I confess. Art has become an obsession, leaving little time for other things, like blogging. Or maybe I am too distractible and can’t do two things at once, or just can’t organize my time or possibly I’m simply lazy. Whatever the case, I have been away from the blog for 6 months. At least I’ve been painting. Here are a few that have succeeded:
Room with a View
And my obsession is getting worse! I committed to painting one painting from life, every day in January, 31 paintings. If I do, I will be entered in a drawing to win a new Strada Easel. Which would be nice! Great easel, take a look… Painting every day is what I want to do. So it’s a perfect excuse.
This practice is helping me get organized. I have moved clutter (seldom used supplies, finished paintings, frames) out of my studio. I’m switching from one painting medium (helps thin paint and make it easier to move with a brush) to another. And figuring out how to start and finish within hours instead of days (work small!). All good habits worthy of development.
The biggest effort begins next weekend when my husband and I are starting a week-long driving journey. We’re headed east, down the eastern side of the Sierras, toward Utah and Zion National Park along with other spectacular Red Rock Wonderlands. I mean to paint every day of the trip and have been gathering materials to pull it off. Those of you that are oil painters know there are a lot of messy materials that go along with the great colors! Plus, the paintings are vulnerable until they dry, which takes days. So this will be quite a challenge.
Here are the first 4 days effort:
Day 1: Selfie
Day 2: Delicata
Day 3: Rain on Arnold Drive
Day 4: My Father’s Brush
I’ve been itching to paint after all the attention on the show. I was able to paint on a property with an amazing view at the top of Sonoma Mountain. The sketch I did quickly, plein air. It cried to be done in a wider format. I’m tackling a slight change of course by leaving more portions of the work unresolved but hopefully interesting through color or marks, shapes or simply the contrast with the more distinct parts of the piece.
I also wanted to add a touch of conceptualism to the studio painting by indicating a change in season, turning the lush green to dry, golden brown. We have had a wet spring and the grasses are still juicy, in fact it’s been drizzling all day. But green turns golden in a week, given the right conditions. It’s the soft browns with dark green round oak shapes that defines the California landscape for me. This painting seems to be one of anticipation.
Wow! Such a fabulous turn-out at the opening of my Spring Painting Show at Bump Cellars. I was overwhelmed. And to have sold so many on top of the praise. Such a boost to my confidence, I am most grateful to you all. Thank you!
I’ve painted these trees many times. Each time, I see them differently. They are patient and lovely and always exciting. I even see them from my kitchen window and watch the wind blow through their branches. As if they are waving.
Today, I was the second pass on this painting that I started last week and have only just gotten back to. I’m going to have to pick off some debris when it’s dry, it was windy out there, but I’m happy with it now.
I’m very excited to be signed up for a painting class at the College of Marin with Chester Arnold. Chester is a valuable resource, a painting teacher with amazing depth and thousands(?) of students in the bay area. And he’s a farmers’ market regular at our stand! I look forward to learning and sharing.
After the first pass…
Paul got me…
I got the pickles canned, then felt entitled to paint for the rest of the day!
Thursday I set aside the whole day to paint. (Hoping to make that a regular thing…) I headed toward Open Field Farm, west of Petaluma. Seth and Sarah generously offered their gorgeous setting and myriad of big animals, to my visual self. The car was loaded Wednesday. I packed a lunch and headed out by 10.
Before I even got there, I pulled over and painted an irresistible view. There were cows (youngsters) grazing and playing in the field, off in the distance. They shyly came to see what I was doing, then got bored and left me to my work. It was a beautiful day and the road was quiet and lovely.
Then, just as I had almost completely finished the painting except for the foreground pasture, they came back. How could I resist? I used a big brush with black paint, and laid them in as fast as possibly, not really thinking about the rest of the painting. It felt like I’d been thrown the proverbial Hot Potato.
When I got home, I really loved the painting with the sloppy cows and managed to figure out how to make them more believable.
And then I went to Open Field Farm and painting one of their barns.
And look what waits for me the next time I go! I feel so rich!
My fascination with capturing moments; how the light hits something, how the colors work in harmony, there, right there or how the edges between shapes define what’s there. Deciding what is important to me in that glimpse and how to capture it in paint is my quest.
Yesterday I found myself driving through the valley in the drippy early morning and in a extravagantly fragrant rose garden in the late afternoon. I decided to do some quick gouache studies of my impressions, with aspirations of much bigger paintings.
I’m particularly happy with the vineyard painting. I have for various personal reasons stayed away from the endless vineyards in my backyard. But this time of year, they are “budding out” and I drove by an unpruned budding section. The long canes with their brilliant green leaves bobbed up and down with the breeze and it had to be considered!
A week ago, I joined a group to paint at a beautiful park, Olompali Park in Novato. Thrilling to be out on such a gorgeous Northern California spring day.
I was able to paint three small studies. Today I finished larger paintings referring to two of the three. Though I lost some of the energy in my second tree painting, it’s been a great learning painting. And one thing I’ve learned is I want to bring the works closer to finish, in the field. Nothing beats standing in the weather, observing!
I’ve been working on this assignment* for months, first with drawings, gouache studies and finally this painting. It’s done from my imagination, which is not a common way for me to work. It depicts me at 15 when in 1969 my family moved from smoggy Southern California to Westchester County, New York. I had just learned to ride horses and they helped find a way out of the anger and sadness I felt about leaving California and my friends.
*Childhood Memories was a challenge to a Facebook group to which I belong. The administrator is a well-known art teacher, who exposes to us to his vision, knowledge and excitement about art, alongside his own spectacular, imaginative, paintings. Though he didn’t like the term “assignment”, I found it to be just the thing in the face of so many personal distractions lately. Thank you Chester Arnold! I will paint this way again, so fun!