Tag Archives: Sonoma Mountain

Beyond the Opening


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!


Irresistible Clouds


Here in California, it’s not all that common to have a sky full of continually morphing playful shapes floating above, describing a wholly different experience outside. Maybe a little tease of rain? I just had to paint them. I packed up and got out into the wind. There is something about bracing oneself to the weather, working quickly, squinting, hearing birds, that often leads to a better painting. And, I always learn something.

Today I was thinking about an artist I admire, Quang Ho. His painting graces the current issue of Plein Air Magazine. In the article he discusses that a painter must have a concept for a painting before they start. I formally declared the concept for this painting was the similarity between the shapes made by the lights and darks which describe both the clouds and the hills, and to use paint to describe that fact. And then entirely forgot my concept as I worked to just get it down. Maybe next time I’ll keep the concept closer to the front of my brain…

The board I chose to paint on had much more tooth than I have been using, and it was fabulous! I was able to move that paint in new ways. Some areas were almost dry brushed on, really scumbled. I used my fingers and could work edges in new ways. Love the tactile approach, really working the paint into the surface. Because the surface was unique, the whole process felt new. I thought about a yoga practice I am watching that reminds one to enjoy being a beginner.

I so enjoy being a beginner.

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The grass is always greener…

…than I can paint it. IMG_5241

This time of year, the grass between the rows is overpowering and can temp me to over do the intensity. I used viridian, a green I usually stay away from. It was especially noticeable between the rows of lacinato kale which is so dark.

The hills are beginning to green too, and seeing that blush of grass on those lovely rounded shapes always teases my attention away as well. I painted this yesterday and today, knocked the hills back by half.

Pastels are useful when I have a little less time, to just put down visual thoughts.


Double Love

IMG_4074_1_1I have wanted to do this painting for several months. Had a vision of the composition and using plein air works as color reference. It was almost done in one afternoon, yesterday. Today I got to do the fun part, softening edges and color.



IMG_3996_1_1This painting has been such a great teacher. I’m learning about creating distance with value and color, a goal in most of my plein air paintings. For this one, I worked from photos and my memory. I’m sure it would be different to paint it there. Maybe next time…


Land Sketches 2

IMG_3901_1_1I’ve added enough to this canvas paper that I know these will make nice paintings. I will show them to the property owner and let her choose which one she would like for me to paint.


Land Sketches

Sketches for a painting I am doing for a friend. The property is gorgeous and varied. I’m intrigued with the steepness,IMG_3887_2_1

with the view,IMG_3886_1_1

and with the woods.IMG_3888_3_1

These loose oil paintings are on canvas paper to give me a better idea of what might make a good painting. I don’t normally post such raw images, wondering if anyone else sees what I’m imagining. Or whether it’s at all interesting.

I’ll keep you posted!