On the Breakwater – Daily Painting

Breakwater – Approx 10.5″ x 5.5″ – Watercolor on paper

Sometimes, instead of drawing something from life or a photo, I just like to start painting and see what emerges. This little sketch began with some large juicy strokes of dark colors, applied with a large flat brush. I leaned back and it looked like rocks to me, and some manipulation with a credit card revealed sharp breaks and flat edges. To that I added some water and a sky to make an imaginary scene along a breakwater. This little exercise was a lot of fun to do – no need for underdrawing or attention to specific details – just paint!

Salt Marshes

Salt Marsh 5.5″ x 8″ – oil on canvas, mounted on hardboard

Oh my, it’s 11:30 pm and although I’ve spent part of today finishing up homework for my watercolor class, I didn’t get a complete painting finished yet, so I went to Wet Canvas.com and selected one of the images presented for the weekend all-media event. In this case, a photo of a salt marsh in New Brunswick. This was painted very quickly, which is probably good practice for being decisive about color, value and shape and not to tarry too much, nor fiddle around with a lot of small marks. Do you feel that way about art? Or about something else you enjoy practicing?

I’ve been talking with different people about the daily painting practice and whether or not it’s a burden, an obligation that is kept whether or not we want to. For me, it’s been a joyful experience. I can imagine that it’s the way long-time dedicated runners feel about their sport – you feel incomplete if you DON’T paint.

Two Sweets – Daily Painting

“Two sweets” 5 1/8″ x 7 1/8″
Oil on canvas mounted on hardboard. Available.

While I finish up my larger painting, here’s a little one for today – two chocolates from Trader Joes. They were presented as pralines, but they are actually milk chocolate. The red ones have an amaretto flavor, the silver ones are tiramisu and chocolate. Very very delicious.

Today, on the way back from lunch, I spent some time looking at liquidambar trees. We have an assignment in our watercolor class to study trees very carefully this week, no doubt in preparation for some tree painting on Saturday. I like drawing trees and painting them as well. I guess you just can’t study something too much, can you? I thought I might be bored by the tree drawing assignment because I paint trees so often, but I’m finding, as I expected, that nothing dealing with art is boring to me. At least not now. Well, washing brushes is sort of boring, and gessoing canvases, but the creating part is endlessly enjoyable.

Hilltop Haven – Daily Painting

Hilltop Haven – 2.5″ x 3.5″ watercolor on illustration board with watercolor pencil accents

I like painting these miniature scenes of rural peace. The small size forces me to simplify the message.

I spent the remainder of my painting time yesterday working on a bigger oil painting 11 x 14, which I hope will be finished tomorrow.

Camellia Study

Camellia Study – 7.5″ x 6″ – watercolor on paper

It’s camellia season at Descanso Gardens again. Here’s a quick study I did of one of the countless blooms in the massive camellia forest.
Yesterday we went to the Irvine Museum to see the last day of the exhibit “Majestic California.” The museum will now be closed for a week while they hang their new show of paintings representing spring in California. All this nature viewing has me inspired to paint, paint, paint.

The colors used here were mostly thalo blue, new gamboge, opera, payne’s gray, and a few small touches of colored pencil in the stamen area.

Chapparal Road – Daily Painting

Chapparal Road – 2.5 in x 3.5 in – ACEO – oil on gessoed matboard

Click to bid

This miniature oil painting was inspired by our recent trip up to Idyllwild. Along the way we passed through an area of chaparral, at the edge of the pine forest. Within a few hundred feet this sagebrush and scrub began to give way to tall pines such as those I painted earlier in Idylllwild Slope.

One thing that I’ve discovered by painting oils this small (the size of a sports trading card) is that it prevents me from getting too fussy with tiny details. I suppose it would be the equivalent of painting with large brushes on a 9 x 12 canvas. It’s all a matter of scale. Painting this small forces me to make decisions about broad shapes and values, and not to paint every leaf on the tree. (Well, some of them, but not all.) It would make a swell over the sofa painting if you had a very small sofa!

Here it is approximately actual size. Fortunately I am very nearsighted, which makes it easier to paint closeup than far away.

Squeaky Clean – Daily Painting

“Squeaky Clean” – 5″ x 7″ – oil on canvasboard

Fresh off the easel … this is our upstairs bathroom soapdish, lathered up to give it a little more interest. I think it’s Irish Spring but I couldn’t be sure. The words had worn off.

I thought the bubbles were going to be the most difficult part to paint, but it didn’t turn out that way. The biggest challenge was the dish itself, which is probably a hand built and hand painted, with strange dips and turns and curves along the fluted edge.
But, you know, I like a challenge, so it was actually kind of fun.

A Young Hare – Daily Painting

Young Hare – 4″ x 4″ watercolor on Arches paper
Click to bid

I had a lot of fun with this one – painting layer upon layer of very transparent glazes to build up the suggestion of fur.
Many years ago, my husband and I read Watership Down at the same time, passing the book back and forth as we’d read chapters in our spare time. I can imagine that this might be Fiver or one of the other watchful young rabbits.

Here’s a closeup of the head:

Idyllwild Slope – Daily Painting

Idyllwild Slope – 9 x 12 – oil on canvasboard

This past weekend we had the opportunity to go to the Palm Springs International Film Festival for a work-related project, and we stayed for the weekend, enjoying the desert as well as the nearby mountain village of Idyllwild. They had a little snowfall a few weeks ago which left about six inches on the ground. I really hoped to see drifts of snow, but I’m happy with any snow that I can get – it’s been very warm in So. Cal, and there’s been little rainfall. All that may change soon as I hear we’re in an El Nino year. But for the moment we’re long on wind and sand and short on snow.

I haven’t painted rocks or snow recently, so this gave me an opportunity to try something out of the usual. I had a pretty good time gauging the color of snow in sun vs. in shade, as well as experimenting with the shapes and colors of the rocky outcropping.

Weekend update …

Uncategorized | January 8, 2007 | By

I was away for a long weekend of movies, art and photography in Palm Springs and environs. New art coming up soon, please check back later Monday after I get some things scanned. Thanks, Karen.