visit.  The Fuller campus is located in what was a residential neighborhood.  It was a very fine old Pasadena neighborhood with large, beautiful homes which are now used by the seminary.  The homes are still on their old street, surrounded by mature trees and lovely gardens, a really pretty place to paint.  I chose a view past one of the old homes to some of Pasadena's downtown buildings for some background interest.  

10" x 8" Watercolor

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Virtual Paintout - Lima, Peru!

The Virtual Paintout location for October was Lima, Peru.  I really enjoy participating in the Virtual Paintout every month, which I've done for over a year now.  Bill Guffey selects the location for the month.  It can be anywhere the Google Street View vehicles have covered.  Artists use Google Street View to find a virtual location to paint, just like on a non-virtual paint-out.  Bill has selected locations all over the world.  I'm always excited to see the location I'll be scouting for my views to paint.  I know I'll never get to see these beautiful countries and cities in person.  

Since the end of the month always sneaks up on me, I painted a small watercolor and a small gouache to finish by the deadline.  It seems the gouache pieces are hard to scan for the correct colors so I tried a photo which I think is more true to the actual color.  Can't wait to see what Bill has chosen for November! 

5 x 7" watercolor

5 x 7" gouache photo

5 x 7" gouache scan

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Olvera Street!

I've been lucky to be able to paint with two plein air groups recently at Olvera Street.  It's in the oldest part of downtown Los Angeles and naturally part of its history.  The Avila Adobe, 1818, the oldest residence still standing in Los Angeles is there.  During the first half of the 1900s Olvera Street went through some tough times, but has been preserved and restored, designated a state historic monument in 1953.  Olvera Street is really a named alley, not a true street.  It's a tourist attraction today, the historic, old brick buildings lining the very colorful vendor stands filled with Mexican goodies for sale.  

I was excited to see Olvera Street on the paint-out schedules.  What a fun and picturesque walk down the street past all the vendor's offerings, under the old grapevine.  But since it's such a big tourist attraction (complete with tourist buses and school buses) I was a little concerned about painting there.  I don't take up much space with my watercolor gear so I was open to seeing where, and what, I could paint.  The Plaza de Los Angeles is next to Olvera Street and turned out to be the best place to paint.  There are a few of the colorful vendor stands in the plaza area.  On one paint-out I chose to paint a watercolor view to the south, and then the opposite view in gouache the next visit.  Visiting the end of October means lots of festivities for the Day of the Dead Mexican holiday.  On Saturday the plaza had music and dancing for us to enjoy while painting.  One of my most memorable paint-outs!

8 x 10" watercolor

5 x 7" gouache