About Me

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San Jose, California, United States
Some paintings far surpass my expectations and some are scary awful, but it's always fun.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Plein Air in Los Gatos

I went to the SCVWS plein air paint site in Los Gatos last Thursday; only about a half dozen of us showed up, but it was a nice day and there's always plenty to paint there. I began on the corner of Santa Cruz and University Avenues, looking across the street at the La Canada Building-the bottom picture. I went in and added some black pen, but the point was too bold, I think.
Next, I walked over in front of Old Town and did a quick study of the church next door-the top picture. I had pretty good luck with the layered foliage, which is one of my big challenges, and one I force myself to deal with frequently. Both paintings were completed in a bit less than 3 hours total.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Red Garage-Jackson, Wyoming

This little red garage in Jackson was so appealing, with its small, neat proportions and peeling red paint. When I came back with the camera to photograph it, there was a car in front-I could have just edited it out for the painting I planned to do, but I decided to walk into town and try again on my way back to the Buckrail Lodge. When I passed by again, a man was getting into the car-he went back in the nearby house and came out to the car again. Meanwhile I was skulking around down the street, looking rather suspicious, I imagine, as he was watching me and seemed reluctant to drive away. I finally began walking away, and he drove off. I hurried back and got several good shots. There were actually 3 more overhead wires, but I omitted them.
I used drybrush, and wet-in-wet to capture the wood, and kept it pretty loose-for me!In Mike Bailey's workshop he talks about "exalting the mundane." This homely little garage gave me that opportunity.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Black Hills, South Dakota

This is the final plein air painting I did on our trip. We stayed at a B&B out in the woods-2 miles down an unpaved road! It's called the "Coyote Blues Village, " and is owned and run by a Swiss couple, which means the breakfasts are huge. I painted the view from our terrace. It was pine trees and fields in all directions. I saw a deer while I was sitting here, but he moved a little too quickly for me to paint!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Lake Yellowstone-Morning

While we were staying at the cabins adjacent to the Lake Yellowstone Hotel, I managed a long morning of painting. Before the sun got too intense, I sat on a bench overlooking the lake and made one of my better attempts at portraying water.
Then, as the sun rose higher and the day heated up considerably, I moved under the shade of some nearby pine trees, turned my back on the lake, and painted the charming old yellow (very yellow!) hotel itself. The rock I found to sit on was less than comfortable, so I worked much more quickly that usual. Everything went well until a chipmunk ran between my feet and the rock-a distance of maybe 10", and gave me quite a start!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Buck Rail Lodge-Jackson Hole WY

We stayed at a log cabin motel in Jackson Hole for 3 days. Anywhere else the design would be kitschy, but the style fits in perfectly there in the mountains. I sat at a picnic table on the lawn and produced this watercolor/pen & ink rendition of the place. There's a ski run where groups of trees separate large areas of grass on the hill behind the place.
I omitted the group of fellow residents who sat on chairs drinking beer all afternoon outside the room at the right!

Back From Vaca

We just returned from a 2 week road trip to Jackson Hole, the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Little big Horn, Mt. Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument and much, much more. I was able to fit in a little plein air work-though not nearly as much as I would have liked. We took loads of photos and I hope to find some inspiration in a few of them for future paintings. My favorite part of the trip was Yellowstone's enormous variety of geothermal features-every one so different and curiously beautiful in its own way. My least favorite thing was Mt. Rushmore....Yes it's a great engineering feat, but in my mind, it's one step up from the World's Biggest Ball of String!
This painting was the first one I did-hope you can recognize the Grand Tetons. I was sitting on a termite-infested log beside a beautiful little river on a perfect 75 degree day. This painting includes 2 of my biggest challenges-water and layers of foliage.