Sunday, August 12, 2012

Where I Live

I have had so much techie work lately, and personal business, that painting has been pushed off the map. I am determined to schedule it back in. What gets me excited is to finish a number of plein air paintings and studio paintings that are already started.  In looking at the group, they are all about "where I live".  Many are of the oak and savannah ecosystem of Temecula and the Santa Rosa Plateau.  Others are of eucalyptus groves in Temecula and Fallbrook.  A little further out are beach and marina scenes of the coast, and mountain scenes in Idyllwild and Julian.  They are all about the southern California I live in.  I go up to the Valley to visit my niece and nephew, to Orange County and Laguna environs to check in on my mom, to San Diego and the beaches for paint-outs with the SDAI and CAC.  All of it together encompasses a huge variety. But all of it is Southern California and all of it is where I live.  I see a coherent thread. I'm going to focus on all of this and produce good work.  That is my immediate goal.

First up is a plein air sketch I painted last spring in Meadowview. There is a great sense of light in the sketch. I've done a comp to analyze the design.

There are two large masses of  trees. The design challenge is to make one mass dominant and to give the painting balance without creating symmetry, which can be boring. The two masses of trees are different types of eucalyptus.  

1. The mass to the right is darker in local value of the two and is a cool, blue-green hue. It is further away than the mass to the left.  

2. The mass to the left is lighter in local value and is a warm, yellow-green hue. 

3. The grass is a bright, spring green that is the lightest green value in the picture, but cooler than the trees.

Juggling all of this and creating a sense of distance will be the challenge.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"Lupines and Oak", Santa Rosa Plateau

"Lupines and Oak" by Mary Mulvihill

"Lupines and Oak", oil on canvas, 24 x 20".

The Santa Rosa Plateau is one of my favorite places to paint plein air. "Lupines and Oak" is a studio painting based on a plein air sketch. It was a spring morning at the Plateau.  Spring green grass and lupines were breaking through the dried grass from the previous year.  "Lupines and Oak" will is currently on exhibit at the 15th Annual Santa Rosa Plateau Art Show.  The show closes August 11th.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Edgar Payne and Howard Terpning

I went today to the Howard Terpning exhibit at the Autry and to the Edgar Payne exhibit at the PMCA.  It was a great trip with fellow artists and lovely that Tim drove (thank you, thank you!). I'm going to let the exhibits sink in for awhile. I was surprised by the fact that the Terpning impressed me more than I expected and Payne less. They are both significant arists and I saw some amazing paintings. I wonder if it is partly that Terpning is from my time and Payne painted close to 90 years ago. Representational art has moved along. What seemed revolutionary in Payne's day, is today a jumping off place. 

The personal lesson for me from the day, and one I will paint from tomorrow - take my time, solve the problem presented. Let go of the painting if it doesn't work. But, stick with it until you are sure it doesn't.  Understand what went wrong before you let go. When you see the results from two artists who applied such methodical methods from design to completion, the value of planning and conscious decisions is very apparent. There are no accidents. They made it happen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Santa Rosa Plateau Art Show, July 8th - August 11th

The Santa Rosa Plateau is hosting the 15th Annual Art Show fundraiser. I will be there with my art. The plateau is one of my favorite places to paint plein air. Proceeds from the opening night and art sales will benefit children's education programs at the reserve.

The exhibit is free and runs from July 8th to August 11th, 2012.

The opening night art show reception includes wine and hors d'oeuvres and a concert with the Brewer Boys, "The ArtBeat of Bluegrass". Tickets are $30 and are available online or at the SRPER Visitor Center.

Click the image to enlarge.

Painting on the Santa Rosa Plateau

It was a great day painting on the Santa Rosa Plateau.  Because the majority of us managed to get lost, we did start later than hoped, so the sun was already high and the form a bit flat. There was so much light that the values were all high key.  However, we were there and I told everyone to go for the color spots and paint what they saw. Our biggest problem was umbrellas blowing over in the wind. 

Tim and June on the Plateau with proper art gear!

My painting mid-point; light changed; time to stop.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Strange Light

I let the dogs out this morning around 7:00 a.m.  The sun was breaking through a thick haze and created a strang light. The sky was a deep gray at the horizon, almost stormy looking.  The haze was so thick you could not see the sun, even when looking directly at it.  But, it was there, burning behind the haze and turning the gray a brilliant yellow.  John Carlson says on an overcast day, the moisture in the air holds the light and keeps it from reaching the ground.  So, on an overcast day the the sky is brighter than the earth.  And it was. I could only glance at the yellow gray light and look away. Too bright.  But right next to this, the gray haze turned to blue sky and a white cloud.  Next to each other, at the same time.  The sun was rising quickly and before I could sketch or take notes, it was gone.

That's it. In a nutshell. All wrapped up. Nothing else to say. The frustration of wanting to paint the light.  The color of the light.  It is transitory and ephemeral.  I want to capture it and before I can even begin, it's gone.  

I looked down and Teddy was staring right into the light.  His eyes squinted down to knife-cut slits.  He was still.  Was he looking at the unusual sky or the bird on the fence.  Usually, he would bark.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Plein Air and Miscellaneous

I'm gearing up for a return to plein air.  I'll be out tomorrow, Sunday.  Get in touch if you want to know where.  It's supposed to be in the 80's, after a cold, blustery few weeks.  I'm planning a major painting assault on the wine country, as soon as the vines bud out.  Paint-outs and plein air classes.  Let me know if you want on the list for updates.  I don't post where we're going until after we've been.

I'm painting today on a 20 x 24" landscape of the Sedona red rock.  I started it awhile ago and ran into design problems. Yes, think twice, paint once. Looking at it yesterday, I saw a way out of the impasse.  We'll see.  Dogs walked, check.  Breakfast yogurt down, check.  Palette clean and ready, check. Go.

PS, I want to go back to Sedona. I'm adding it to the paint-bucket list.

The Plateau was beautiful, warm and balmy with a gentle breeze.  The small amount of green in the grass from recent rains made the color palette so different from December.  It was Sunday, so there were horses, dogs and mountain bikes everywhere.  Wonderful.

Wednesday looks like rain, so we may do a studio day or push the paint-out to Thursday or Friday.  Watch this post for details.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Claude Monet at Work

This is footage of Claude Monet painting his water lily pond at Giverny.  He is working on a very large canvas, but notice the two white umbrellas that diffuse the light on his canvas and palette.  The brim of his hat also helps him see color.

Notice how often he looks at the scene.  Each time he looks at the scene he makes only one or two brushstrokes and then looks again.  Observe, observe, observe!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Peter Wileman

I've discovered a new landscape artist, Peter Wileman.  The links below are to the video promos for his two videos.  They are short but he says some true things.  (Things I say!)

Wileman's book is "Painting Light in Oil". He works the design process and pays attention to the abstract composition behind the painting. The bold shapes are reminiscent of Colley Whisson and the subject matter and light are reminiscent of David Curtis. Curtis focuses more on the envelope of light, or atmosphere. The abstract focus of Wileman's paintings give them a very contemporary feel while still being representational. The pictures below click up to a larger size.