Grabbing every chance I have to paint right now, my work’s slow time of the year. Lilacs are a favorite flower of mine. When we moved here, two years ago, the large lilac bushes in front of the house were just finished, dry and brown. The lilac / calendar this year really put on a show and I worked on this painting from life, only one afternoon. I’ve stabbed at it several more times, using photo reference. It may be done?
Another highlight of my year is the plein-aire painters class that meets at Pepperwood Preserve. The class, led by Marsha Connell, had perfect weather (unlike other trips) and we saw areas of the 3,200 acre preserve, I’d never seen, such a treat. Only trouble, was not enough time to paint! (I’d probably say that if I spent the whole weekend.)
The landscape was just scratched yesterday, when I drove off the mountain. I played with it today. It’s designed as a sketch, as are the cows. I knew I didn’t have time to finish anything. But maybe I could develop these further…
So glad I did this. What a fantastic place. Please check out Pepperwood Preserve. It is a place that can always use financial support. Such a worthwhile effort to keep such a property intact and used for education. You can see some of the work I have done at Pepperwood in the past by clicking on the “tag cloud” Pepperwood Preserve to the right.
There were just 4 of us this morning. We drove to a spot well beyond the only place I have been on the 3,000 acre property. View of Mt. St. Helena. Perfect day. I can’t wait until the next time. I’ll fuss with these but this is what they look like, right out of the car, along with the reference photos I took.
I used a lot of paint today and large brushes. I like parts of both of these.
The largest of the 5 I worked on, probably the furthest along.
Oh what a great day. I signed-up for a plein air class at Pepperwood Preserve taught by Marsha Connell. It was today, such fun. I choose to work in gouache so that I could make the most of my time there.
Marsha's demo in progress
It’s so spectacular a landscape it is very difficult to leave, especially since the day morning was quite socked in with fog. It only became clear as we began packing up to leave. In some ways dealing with the fog was great. The effect of atmospheric perspective was exaggerated so.
We couldn't see this mountain when we started
Looking south toward eastern Santa Rosa
I don’t think I am finished with these. I’ve been told to try an oil-based varnish. It will protect the painting and I would be able to work on top. I may even work on top of these again.
Need lighter values in the distance
Not so good
I see some areas I like in this one
Thank you Marsha and Pepperwood for a thorough day off!
It’s always hard to remember colors and values. Photos don’t help me with color much. I think these are pretty close to that beautiful Sunday. They will help with my next work.
I need to work on-site soon.
I also want to learn to take better photos. These don’t show the details very well.
I worked on this square composition for a couple of hours today. I chose to work on this instead of the horizontal, thinking that I could work out some value and color decisions then apply them to the larger piece. I worked from several photographs I took yesterday. I felt both paintings were missing the feeling of cold and the weather issue which was so pervasive and therefore, to me, crucial in their success.
I decided to turn the palette cool, use more ultramarine and cool yellow (cad yellow light) for the greens. (I used sap green yesterday. Maybe that’s better as a summer green?) Also, I made the distant hills more violet than yesterday’s warm grey. That seems to be a good move. It looks like a colder day and I want that.
I am struggling a bit with a balance between shortening the value shifts (the difference between dark and light) to suggest the grey atmosphere versus losing the sense of distance by flattening the values. I found it helpful to check the landscape out my window while mixing colors, because showers continue to fall today. I certainly don’t have this view, but the colors and values are related. This painting is now closer to my impressions of the day, but I want to push it further, make it look wetter.
I have been looking forward to a plein air class at Pepperwood Preserve for more than a month. It was today and it was pouring rain, very cold and windy. Despite the wicked weather, almost all 25 painters showed up. That’s how striking this landscape is. Our teacher, Marsha Connell was excellent and helped everyone with her cheer and knowledge.
Those of us using oils stood outside under a wide porch which was somewhat protected. There was a shift of wind though, and most of us were caught wondering how to deal with the raindrops all over our paintings and palettes. I started two paintings of the same section of hillside and plan to finish them this week.
One of the other extreme painters, Elaine, sent me this picture she took of me, just before I packed up.