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?
Cambria Lupine Flowers
8 x 6″ oil
Last spring, when we were in Central California with the California Art Club, we wandered through the countryside in search of wildflowers to paint. We came upon this beautiful hillside just covered with lupine and small orange flowers. The scent of the lupine was heady and I think the bees must have been drunk with it. As I painted this small study there was a constant buzzing sound around me. This study will provide information for a larger painting.
9 x 12 oil
Not too long ago I was at a botanical garden for an art show and a wedding was about to take place. It seemed like a beautiful romantic scene to paint, so we asked the wedding party if they would allow me to paint discreetly from the side. They graciously said yes and this was the result. The framed painting was delivered today to family members who are giving it as a gift. (You’ll notice I’m not mentioning the name of the garden or the family. Shhh, it’s a surprise.)
Usually when I do a plein air painting I try to portray an exact moment as it is – a shadow pattern at a specific time, a certain quality of light. Wedding paintings are somewhat different in that they are idealized renditions of an entire event. In this painting, by the time the bride and groom arrived after taking their pictures, there was little light left on plaza. Some of the guests said they were sorry that the wildflowers in the background were not blooming as they had been a month before. I told them – in my painting they’ll be blooming. Milford Zornes, the watercolorist, once said “paint it the way it could be.” When it comes to event painting, that is very good advice.
8 x 10 oil on canvas panel
Juried into SoCal PAPA’s Newport Back Bay Show – July 23-25, Muth Interpretive Center, Newport Beach
This was painted in Rigel Park in Newport, about a month or so ago, for the SoCal Plein Air Painters Assn. biennial show and sale which will be taking place this weekend. The artists reception is 6-9 pm Friday evening. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll attend.
This small painting was challenging to do not only because of the changing light at sunset but also because the tide was coming in and the patterns of water among the estuary sand bars didn’t stay the same for long.
“Defiance of Brunhilde”
12 x 16 oil on linen panel
This portrait was painted in conjunction with the performance of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, which is in its final week in Los Angeles. The model for this painting was a high school student in Orange County, who may have been about the same age as the noted Valkyrie.
Unfortunately the lighting on the model in my position was flat front-lit, and I was unable to move nor make changes to the lighting. Still, it was a good exercise and I”m satisfied with the outcome of the project. My portrait of Wotan (below) is currently hanging at the Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels until July 16.
Memorial Day Concert, 2010
(La Canada Flintridge, featuring Captain Cardiac and the Coronaries)
8 x 10
plein air oil painting
This painting is now SOLD but I have many others for sale…..
Ah, the beginning of summer, and the summer Music in the Park series in my hometown, La Canada Flintridge. I enjoyed painting this scene while visiting with picnickers and others who were out savoring the warm day. The first act, Misplaced Priorities, energized the audience and set the stage for the second act, Captain Cardiac and the Coronaries. Both 50s-60s rock bands were enthusiastically received. In front of the gazebo/bandshell, dancers of all ages found their groove.
When I was growing up, I couldn’t imagine having fun dancing to the same music my grandparents liked. But old time rock and roll was appreciated that day by 70-somethings and 5 year olds alike.
It was good to see so many friends and neighbors out relaxing. Thanks to the LCF Chamber of Commerce for making Fiesta Days a wonderful event once again.
Moonstone Beach Sunset
6 x 8″ plein air study
oil on linen panel
This past week I was up in Central California for a California Art Club paintout on San Luis Obispo Land Conservancy lands. The locations were beautiful, but we got rained out inland several days in a row. One day we headed for the coastline where the weather was very cold and windy but clear. At sunset I painted this small study.
How windy was it? Check out the front of my broad-brimmed hat, below. It doesn’t normally flip up in the air like that. It was also too windy to use my easel on a tripod so I held my EasyL easel on my lap. A furniture pad provided some padding and protection from the cold. Brrrrr. We finished off the evening with a dinner at a nearby Moonstone Beach restaurant, then headed back to our motel in SLO, to rest up for another day.
“Pasadena Arroyo Bridges – featuring the Colorado Street Bridge”
9 x 12 oil
This plein air painting was done about a month ago and I thought I had posted it to my blog but just realized that I had not. So, here it is. It was painted as part of a paint out for the California Art Club.
The viewpoint is from the east side of the arroyo, near the Casita del Arroyo, looking westward.
And speaking of the CAC, we had a fantastic time last night at the 100th anniversary celebration party of the California Art Club, held at the California Club in downtown LA. The champagne flowed freely and it was fun to see so many early California impressionist paintings decorating the walls of the club, as well as some paintings by some new California masters. It was a pleasure seeing so many old friends and making some new ones, too. No other organization does so much to preserve and promote the beauty of California as portrayed through traditional fine art, and I am always pleased to take part in their many activities. If you’re a traditional fine artist, you really should join.
These are bittersweet times for us, with many mixed emotions. On one hand I’m blessed with so many new opportunities related to art, including my show at the Bowers Museum which will hang this Friday the 16th. On the other hand our almost 12 year old American bulldog Ripley has suddenly become seriously ill and we will probably need to say goodbye in a few days. Feeling intense joy and grief is part of life, and as the wise man said … “this too shall pass …” both the very good and the very sad. I pray for equanimity during these times, savoring good memories of the past and holding optimistic expectations for the future.
In a Poppy Garden
8 x 6″ plein air painting
oil on panel
Late yesterday afternoon, after painting at Descanso, we went for a walk in Pasadena and I took a pre-sunset hour or so to paint this small study of a beautiful Mediterranean garden in Pasadena on Arlington St, just off Orange Grove.
Along with poppies we saw blooming ceanothus, apricot mallows, climbing roses, penstemons, irises, bulbines and many other drought-tolerant Mediterranean and California plants. All inspiring as we convert one of our yards into a drought tolerant garden. While we were there we had the chance to meet Betty and Charles McKenney, the founders of this wonderful city refuge, and to learn about some of the plants and the history of the project. I’ve been a visitor to the garden many times in the past three years, but getting to meet the folks behind it was a special treat. The garden is continuing work in progress and it’s delightful to see its evolution.
The tulips are up at Descanso, and blooming merrily. When I was painting there a few days ago, I heard that although they planted tens of thousands, that raccoons dug up some of the bulbs, so the display is not as robust as they had hoped. The good news is there was no sign of deer grazing, so they must have shooed them out of the gardens or the blooms would be nipped off.
This is a good time to see the spring bulb show if you’ve never been to the gardens. In addition to the tulip display there are also foxgloves, azaleas, clivia, lilacs (both California native – ceanothus – and the traditional syringas) and some camellias still blooming. The wildflower meadow on the south side of the garden is beautiful now, too, as is the Japanese garden.
No wonder Descanso Gardens are becoming such a popular wedding location – it really is magical and romantic looking in the spring.