Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring in Filoli Gardens

"Tulip time in Filoli Gardens"
7" x 10" Watercolor 

"Cherry Blossoms in Filoli Gardens"
11" x 12" Watercolor

Filoli  is a property owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Their website states:

Filoli was built for Mr. and Mrs. William Bowers Bourn, prominent San Franciscans whose chief source of wealth was the Empire Mine, a hard-rock gold mine in Grass Valley, California. Mr. Bourn was also owner and president of the Spring Valley Water Company whose property comprised Crystal Springs Lake and the surrounding lands, areas that are now part of the San Francisco Water Department. He selected the southern end of Crystal Springs Lake as the site for his estate.

The estate is about 45 miles north of my home and I was invited to go for the monthly artist access by friends. 

We enjoyed lunch in the very busy cafe, followed by a self-tour of the gardens and mansion. We checked in for our after-hours session about 3:15 and we would be allowed to stay on the closed property until 6:30. It was a chilly day -- my family in Vermont has exchanged weather with us, so we painted on a cool, windy afternoon while they enjoyed temps in the 80s. We had elected to end our session at 5:30. Friend Susan and I selected the walled garden as a shelter from the wind. I captured a few of the 60,000 tulips in bloom at the moment. We were told they have 18 full-time gardeners, some of whom live with their family on the property and enjoy the pool after hours. The cafe, tours, and garden shop are all staffed by volunteers who give many hours to help preserve this place and keep it open to all of us.

Later I captured some of the garden shapes and one of the lovely cherry trees. Unfortunately, in order to stay warm I did not have the prime view that is shown in the photo.

The front entry of the mansion 

 The back of the mansion
The walled garden

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Show Takedown Today

California Paintings

World Travel Paintings

                                                                    Vermont Paintings

The show at the Forum hung for over a month. Today we dismantled the show. I took some photos. Enlarge these photos and you will likely recognize some of the art, all of which has appeared in this blog. (Excuse the camera distortion that makes some of the paintings appear lopsided.)  I will hang the paintings at my home/studio and invite collectors and friends to come to a weekend open house.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Small works

"Wedding Day"
10" x 12" Watercolor on Hot Pressed Paper

My Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society is sponsoring a show in Palo Alto at the Pacific Art League's Norton Gallery. This is a juried show, unlike our other exhibits and our Members' Show. I am experimenting with pieces to enter. All framed pieces must not exceed 14" on any side. So I figure for the next few weeks I will concentrate on painting small.

I painted Bob's paternal grandmother, Bertina, once before. You can see the painting here and read about this adventurous spirit. The third post shows the finished piece.  I felt I had some drawing issues with that one and I wanted to try something a bit different. This time I included Bertina's pretty floral headpiece she wore on her wedding day. 

Ted Nuttall had us painting on hot press paper and I really like it. I can push the paint around and do many layers by letting each dry thoroughly. The result is painterly, which I like. In case you are wondering, I have not yet gone back to my collage that I have half completed. I will after I get some painting out of my system.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sold and Shipped

"Fog over Monterey Peninsula"
20" x 16" Watercolor

If you have followed this blog for a while, you've already seen this painting. I posted it in September. The piece was painted on a foggy morning at Lover's Point in Pacific Grove, looking back at a jut of land on Monterey Bay. I just sold this piece as a result of the show at the Forum. The purchaser is giving it to her husband for his birthday. I shipped the painting to her on Friday. It's always such a pleasure to have someone want to own my art, and the person was so lovely to work with.

You can see the earlier post here

Friday, March 9, 2012

Another great day of plein air

"Old Niles Depot"
7" x 10" Watercolor

 My View
Photo by Bob Eltgroth

Today's destination was 30 miles north of the house at the historic Niles Depot. Niles is one of those charming old towns, with homes from the Victorian era and turn of the twentieth century, plus a quaint downtown that has managed to survive amidst the sprawl fueled by high tech. From miles away you can spot the name of the town on the steep California mountains that flank the town. When we arrived there were cattle grazing near the white "Niles"  and I marvelled at their ability to navigate their huge bodies over treacherous inclines. Bob joined Janice and me as he is a historic railroad buff. He roamed the town taking pictures.

Painting at the depot
Photo by Bob Eltgroth

I was very taken with an old wagon on display, but I did a very detailed rendition (sometimes I can't think how to simplify) and it's just not me. I recalled Maggie Siner in Provence saying about our detail, "That's just noise). Of course that is her style and it suits me, but not for everyone. Now I was down to my smallest watercolor block, 7" x 10". I moved the end of the building and painted the piece that you see at the top of this post. I see now I missed some opportunities for shadows on the roof. I will probably add them.

Grazing on Niles
7" x 10" Watercolor

Next I turned slightly and sketched the hillside, recalling the cattle that were grazing earlier. I mixed the color on the paper and lightly indicated the fence that traversed the hillside. I would like to have included the cattle, but I haven't mastered suggesting large animals at a distance.

About 1 p.m. we gathered for our picnic lunch. Bob's daughter Deborah gave him an old Lionel lunchbox one Christmas, so he carried some of our lunch in it. I love whimsy! I had brought him a Guiness courier bag from Dublin, Ireland, last summer, so he used that as well. When we got home, he photographed both and his Facebook friends are "liking" the photo.

Bob's Lionel lunchbox and Guiness Tote from Ireland

You can see some of the charming old buildings in Niles. We always have a mini showing of  art and it's great fun to see everyone's interpretation of the area.

Dave, Leslie, and Bob in charming Niles

My 2 paintings and others

I believe this lovely painting is by Janice Faulstich.
Check out herb blog.

More gems.

Michael Rogan's handsome piece on the left.
The middle painting is my failed attempt at the wagon.

A few of our SCVWS Plein Air group after the mini show

Here I am with Scotland's missing link

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Phase II: Collage on Wrapped Canvas

"A Mexican Beauty"
9" x 12" collage on wrapped canvas

Two posts in one day. I am recovering from a cold so I am confined and doing art. Can you believe I spent a couple more hours on this piece. I see some things that need modification (I am not happy with the green shadow on the right side). Much more work to do all over this piece. 

I've finally figured out that there has to be a process to this, such as sorting papers ahead of time. I did find a method for cutting small pieces to fit in a space. Borrowing from my sewing experience, I placed tracing paper over the space that I wanted to create, traced a pattern, placed it on the paper and cut the shape.

Tonight I have the Southside Art Club at my house, so back to traditional painting for me. Tomorrow and Saturday are filled, so likely I won't get to this until Sunday or later.

Phase I: Collage on Wrapped Canvas

"A Mexican Beauty"
9" x 12" Collage on Wrapped Canvas

My source photo provided by my neighbor
Taken on a Mexican cruise

Hanging the large show at the forum gave me a sense of completion. Suddenly I was free to explore in new directions. As I mentioned in the previous post, Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society will present a workshop by a young artist, Derek Gores, from Melbourne, FL. I just love his work and am signing up for the workshop, which we expect to fill very quickly. First I tried a mixed media piece that I posted yesterday.  That was fun and fairly straightforward to complete. Then I went for a small collage. 

My source image was taken by my neighbor during a cruise to Mexico that  he took a couple years ago with his wife, and Jim gave me permission to use it for my art (I am always careful about copyrights).  I painted this piece a while back and was lukewarm about my results. I should paint it again. I was inspired by a beautiful huge piece by Derek Gores. Go here and look at the fourth painting down on the right. There is no direct link to it.

I did a freehand drawing using vine charcoal on the wrapped canvas. Then as directed by his workshop materials, I used a fashion magazine as the source of my papers because they are done on higher quality glossy paper. I am getting Marie Claire at the moment, and I probably would prefer to use Vogue, which may have higher quality paper in it. I was intrigued by the artist's use of paper with pictures, drawings, and text, which adds a whole new dimension. You will notice some chairs on his woman's clothing. Yet, the piece reads so beautifully. He advises to use acrylic gel gloss medium to adhere the paper. 

What a challenge and of course, this is the first time I've attempted this type of collage, so I would expect to get faster. I've already spent about 3 hours just getting to this point and I do not consider any areas complete. I find myself thinking about his recommendation  to use 36" square wrapped canvas in the workshop. Will I want to abandon the workshop before I finish? I am liking the results, though. Stay tuned for Phase II. Oh yes, if you try this at home -- large sheets of plastic on the floor, old clothes and cover ups, and lengthy cleaning sessions when you are done for the moment.

I love the work of friend Belinda Lima, a member of my critique group who sells her art in a Los Gatos gallery. Check out her collage work. She says that they take so many hours, and now I have new respect for what she accomplishes! She is planning to attend the workshop as are some other very accomplished artists.