Friday, April 20, 2018

Red Poppy Season!

The paint-out group met at Arlington Garden in Pasadena last Saturday.  We like to visit the wonderful garden to paint the red poppies.  Of course there are also the bright orange California poppies there too.  I see I posted a painting from last April, Arlington in April.  One spring a few years ago, there were many more red poppies but gardening is always being done and flower beds change.  We were still able to find some red poppies which we are always happy to see here in Southern California.

7" x 5" Watercolor

Another great view from where I was sitting.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Plein Air Festival 2018

Last week was the 2018 Los Angeles Plein Air Festival.  I've enjoyed participating in the past two events, Plein Air Festival 2016 being the previous festival.  I painted last time at the 1924 Spring Arcade building at the Broadway entrance in downtown L.A.  It was fun to return to the same location to try another street scene this year.  The eye catching, red Los Angeles Theater sign is such a terrific downtown landmark.  I wanted to include it in my view.  It was nice to see that the Spring Arcade is looking busier with more restaurants, and very festive with cheerful white lights criss-crossing the main walkway.  Although participating artists can paint anywhere in the city I would be happy to try this downtown view again next year.

8" x 10" Watercolor, looking south on Broadway

Looking north on Broadway

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Near the Bridge

I'm very late getting started on April blog posts.  This post was sort of another experiment.  I was studying a favorite artist's watercolors and for at least one piece, he started with abstract watercolor washes and shapes.  So when the paint-out group met at the Oaklawn Bridge I started out with an abstract first stage.  The home on the hill that I could barely see through the foliage would be okay if it was a little abstract.  It was a chilly morning, and fun to see the Metro Rail trains going by.  My previous piece at the Oaklawn Bridge was Greene Brothers' Only Bridge.

5" x 7" Watercolor

View from the bridge

Looking south from the bridge

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Trumpets and Fire Sticks

Our quarterly planning meeting for future paint-outs was yesterday at the Arboretum.  A spring meeting there is always colorful.  It's also loud with the peacocks calling to each other.  I've been trying to experiment a bit with my watercolors, Something Different, being my previous painting there.  For this painting I was looking for some bright colors that I could surround with darker values.  After just a short walk I noticed the yellow trumpet tree, "Fire Sticks" plants, and some blooming aloes.  The "Fire Sticks' are a type of "Pencil Cactus", which isn't a cactus at all but a Euphorbia.  The Arboretum also had many tomato plants for purchase and I was happy to get one.

5" x 7" Watercolor

A peacock greeting people in the parking area

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Farnsworth View

A week or so ago I returned to Farnsworth Park in Altadena with one of the paint-out groups.  It was a pretty day and it's a very large park so as usual my painting subject took some time to settle on.  The centerpiece of the park is the beautiful 1934 community building that's in an arts and crafts American craftsman style.  It's on the National Register of Historic Places.  I painted the west side of the building on my first visit, Farnsworth Park.  Unfortunately there are usually cars parked in front of the building's entrance.  I noticed I could see the top of the two-story building above some trees on the south side, the back view.  That view also included the mountains so I tried my watercolor from there.

8" x 10" Watercolor

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Alhambra Park

I almost forgot about this watercolor I painted at Alhambra Park last fall.  Sometimes a piece gets set aside when I can't decide if it's finished yet.  On my previous visit I painted a smaller piece, Across From The Park.  Alhambra Park is a nice size and includes a pool, lots of grass, covered picnic tables, and even an amphitheater.  So far, I've only painted views at the north end of it.  This time I chose another view which includes the homes on the east side of the park.  The cast shadows from the trees were especially pretty that morning.  

8" x 10" Watercolor


Festive piƱata waiting for party guests

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Elephant Hill

I painted at Elephant Hill several months ago with a new (to me) group, New Group!  It's a nice location with several great views so I was happy to return with the Saturday group.  The morning was a little overcast which made the distant hills very atmospheric with muted tones, softened lines.  I decided to try a view of Elephant Hill and the distant hills which included a sharp diagonal with some dark, dry and rough trees clinging to it.  I would like to try this same view again next time.

8" x 10" Watercolor

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Pocket Park

Our city is adding two new pocket parks.  What nice way to use small vacant lots.  Community meetings are still being held so that neighbors can participate in the planning of the parks.  We also had a paint-out a few weeks ago at one of the parks on a Saturday when a community meeting was scheduled.  

It was a very overcast morning and we painters arrived a couple hours before the meeting was to begin.  I wondered how many people would be attending the meeting, how much interest.  I hoped to have my painting well under way by the time people would start arriving.  There were some chickens living at a home next door to the planned park.  I wanted to add them to my watercolor even though they weren't in the backyard I chose to paint.  It turned out to be a very well attended community meeting with many neighbors offering their ideas.  Wonderful to see this addition to our neighborhood.

10" x 8" Watercolor

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Twenty Minutes!

On Facebook last month I ran across Mary Gilkerson's painting challenge which, well, sounded like a challenge.  The challenge was to paint a 20-30 minute painting a day for 5 days straight.  Subject matter, medium, and size were all the artists' choice.  I really wasn't sure how I would do with a painting challenge like this one but thought it would be fun to try.  Most of my paintings are done outside, not a large size, and I know those take me an hour plus.  My smaller plein air pieces are 5" x 7" which I can spend at least an hour painting.  I decided to try that size for the 20-30 minutes, and of course plan ahead and paint quickly.  I took a photo in a corner of my backyard for reference.  Got my paints ready, clock ready...

I knew this would be a valuable exercise.  Simplifying shapes and not getting too detailed would be the goal.  I was pretty much finished at 25 minutes and I liked the painting.  I think my biggest problem was that I couldn't use as much water as I usually do.  With the time limit, I needed to go back into areas which were still too wet.  Not a good thing usually.  I did have fun and learned from the challenge although I only painted two views.  I decided to try more paintings at a smaller size.  Coming soon!

7" x 5" Watercolor

7" x 5" Watercolor

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Canyon Drive

The Saturday paint-out group met in a Monrovia neighborhood the weekend before Christmas.  I thought it would be a casual, calm painting location.  But no, parking spaces were hard to find on the busy street where we met.  There were so many people out on Saturday morning, taking this main street for the hike up into the Monrovia Canyon area.  So many hikers and dog walkers.  I chose a view I liked from a bit of a front lawn next to the street where I was out of the way of the hikers.  I started a small piece, including a utility pole, and soon a gardener's truck arrived and started mowing the lawn.  I painted faster and was happy it was a small painting.  I was ready to stop when the mowing got close to my set-up.  It's always an adventure!  

5" x 7" Watercolor