Sunday, April 26, 2015

Going Backwards: Plein Air Two Weeks Ago

"California Poppies"
10" x 13"

A few weeks ago, my Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society plein air group painted at a reserve that is about a mile from the 49ers Levi Stadium. Amidst the commercial properties and new condos, Santa Clara managed to set aside an old golf course and restore its natural state. We arrived at Ulistac Nature Reserved on a sunny, hot morning. I love California Poppies so they became my subject. I have some of these babies in my yard in spite of being warned that they like to spread where I don't want them. So far, they are spreading where I do want them.

You can read about our adventures on the SCVWS blog.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Plein Air Painting in the Mountains

"Sailor's Warning on a Foggy Morning"
14" x 20" Watercolor
My models
 Plein Air painting can mean sitting out in all kinds of weather. Today we went to Cummins Iris Garden in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was overcast at my house, predicted to be 75 degrees with sun later. I knew that the mountains would remain fogged in longer, so I was prepared. Some folks arrived and left when they realized we were not going to have Valley weather.

This garden is gorgeous, a loving project of Jim and Irene Cummins. We were there May 2013 on a hot day. You can see the post.  The setting is lovely, even on a foggy morning, so I found some Irises that I loved and painted them against the backdrop of the mountains. You can see that their name is "Sailor's Warning", I am guessing because they resemble a sunset often seen before a storm.

We gathered at one to have our picnic lunches and view the truly lovely paintings. We were entertained by wild turkeys who seem to think the garden is their home. The three males got all puffed up in fight mode, looking about three times their size with beautiful, blue, and white on their necks. They are much handsomer when they become protectors.

"Don't mess with us"

Some of the garden area
Some of the day's production


Saturday, April 11, 2015

"Spring Beauty"
22" x 30" Torn Magazine Collage
on Canvas
The first buds are on my Irises in the garden and I looked at a few paintings I've done of Irises over the years. I liked one where I did lots of negative painting, so I decided to use the same approach on this piece. I've worked many hours this week, starting by putting in the background and then doing the images on top. I'm not sure I'm done. I think I may put more color in the Iris on the left.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Another Experiment

"Ancient Wonders"
8" x 10" Manipulated Papers on Canvas
A friend had done some nice abstracts using paper she manipulated with Citrasolv. Today I spent quite a bit of the day working on a floral magazine collage and I needed a break. The other day I tried the Citrasolv on some magazine pages. So I played around with a small canvas and some of the papers. The results made me thing of cave dwellings.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Sunrise over Utah
15" x 20" Watercolor
Thanks to my bicycling friend Mike Miller for the reference photo he took in January while skiing in Utah. In 2008 Bob and I rode our tandem in Utah on our cross-country trip. Incredible vistas. This piece was challenging, but I was determined to finish it.

I first put down some washes. I then masked out the foreground grasses. Next I deepended the washes and I allowed the painting to dry thoroughly. I then looked for organic shapes to enhance with negative painting. The Magic Eraser helped with the sunrays. After removing the mastic, I deepened the grasses.