San Pasqual Stables – South Pasadena – Arroyo Seco

“San Pasqual Stables in the Morning” 9 x 12 – oil

This morning I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the San Pasqual Stables in South Pasadena, California for a group paintout. The location was challenging because I don’t frequently do architectural subjects, and morning light is hard to catch because it changes so fast. So, I decided that I was mostly concerned about getting the “color notes” right for the barn, shadow, distant trees and foreground. If I happened to get those spots of color into good shapes, all the better, but I kept my expectations low just in case.

I liked how this came out and do think it represents the feeling of hazy light between 9:30 and 10 in the morning. After that time I worked on refinement of the image rather than trying to “chase the sun” and continue modifying the shadows, color etc. That means that the “bones” of this were laid down in 20 minutes, more or less, and then as I changed shapes and edges I mixed more of the same colors that I already had.

It would have been nice if there had been some people and horses standing around outside the stables, but mostly they were inside or moving through the scene quickly and I didn’t fancy trying to fake one, so I left it alone.

There were two somewhat exciting incidents while I was there 1) a golden eagle was spotted in the vicinity, slowly gliding over the area near a few crows and 2) a big male stallion got loose and came running right near where I was standing, at the side of a corral. Now I don’t know about horses, but I think they usually have people with them – they’re not like dogs that you can just let loose to find their way home. I saw this big guy running toward me and I just froze at my easel, not wanting him to see me as threatening in any way. In a few seconds he turned and went into a corral. A groom came running after him but was clearly keeping his distance so he didn’t spook him. The groom chained the horse in the corral and then he and a few other wranglers approached him gingerly and got a halter on him to lead him back to the barn. That stallion had a lot of attitude – I’m glad he didn’t decide that I was someone to have “issues” with.