Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Painting on the Maine Coast

"Pemaquid Point Lighthouse"
11 x 14
New Harbor, Maine

While in Maine with my art friend, Joan, from Connecticut, we stayed at Hotel Pemaquid, a delightful property where Skip Lawrence does summer workshops. In fact, we chatted with Skip the day after he completed a two-week session. Next to the lovely Pemaquid Lighthouse is a sweet gift shop/restaurant where we took most of our meals. On our best sunny day we sat at a picnic table outside the restaurant and painted the lighthouse scene, Joan with oils and me with watercolor. As we painted, many people stopped by to chat, nicely without being intrusive.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Morning Light Figurative Painting

"Morning Light"
20 x 30

I decided to enter the "Anything Goes" exhibit by the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society at the Norton Gallery in Palo Alto in August. The publicity photo was due the end of June. Using one of my sketches from the Don Andrews workshop, I developed the figure and added an ethereal background. This painting is an interpretation of the figure rather than a realistic rendering of the model, Christina.

Tomorrow I will leave for Vermont and Maine. A dear friend and I will be painting in Maine for a week and then I will return to the Paquet Family Farm for the Centennial celebration. Bob will not be going with me this time. This trip will give me some additional time with family, grandchildren, and friends. I will likely not be posting until I return.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Finished "Melissa in the Morning"

"Melissa in the Morning"
22" x 30"

On Thursday evening's Southside Art Club session, I worked some more on this painting from the final day of the Don Andrew's Figurative workshop. This morning I added a few finishing touches. You can see my earlier post here. You will notice that I darkened the area next to the light on the face and shoulders. I added the suggestion of Melissa's hair piled on top of her head, and some red hues in the background on the left. My goal was to make this painting a suggestion of Melissa's beauty rather than total realism. I particularly used the design elements of shape, value, and color, along with edge treatments to achieve my goal.

I found working from life challenging and rewarding. Melissa is an excellent model and I have drawn her before at the Los Gatos Art Museum's Tuesday life drawing sessions arranged by Nancy. Nancy also took Don Andrew's class and we spent a few lunch hours together in wonderful conversation. A new friend, Patty, joined the fun. I love the connections I make among the local artists when I do art related activities. Truly our area is blessed with some very fine artists.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Memories of Autumns Past

"Indian Summer"
11" x 14"
St. Johnsbury, VT

This is a painting done several years ago from a snapshot I took one autumn while visiting my family in Vermont. The scene is in the "Northeast Kingdom" near the Canadian border. That day my friend and neighbor, Pam, and I were headed to Montreal. This lovely scene beside the road caught our attention. The colors were breathtakingly beautiful. A friend purchased this painting at my Open Studio for his wife for her birthday.

The "Northeast Kingdom" is the most rural part of the tiny state of Vermont and the term was coined by a famous Senator, George Aiken, who served in the US Senate for many years. The name is now forever associated with the area. My son, Jeff, and family live in the Kingdom. Howard Frank Mosher is a well-known author in that area and really captures the independent, and sometimes quirky, nature of the people who reside there. I now drop into the tiny bookstore, Green Mountain Books and Prints in Lyndonville, on my visits. The place is crammed to the ceiling with new and used books. I always buy a Mosher book. No Barnes and Noble in the Kingdom -- they couldn't survive on its modest population (621,270 in the entire state). I always check the used art books. One time I purchased a wonderful book on Andrew Wyeth for very few dollars. I always feel like I've stepped through the doors into a piece of Americana.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Japanese Friendship Gardens

"Japanese Friendship Gardens"
9" x 12"
San Jose, California

Today I painted plein air with the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society. Our location was the lovely Japanese Friendship Gardens with a couple large pools with ducks, geese, and koi, waterfalls, a bridge, and many Asian structures. I find that a simple sketch for a large scene like this is the best way to spend my time. I sat in the shade next to the pond on a perfect sunny day. It doesn't get any better than this! (my mantra for plein air in California).

I was joined by Don, a member of my South Side Art Club that meets on Thursday nights to paint, a good friend for many years. Don enjoyed meeting the other artists. A bonus is the Kelly Historic Park next door with many wonderful old homes and buildings. I took some photos for later reference.

Don suggested that our small club could occasionally do daytime plein air sessions in lieu of Thursday night sessions. We will be discussing that tonight, I'm sure.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Paquet Farm Sketches

"Flower Trike"
Paquet Farm
Barre, Vermont
5" x 7"

"Barn Door"
Paquet Farm
Barre, Vermont
5" x 7"

As the day draws closer for the Paquet Farm Centennial Celebration on July 24th, I couldn't resist pulling out photos from my June visit to the farm and doing a few small sketches. Many members of the extended family and local towns people gathered in early June to clean and paint the barn, accomplished in a single day. In the course of the cleanup, Valerie found this old tricycle, which I recall Gary's younger siblings riding. The handlebars are gone and the right back wheel is tilted at an angle, but what better way to use this memorabilia than as a planter! That lovely sunny day in Vermont added such sweetness to this scene of the freshly painted barn and the little flower trike.

The barn is very large and housed many milking cows. In the middle of the front of the barn are large double barn doors leading to the hayloft. I remember the hot summer days and nights of haying when the trucks would back up the ramp and the crew would unload and stack the hay. On the day I visited in June, the freshly painted door looked festive with a pot of flowers and afternoon shadows.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Independence Day with Milbrook Farm Irises

"Milbrook Farm Irises"
10" x 14"
North Danville, Vermont

Hope you had a happy Fourth of July with family. Most of my family is back East, so we rode our tandem bicycle 60 miles and enjoyed a pancake breakfast with our bicycle club. I reflect on wonderful small town celebrations each year. I've never had the pleasure of being in North Danville, a town with 12 houses, church, and commuity center, on the Fourth, but I always hear about the big celebration that draws a very large crowd each year. The parade features kids and pets, and my granddaughter, Kelly, played her flute in the Danville School marching band this year. Son Jeff and granddaughter Jamie sold french fries, and I failed to get the report on Beth's responsibilities. Unfortunately, Vermont has been drenched with summer rains for a month and yesterday was no exception, so french fry sales were off about 20%. The closest I can get you on the Web is Danville, population 2211, but that's a whole four miles away uphill.

All this reminiscing caused me to resurrect a partially completed floral from my visit to North Danville last month and finish the painting. You will recall that I attended a one-day peonies workshop by Annelein Beukenkamp. The following day I painted in the gardens of Millbrook Farm, my son's family home, complete with horses to ride, chickens, birds, and cats. These lovely, simple irises are in the front gardens and I had a lovely time working in the afternoon sunshine. I am always drawn to the shape element and this painting features lots of shapes done with positive and negative painting.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Art Exchange

"A Little Piece of Florida"
(c) Nancy Eaton
Rancho San Antonio Park, CA

Nancy Eaton in Florida, sponsored an art exchange among bloggers. I received this very lovely small painting that depicts the Florida dunes. In turn, I will send a small painting to another artist here in California.

I selected a plein air piece that I did while on a sketch and hike in a nearby park with the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society. You can tell from the perspective that I was on the top of the mountain overlooking the monestary, a landmark visible not only from the park, but also from Interstate 280 as you travel north to San Francisco. I had a lovely time that day doing a very quick watercolor sketch.

Nancy hopes to organize another art exchange later in the year. I will post the call for artists to participate on my blog. We hope more artists will join in the fun. Paintings are 8" x 10" or less. I plan to start a nice display in my studio where I can enjoy them as I work.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Painting at an Historic Site

"The Old Plow"
Bernal Guanac Joyce Ranch
Santa Teresa County Park
12" x 9"

"Gina in Repose"

Today I painted with the plein air group from Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society. The location is a historic old Bernal Gulnac Joyce Ranch in Santa Teresa County Park. The ranch is just two miles from my home and my neighborhood sits at the base of Coyote Peak in the Park. You can see a few photos of the ranch here, though I found none online that did justice to this little gem:

We had a lovely comfortable day after some intense heat the first part of the week. I sat under a shady tree at a picnic table. There is a lot of old rusty farm equipment and I especially liked this old plow. I took the liberty to place it in front of the barn for a more picturesque background. The wonders of art. The ranch is a dear place to take children. There is a flock of chickens in their pen and many old buildings and implements to explore.

The second picture is my drawing from Monday morning drawing class with Bob Semans. By now you probably recognize Gina who has modelled several times for us. I am considering continuing on with my new pastels that I haven't had time to use.