Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday's Drawing Class and Report on Save the Granada

"Delft Bowl with Apples"
14" x 12"

This morning we tackled cut and whole apples and Bob Seman's Delft bowl. The hardest part was getting the value correct on the Delft bowl. It seems like none of my 100+ pastels is dark enough, so I had to combine blue and black to get the deeper blue on the left shadow area. The background was the off-white wall, so deceptive because it was actually darker in value than the still life. That involved combining a light grey and dark grey. The cut apples looked white, but they are not. Bob showed us with a white piece of paper against the cut apple surface. Doing the round form of the apples was challenging.

"Our Past - Our Future"
Hanging at Rosie's at the Beach Restaurant

We went to a lovely fund raiser for the Granada Theater. We sat with a number of artists, including the gentleman from Los Gatos Art Association who had done the prize-winning oil showing part of the downtown and the theater. The painting on the left is mine, a result of plein air painting with the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society. My other two paintings are hanging in the bar area. The paintings will be there for several more weeks. There are many pieces and they are nicely hung with information about the artists. The paella dinner was delicious, complete with red wine.

Monday, March 22, 2010

More Art Workouts

Pastel sketch
from charcoal study below

Charcoal study

Calero County Park Hike and Sketch
Los Cerritos Trail
Top - Looking West
Bottom - Looking East

Calero County Hike and Sketch
Los Cerritos Trail
Left - looking East
Right - Historic Bailey-Fellows House

I've been quiet in blogland the past week, but I've been doing my art exercises. The pastel was done from the charcoal value sketch in this morning's drawing class. This was one of the most helpful mornings I've experienced. Bob (Robert Semans) decided we needed to do some basics to refine our skills so we went through doing charcoal sketches first to get the form and cast shadows, the transition areas, and the value relationships. Then we did the pastel which went very quickly, probably done in an half hour, because all the work on value was completed first. I always find value and chroma can get confusing for me.

The Calero County Hike and Sketch was a delightful day spent with the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society plein air painters. Usually we are stationery, but about once a month, we take it on the trail. We'll hike with a limited amount of gear and stop along the trail to sketch and paint for about 20 minutes. The results are pleasing, though definitely sketches lacking the dark values and much detail.

The park is just lovely and is located about 5 miles from my home in the mountains that abut my neighborhood. The park allows hikers and equestrians and surrounds Calero reservoir, an important piece in our complex water supply. I got to see parts of the reservoir I'd never seen before from the "road" side, and also some lovely views in reverse. The Santa Cruz mountains continue upward behind the part between my home and the coast.

The wildflowers were magnificent, with those wonderful California Poppies beginning to bloom, and lots of tiny white, purple, and yellow wildflowers to set them off. The poppy sketch should also include the mountains, but I didn't get that far before we moved on.

I am working on two studio pieces as well. More to follow.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Life Drawing for Doctors without Borders Haitian Relief

"Jane in Ruffles"
2 minute sketch

"Jane in a Red Dress"
10 minute sketch

"Jane in Sparkles"
5 minute sketch

Framed Granada Theater art

Jane Ferguson and a young friend volunteered modeling services to benefit Doctor's without Borders Haitian Relief. The event was held 2 nights at the Sunnyvale Art Gallery where the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society is featuring "Fresh Start," our spring show. I was unable to attend the first night. The session was overflowing with people from the society and the art community. I was glad I got there early.

Jane is a fabulous model. She calls herself the original second hand rose and gets lot of interesting clothing at thrift shops. The two models changed several times, a lot of work for them and a joy for us. They wore funky hats, boas, gloves, and vintage dresses. Jane is the artist/model featured in "Me and Matisse," now showing at the gallery.

I studied each of the pieces I did for the "Save the Granada" event and did some cleanup on edges and a bit of value adjustment. Bob cut mats and I framed the work. (You see reflections in the glazing from being photographed outside.) We delivered the work to the person coordinating the event. The sepia painting got great reviews from the receptionist. She said one of the managers said he wished someone would do one with an old car. We stopped at the restaurant and bought tickets for the paella dinner. Rosy, the owner, told us the man who ran the theater for 30 years stopped in the day before to buy tickets. I look forward to mingling with people who can recall many good times at the theater.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Memories of Matinees Past

10" x 14"

This final piece of the Granada Theater in Morgan Hill is done in sepia tones. In the early years of this theater, the films were not in color. I also thought it appropriate that I include a 1951 Packard in front of the theater, as that is the year this theater opened after a fire destroyed the old theater across the street. I kept the lines and picture planes very clean, in keeping with the "Art Moderne" style of this building. African Queen, one of the 10 most popular films of 1951, is playing at the theater. The smell of popcorn wafts through the theater as I fling my pigtails over my shoulders and take a seat at the Saturday matinee. How daring of Mom to take me to the show.

Bob will cut some mats and I will frame the art and deliver it for the event at Rosy's at the Beach.

Monday, March 15, 2010

11" x 14"
Acrylic on paper

Here is another Granada Theater picture for the "Save the Granada" event. This time I used acrylics on watercolor paper. I am reposting the art because I am terrible at photography. I've still got a bit of skew and distortion, but this is better. I also woke up this morning and realized I had not painted in a bit of the superstructure, so I fixed that.

Save the Granada

"Our Past -- Our Future"
11" x 14"

You can tell it's been a busy time for me with little time to visit my blogger friends. One of the events I chose to do was plein air with the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society last Thursday morning. The old Granada Theater in Morgan Hill is slated to be demolished. A group of citizens are dedicated to saving the landmark building and invited painters to memorialize the building. There will be a sale of artwork at a big event at Rosy's at the Beach, a terrific restaurant in downtown Morgan Hill.

The theater was built in 1951 to replace one that burned down across the street from the present location. The style is Art Moderne, not to be confused with Art Deco. Quoting the website: "The sleek, rounded Art Moderne style originated in the Bauhaus movement, which began in Germany. Bauhaus architects wanted to use the principles of classical architecture in their purest form, designing simple, useful structures without ornamentation or excess. Building shapes were based on curves, triangles, and cones. Bauhaus ideas spread worldwide and led to the Moderne or International Style in the United States."

We had access only to the outside of the building, so we set ourselves up in front of the quilt shop diagonally across the street. We had a beautiful, sunny day with the blue sky that you get only in California. I did a cropped painting of the theater, which I redid after getting home as I wasn't happy with my first results. Fellow painters included a broader expanse of street and we always marvel how a bunch of us can do the same subject and each is unique. I have more paintings in my head, if I have time -- I would like to do the street view and include a 1951 car, perhaps a monochromatic piece in either sepia or shades of grey. Another would be done on a collaged piece with old movie playbills. I have a second painting in progress in acrylic showing the orange red marquee against a vivid sunset. If that one turns out the way I envision, I will post it here.

If you live in the area, consider supporting the effort to save the Granada by enjoying the paella dinner at Rosy's on March 22 and viewing the art. The art will be for sale with 15% of the proceeds going to the fund. On a side note, we had a nice chat with Rosy and her husband at a St. Patrick Day's party given by a former co-worker on Saturday evening in Willow Glen. Many of his friends are from Morgan Hill. In case you are wondering how a landlocked town has a beach restaurant, the name refers to Rosy's preference for being at the beach. She is a former professional volleyball player turned very successful restauranteer.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Hi Tech, Low Tech"
7' x 10"
Plein Air Painting in Downtown San Jose

Today was sunny with a chill in the air. Bob had seen some lovely old houses around Delmas and San Fernando Streets in downtown San Jose when riding Light Rail. He suggested that we take our small folding bikes and go via Light Rail and bike to photograph and paint. While Bob wandered a couple streets and shot photos, I sat in a small park and painted using my tiny Koi pan set with waterbrush.

I was captivated by the scene of the old Delmas Market with a very pretty home behind it. This scene is backed by modern high rises, one of which houses the Adobe company, one of the many high tech companies here that are household names around the world. Think Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Reader. We have such an interesting mix of historic homes and businesses and the very newest architecture and companies. I did not realize until later that Bob had taken a few photos of me beside our bicycles deeply involved in painting this scene.

Tomorrow I get to have another plein air outing with the watercolor society Thursday morning group. We are traveling south of my home about 10 miles to Morgan Hill, a pretty little agricultural town that grew with the tech industry. We will be painting the historic Granada Theater on main street, encouraged by the group attempting to save the theater from demolition. More to follow.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Art Workouts

"Manual Labor"
13" x 15"

"Springtime in Santa Teresa Park"
10" x 7"

Some art activities that I do are similar to my visits to the gym. I am building my art muscles. At drawing class this morning, we started this pastel, which I will continue working on next week. From my drawing class, I not only learn to draw accurately, but also learn a lot about value and color relationships. I have to flex my art muscles to make myself a stronger artist. Everything I learn transfers well to my watermedia works. Bob Semans brought in some broken concrete and old brick he had removed from a patio at his home, along with the tool he used. This piece was challenging and satisfying.

Yesterday was a glorious sunny day, so I rode my bike to the top of Santa Teresa Park, located at the edge of my neighborhood. The park is so lovely with mountain peaks, and in about 18 minutes on my bike, I can be on a mountain in a world where nature prevails and there are no visible signs of the million people living in San Jose. I've been wanting to paint the hills during different seasons, so this was a modest start. I used my tiny Koi watercolor set and brush pen with the handle filled with water. I sat on a rock next to my bicycle and painted. I also took some reference photos of multiple scenes visible from the rock. I'm sure I was a rather amusing sight to the hikers and bike riders out getting their exercise. I found this a great way to flex both my art and body muscles.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

SCVWS "Fresh Start" Reception

"Alt House"
Bacharach, Germany
Rhine River

Such a busy week and I have done some art, but nothing that is finished enough to display here. Our drawing class did plein air and I have a half done pastel of a palm tree. I am also working a half sheet watercolor of a young dancer at Hoover Theater. So I dug into the archives for this piece where I used a mother color -- magenta - as described by Stephen Quiller. Every single color is mixed with some magenta, so I am guaranteed a harmonious effect. This is the old restaurant where we dined one night while staying at a sweet little B&B on the Rhine River. Very nice dinner and Bob, a worthy photographer, took a night photo with an interesting perspective. I painted this piece after returning home.

Last night we attended a very lovely SCVWS reception for the "Fresh Start" show. I had a wonderful turnout of friends from my work years, my art group, my neighborhood, our family, and my bike club. I couldn't have been more pleased. The place was packed with people in all three galleries. I reconnected with an artist I met at the Asilomar Paintout in October. She was showing a great triptych -- three paintings of the very same tree and landscape at Point Lobos showing three different times of day. I was so busy hosting my guests I did not get to add my brush strokes to the progressive painting being raffled to benefit Haitian relief.

I was also asked if I wanted to do a joint show in Santa Cruz by a fellow artist. My only challenge is timing with some major travel and the Open Studios on the horizon. I need to give this some thought as I feel the exposure and honor would be well worth time spent on the show.

Monday, March 1, 2010

SCVWS "Fresh Start" Show At Sunnyvale Art Gallery

Franken Vine
Wurzburg, Germany

"Me and Matisse" hanging in the "Fresh Start" show

Part of one gallery
Works on Paper

Entering one gallery
Works on canvas

I spent about 6 hours at the Sunnyvale Art Gallery, 251 West El Camino Real in Sunnyvale, processing my entries and hanging the show with a small team of dedicated members from the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society. What a spacious and interesting gallery. The Kimm family has a flower shop, coffee house with two spacious sit-down areas, an art store, and 3 large gallery spaces. SCVWS has two of the spaces for the Fresh Start show for the month of March. Serendipity has 3 members of the society doing a private showing next to us in the third Gallery: Karen Wong, Stephanie Lam, and Connie Guidotti. Karen is incoming President and Connie is a member of my critique group. I also know Stephanie slightly from the Betsy Dillard Stroud workshop.

Most fun was Jane Ferguson's delighted reaction to my painting of her, "Me and Matisse." We hung it next to her piece that was featured on the show publicity flyer. Jane is one of the finest artists in our society, so I was pleased that she loved the painting. When she saw the card I made of it in the sale rack, she wanted to buy it. I told her that I would bring her one as small gift. Terri Hill and many others gave me positive feedback on the piece.

Our hanging crew worked from 2 to 7 hanging art for 62 artists, most of whom entered two framed pieces each. We allow watermedia, so acrylic on canvas and collage are accepted into our shows. One of the walls has the watermedia works and it's quite stunning. We were pretty tired when we finished, but very pleased with the results. I am looking forward to our festive reception on March 6 at 6 to 8 p.m.. Ya'all come down, now.

I promised to show you my fourth piece that I placed in the matted, unframed art bins. Franken Vine was painted from a photo I took when Bob and I visited Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium a few years ago. As we traveled, we sample specialty wines that are generally limited to local distribution. Franken wine is made in the Franken region south of Frankfurt along the Main River. We chose to make our first stop Wurzburg, which is not a common tourist stop. While there we visited the old Marionberg fortress. We walked down the hill via paths through the ancient vineyard. The September foliage was colorful and I lay on the ground to take a snapshot. "Franken Vine" is a play on words for Franken wine.