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.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ahead of Schedule for the SCVWS Annual Show!

Since I'll be traveling in September, I've been scrambling to get ready for 2 upcoming shows. The SCVWS Annual Members show begins on September 30th at the Rose Shenson Gallery at the Triton Museum in Santa Clara. Please come to our opening reception that day from 1:00-3:00 p.m. if you're in the area.
This is the painting I'm submitting for the show-there was no theme this year so anything goes! I've painted this beautiful red amaryllis 3 times and I think this one is the best of them. . Even though it's pretty loose, when I reduced it to make some note cards, it looked almost photo-real.
Amaryllis #3
Framed size 21"x29"

In addition, I'm framing a number of pieces for a 4 artist show at the Institute for the Study of Western Civilization in Cupertino, CA. My paintings are a group I've titled "Italy and More." Most of them are of...you guessed it-Italy! But there are a few other subjects represented from other travel and a couple of still lifes that fit into the theme (figs and lemons, which are both pretty commonplace in Italy.)  I'll give more info about this show at a later date.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Plein Air at Pete's Harbor

I can't believe I haven't posted since May! A couple of weeks ago I went up to Pete's Harbor in Redwood City with the Paintsites group. While there were loads of boats to paint, I elected to move away from them and focus on the nearby marsh land. As usual with working en plein air, the condidtions kept changing. First it was cool and a bit overcast with lots of clouds on the horizon...so no shadows. Then the sun came out and the wind kicked up and blew away all the clouds. At least I didn't get caught short the way several of my companions did when the sailboat they had selected to paint hauled anchor and motored away!
 This is the first piece I did. It's on a 6"x12" Arches cold-pressed block. The colossal bloom in the sky is in a perfect location to indicate the low-hanging clouds over the distant hills.
 The second painting was more experimental; I washed on wet-in-wet color, sort of considering the striations in the landscape. Then I went in with a black Micron Pigma pen for some line work. The effect is a little too subtle to be picked up well by my scanner, but it looks very effective in person. I used a 10"x14" Arches cold-pressed block.
The last one is again on the 6"x12" block (which is intended for sea and landscapes and is perfect for them!) I used a block Tombo pen. It's watersoluble and I went in and hit the drawing with clear water. The pigment separates as it dries and looks as though other colors have been added, but they weren't. It was fun to try a new technique and I had a great day with the group.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Weekend in Santa Cruz

We drove over to Santa Cruz on Friday afternoon and spent the night at our friends Linda and Jim Owens' house. On Saturday morning we got up and drove down to the yacht harbor area, where Linda meets up with a crowd of her fellow ukulele players for what I guess they would call a jam session. (Although how much jamming a ukulele can do is questionable.) While they played. I walked down to the beach and did a couple of pen and ink drawings with washes. I used a Speedball #6 nib and black Speedball ink. I'm just learning to work with the pen-love the varying line weights you can get with it.

This is actually the second one I did-there was a race going on and lots of sailboats were out. Too bad they weren't all flying their spinnakers! This was done on a tiny 4" x 10" Arches cold-pressed block..

The scanner didn't pick up the colors as well as it might have-the light house looks better in my original, as does the sky. I used Dick Zunkel's 3 sky colors-colbalt, perm rose, and yellow ochre applied to wet paper for both paintings. Also, in the original the ocean is level-couldn't fit the whole paper in my scanner, so it looks tilted here.  This was on a 10" x 14" block.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Plein Air at Moss Landing

Last Thursday, May 17th,  7 of us from SCVWS met at Moss Landing on the ocean. It was a bit cool early in the day, and plenty windy, but we had a great day. There were boats, seascapes, and so much more for us to paint. We went to Phil's for lunch (I had the squid and chips!)Leaders Jenny and Sylvia, plus Brad and I were so happy to be out that we stayed until 4:45. I wore a ponytail and forgot to put sunscreen on my ears-a mistake I will NOT make again! 

This old boat was the last thing I did-drew it and got a little paint down, but I had to complete it at home.
I used a 10" x 14" Arches cold-pressed block.

. .
 I used  the same block for this piece-there were so many beautiful purples and sage greens in the foliage growing on the dunes. This was done under very adverse condidtions! The wind was blowing like crazy up on the dunes and my stool legs were sinking deeper and deeper as I worked. Working en plein air is not for the easily discouraged!
 This is actually the first painting I did in the morning-I edited out many boats and omitted a big building behind the Bay Fresh Seafood shop. There was a roaring diesel motor in the distance part of the time, but when it stopped, I could hear sea lions barking and the cries of the gulls. I used a 6" x 12" Arches cold-pressed block. Used a tan watercolor pencil for the initial drawing on all 3.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Los Gatos Plein Air

It was a beautiful day for painting in downtown Los Gatos. We had a a huge turnout-28 people! The only downside was the parking-not many open spots and all of the spaces nearby had a 2 hour limit, so periodically, someone would have to jump up and run to move his or her car! We enjoyed a demo by Dick Zunkel, who uses a pen and ink technique with washes. He uses a Speedball nib in a holder, with black ink. I just used my Faber-Castell Pitt pen this time, but will definitely try out the equipment Dick recommends-loved the varied line weights he achieves with it.
I used an Arches cold-pressed block, 11" x 14". There are a few perspective issues, but I was happy with the first run at it.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Plein Air on March 29th

It was a beautiful morning after several days of rain and 17 people turned out at the old Agnews site. This was a state mental hospital for many years but when it closed down, 4 of the opriginal buildings were preserved. The clocktower, former director's house and 2 other beautiful  old Spanish-style buildings are adorned with intricate brick and tile work on stucco. One of our paintsite leaders, Sylvia remarked that the  grounds are almost like an arboretum.
This is the old clocktower in a 9"x7' Cachet spiral-bound watercolor book. the shade patterns changed rapidly, as the clouds moved in and out.
This view of some of the trees is in pen and ink on a 10"x 14" Arches cold-press block. The colors on this piece look awfully wimpy in the scan-they're not quite as pale in person, but I should have pushed them some. My main focus was mixing lots of greens and trying to differentiate among the various kinds of foliage. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

PEO Cover Art

Here's the painting I did for this year's cover of our chapter yearbook. The themes I can use are stars and daisies, so inspiration is hard to come by. Using a photo from a seed catalogue for a reference, I tried to be a little looser than usual and it worked out well. I don't know whether the subtle shading in the petals will be discernable in the scan. Was almost done when I realized I should have been working in portrait format, rather than landscape. I guess the sides will just have to be cropped to make it work. It was done on an Arches 7" x 10" cold press block.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Plein Air at Niles Railroad Museum 3/8/12

While the museum was closed on Thursday, the SCVWS Plein Air group had a beautiful day for wandering around the grounds and painting. Several of us elected to paint this old caboose. I used a tiny 4" x 10" Arches cold-pressed block and a fine-tipped black Faber Castell Pitt pen. Having the outline of the piece delineated and then breaking through the picture plane with the lamppost was something that just came to me as I began ro draw; I like the effect and wilI use it again sometime. Working with pen and ink and washes seems to yield the best results for me when I paint en plein air. I started a second painting of the old depot building, but it will never again see the light of day!
NOTE: I'm happy to say that this little piece was SOLD in June!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

More Maui

Again, Arches 6"x12" cold-pressed block
Here's the second piece I did on the trip. I was sitting in pretty much the same spot as the day before, just turned a bit. It was much sunnier this time-not the gray sky of the previous day. I tried scratching some white into the water-not sure if I should have been more agressive with it. Or should have just hit it with some white gouache later.

Vaca in Hawaii!

6"x12" Arches cold-pressed block
Last week David and I flew to Maui for my birthday. We stayed at the Westin in the Ka'anapali area. It's an older hotel, but the grounds are lovely. I painted  2 pictures as I lounged by the pool on 2 separate afternoons. One of Junior's Award-Winning Mai-tais lets anyone feel like a great painter! I would have liked to go out to the beach to paint, but didn't want to pay $37 to rent 2 chairs and an umbrella for the day, and sitting on the sand would just not have worked for the several hours it would have taken me to get anything done.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Plein Air at Overfelt Gardens

On Thursday I went out to Overfelt Gardens is East San José with the SCVWS Plein Air group. Due to alarm clock issues, I was late and only had time to do a quick small painting of the pond. The ducks and Canada geese were busy and noisy, as always. This piece was done on a 6" x 12" Arches cold pressed block. As usual, my water doesn't look very wet, which is kind of ironic, as it took forever for ther paper to dry!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Red or Read Exhibit

                                                                       Queen of Hearts
                                                                            10" x 14"

Several weeks ago I registered for the upcoming SCVWS show, "Red or Red." At the time I only had an idea for a painting in my head; its transition to paper was rocky, to say the least. I'm sorry to say that after working on it for 2 weeks, the patient could not be saved. It was a murky. overworked mess. Three days ago, I hurriedly scrambled to get this piece done. The cards were originally a rubber stamp I had carved; the practice prints turned out beautifully, but the money shot-the one on my painting- looked like a smear of tar on the paper. I had used acrylic paint for the stamp, so there was no way to eradicate the image. I went back in and tried to paint over it to "fix" it with mixed results. Framed, it looks better than I expected, luckily. Moral of the story: don't make up a name; that's what the word "Untitled" is for!
Be sure to go by the Los Altos Library during the month of February to see 38 other very nice paintings, in addition to mine.