Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rainy Day Paintings

"Fall Rains in the Vineyards"
22" x 15" watercolor
"Artists at Work"
11.5" x 5.5" watercolor

Thursday I joined the plein air group at Clos La Chance Winery, a gorgeous winery about 15 miles south of my home. Many paint sites are north of me, so I grab at the chance to go south, away from traffic. Weather predictions were very iffy, with rain predicted for about 1 pm. We had a great turnout of hardy artists.

The vineyards, though past their peak color, were still very beautiful shades of gold, rust, and red backed by colorful mountains with clouds and fog over them. I began the top painting with a watercolor wash. Contrary to my saying I would paint over acrylic, I felt I couldn't prime the paper ahead of time because I was unsure of the colors,  and I did not want to do it in the field. I had laid in the wash and started the painting when it began to rain, three hours ahead of schedule. My painting shows the sprinkles on it. I took refuge under a winery patio umbrella and continued to work the painting. I decided to embrace the pointillist look as part of the atmosphere. I felt a bit like George Seurat painting "Picnic in the Park."

We are all thrilled to have some rain in drought-stricken California, so no one uttered a complaint, just went on painting. At one point I strolled up above my paint site and caught a photo of three of the artists painting with a brush in one hand and an umbrella in the other. They very nicely wore jackets of primary colors -- yellow, blue, and red. I had to paint them. For this little sketch, I selected my panoramic Arches pad, so I could show the colorful landscape.

Three hours of painting was followed by lunch. The winery folks very nicely allowed us to use tables set up for an event inside. The place is like a French Riviera villa, so we enjoyed really fine digs for our picnic lunches. Check out the photos on the paintsites blog and enjoy co-leader Brad's playful description. He is one terrific writer.

I headed home in quite a downpour -- LOVELY!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Revisiting Georgia O'Keefe Country

Georgia O'Keefe Country
14 x 11 Watercolor
Georgia said of the Perdenal, God told her that if she painted it, she would own it. Her ashes were spread on the Perdenal. After our workshop in New Mexico, Joan and I spent a day at Ghost Ranch taking the history tour, visiting the archeological museum, walking the grounds and labyrinth, and having lunch in their dining room. I first visited this area with Bob in 2011 when we spent a week in Santa Fe. View my previous painting of the Perdenal.

Following advice from Gwen Fox and Stephen Quiller, I did an acrylic underpainting of Azo Yellow on the bottom and Pthalo blue on the top. I then developed this painting in watercolor. I love that you can lift color so easily, which is how I developed the cottonwoods and shrubbery on the butte. For example, I lifted back to the Azo Yellow on the cottonwoods and then added color to give them shape. The color looks a bit less harsh in person than in this photo.

I also received a lovely thank you card from Gwen Fox for attending the workshop and spending some extra personal time with her. She took photos of the painting she deemed our best and made a card with our painting, a photo of the workshop attendees, and a personal message. The workshop was about how to market you art. Gwen is very good at marketing!

Gwen's card to me

The class
Friend Joan is third from left in the back row
I am on the right in the front row.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Experimenting with Acrylic Underpaintings

"Rocky Mountains"
10" x 13" Watercolor
During art group Thursday evening, I decided to try using an acrylic underpainting as Gwen Fox suggested. I also saw Stephen Quiller demo this method on Sunday for SCVWS. He toned his paper with cadmium yellow light and medium, then drew his image on top and painted in watercolor. You can see his work midway through the demo. The nice thing is you can easily lift back to the yellow, which he did on the tree trunks and then used a brilliant orange on them.

Stephen Quiller mid-demo

I had a half-done painting that was not pleasing me, so I gessoed over it. I could still see shadows of shapes underneath. I decided to just go with those shapes and create my own scene using blues, yellows, orange, and green. Though I don't consider this painting highly successful, I can see that I might like to do more mixing of watermedia.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

My Fourth and Final Day of the Gwen Fox Workshop

13 x 14" Acrylic
Actually I began this painting on Thursday and completed it on Friday. This one is Gwen's favorite, which is rather pleasing as she is both an abstract and a floral artist. I did not have much to go on, mostly memory of my garden. I find florals fairly easy to paint and I like their shapes. Too bad that there are so many floral painters that it's difficult to be unique.
My biggest challenge with acrylics is to keep myself and my workspace clean. I know some of it is poor organization, but I hope to figure it out. You should see Bob's old shirt that I wore when painting. I was ready to throw it away, but Joan insisted I keep it as part of my history is on it. I managed to get my sleeve in the deep Pthalo Blue and put a big blob on the bottom petal. Thank goodness it is acrylic so I could paint over it and that is what led to the "design" of the lower part of the painting.