Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Sketches -- from IPad to Watercolor

"Big Sur"
4" x 6" Watercolor Sketch

Concept created on IPad

"California Poppies"
4" x 6" Watercolor Sketch

Concept created on IPad

We just returned from a couple days at Big Sur Lodge for Christmas. With children grown and scattered, we celebrate in non-traditional ways. I used a bit of a very rainy afternoon to attempt a couple small watercolor sketches for the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society Holiday Party card exchange. This year we can bring a 4" x 6" watercolor and volunteers will help us adhere it to a card. These will be displayed at the party and then each partipant in the exchange gets to draw a card out the box.

I used my new IPad and stylus with a free program, SketchBookX, to create a couple concepts. Then I painted them. In some ways, I really like the simple IPad sketches the best. I'm not very good yet at varying opacity and selecting a variety of colors yet. With the Poppies, I was going for a modern twist, so after I painted the poppies, I added some geometric shapes and painted them in light, greyed down colors.  I like the poppies with less line added on a plain white background better than my watercolor rendition. I can always try again. My son Jason sent me a lovely brush kit for the IPad, and Myrna Wacknov recently gave me some tips on apps she likes to use and I will purchase them. I plan to do more preliminary sketches with the IPad.

Meanwhile, we had big storms in Big Sur (and at home). We arrived between storms to find a sign warning us the road was closed 30 miles south of Carmel. We calculated that with the lodge at 26 miles and Nepenthe at 29, we were okay. That evening we met a man from Long Island staying at the Lodge because he was headed for Esalen and as he drove south on Route 1, there were huge boulders in the road. He wisely decided to retreat for the night, and then Caltran closed the highway for maybe 30 miles. He's feeling a bit bedeviled by nature with the hurricane damage and rains on his annual CA trip. The next day he planned to go north and take an alternate route.

On Christmas Day we shared gifts in the morning and had a lovely lunch at legendary Nepenthe. We do the same thing every year -- tradition. Bob looked very dapper in his Christmas top hat.

The view from Nepenthe is always impressive. It was raining lightly. You can take their link and then use the Weather Cam on the right side to get the current view.

Soon the deluge hit. I actually began to wonder if we might get stranded and was picturing being removed by helicopter with our car left behind for months. We decided not to putter this morning. As it is, one section between Carmel and Big Sur is one lane because they are rebuilding the washed out cliff-side lane. This morning, we had to wait exiting Big Sur while they cleaned up a slide in our lane, then we followed the pilot truck through. Fortunately, that was the worst of it. The day has been filled with strong downfalls of rain followed by minutes of clearing and sunshine. There was a fabulous rainbow that disappeared into the ocean, but I was unable to find a good spot to get a photo. We are not easily deterred and I made reservations for next Christmas on our way out. Turns out I can save a lot of money reserving early -- who knew?

My granddaughters were happy to receive small prints on canvas of the collages I did of them recently. I used, which is quite reasonable, but I see that many places like Costco now offer this service. With my web order I was able to send them directly to the girls in Vermont. 
Jamie, "The Graduate"

Kelly, "Gymkhana"

Jamie will hang hers in her room at Smith College and Kelly will hang hers with her horse show ribbons.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Plein Air on the Coast and Monday Drawing Class

"December at Wilder Ranch"
"Wilder Ranch Vista"
"All the King's Horses"
Little time these days. Will add some text later, I hope.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Room with a View: Sunset at Jupiter River Park"
7" x 9" Watercolor Sketch
I celebrated a significant birthday in Jupiter, Florida with my family from Vermont, including my oldest brother and his wife. Days filled with sunshine, boat rides, the Lighted Boat Parade, swimming, an adventure in the Everglades, and visiting cousins on Merritt Island marked the occasion. We went to the Melbourne gallery/studio of Derek Gores who taught collage here in San Jose. I now own a small original and each of the family members purchased a print. One night we walked by the water near the house just as the sun was setting, depicted in the scene above. We flew down Thursday and home on Tuesday. It's the most time my sons, Jeff's wife, and I have had together in years. Bob enjoyed himself, too.
I received a beautiful family photo on canvas.  The granddaughters are often depicted in my art.
Jeff, Jamie, Kelly, Beth
Jason gave me an IPad because he knows that it would take me another 3 years to get around to treating myself to one. While waiting in the airports, I did sketches on it. I can see this will be a great addition to my art.
Today, I will be doing plein air on the coast with the watercolor society.