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.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

L "Lavender Hill Farm"

Mike and Carol, friends of my sister, Ann, have a lavender farm near Lake Stevens, Washington. They have a gift shop that Ann helps out in during the season and they let her sell her crafts there in return. They host an annual Lavender Festival in the summer as well as a Harvest Festival in the fall, and a Holiday Festival in late November. Ann took this photo during the Lavender Festival 2 years ago. They invite lots of vendors, arrange entertainment, and all of their friends pitch in to direct traffic and run the event. Ann often takes pictures for them; one appeared in a local paper-unattributed, alas. I edited out the small tents and canopies from this shot and changed the orientation of her photo. I hope they like it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

H is for "Hydrangeas"

I can actually say that this is a painting I am very happy with. I drew the vase and flowers freehand from my imagination and painted it with no photo reference. I was able to be freer without a picture to follow-maybe this is the secret to the elusive search for "looseness!" I started with a variegated wash of permanent rose, aureolin, burnt umber, and French ultramarine, laying the colors in on wet paper about where I wanted things to be. I didn't use any tube greens, and painted the leaves first, carefully painting around the veins. I added cerulean and smalt to the palette to complete the flowers. "Smalt" is an old, discontinued Winsor & Newton pigment that has a bit more red in it than ultramarine. They reissued it in a limited edition for a big anniversary a couple of years ago, and I was fortunate enough to be given a tube by their local rep. It's a beautiful shade. Along with a touch of burnt sienna, my palette was comprised of 7 colors. I kept the background very simple and suggested some shadows. I did scrub out a few highlights on the vase with a Mr.Clean Magic Eraser. This is a half sheet-15" x 22".

Friday, March 12, 2010

Plein Air Thursday

Yesterday the SCVWS plein air group went to Morgan Hill, a town just south of San Jose. It's a little country town metamorphosing into a sprawling suburb, struggling to hold on to its history and maintain the character of the small "downtown." There's a move to save the Granada, an arte moderne style theater. Local arts groups have been invited to come and paint it. The paintings will be offered for sale at a party with food and music in 2 weeks. I don't plan to enter my painting, as it has several egregious flaws. Sadly, the original stucco of the facade has been covered with an ersatz brick veneer, but the curving aluminum band around the top is still there, as well as several other architectural features that give it more personality than all of the mall multiplexes that have replaced places like the Granada.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

G is for Glass

Each time we're fortunate enough to return to Venice, we go to L'Isola, the Carlo Moretti showroom we discovered on our first visit to the city. The glass is displayed in an elegant, comtemporary gallery-like setting. We can only buy a couple of pieces each time, and we're so excited when they arrive a few days after we return home. They're beautiful, whimsical, and surprisingly tactile.
I took photos of the 3 Champagne flutes here against a sheet of white paper, sitting on the mantel. There were no cast shadows, and I didn't try to add any; it was enough of a challenge to try to capture the transparency of the glass.
The only thing better than looking at the glasses and remembering time spent in my favorite city on earth is drinking Champagne from them! The painting is a half sheet-15" x 22".