Thursday, March 31, 2016

Wilderness Park

Somehow during my few years of plein air paint-outs with local groups, I've missed visiting a park or two.  Wilderness Park in Arcadia has been on the groups' schedules but something has always come up for me and I couldn't attend the paint-out.  Well, one time it was drizzling and I didn't go.  I was excited to see the area which is way up in the foothills.  It didn't disappoint.  The park is just beautiful and the day was lovely too.  I like to try to include some sort of structure in my paintings but the nature center and restrooms didn't appeal.  I always like utility poles and fences but there wasn't a good spot to paint them from.  The steps connecting two levels had some beautiful trees and light, a picnic table to paint from, and unfortunately a red-tagged tree.

8" x 10" Watercolor

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Virtual Paintout - NSW!

Each month I enjoy participating in The Virtual Paintout.  Artists find their virtual view to paint using Google Street View.  The location for March 2016 was New South Wales.  I was excited to look around that part of Australia and I wasn't disappointed.  It looks very beautiful, and now at the top of the list of places I would like to visit.

I like to use the smaller pieces I paint for the Virtual Paintout as practice.  I recently read an article by a watercolorist I admire who coincidentaly lives in Melbourne, Australia for part of the year.   He puts in his dark values at the beginning of his paintings which isn't the usual way to work in watercolor.  So, I gave it a try on these two pieces.  Interesting way to work, and I will give that approach more practice!

5" x 7" Watercolor, Sydney Harbor

5"x 7" Watercolor

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Almost Spring!

Last Saturday the paint-out group met at Arlington Garden in Pasadena, just a few days before the first day of spring.  It's seemed like spring for awhile since we've had such a mild winter here.  On my previous visit I painted Lunch at Arlington Garden.  As usual, I spent some time walking around looking for my view to paint.  The wisteria surrounding the charming wood bench kept catching my eye.  It was the show piece of the garden that day and several of us decided to give it a try.  This view had a lot going on, considering the bench, wisteria, surrounding plants, and the olive trees, but I do wish I had tried adding a figure sitting on the bench.  I wanted to include some of the olive tree that was in front of me...I love their beautiful leaves.  I'll be back at the garden soon to find another view, but the wisteria won't be as spectacular!  

5" x 7" Watercolor

Feature at the entrance


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Southwest View

The Saturday plein air group visited the historic Southwest Museum for a recent paint-out.  It was my fourth time painting at the hilltop museum.  I really enjoy the view from the parking lot of the various surrounding neighborhoods.  Rooftop views are always interesting to me and something different to paint.  On our previous visit I painted a watercolor looking north, Hilltop View.  It's a downtown area in that view.  This time I looked southwest for a more residential view with hillsides toward downtown Los Angeles way off in the distance.

8" x 10" Watercolor

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Night Scene!

Those of us in one of the paint-out groups planned to try painting a night scene.  It would be a new experience for me!  There was a piece of equipment I of those headlamps to wear on my head.  Got that.  I was undecided about whether to try a watercolor using some liquid masking fluid to save the white lights, or a gouache piece where I could use white paint for the lights.  I have a few brands of masking fluid but ran out of time to experiment with them enough before trying to use them at the site.  So it would be a gouache piece.

We met in Monrovia on Myrtle Avenue before dark.  There is a theater with a bright marque near the intersection where we were.  I thought it would be a nice center of interest.  It was good we were there before dark so I could get some paint roughed in.  The street lights started coming on about 6 PM which was nice to see.  It quickly started getting darker.  And darker.  Where some dusky sky was showing earlier, it became blackness.  Roof lines disappeared.  I definitely needed my new headlamp to be able to see the paints.  It was a challenging paint-out and I would like to try a night scene again sometime.    

5" x 7"  Gouache

After the lights came on

Before the lights came on

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

City Hall

The 1927 Pasadena City Hall showcases elements of a couple architectural styles.  I think it's a challenge for artists to paint.  It's a stately and impressive structure featuring some difficult details like arches, domes, and spires.  I was there for a paint-out several years ago and never finished the watercolor since I didn't like the way it was going.  When I returned recently, the group met in a plaza on the east side of City Hall.  Another civic center building and trees caught my eye, some distance away from the main dome.  The bare trees that I liked, I ended up leaving out since they would have made the scene too busy.  There is a charming City Hall courtyard I would like to try next time.  

8" x 10" Watercolor

The courtyard


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Another View

As I mentioned in my recent post on painting at the landmark Gamble House in Pasadena, I would be returning soon.  I was there again with another paint-out group a few days ago.  The day was bright and sunny, in contrast with when I painted Gamble House Watercolor a month before.  This spectacular residence is such a challenge to paint.  Its architectural details and subtle color all add to the difficulty.  I thought I would try again to paint the building as silhouetted as I could to keep the details to a minimum.  I found a nice view of the home's north side as I sat under some trees behind the charming garage, which is now the book and gift shop.  My "silhouette" plan is coming along.   

8" x 10" Watercolor

The garage, back view