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