11 x 14 inches – oil on canvas
This is a plein air painting that I did a few years ago, and somehow it escaped being photographed and posted to my blog. A recent conversation prompted me to revisit it and I discovered that it was missing from my site.
Not too long ago we renewed our Huntington membership and I’m looking forward to visiting again when the camellias are in bloom. On a trip a few weeks ago, they had a California landscape exhibit which I enjoyed, along with other permanent collection work in the Paul and Heather Sturt Haaga gallery. If you live in Southern California and you’re not a member of the Huntington, what are you waiting for?
Courtyard Wedding Reception, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008 at the Huntington Langham Hotel
Original plein air painting, 9 x 12 oil on linen on board
This past Saturday I had the pleasure of painting at the Huntington Langham Hotel in San Marino as a participant in an “artist in residence” program. I was the participant sponsored by the Segil Fine Art gallery in Monrovia. Because a wedding reception was planned for the early evening, I passed the afternoon painting indoors and brought a photo reference to work from. As night fell, wedding guests filtered in from the ceremony which was held in the garden. Although my painting time was up, I couldn’t leave, transfixed by the beautiful party. Within a short period of time it became very difficult to see the guests, so I used a little imagination to fill in the spaces and to make up for my myopia.
I don’t know the happy couple but perhaps some day they will google their wedding date and the name of the Huntington Hotel and find this memory of a very special occasion, and I hope it will bring them a smile. I think I heard someone say that the bride grew up in Shanghai, but that was only a snippet of a conversation overheard in passing.
And yes, I would love to do this again. So if you’re planning a wedding and want a plein air painter to create a unique fine art memory of your event – in a garden, a meadow, a beach or any special place, please feel free to ask.
16 x 20 oil on canvas
The Japanese Garden at the Huntington Library, Gallery and Botanical Gardens – in all its autumn glory. This painting is now being shown at the Chevy Chase Country Club in a special show themed “The Artist Travels.” Some of our paintings are from far away lands and others just evoke the feeling of distant lands. If you’re in Los Angeles, come join us at our reception this Friday, May 9, from 4 to 6 pm.
And speaking of shows, please come say hello May 17-18 at the Sierra Madre Art in the Park event, the weekend after next. I’ll have a lot of new work to show, plus prints and cards as well.
Other local must-sees if you’re in LA.
Visit the John Salminen exhibit at the San Marino Gallery in Pasadena. John is a spectacular watercolorist and his show is a visual feast. Design is his forte, and although his watercolors are very detailed and realistic, somehow they are abstract at the same time. The San Marino Gallery is at 70 N. Raymond Ave.
See the Gold Medal Show of the California Art Club at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Hundreds of oustanding paintings will be on display daily for another week and a half or so.
Pink Magnolia – Huntington Gardens
16 x 20 oil on canvas
This is another new painting I’m taking to the Huntington for Art Matters (see yesterday’s post for information on the event this coming weekend.
In the spring, the Huntington magnolias are a sight to behold. Their delicacy reminds me of the inside of pink conch shells. They are the very emblem of the new season. My objective in this painting was to focus on one unfolding blossom – a plant portrait, so to speak. By using different edge softness and manipulating color it was my goal to make the bloom look as though it was 3D, breaking through the picture plane, enticing the viewer to draw closer.
One of these days I’m going to have to get a small pink magnolia for our garden. We used to have a huge tree that bore white blossoms, but it died due to an oak fungus that must have been dormant in the soil.
So, magnolias are very dear to my heart. I hope this one will go to another magnolia lover.
“White Magnolias” 16 x 20 oil on canvas
SOLD at the Art Matters show
The moment I saw these beauties at the Huntington Gardens and Library, I just knew that I had to paint them. They were luminous in the morning light – exactly the kind of subject matter that excites me. This will be one of the paintings that I am bringing to the Art Matters show, which opens this Friday night, May 2 at the Huntington in San Marino. Friday night is a special ticketed event. The show will be open to the general public with gardens admission on Saturday and Sunday. This is also a lot “tighter” than many of the paintings I’ve been doing of late, but the subject matter seemed to require it. I have another botanical which will be there for the show and I’ll post it soon, along with some other paintings.
Last Saturday night I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Gold Medal show of the California Art Club at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. What an exquisite treat to be around such beautiful works. I will be returning many many times in the next few weeks to savor the show while it is still hanging. A number of my painter friends have works in the show. Almost everyone who attended said it was the best one ever.
While I work on some large paintings, here’s a small watercolor sketch of a lion dog, also known as a foo dog. It is one of two guardians of the new Chinese garden, opening very soon at the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino. According to this article the one I drew is the female because she has a cub underneath her paw. The pair of foo dogs stand by the pathway that leads to the new feature of these beautiful gardens.
Oak and Aloes – 9 x 12 oil on canvas
In the desert garden area of Huntington Botanical Gardens there is a mature live oak tree surrounded by exotic desert and tropical plants, many of which have an origin in South Africa. Winter is the time for aloes to bloom – and their red flower stalks are holiday cheerful amidst the green of succulents and cacti. Nature puts on a fabulous show every day of the year.
An epiphyllum (orchid cactus) nestled between the trunk and the branches – but they will bloom much later in the year.
In Southern California we are finally in the middle of autumn. Liquidambar trees are turning, the gingkos are fully yellow, sycamores are a blend of green and gold and some trees are already bare. It takes us a long time to get around to the seasons, but we try to do a good job with it when we do.
Fall at the Huntington – 9 x 12 oil on canvas on hardboard
In Southern California sometimes our seasons get all mixed up. Summer flowers are still blooming while deciduous trees have already lost their leaves. This tree stands outside a gallery at Huntington Gardens, and is in the process of losing its finery. Evergreens will keep the gardens looking lush and beautiful year round – from the tall conifers and deodars to cypresses and olives, like the little olive tree that stands guard on the other side of the doorway.
I’m still not feeling well, but it hasn’t put a damper on my desire to make art. I just have to do it indoors rather than painting en plein air for now.
“Climbing Rose” 5 x 7 oil on canvas on board
This is the second in what will be an ongoing series of rose portraits – at least as long as they keep blooming, which will probably be a few more weeks from the looks of things at Huntington Gardens and Descanso Gardens. I think it’s the warm weather that is encouraging this last flush to be so abundant. This climber was twirling itself around a trellis without a care in the world.
Here we are eagerly anticipating the return of our daughter from business school in Chicago. We’re clearing away the residue of months of back to back art shows and getting seriously organized until the next wave begins. Any day now I’ll have to give some attention to my garden which has been sorely neglected. Ironic, that. I spend more time painting flowers than pruning my own. If only there were a way to add an extra 10-12 hours a day I’d be just fine.
November Dawn (Scott Gallery -Huntington Gardens) 12 x 16 oil on canvas
This studio painting depicting dawn in the Shakespeare Garden is based on plein sketches and photos I’ve taken at the Huntington. In fact, I’ve never been there at dawn, but I’ve taken some liberties with a noon photo (below) to imagine how it must look at the peak of fall bloom.
Changing the time of day and angle of the sun was a real exercise in thinking about color, shadows and so on because I had no reference to rely on. I remembered that white marble often glows pink in the morning, but there are touches of warm, too. To break up the wide expanse of the wall I invented shadows, but then I had to think about what color they would be. The same is true of the shadows of the side of the building – where would they cast shadows? The sky is different at dawn. Darker at the top than at the horizon (as usual) but it is warmer in the direction of the sun. So those colors needed to be softly blended to suggest the right atmosphere for that time of day.
I find this kind of exercise a lot of fun because it helps me to break out of painting that is just copying. This can be useful for plein air painting, too. For example, if you are a distance from your subject and you know there’s a shadow there but you can’t see it, you can use imagination and logic to decide what color to paint it.