Sunday, January 31, 2016

Virtual Paintout - Scotland!

The Virtual Paintout location for January 2016 was Scotland.  Bill Guffey chooses the monthly location for artists to virtually find their view to paint using Google Street View.  I really enjoy looking around cities and countries that I'll never be able to visit in person.  The areas I saw of Scotland looked beautiful.  What a charming place to visit.  It was definitely quite a change from the past several month's paint-outs in Ecuador, Istanbul, and the Philippines.  Amazing!  I like to use the virtual paint-outs as practice for the local ones I go on.  Brush miles are always a good thing.

5" x 7" watercolor

5" x 7" watercolor


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lummis Light

In the fall, the Saturday paint-out group met at the famous Lummis House.  It was my third time painting there.  My first watercolor was three years ago, Lummis House.  I still like this piece but the painting I tried on my second visit wasn't going well and never finished.  It's lovely to be there to see this unusual home made from arroyo stones, and the surrounding sycamore trees offer beautiful dappled light.  These things are a challenge to paint, at least for me.  I started off with my usual 8"x 10" size but decided to crop and concentrate on the light to the east past the stone tower.  There are many views to try at the historic home so I'm looking forward to our next visit as always.

7" x 5" Watercolor


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Another Neighborhood

A few weeks ago we returned to the Angelino Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles.  Time flies since I wouldn't have thought it was over two years ago when I last painted there.  It was when I was more ambitious I guess since I painted a watercolor as well as a gouache and posted them in Angelino Heights.  I was trying to get more practice with using gouache so I scrambled to paint two plein air pieces in our few hours at the location.  I would paint these pieces differently now, so it's fun to look back a little.   

Angelino Heights is such an interesting, old neighborhood.  It's very hilly with many terrific Victorian homes, and great views of downtown Los Angeles.  We met at the area's central triangular island where several streets come together.  It's a good place to sit and paint, but there is no shade.  I decided to be under a tree and try a view which included the island and some of the neighborhood.  It's always a busy place.    

8" x 10" Watercolor

Bob's Market, neighborhood landmark since 1910.

The island from across the street, next to Bob's.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


A month or so ago the Saturday paint-out group met in a quaint neighborhood of South Pasadena.  Since I've lived in South Pasadena for many years I'm always noticing views that might be fun to paint so it was a treat to have our city as the location.  This area of the town is the oldest section and still shows its rustic roots...very picturesque to plein air painters of course.  But, sometimes it's hard to decide what to paint.  There is a wonderful alley but I didn't see where I could be out of the way.  Plus a barking dog just didn't want a painter there.  After walking around for quite awhile looking for a view to try, I settled on the space between two homes with lots of great details.  I always like palm trees, cacti, and telephone lines!    

5" x 7" Gouache

The barking dog's house...

Friday, January 15, 2016

Myrtle Avenue Revisited

It seems I've revisited many local locations for paint-outs with several different groups.  So, as mentioned in my Myrtle Avenue post, I returned to Monrovia's Library Park a month later with another plein air group.  There are always new subjects and vistas to choose.  Even alleys are sometimes interesting but finding shade is usually a problem.  For my visit in January, I couldn't resist looking north along Myrtle Avenue at the hazy mountains and three striking palm trees.  It was a busy street corner and we had quite a few people stopping by to comment.  A newspaper photographer even took some photos of the group and our paintings.  We don't know if we made the paper.

8" x 10" Watercolor

Moreton Bay Fig tree in the library park.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Myrtle Avenue

It was in December 2012 when I first painted with the Thursdays en Plein Air group at the Library Park in Monrovia.  An early plein air watercolor for me, Library Park.  I would paint it differently now of course.  Always trying to improve.  In December, almost exactly three years later the group was back at the park.  The park surrounding the library building features interesting trees but I wanted to try a street scene.  Looking through and around some trees, there are nice store-fronts facing Myrtle Avenue.  Interestingly, another paint-out group was at the library park this month.  I'll post that painting next. 

8" x 10" Watercolor

What a nice turn out of painters we had.  


Thursday, January 7, 2016


After Christmas we returned to the horse stables in Altadena.  It's such a wonderful setting for painting, I did a watercolor on my previous visit, Old Horse Trailer.  I love the old red barn and stable buildings, the fences, the huge cacti, and the trees.  

Unfortunately it was very cold and at one point my fingers and feet felt like it was time to go.  That was fine since my watercolor wasn't going as planned.  It just wasn't turning out as I had envisioned when I chose my view.  Looking at it again at home, it really needed a horse.  While we were at the stables, they let four very frisky young horses out to exercise in the main ring.  They had a great time running around with each other.  I decided to crop my 8"x10" watercolor down to 7"x5" and use gouache to make some adjustments.  I hoped it would go more in the direction I had in mind.  I also added one of the horses.  Putting the opaque gouache over parts of my transparent watercolor is something I hadn't tried before but I'm much happier with the piece now.  

7" x 5" Watercolor and Gouache


Sunday, January 3, 2016

First Painting 2016

Yesterday, January 2, the Saturday paint-out group met at Memorial Park in Sierra Madre.  My first painting for 2016!  It's been two years since the group painted there and I painted a gouache piece, Holidays Coming.  That day was cold and dreary but this year we had sunshine.  It was still cold though, at least for Southern California.  Last Saturday we got very cold, especially our fingers, so I was feeling a little conservative about a painting.  I decided on a small watercolor where I could try to improve some areas of my painting I'm thinking about.  I chose a view of homes at the north end of the park.  There is a pretty church just to the right, maybe next time I will attempt it.  Its steeple is deceivingly tall I think.  We had such a nice turnout of painters, very inspiring to see everyone after the holidays.  Looking forward to a great year ahead!      

5" x 7" Watercolor