Thursday, June 30, 2016

Virtual Paintout - Napa Valley!

It seems my post about the Virtual Paintout is always the end of the month.  The locations are so interesting to virtually look around that I spend too much time doing that.  This month host Bill Guffey chose the Napa Valley, Napa County, California.  Northern California isn't too far from me but I've never visited the Napa or Sonoma areas.

What a beautiful place to virtually visit.  I was really surprised by the vast number of vineyards and wineries.  Using Google Street View, I found many lovely views to paint.  I wanted to try one piece with gouache following the workshop with Mike Hernandez last weekend.  The other is transparent watercolor which I'm always trying to improve.  It would be great to visit Napa in person someday.

5" x 7" Gouache

5" x 7" Watercolor

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Mike Hernandez Workshop!

Last weekend I was lucky to be in a workshop given by Mike Hernandez.  Mike's gouache paintings that he posts on Facebook have caught the eye of many of us.  He does such beautiful work.

Mike is a very kind person and generous teacher.  He is a production designer at Dreamworks, working with a graphic vocabulary for the commercial artwork he does which also applies to his personal gouache pieces.  Mike's knowledge of light and shadow nuances was boggling.  I took notes as fast a I could!  Mike emphasized the hierarchies that our brains like when we look at paintings.  The hierarchy, what you want people to see, is the composition with contrasts in shape, value, color, and detail.    

"Don't paint things, paint shapes!"  I know that works well, I just need to put it into practice.  Mike pointed out how we improve in technique by doing a lot of paintings.  So in the workshop we did a lot of paintings.  One day we met at a nearby location to do some plein air work after Mike's demo.  These were 30 minute 3" x 5" pieces, mine pictured below.  Back at the studio we did more 30 minute studies from projected photos.  The next day we did more quick, small studies to work on simplifying busy landscape scenes.  We started at 5 minute 1.5" x 2.5" size and worked down to 30 seconds, then back up to 5 minutes.  These exercises were fun to try and I saw I was learning more about simplifying shapes and economy of brushstrokes.  Mike generously ended with a beautiful demo.  As always I have a lot to remember when out painting.  Such an inspiring workshop!

My 3" x 5" gouache

My 3" x 5" gouache

Mike Hernandez

Both, my 3" x 5" gouaches

My 1.5" x 2.5" studies

Mike Hernandez

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Painting at the Monastery

We returned to paint at the Mater Dolorosa Monastery in Sierra Madre, a men's retreat since 1926.  My first paint-out there was six months ago and I painted one of the fountains in gouache, Monastery Fountain.  Soon after we arrived a family of seven deer came through the monastery grounds.  It looked like a daily excursion for them.

The sale of twenty acres of the monastery property has been discussed for several years so we want to keep the spot on the paint-out location list.  It was a beautiful day which usually makes it hard for me to chose a subject to paint.  I had a few areas in mind and ended up sitting under a huge Moreton Bay Fig tree.  There was a nice view of yellow flowers, and a few painting friends who were fun to include.

8" x 10" Watercolor

My set up is dwarfed by the Moreton Bay Fig

I couldn't get the whole deer family of seven in one photo

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Playhouse Plaza

We had an overcast day for our paint-out last Saturday.  The San Gabriel Mission Playhouse was on the schedule.  I posted about the last two times I painted there in Playhouse Festivities.  That previous visit was also a drizzly day and I painted a gouache piece of the fountain.  On this visit, to stay out of the sprinkles we all sat under an arcade area with a view of the plaza and front of the playhouse.  The fountain is surrounded by a pretty, tiled planter with roses and other flowers.  With this gouache piece I tried to have the planter and flowers as a foreground for the trees and neighboring buildings.  I've signed up for a gouache workshop this coming weekend so it will be exciting to see a different way of working with this medium.

5" x 7" Gouache


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Marsh Park

I'm titling this post Marsh Park but it's really about the Los Angeles River, the LA River.  There is a paint-out group that meets at various locations along the LA River on Tuesdays.  I've only been to a few Tuesday paint-outs but I really enjoy painting there when I've been able to join.  Always very relaxing.  This gouache was a piece I painted with the group about a year ago, View Across the River.

I've been wanting to visit the river at Marsh Park.  It's a very newly developed park and is really beautifully done.  It's a very nice access point to the river and bike path.  Many of the small park river access points feature beautifully handmade, custom gates by local artists.  The Marsh Park gate is by Brett Goldstone and is spectacular.  I might try painting it next time but it was the river view to the freeway this time.

8" x 10" Watercolor

Just part of the gate.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Study at Oxy

I recently painted at Occidental College again.  It was my second paint-out there.  My first painting got "cropped" way down to a much smaller size, just keeping the part I thought was okay.  We had a pretty but windy day at "Oxy" this time.  The beautiful college has been in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles for 100 years.  There are stately buildings and lovely landscapes on the grounds so I had many choices of views to paint.  After walking around quite awhile browsing, I decided to try a small watercolor "study" from the location my fellow painters had chosen.  I'm looking forward to trying another area of the campus next time.

5" x 7" Watercolor