Saturday, May 26, 2018


The weather for our paint-out last Saturday turned out to be overcast.  In Southern California we usually have May Gray days and in June, it's June Gloom.  We painted at Alhambra Park where it was sunny on our previous visit, Alhambra Park.  One very bright spot at the park was a beautiful planting of geraniums surrounding the Veterans Memorial...appropriate for this Memorial Day weekend post.

7" x 5" Watercolor

Friday, May 18, 2018

St. John Ave.

In March one of the paint-out groups returned to Singer Park in Pasadena.  It was a cloudy day on our previous visit as it was this year.  Last time, I painted the house next door, Park Neighbor.  It was too early for the park's rose garden to be in bloom.  St. John Avenue borders the park on the east side and it has some attractive, older homes.  I sat at my usual picnic table and tried a neighborhood view across St. John.

5" x 7" Watercolor

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Second Try!

In February I attempted Mary Gilkerson's 20 minute painting challenge.  The goal was to paint a 20-30 minute painting for five consecutive days.  I tried two 7"x5" pieces, Twenty Minutes!  These two paintings were frustrating.  I was using my usual amount of water which resulted in areas not being dry enough to go back to within the allotted time.  When Mary's challenge began again last week I thought I would try it again.  Since I had a hard time with twenty minutes I thought maybe a smaller size paper wouldn't be so discouraging.  Okay, 6"x4"!  I chose some easy-looking landscapes from my Arlington Garden photos.  This worked much better for me and I really tried to control the water.  So these are my first three attempts.  I have two more and will continue with this challenge since I really did learn a lot about shapes and values.  I would think I already know about shapes and values but I was more aware with the Twenty Minute Challenge.

6" x 4" Watercolor

6" x 4" Watercolor

6" x 4" Watercolor

Friday, May 4, 2018


Last Saturday the paint-out group met on a small street with a great view of the famous Colorado Street Bridge (1912).  The last time we met there I didn't have much time so instead of taking on the bridge, I saw a nice "still life" from the Habitat for Humanity project going on under the bridge, Construction.  To me the bridge feels a little daunting to paint.  It's very beautiful, has arches and lovely details.  So, the flowers in a front yard near where my friends were painting appealed more to me to try.  There were a nice variety of colors, from yellow, to orange, to shadowy reds and purple.  This was fun to paint and I would like to attempt more watercolor flowers.

5" x 7" Watercolor

Friday, April 27, 2018

Wrigley Garden

Last Saturday was a very pretty day to paint at the 1906 Wrigley Mansion, officially Tournament House and headquarters for the Tournament of Roses parade on New Years day.  Besides a possible painting of the stately mansion, the surrounding gardens feature over 1000 varieties of roses.  It was a little early for most of the roses to be blooming but there were a few early flowers.  My previous watercolor there was two years ago, Wrigley Roses.  I chose the same spot to paint from this time and did quite a bit of editing out the modern part of the building.  I added more flowers too!

5" x 7" Watercolor

Flag at half-staff for Barbara Bush

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

Vintage photo of the Spring Arcade

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