“May at Malibu Creek”
11 x 14 pastel on board
This week has been another week of preparation for a show – this Sunday, June 1 at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. So I haven’t had a lot of extra time for painting but I will try to make up for it, soon.
This is another favorite scene of mine from Malibu Creek State Park. The long lazy trail winds back through the spring grasses, which are beginning to turn golden here and there. Wildflowers decorate the hillsides with swaths of color, and the afternoon glow kisses the chapparal-covered mountainsides.
I was reading a website recently that was extolling the beauty of the Santa Monica Mountains. This area is so close to urban Los Angeles, yet it might as well be out in the wilderness. There is so much natural texture and beauty here – a painter’s delight.
The other day I was sitting in the car in the parking lot while my husband ran into OSH for a few hardware bits. Rather than wrap myself up in an art magazine, I just gazed for a long time at the Verdugo Hills and the clouds drifting above it. I challenged myself to see as many colors and values as I could. Art is not only made with brush or pastel in hand. Sometimes it gestates by just our attentive seeing.
“Dreamy Drifting at Malibu Creek” – 11 x 14 – pastel on board
Today I had the pleasure of taking a workshop with master pastellist Bruce Trentham, and this was the result. I had missed a demo by him several months ago, so this was a good opportunity to see him at work.
It was surprisingly similar to working in oil – much more than watercolor. The pigment is formed into sticks rather than being applied with a brush, but the manner of working – from dark to light and using opaque layers in a series of refinements and corrections – felt very familiar.
I think that I will be exploring pastel more – not to the exclusion of oil and watercolor, of course – but as a way to treat a subject quickly and in a painterly way.
When it comes right down to it, most of painting is about composition, value, shape, color and so forth. Whether one uses a brush or a pastel stick is not the main thing – and the principles of painting are the same for all color media that I’ve experienced so far.
For this painting I used a variety of different brands of pastel – from hard square ones to extremely soft and buttery ones. Pastel pencils helped with ome of the fine line work of the branches.
And yes, a pastel work is generally called a painting, not a drawing!
“Laguna Beach Reflections (at Crescent Cove)”
14 x 18 oil on canvas
If you would like to find out if this painting is still available for sale…..
(I have more Laguna paintings, please see My seascapes page
For all of your folks who visited me over the weekend at Sierra Madre, here’s how the painting turned out that I was working on when you stopped by.
I had a great time painting there and the cool scene seemed to help me tolerate the stifling heat.
This scene was inspired by my visit to Laguna Beach a month or so ago. What attracted me the most were the reflections in the sand, revealed for just moments as each wave receded. I’ve considered adding a few sea birds to this, either a sandpiper on the shore or a few gulls. What do you think?
I can hardly wait to go back there and paint with those cool ocean breezes.
16 x 20 oil on canvas
Here’s another recent painting of one of my favorite new scenic haunts – the harbor at Dana Point. This scene is just outside of the breakwater, not far from the Ocean Institute.
I’m tired but content today at the end of a long weekend. Tomorrow I begin work on a few new paintings for upcoming exhibits. But first, a good night’s sleep. Thanks to all the folks who stopped by to visit – it was a hotter ‘n you know what weekend with temps in the high 90s, but we managed to survive and have a great time.
14 x 18 oil on canvas
SOLD to a collector from Claremont
So here’s the other painting that was accepted into the California Art Club show at the Women’s City Club in Pasadena.
It represents a few moments just before sunset in California’s Central Coast, not far from Paso Robles. I am just thrilled to be in the show for the second consecutive time, on this occasion with two entries, one watercolor, and one oil. (See day before yesterday for my watercolor portrait, “Strength is Beautiful.”
My objective here was to show a more traditional view of Natural Beauty, that of California’s scenic splendor. I thought about choosing one of the frequently selected wonders, like Yosemite or the Sierras, but this commonplace scene of oak woodlands seemed to represent beauty just as well. Perhaps beauty truly is all around us, if we just have eyes to see.
The painting will be displayed for sale at the Women’s City Club in Pasadena until late November.
Come see me this weekend if you’re in the Pasadena area. I’ll be bringing more than 40 original oil paintings and watercolors, plus some prints and cards. The park is shady so don’t let the weather keep you away! If you love art you won’t want to miss this once a year event!
“Strength is Beautiful” 15 x 22 watercolor
Yesterday I got the very good news that this painting (and an oil painting landscape, which I will post soon) has been accepted into the next California Art Club show at the Women’s City Club in Pasadena. The show will run for six months beginning Saturday, June 23 with an artists’ reception on July 12.
I am absolutely thrilled to have this portrait included. The theme of the show is Natural Beauty and I love the look of beauty and strength in her face, which I attempted to capture in transparent watercolor. I found it challenging to paint African-American skin tones because there is such a wide range of values. The light-struck side of her face is quite pale, but the deep shadowed side is rich with color. Making the transition work was the objective, without resorting to using many small brushstrokes and ‘overworking’ it. Her beautiful wavy hair was the most fun to paint as I used negative painting to separate the tendrils. I chose a blue background for this lovely woman because I thought the blue would be a good complement to the rich warm browns of her complexion. Her garment was left understated as all the attention is really on her face.
Well, that’s about all I can think to say about it, but if you have any questions about it, please feel free to ask.
And don’t forget – this weekend … The Sierra Madre Art Fair in Sierra Madre’s Memorial Park 9:30 -6 Sat and 9:30-5 Sunday.
Spring Medley – 11 x 15 – mixed media
Here’s a painting that combines both watercolor and acrylic – one for its transparency, the other for its opacity – each used to its best advantage (in my opinion!)
It was inspired by a photo I took at the Anza Borrego State Park in N. San Diego County when we went there to look at the wildflower bloom several weeks ago (better make that months ago!) What attracted me to this scene was the contrast of textures – the hard rocks and the soft desert flowers, plus the contrast of shadows and bright sunlight.
Right now I’m in final preparations for the Sierra Madre show. All of the pictures (more than 35!) are in their frames, although I don’t think I have enough space in my booth to display them all at once – so I’m going to have to make some hard choices.
In addition I have a number of matted but unframed watercolors, like this one, which will be in a bin for people to look through.
“El Matador State Beach, Malibu”
12 x 16 in. – oil on canvas
The beautiful eroded cliffs, with their sinuous curves attracted me to this scene at El Matador State Beach in Malibu, just a little bit north of Point Dume, which I have painted on several other occasions. It’s a hike to get down to the beach, but worth the trip. You park in a small lot at the top of the bluff then follow a trail to a staircase that can be covered with sand and is more than a little slippery.
I might be taking this painting to the annual Sierra Madre Art Festival this coming weekend May 17-18 in Sierra Madre, CA, northeast of Pasadena. Look for me in space 34 if you’ll be going there.
Now I’ve got to get back to framing!
“Huntington Hotel Palms” – 9 x 12 oil on canvas
It was a picture perfect day in Southern California, although it didn’t start out that way. We had been getting a little early taste of “June Gloom” which meant that a low marine layer hovered over much of the southland until it burned off around 12:30. I had anticipated this happening, so I didn’t start to paint the sky until afternoon – I spent my time blocking in the trees, lawn and palms, knowing that I could change the color to represent the warm light when the sun came out. A purple jacaranda tree had started blooming, and some bird of paradise plants provided welcome contrast to all the green.
We arrived around 10:30 and I found my chosen spot on the Terrace balcony – right outside the tea room. I had a panoramic view of the great lawn and this clump of palms attracted my attention. The paintout was organized by the Laura Segil Gallery as a kickoff to the Huntington Artist in Residence program. One of the most enjoyable parts of the day was taking time to chat with all the passersby who were strolling after Mothers’ Day brunch or perhaps were guests of the hotel. The hotel is the former Ritz Carlton, but is now part of the Langham Hotel chain.
Altogether, a delightful way to spend the day. Since my two kids are out of town, we will defer Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days (and a passel of birthdays) until we are all together again sometime in June. But they did send me a beautiful big bouquet of roses which I adore.