Monday, June 30, 2014

Virtual Paintout - Vladivostok, Russia!

The Virtual Paintout for June 2014 was Vladivostok, Russia.  The Virtual Paintout, created and hosted by Bill Guffey, is where artists use Google Street View to find their view to paint.   This was my 23rd. month participating and I wish I had started sooner.  There were some great cities I missed.  I really find it so much fun to virtually look around these areas of the world I'll never be able to see in person.  

Vladivostok seemed unusual and the area to look around was vast.  There were thousands of blocks of public housing complexes, and old railroad box cars being put to use everywhere.  I didn't have time to look around as much as I would like to but there was only one area the Google vehicles traveled where I found the sun shining.  It seemed very dreary there.  I was happy to find a view with a clothesline which is something I've been wanting to paint.  I tried using some watercolor pencils but I see it's like when I first started using gouache...I'm  not doing it correctly.  More practice/experimenting needed!

5 x 7" Gouache and Pencil

5 x  7" Watercolor

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Camden Court

One thing I love about the Saturday paint-out group I happily found is the great variety of painting locations we visit.  Our leader and organizer has eclectic tastes very sympatico with my own.  A recent paint-out spot was a charming, older neighborhood in South Pasadena named Camden Court.  The South Pasadena Beautiful annual Garden Tour took place in this distinctive neighborhood three years ago and everyone loved it.  There is a large park-like island in the center of the divided street, perfect for painters, but I wanted to include it in my view.  Unfortunately it was very overcast the Saturday we were there to paint.  The sun peeked out around noon so that I could see where to add some sunny colors to my gouache piece.  In that quiet neighborhood, we had more people than usual asking us what we were doing that morning.  Plein air painters get a lot of questions...

5 x 7" Gouache

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Something New!

Yes, something new and different for me!  I'm usually posting plein air pieces done in my Southern California area but recently I had a request for something special.  A new friend wanted me to paint a watercolor for her husband's birthday.  As an avid golfer, the subject was the Master's Clubhouse at the  Augusta (Georgia) National Golf Club.  When I researched the clubhouse online, I was happy to see an elegant building that would make a nice watercolor.  There is a flag pole, and large lawn in front with a big map of the United States planted in flowers, a flag planted at Augusta.  I really liked the striped awning too.  For me this was an exciting project to be painted on a full size sheet of watercolor paper, 22 x 30".  Lately, I've been painting 8 x 10" watercolors when I go out with the plein air groups.  But I was really looking forward to painting this clubhouse piece and I took my time, painting in stages which were allowed to dry.  It was fun and I think it turned out great!    

22 x 30" Watercolor

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

View from the Terrace

Our Thursday paint-out group had another opportunity to paint at a wonderful private home recently.  We were there a year ago and I painted this watercolor Private Garden of one of the lovely "garden rooms".  There are so many choices at this location, including a grand view of Pasadena landmarks, that I tend to walk around trying to decide what to paint for too long.  On this visit, for this time of year, the choices of view had more sun and fewer shady spots for me to paint from.  I like to sit in the shade.  From my last visit I remembered this view looking in the opposite direction from the terrace I painted then.  It still caught my eye with the dramatic, dark tree trunks next to a corner of the house.  Running out of time, I tried this gouache piece.  This might be fun to try in transparent watercolor too.  I had a second choice of view I'll keep in mind to paint next time. 

5 x 7" Gouache


Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Stables

The Arroyo Seco Stables in South Pasadena (since 1906) is a pretty exciting place to visit or paint.  I was there twice recently and painted two watercolors.  One paint-out group was there a year ago and I posted that watercolor in The Truck.  That day a year ago, I wanted to return to paint and add some of the many chickens that run around the property.  If I was better at painting horses, they would be a good subject to add as well.  There's a challenge I'll save for next time.  I chose some dusty, old stalls for my views and added chickens.  While I was painting on the Arroyo trail side of the stables, two women rode up.  They were in crisp uniforms and looked very official.  I found out they were members of the Pasadena Police Volunteer Mounted Unit.  They patrol remote areas of Arroyo Seco Park and the Rose Bowl area.  Their horses are boarded at the stable where I was painting.  One lady was happy to pose for a quick photo.  Plein air painting is always interesting! 

8 x 10" Watercolor

8 x 10" Watercolor

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Boathouse

One of the plein air paint-out groups met at Echo Park a few weeks ago.  The lake there was drained three years ago, and after a two year, $45 million restoration project, it's been reopened for a year now and looks beautiful.  That day the park was very busy with a Telemundo news crew set-up, and workers hand picking invasive apple snails that have appeared since the lake was refilled.  It's a concern that the snails will eat the park's signature lotus plants. 

I was last there in August and posted that day's watercolor in Echo Park.  Our recent paint-out started off very overcast and it never got more sunny.  I was looking for a view I could paint from the shade but as it turned out I didn't need the shade.  I chose a view of the picturesque old 1932 boathouse to paint in gouache because the drying time is faster than with transparent watercolor.  Good for a dreary day.  I really had fun with this piece and it seemed to come together well.  Maybe I'm finally getting more used to gouache.  I'm looking forward to my next paint-out there which is in a few days!    

5 x 7" Gouache

Built in 1932


Workers hand picking apple snails.

Many Mallard duckings.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Two Bridges

A few Saturdays ago the group painted from a residential street with views of the bridges across the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena.  For our bridges views, we were all situated on a trail that goes down to the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center.  For my watercolor, I looked out to the main two bridges, the famous 1913 Colorado Street Bridge with its pretty light standards, and the Ventura Freeway bridge.  Kind of below me was the smaller Holly Street bridge.  Well, bridges are difficult I think, for me at least, with those arches and shadows.  In my view, the Ventura Freeway bridge is closest to me and the Colorado Street Bridge behind.  I widened the vista a little to include some homes below.  The Saturday paint-outs are always fun, interesting, and sometimes a challenge like this one.

8 x 10" Watercolor

Colorado Street Bridge behind the 134 Freeway bridge

Holly Street Bridge

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Buster's Ice Cream and Coffee Stop is possibly the most recognizable location in South Pasadena.  One of my first blog posts was about an early, for me, try at a plein air watercolor there, Plein Air Painting.  The group painted at the location in February and I posted that piece in Mission Station.  For this paint-out in April, a lot was going on at this busy intersection as always, well, for South Pasadena at least.  The walking man sculpture was wearing a festive necklace, photo below.  Two filmmakers were interviewing a couple of the artists for their One Day in Los Angeles project.  It was a perfect morning and there is a nice variety of subjects but I decided to try painting Buster's again.  This time a gouache.  A fun morning with the group!

5 x 7" Gouache

Frank was at Buster's with his well-known rat rod.