Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring at the Old Mill

It was a beautiful day to paint with the group at the Old Mill, El Molino Viejo, in San Marino.   The last time I painted there was in October and the pomegranates were ripe.  I painted the trees from the Pomegranate Patio, posted in "The Pomegranate Patio".  It's such a lovely place to paint and was one of my first plein air painting experiences with the group.  I posted two watercolors in "The Old Mill" in September.

On our recent plein air painting day the pomegranates were gone but the yellow Lady Banks rose covering the rustic gazebo was in full bloom.  I'm adding a photo below of it.  I had planned to try painting it but changed my mind.  I settled on a view of one of the old entrances to the mill with the dramatic trees behind.  Just to the left of this corner of the building are some stairs up to the rose-covered gazebo.  While waiting for my watercolor washes to dry I decided to try a smaller (5x7") gouache piece of the view of the yellow roses through the trees.  The gouache dries faster than transparent watercolor so my plan worked well.  The Garden Club of America was also visiting at the mill so it was a busy morning.

8x10" watercolor

5x7" gouache


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cobb Estate

Our group "Thursdays en Plein Air" met recently at the Cobb Estate in Altadena.  I hadn't been there before so I was looking forward to it.  I heard from fellow painters that the once grand Spanish style mansion is gone.  All that's left is some of the foundation and a few stairs.  The Cobbs built the home in 1918 with money from the lumber business.  The internet says that after several owners the Marx Brothers bought the mansion in 1956.  But it was neglected, and the remnants of its former greatness were eventually removed.  It's also a supposedly ghostly place and is sometimes known as the Haunted Forest.  

A disintegrating driveway leads into the area, which is gorgeous, with lots of trees and greenery.  The estate is at the foot of the mountains so there were many hikers and dog walkers out on the hiking trails.  Since I wasn't planning to paint any structures in the area I brought my gouache to practice with.  I was going to try two small 5"x7" pieces but I measured and taped my paper incorrectly.  So, I painted one larger piece and guessed at the dimensions for two smaller ACEOs or ATCs, 2.5"x3.5".  I had a lot of fun that day and I'm enjoying my gouache experiments.

5x7" gouache

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My 100th Post!

It really is my 100th blog post!  It's quite a surprise to me that I started this blog last July.  Must say I'm having fun posting watercolors and photos of my views while out plein air painting.   

My new-to-me journey in non-commercial watercolor artwork for the most part started in 2011 with Vinita Pappas's first online instructional website.  I initially "met" Vinita on eBay where she was posting ACEO/ATC size (2.5"x 3.5") watercolors!  Vinita's first demos that I tried kind of gave me the confidence to sign up for some local workshops.  I had so much fun taking workshops from some wonderful artists.  It was in a workshop in 2012 given by Brenda Swenson on Negative Painting (which I blogged about in "Leaves and Berries") where she mentioned a local plein air painting group.  Wow, the group has been just what I was wishing to find for years.  Since then I've found two more plein air groups that I enjoy so much.

Vinita has a new version of her inspiring and instructional website, Create 38, which I love.  Below I'm posting my versions of her February demos which were about painting water and boats.  Both paintings were from a classmate's photos.  One is of Greek fishermen and the other is a cold looking harbor in the Netherlands.  I had fun trying these and I certainly need practice with boats and water.  I'm also posting the very first piece I painted from one of Vinita's first demos, a barn, and I learned so much. 
No cake, balloons, or prizes but a big Thank You to all who have subscribed, visited, and commented.  I really appreciate your time, interest, and feedback.  

8x10" watercolor

8x10" watercolor

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Truck

The plein air paint-out group met recently at the South Pasadena Nature Park.  The small natural area is on the north side of the York Blvd. bridge.  As we all walked around looking for our inspiration for our paintings we walked under the bridge to the south side.  Wow, much more excitement there.  The walkway/path under the bridge is right next to the Pasadena Freeway which travels along the stream through the Arroyo Seco.  The immediate area isn't built up so it's still charming and rustic.  

On the south side of the bridge is Arroyo Seco Stables, in business since 1906.  I'm sure we'll paint there sometime.  The main feature next to the stables was a big, old, rusty, graffiti-covered truck.  I couldn't help but choose the view looking back north through the arch of the bridge with the truck on the right.  I haven't painted any trucks before so this was a first!  The horses, chickens and roosters there really caught my eye to try painting next time.

8x10" watercolor

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Park Crows

Our Thursday paint-out group was back at Lacy Park in San Marino, CA recently.  I've painted there twice before with other groups and posted about it in "Lacy Park" and "The Lake That Became a Park", both last year.  It was a beautiful day at the park for painting.  The park was very busy with people there for dog walking, Tai Chi classes, bike riding, power walking, playing and picnicking.  

As usual it was a hard decision to find something engaging to paint.  At least the rose arbor wasn't a choice since the roses aren't blooming yet.  There was one lone tulip magnolia tree in bloom.  The large, showy pink blooms are always an attraction in late winter here.  I chose a view from across the center lawn that included a grove of trees with light colored trunks and the tulip tree.  The light colored tree trunks were good to practice some negative painting.  I included some of the many crows that kept themselves busy coming and going while I painted.  Maybe the roses will be bloom next time.

8x10" watercolor

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bob's Market

Our wonderful Saturday plein air paint-out group met at Bob's Market in the Angelino Heights neighborhood of Echo Park.  Angelino Heights is one of the oldest districts of Los Angeles, founded in 1886.  The neighborhood has many stunning Victorian style homes and it was the City of Los Angeles' first recognized historic district.  

Bob's Market is a small neighborhood grocery store built in 1910.  It's a designated L.A. Historic-Cultural landmark which is listed as an example of "unusual Orientalized commercial architecture".  I felt I should paint Bob's since it's sort of a center piece so I was set-up across the street in front of an old home.  It's at a huge intersection where five streets come together, complete with an island in the center.   As always it was a nice painting day with friends.  We'll be returning to Angelino Heights, and I might try painting a Victorian home next time.    

10" x 8" Watercolor

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Private Garden

Our large group of Thursday plein air painters was able to visit a gorgeous private home recently.  What a treat it was to be able to paint there.  It's such a lovely place with a fantastic view across the arroyo of two prominent Pasadena landmarks, the Colorado Street Bridge and the old Vista del Arroyo Hotel.  The home is a beautiful Spanish style and painted a pink-ish terra cotta as many are in Southern California. 

I didn't paint the view again.  There were several secluded garden areas.  Some patios and gardens were isolated through gates and all were picturesque, waiting to be painted.  I decided to try one of these lovely patios which had an abundance of potted plants and a charming striped awning.  Too many choices for me that day!    

8x10" watercolor

Monday, March 4, 2013

Virtual Paintout - Valparaiso, Chile!

I really enjoy trying Bill Guffey's Virtual Paintout challenges.  Bill chooses a city or country of the world where there is Google Street View available.  Any artists who want to participate choose their subject or view to draw or paint using Google Street View and then submit to Bill following his guidelines.  He posts everyone's submissions on his blog and on Facebook.  

The location for February 2013 was Valparaiso, Chile.  Wow, what a fun place to look around online.  Valparaiso is very hilly with some nice views of the harbor.  Lots of interesting homes on steep streets and in little canyons.  One thing that stood out to me, as well as some other artists, were the utility poles there.  They were very eye catching since they seemed stuffed with wires coming and going in all directions.  Lots of loops of wires hanging off, looking like a nightmare to figure out.  

As I like to do I tried gouache for one piece and transparent watercolor for the other, both are small, 5x7".  Always a fun project.   

5" x 7" gouache

5" x 7" watercolor