Incoming Tide (at Dana Point) 16 x 20 – oil on canvas
OK, I’ll say it. This is probably one of my favorite paintings so far, for several reasons. I like the color, the composition, but mostly I like the energy and action of it and how it reminds me of being there. It’s good sized (for me) and was not painted on location but in the studio after a day of studying the waves on location. My reference photo was tempered with my very vivid memory of what the rock looked like, how the waves moved, the feeling of the day, the spray of the surf. And I can hardly wait to get back to the ocean to study some more.
This brings me back to the Jerry Stitt watercolor demo I went to a few months ago. He said instead of painting things, paint what the things are doing. In this painting the rocks are thrusting up, the waves are curling with energy as they rush forward, the water is pulling under the wave, swirling. The spray is flying, whipped by the wind. The distant horizon water is lying flat (at least at this distance.) The clouds have motion in the sky, but not so much that they are competing with the waves for attention. The brushstrokes all seek to express this movement. I hope that the viewer can feel my act of painting this, and in so doing participate in my experience of being there when I observed the scene.
“California Coast” (near Big Sur) 16 x 20 oil on canvas
Click to enlarge to higher resolution image
When we were first married, young and footloose, my husband and I loved to travel up and down California on photo safaris. One of our favorite places was the coastline. So it’s not surprising that it would be a favorite subject mine for painting, also.
A few days ago we spent hours on beaches in Orange County, just watching the surf and studying how the color changes with the passage of time. The results of those studies will be seen here soon.
“Wildflower Wonderland” 12 x 16 oil
This year promises to have an extraordinary crop of wildflowers due to the heavy rains we enjoyed for part of the winter. The desert bloom is under way and will continue for several more weeks.
“Spring Memories” 12 x 16 oil on canvas
Yes, spring is here – the hillsides covered with fresh green grass, the birds singing in every tree, and gentle breezes replacing the harsher winds of winter. Well, as harsh as it gets in Southern California – which is not much, all things considered.
This particular scene is a pathway in Descanso Gardens. But it could be just about anywhere in So. Cal this time of year.
Still, we welcome springtime as does everyone else. The wildflowers have already begun blooming and I’m looking forward to some poppy painting soon.
Fun Zone – 20″ x 22″ – watercolor on paper
Well, I didn’t think it could happen two years in a row, and with such different styles and subject matter, but, happily, it did. I just got my notification in the mail that this painting has been accepted to the 2008 National Watercolor Society All Member show, opening April 19 at the VIVA Gallery in Sherman Oaks, Calif. It is an amalgamation of different scenes at the LA County Fair in Pomona, including the Tilt a Whirl, Ferris Wheel and several other rides. This is another one of those projects that I was busily painting over the past few months and that I said I’d share when the time was right. So if I missed some days with daily paintings, now you know why.
It was a whole lot of fun to paint (I hope that comes through!) and takes me back to the days when I was an advertising group head and copywriter for the agency that had the fair account. I still enjoy going there to watch the people, animals, shows and more. I didn’t get there last year because it coincided with our Descanso show, but maybe this year!
For any of you who are newer readers of this blog, here was my painting in the 2007 NWS all member show.
A Spring Walk – 9 x 12 – watercolor sketch
This one is a little bit from real life, and a little bit from imagination. I embellished the wildflower strewn meadows just a tad beyond reality, but if you don’t tell, I won’t.
Ah, springtime. Our peach tree is in bloom, magnolias are covered with blossoms and the mustard is starting to blanket whole hillsides in a warm yellow glow. I’m looking forward to getting out and painting again soon, now that the rush to deliver paintings to shows is almost over. I have more deadlines ahead of me for other shows yet on the horizon, but there is a bit of a breather, at least.
And speaking of shows, the “Warm Welcome” watercolor of the Chevy Chase clubhouse garden and front door was purchased today, two days before the opening reception. I am very pleased and hope that the new owner enjoys it as much as I did painting it, although it will hang for the duration of the show. I hope this is a good omen for the rest of the show.
Someone asked me the other day if I felt stress painting to deadlines for shows and competitions. I thought for a moment and realized, yes, I feel stress, but it doesn’t feel like a negative pressure – just busy-ness. It causes me to focus and be deliberate about what I’m doing, but it’s not a bad feeling. Quite the contrary!
Did you know that there are actually two kinds of stress? One, the one we think of commonly, is actually distress. It makes us feel bad. The other kind of stress, associated with good things, is called “eustress.” Here’s a link, look it up! So when I’m painting to a deadline, I feel eustress and it actually energizes me. I think this is the kind of stress people refer to when they say “I do my best work under pressure.” Distress, on the other hand, tends to paralyze you and make you lose focus and confidence. That kind of stress makes you avoid the project instead of looking forward to the next one. So, as a long way of answering, I do feel stress, but it’s the kind that makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning and get to work, not to pull the covers over my head!
And since it’s past midnight right now, I think I’ll go pull the covers over my head and hopefully dream about walking down that spring path.
“Canyon Dreams (view from Olympic Road)” – 12 x 16 oil on canvas
This is another in my series of paintings I’ll be taking to the Chevy Chase Country club for the Artists of the Canyon show beginning this Friday, March 14.
Until I started working on this project, there were areas within 6-7 miles of our house that I had never explored, and this is one of them. It’s a view from a trail/fire road that winds up a hillside off of Chevy Chase Drive. When the clouds clear and the sun comes out, it’s a wonderful sight. With the tile roofs, cypress trees and houses in pastel colors, I can imagine it’s somewhere in a Mediterranean setting. But it’s actually right here, just a short drive away.
Under Autumn Skies – 11″ x 14″ oil on canvas – Click to enlarge
New California Art Club Show
Yesterday I got official notification that these two paintings have been accepted into a special exhibition of the California Art Club featuring paintings of the Arroyo Seco area of Pasadena. These paintings are of the northernmost part of the Arroyo, near JPL and Devils Gate Dam, on the border of La Canada Flintridge, my home town.
The show will be hung in the Pasadena Public Library and will open Friday night, March 14 (this Friday) and continue through March 30.
Reception is from 6 to 10 pm and artists will be present to chat with. The show is part of Pasadena’s bi-annual ArtNight – a great event in which all of Pasadena’s many museums and concert venues are open, free, for the evening. Shuttle buses take art lovers around to all the locations so you don’t have to keep driving and parking. More information about ArtNight can be found here.
So, if you’re in LA or especially if you live near Pasadena, you should really get out and enjoy this special evening of art, music and more. And if you get by the Pasadena Library, stop by and say hi.
Earlier that same evening, I’ll be at the Chevy Chase Country Club for the opening of another show featuring paintings of the club, canyon and surrounds. More details about that (and pictures) in a day or two.
Now you know why I’ve been saying I’ve been crazy busy for the past month or so!
Eaton Canyon Stream – 9 x 12 oil on canvas on board
Eaton Canyon, in Altadena (near Pasadena, California) is running with water this time of year. This painting is of the east side of the riverbed, looking southward.
Hispanic Man – 8 x 10″ oil on canvas
No, I am not putting landscape painting aside; I will continue with it as always, but I am interested in doing some portrait painting in oil, which has an entirely different feel and way of working than portraiture in watercolor. This was painted in one session, starting with a sketch and progressing until all of the canvas was covered with paint. I don’t know this man; he was listening to a speaker at an outdoor event and I liked the look of his face.