Friday, January 25, 2013

The Beauty of Times Past

"Santa Clara County Heritage"
11" x 14" Watercolor

Drawing with non-dominant hand
and micron pen

Negative drawing

Old wagon contour drawing
without peeking at the subject

Last Thursday began as a crisp 31 degrees, but warmed up nicely by midday. I did plein air with the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society. Sylvia gave us some drawing exercises and we had great fun getting out of our comfort zone. I was able to apply the gestural drawings and negative drawing when I painted my version of the Sunnyvale Heritage Orchard. I concentrated on one old sentinel tree and the beautiful backdrop of the mountains and sky. The mustard was just beginning to come out so I liberally used some golden yellows on the ground.

Before the mid-50s, Santa Clara Valley was filled with beautiful fruit orchards. It must have been a sight to behold. Today, we have to have a park like the Sunnyvale Heritage Orchard to visit our roots! High tech has largely replaced agriculture, though I am fortunate to live right next to active farming on my end of town.

See sample art and photos on the paintsites blog. In the attentive class photo, I am the one in the bright pink fleece.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Monday Morning Drawing Class: Glass and Reflections

14" x 12" Pastel

Bob brought a beautiful old bottle in a lovely golden glass. The reflections were muted and transparent  (my picture is not true to the saturation of the original). I enjoyed this challenge.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Plein Air at Winchester Mystery House

"Morning Glow"
11" x 14" Watercolor
Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, CA

The Santa Clara Watercolor Society painted in the gardens of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, long a favorite painting spot for the group. We were allowed in without paying the fee on a crisp, sunny winter morning. You can read about the legend of Sarah Winchester, heir of the Winchester repeating rifle fortune, who moved to San Jose after losing both her daughter and husband. She built a home and continued to build to keep herself safe from the horrors of the Winchester legacy.

Our small group spread out to paint. As I rounded the house I was struck by the light shining into a dark barn leading to a glass greenhouse. So I ignored all the other wonderful choices and set up my easel in the sun. The moist cold air was working against me as nothing would dry. I am an impatient painter, so I managed to get things bleeding where I didn't want them. I put the finishing touches on the painting at home.