Friday, June 22, 2012

Plein Air Painting at Allied Artists in Menlo Park

"The Art Gallery"
15" x 20" Watercolor

"Art Flowers"
7" x 5" Watercolor

"Alied Artists Adobe"
7" x 5" Non-Permanent Ink and Watercolor

Fellow artist Janice Faulstich and I headed north about 35 miles to Menlo Park, a very upscale area of the Peninsula. Janice is a wonderful plein air artist and she creates beautiful art journals of her travels. Recently she gave a demo for one of the art societies and was a huge hit. She is now scheduled to do a demo for a another art association. Do check out her blog.

We met up with more than twenty other SCVWS artists at a beautiful complex of buildings owned by Allied Artists. So much to choose from -- wonderful adobe and old wooden structures, beautiful gardens filled with art objects and flower, and many interesting people visiting the facility. I set up my Sun Eden easel next to a water fountain and painted three pieces in about three hours. 

The first painting depicts the art gallery building, a lovely old adobe. I was attracted by the mural of the woman and two children backed by a beautiful cobalt blue,  and the angles of the roof lines. Plus friend Laurie Barna said be sure to get some power lines in the painting as she liked my "Powerful" plein air piece. I took a little artistic license and moved some nearby lines into my painting. I think they add character and are in keeping with this old section of the town.

Not wanting to move, I turned 180 degrees and did a small painting of some of the lovely flowers growing behind me. I used quite a bit of color on these white flowers to suggest the shadows and texture of the petals.

Next I turned 90 degrees and faced the side of a wonderful adobe building with classic lines. I grabbed my dip pen and some new non-permanent ink Laurie purchased at the the Asian store and drew the building freehand. I notice I have a tendency to drift downhill with lines and I did this painting in about 20 minutes so I was not using care. I convinced myself it adds to the charm. I then dropped in some color, attempting to quickly blot up some of the ink runs with a damp brush. I've added the ink and watercolor technique to my repertoire after seeing a plein air demo by Dick Zunkel. You can read about that experience here. Incidentally, the small painting from that session sold at my art open house in April. 

We got home in time for me to get in a half hour of ballroom dancing with Bob, have dinner, and join my Thursday night art group where I drew my commission painting. I am doing a small piece for the patron's approval. I plan to paint the sample today. I am working from a photo that was likely taken on a cellphone and is a bit fuzzy when I blow it up for a better view. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Peonies in Monday Morning Drawing Class

"Showy Peonies"
12" x 14" Pastel

Instructor Bob Semans brought in a lovely bouquet of Peonies which we divided out into three bouquets. This was my first time at class in about a month with our travels. I find florals quite a challenge in pastel. Bob emphasizes the impressionistic approach. My pieces are never really finished after a few hours work, but I post them because they are part of my art journey, and I find the work very satisfying.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Granddaughter Jamie's art and a bit of good news

Horse sculpture from found pieces 
(c) Jamie Cyr

Wire and plaster sculpture
(c) Jamie Cyr

Our granddaughter is an amazing artist and just graduated from high school as valedictorian of her class. Not only does she paint in all mediums, but she also does sculpture. The horse is constructed of such things as a hair roller and bits of wood, all found pieces. It was a gift to her sister Kelly who loves to compete in horse shows. I am guessing on the materials in the second one and will clarify with Jamie. Additionally, she won third place in the Congressional Art Competition for high school students. I will locate that image and show it soon.

I received good news when I got home from the East Coast. "Poppies on the Fault Line II" was accepted into the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society's show, "Think Big," juried by Charlotte Huntley. No side of the framed piece can exceed 14 inches. She selected 40 pieces from a large number of entries. Yesterday I used  to build the frame, mat, acrylic glazing, and backing package for it. They are very reasonable and will also print your images on a support of your choice, including paper or canvas. I did not order a print, but may in the future. A friend recommended their site to me.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Room with a View: Late Day in Colchester

"Room with a View: Late Day in Colchester"
7" x 5" watercolor

After two nights in the Montreal, Canada, area, we returned to the USA this morning. My son Jason lives in the Burlington, VT, area, a mere 90 miles south of this lovely French city. We are staying in nearby Colchester, VT, and this is the view of the Green Mountains, a pretty blue violet in the evening. Sun still shone on the edges of the trees, and the stratified clouds provided some lovely colors from the setting sun. During my youth, we spent a week every summer at our grandparent's "camp" on Malletts Bay in Colchester. Today we revisited the area with my son. The camp built by my grandfather was sold out of the immediate family years ago and made into a permanent residence.

I told Bob he had had his French lesson in preparation for a fall visit that will include Paris. At least we can read the menus. I found that all I had to say was "Bonjour" and immediately everyone switched to English. I provided some amusement to personnel at our last Inn. I was told I could park near my room, but every spot was marked "Avis" and in French I could see stern warnings about reserved parking. Thinking the Avis Corporation did rentals here, I called the desk.  I was told that Avis means Warning in French! The parking was reserved for guests of the Inn.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Room with a View: Auberge l'lle Flottante

"Auberge l'lle Flottante"
5" x 7" watercolor sketch

We are staying on the island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River near Quebec City, Ile de Orleans in the tiny town of St. Laurent. Tony and Genevieve are the best hosts, live on site with their family, and have five charming rooms for rent. We are staying in Muguet, named after the Lily of the Valley wildflower. This is the sweet view of the dormer. The walls are a pale green paint on wood and feature a painting of its namesake. The window opens to the river, where there is a lovely patio. I apologize for the slightly askew photo.

We had a lovely day of sunshine and weather in the 70s, a perfect day for a 25-mile bicycle ride on the island. At one point we climbed over the island to the northern side and had lunch. Today we have showers, so we will be exploring by rental car.