Thursday, December 31, 2015

Virtual Paintout - Ecuador!

It's the end of the month and also the end of 2015.  I like to post my pieces for the Virtual Paintout at the end of the month.  That seems to be when I get them done!  I would still be looking around Ecuador I'm sure if I didn't have the end of the month deadline.  A whole country to look around this time, and Ecuador also includes the Galapagos Islands.  There seemed to be a lot of construction everywhere, or deconstruction in progress.  Or, rather, not much progress.  I wondered if there were a lot of earthquakes in Ecuador because of all the partly finished structures.  It was exciting to look around the cities and rural areas.  I like to try a painting of both types of views.  Some practice for me.

5" x 7" Watercolor 

5" x 7" Watercolor

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Holiday Paint-Out 2015!

Our Saturday paint-out group leader, Barbara, hosts an annual holiday get-together for us at her home.  Barbara is so generous throughout the year with organizing and planning paint-outs, then invites us to her house for snacks and a paint-out in December.  It's always fun to be able chat with paint-out friends since we're usually individually looking for a view and then quietly painting.  This year Barbara suggested a greeting card exchange.  Great idea and I had fun painting my outdoor scene with gel pen accents!  

This was my fourth year painting at Barbara's house.  I tried a view of the front entrance last year in gouache, Holiday Paint-Out 2014!.  I thought I would paint in the back yard on this visit.  Barbara has a back yard I can identify with.  She's attentive to the birds and butterflies, she plants veggies, and has lots of potted plants.  For added interest she even put some wash up on her clothes line.  With limited time after chatting and snacking, I painted a small watercolor.  It's got a lot of Christmas-y greens.  Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

5" x 7" Watercolor

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Ward Ranch Holidays

Our plein air group returned to Waldo Ward Ranch in Sierra Madre to paint and also to buy some of their distinctive gourmet holiday foods...jams, marmalades, and condiments.  My previous watercolor there was about six months ago, Across the Orchard.  Ward Ranch has some charming, old, yellow buildings, a barn, a factory, and orchards so it's always fun to paint there.  Since it was a Saturday, they were giving tours.  And since the holidays are coming there were a lot of visitors that day.  I've never seen so many people there.  I found a view to paint from a shady spot in an orchard west of the office and gift store.  With so many visitors, sometimes they were standing in front of what I was trying to paint.  That's how it goes with plein air painting.  Sometimes it's a car or truck that drives up and parks in front of me.  You never know what obstacles might be in store!  

8" x 10" Watercolor

Huge grapefruit tree

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Monastery Fountain

A few weeks ago one of the plein air groups met at Mater Dolorosa Monastery in Sierra Madre.  I was excited to see the 80 acre retreat center since I had heard about it for quite awhile.  The main structure was built in 1931 at the top of the hillside property.  The grounds were beautiful, planted with gardens and an olive tree grove.  It was overcast the morning we were there so I chose to paint a gouache piece of one of the fountains.  Gouache dries a little faster than transparent watercolor.  Finally the sun came out about noon and I could see some shadows.  We're looking forward to another visit in the spring.

5" x 7" Gouache


Friday, December 11, 2015

Brookside Park

It's been several months since I painted this plein air watercolor at Brookside Park in Pasadena.  It was soon after the workshop I took given by Chien Chung Wei.  I was trying to apply some methods and tips I learned in the workshop.  One thing is the rough paper that Chien uses.  Lately I've only been using the smoother cold press paper.  I tried rough again on this piece.  I could see part of the busy Aquatic Center over the old wisteria-covered pergola,  It was a nice day with changing shadows, as they always do.  I seemed to be sitting in an area with many ground squirrels that weren't happy I was there.  

8" x 10" Watercolor

An old arroyo stone terraced amphitheater 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Sycamore Park

It's been a little over a year since we painted at Sycamore Grove Park.  Time flies!  On our last visit I painted the mural-covered Glen-Mary Archway in gouache, The Archway.  Looking through trees, the park is next to the Pasadena freeway with a hillside beyond.  I thought I might try a view across the freeway in watercolor.  But, in person, nothing like that caught my eye.  Surprisingly the mural on the archway is gone.  Most of the group was gathering at a picnic table to paint some city workers and their yellow-orange truck.  Why not give it a try!  Of course the men and the truck left half way through our paintings.  Nice to have digital cameras now.  

5" x 7" Gouache

Thursday, December 3, 2015


A few weeks ago the paint-out group met at the Bilike Mansion up a hill in South Pasadena.  It's not occupied as a home any longer and the property is shared with a church.  It was busy that morning with Boy Scouts and other groups.  I was there a couple years ago to paint and that piece was unsuccessful.  I didn't finish it.  As I walked around the mansion looking for something pleasing to try again, the view of the neighborhood rooftops off of the hillside caught my eye.  There was a tree providing some shade so I gave it a try.  I haven't painted too many rooftop views and find it a challenge.  

8" x 10" Watercolor

Bilike Mansion

Monday, November 30, 2015

Virtual Paintout - Istanbul!

The Virtual Paintout for November 2015 was Istanbul!  I was happy to see that Bill Guffey chose this location for the month.  Over the years I've admired so many photos and paintings of the city.  Keiko Tanabe has painted some stunning watercolors on site in Istanbul.  Each month of course there isn't enough time to look around using Google Street View as I would like.  I wanted to see the Grand Bazaar, thinking maybe the Street View team got in there without a car, but no.  I found many other stunning views and chose to try a characteristic view of a mosque in watercolor and another in gouache.  Sorry it's hard to get the proper colors online as they are on the artwork, especially for my gouache pieces.  I find the Virtual Paintout to be good practice and always fun!

5" x 7" Watercolor

5" x 7" Gouache

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015!

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

I'm sharing a few of my vintage Thanksgiving themed place cards.  There are several older and newer Hallmark pieces as well as a few other makers.  It must have been fun to host a Thanksgiving dinner or holiday bridge party and have special place cards for each guest.  I wonder if anyone has time to do that in 2015!  

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!  


Saturday, November 21, 2015


Our Friday paint-out group was at our local Arboretum yesterday.  One of the artists had been there with another group and said the Australian Garden was especially beautiful now.  So we changed the scheduled location to check out the Australian section.  

On my previous Arboretum visit I painted a Quick Gouache.  After looking around for awhile at the wonderful collection of Australian trees and bushes I decided to try another quick gouache piece.  It seems I've been painting more watercolors lately so I felt a little rusty with the gouache.  Unfortunately I liked the backlit eucalyptus trees to the west.  The sun kept getting lower so I must have moved out of the sun at least five times.  That's how plein air painting goes sometimes.  There were ants too!  I like the way this piece turned out and really enjoyed a calm day among the trees, away from world news.

5" 7" Gouache


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Lunch at Arlington Garden

I think I have more paintings from Arlington Garden in Pasadena than anywhere else.  It's always a lovely spot to visit and is popular for paint-out groups of course.  We were there last Saturday to paint and check out some new landscaping.  I noticed quite a few changes in the beginning stages.  It will be interesting to see how it all comes together in the spring.  

On my previous visit I painted Arlington Garden Neighbors.  This time several of us were in the east side wildfower section so I chose a view to paint of a seating area surrounded by trees.  Just as I was getting to the table and chairs, almost finished with the painting, four people came to sit there and have their lunch.  Well, okay, I had to add them.  I didn't even think of taking another photo of my view with the visitors.  Wish I had!

8" x 10" Watercolor


Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Grotto

The paint-out group recently returned to the church a block from my house, Holy Family in South Pasadena.  A few months ago I painted the 1928 Spanish Baroque building in Painting at the Church.  Our paintings will be displayed in the bookstore sometime soon so we were back to paint another piece.  I chose the south side of the church, with its stained glass windows, which is shaded by a huge, old fig tree.  The grotto was draped with a blooming bougainvillea that caught my eye.  I might try another view soon!

7" x 5" Gouache

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Another Casita Autumn

I'm amazed how time flies.  I would not have thought it was a year ago that I was last at La Casita Del Arroyo for a paint-out.  Here's my post from last fall at the Pasadena location, Autumn at La Casita.  I mentioned some the building's history in La Casita Del Arroyo.  

Finally we've been having some cold weather so it was a "brisk" morning for painting.  Layers are the thing of course.  The day turned out to be perfect for painting.  I tried the small stone casita again, my view a little to the left of my last watercolor there.  The dramatic chimney is the eye-catcher.  I love paintings that show fellow plein air painters and I really should try to include them more often.  

8" x 10" Watercolor

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Stone Barn

In October the paint-out group was back at Deukmejian Wilderness Park in the La Crescenta north Glendale area.  We've had some warm weather this fall but the morning we painted at the park was perfect.  It's a beautiful setting, an old 1914 stone barn with a small vineyard on a hill.  There was another group of plein air painters there too.  On my first visit two years ago I painted The Old Winery.  The beautiful barn is irresistible so I tried it again.  What a challenge it is trying to apply techniques I've learned in the workshops I've taken!  

8" x 10" Watercolor

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Virtual Paintout - Philippines!

Must be the end of the month since I've finished my paintings for the Virtual Paintout!  The location for October was the Philippines.  An island country, it consists of over 7, 000 islands.  Of course I was only able to look around a couple islands using Google Street View.  From my brief time looking around there, it appeared very rural.  Wikipedia does confirm that the country is transitioning from being based on agriculture, to services and manufacturing.  

I always like to use my Virtual Paintout pieces to work on improving my watercolors.  When I started using gouache, I began with paintings for the Virtual Paintout.  Everywhere I looked this month the overloaded utility poles caught my eye so those were fun to include.  Previously, I only recall seeing so many wires in a city in South America.  It's always fun for me to virtually visit new places.       

5" x 7" Watercolor

5" x 7" Watercolor

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

October Challenge!

I was happy that James Gurney offered another challenge this month, tying in with the autumn and Halloween season.  He started it off on his blog Gurney Journey October Graveyard Challenge.  We were to post our entries on the Facebook Event Page.  I participated in the previous challenge, painting an Outdoor Market on Location and posted about that piece in Painting Challenge.  It's part of the challenge to paint at the location using only three colors plus white.  

Barbara our Saturday paint-out group leader wanted to participate in the challenge so she had Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena on the schedule.  It opened in 1882 and we had a beautiful morning to paint there, interesting cemetery views, sun glancing through the beautiful trees.  Since I used gouache for the previous challenge, I wanted to try the limited palette three colors with watercolor this time.  I also had in mind to include some fall foliage.  And I noticed some palm trees which I thought would be a good Southern California element.  I chose Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, and Cadmium Yellow Pale for my three colors.  I used some egg tempera white with some of my mixes.  It's been really fun to see the entries from all over the world on the Facebook page.  The stories are great reading too.

8" x 10" Watercolor

We were to include a photo of painting on-site 

A photo of "trick perspective" that I didn't notice when I shot it.
There is a TINY Barbara on top of the center marker.