Friday, February 4, 2011

More Winter on the California Coast

"Misty Christmas on the California Coast"
Andrew Molera State Park
15" x 18"

Continuing the theme of winter, here is another painting inspired by Christmases spent in the Big Sur area 0n the California Coast. That year we hiked in Andrew Molera State Park to the sea along Big Sur River. I loved this simple scene of evergreens backing dried grasses along the trail. You can see another view of the park that includes the river in an earlier post.

I started and completed this painting during my Thursday night art group. Our numbers were decimated by winter colds, so three of us joined together for a lovely evening of painting. I was hosting and searching at the last minute for art supplies and a subject. I grabbed a 300 pound Arches cold press paper, not my usual 140 pound paper, and a folder of photos of subject matter that emotionally connects with me. Thinking winter, I settled on this scene. I wet the entire sheet, did not sketch out the scene, and used a limited Stephen Quiller pallette, ala Tom Fong's Fast and Loose approach. For the trees, I used Ultramarine Blue, Permanent Orange, and Burnt Sienna. Latter I went back in and introduced a bit of green mixed from Thalo Blue and Cad Yellow Deep. I worked at adding variety in the values. The grasses are Permanent Orange, Cad Yellow Deep, Thalo Green, and Magenta. I scratched in some weeds and added Permanent Orange to some. I had fun doing some positive and negative painting. This morning at critique group, I got a thumbs up on this one without any suggestions for changes.

These California winter scenes are a marked contrast to ones I have painted of winters in North Danville, VT, where son Jeff's family has a small farm with horses. Recently I painted "Winter in the Garden" from a photo Jeff took a couple weeks ago. Having grown up in Vermont, I could feel the cold, crisp air and the bright sunshine in late afternoon. To give you another view of that garden, here is a photo Jeff sent a couple days ago of two of the three horses in the great snowstorm that covered a third of our nation.

"Photo by Jeff Paquet"

The horses' blankets are covered with the snow falling and the hillside behind the trees and garden is completely obscured. The water tub for the horses has a heater to keep it from freezing in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom where I have experienced -42 degrees.


hw (hallie) farber said...

Mary, I am impressed with your painting and that it was completed in one session. That you know your palettes is inspiring--I should do that. I agree the photo makes you feel the cold. My area has been fortunate, weather-wise-- just a bit of snow on Christmas Day.

Kathy said...

Your palette for this painting is beautiful! I really like the effects you achieved. As for snow in the Northeast .... I'm living under it! We're moving to our home in Maine right now and it's very challenging.

AutumnLeaves said...

Lovely painting, Mary. And I always worry about the horses out in the snow...

Mary Paquet said...

Hallie, I've spent quite a bit of time studying color in various books -- like you, I love my art books. Quiller's books are especially good and of course, I had a class from him using his pallette, so that was very helpful. Tom Fong was also terrific with using a limited palette which really helps unify the painting. You are fortunate not to be in that snow belt!

Kathy, thanks and I can only imagine what it is like moving from NY to Maine in this weather. Just got off the phone with son Jeff's family and they were enjoying breakfast at the little local bakery on a beautiful sunny, snow-blanketed, sub-zero day in North Danville, VT.

Sherry, not to worry about these horses. They have shelter and they exit and enter by choice. So apparently they wanted to be out when they got fed. The girls keep them dressed in their winter blankets once the cold hits, and they look like woolly mammoths with a thick coat of fur at this time of year.

Watercolorist said...

A lovely painting. The colors are perfect. Thanks for sharing technique and colors. It makes the post so interesting.

hmuxo said...

I do a lot of hiking, but I haven't done any in Andrew Molera State Park. After looking at this painting, I would love to see it. Your earlier painting of this park was one of my favorites...SO beautifully painted. Love the blues in this one Mary.

PAMO said...

Mary, I saw this a couple of days ago and thought I had commented. But since I obviously did not-- I want to give you my thumbs up too! I really love your color palette and like Hallie, am impressed with how you know them so well.
I have a Stephen Quiller book on color and that you recommend him makes me feel even better about my purchase.
As for the photo... BRRRRRRR!!! Those horses sure sound like they have it made.
Thanks for the visually beautiful and informational post! You always put together such thought out blogs. Wonderful!

Margaret said...

The blues really keep this photo from being a drab winter scene. I really like it!