Friday, January 20, 2017

Sunset along the River

I painted this in my studio today from a photo I had taken last November, and the subject matter, colors of the sunset and even the time of year reminded me of another painting I had done back in 2013, Sunset at William B Pond. Now, I had done that one plein aire (I don't do much of that this time of year), but I think it does a good job of showing my progress over the past couple of years with my watercolors. This new piece was done on a 1/2 sheet of 11x14 (making it 7x11, rather an awkward size for framing but great for quick practice painting).

Sunset on William B Pond, 9x12, October 2013

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Bark of the Ponderosa Pine, watercolor

This painting was supposed to be part of my "zoom in" themed pieces, (along with River Rocks and Eye) but it will not be included in the Rancho Cordova City Hall display because it took me too long to get this finished. In fact, I'm still not sure it's finished.
The idea originally came from some reference photos of a ponderosa pine tree, with its bark that looks kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. I started by tracing a few shapes with pencil, but then let my imagination run wild with the rest of it. The bark seemed so simple at first but then it just took on this whole other feel, very abstract. I am not one to do abstract painting so my brain keeps telling me it needs something else, so I kept coming back and adding more layers. I have finally said I need to step away from it and call it done.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Ghandi, pencil sketch

A couple of years ago, I spent this January holiday drawing a pencil sketch portrait of Martin Luther King. Today I decided to continue the tradition, but this time I chose Mahatma Ghandi, another great civil rights leader. In fact, Martin Luther King used many of Ghandi's priciples, saying that they were the "guiding light" of his technique of nonviolent social change.  
The image actually came from a poster that I had seen at a school I had trainings at this summer, and I took a pic with my phone thinking I might use it for inspiration sometime...so here it is 6 months later.

If we are to reach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.
-- Mahatma Gandhi, 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Eye watercolor

"The eye is the window to the soul," people say. Well, the eye has always facinated me: The way it looks, the structure of it, as well as its function. It takes in light as well as reflects light. Without them, art becomes pointless, in my eyes. (Pun intended)
I loved being able to play around with the iris color. It seems no one has just one eye color but a bunch all fused together. So I incorporated blues, greens, and yellows. I am blue-eyed myself so that is what I dominated with (not that I have anything against Brown eyes, I love them too!)
I find the most challenging part of painting eyes is getting the two eyes to match, so painting just one here avoided the hard part.
This project is very similar to the last time I painted a 4x4 square with one eye a couple of years ago, except this one is much bigger (11x14).

Saturday, January 7, 2017

River rocks, watercolor


This piece was inspired by an upcoming show 31st Rancho Cordova City Hall art called "Zoom, a closer look". The painting is from a photo I took along the American River of all the different kinds of river rocks. The colors had tints of red, green, orange, and blue so I was excited get experimental with painting them. Once I got the basic shapes of the rocks down with pencil, I added a wash into a few of the rocks and poured salt into them to create texture (an idea that came from Rukiye Garip's video "Creek with Stones"). Then it was just a matter of playing with colors and shadows to make them look rounded. I really like the way this composition turned out, very well balanced for just a pile of rocks!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Emerald Bay, watercolor

So, my New Year's resolution it to finish some paintings that have been sitting in my studios for too long, for various reasons. It's usually because I don't know what to do next, or I know what I need to do but am afaid of messing up. Fear needs to be removed from the equation. What's the worst that can happen? I mess up the painting and get to start over with new found knowledge! That is my resolution.
 This painting is from a photo I took this fall of Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe. I overworked the sky and water...just over aggressive with my blue paint. It also could be the Fabriano 140# hot press paper I'm using. It doesn't lend itself to any "scrubbing" and seems to get overworked easily.  I wasn't sure how to fix it so I let it sit.  Since its all just part of the learning process, I have finished the rest of the painting, and posted it anyway, even with its imperfections. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Cresta Blanca, Watercolor

 This is Cresta Blanca, a limestone cliff outside of Livermore. I had started This painting plein air during the summer while I was volunteering at Camp Arroyo, but never got a chance to finish it.  Once I got it into my studio lighting, I realized the colors were washed out (maybe from working in outside lighting?) and the cliff was kind of "flat". At least I had captured the feel of the scenery while working plein air.  Now it was time to add in some deeper colors, as well as some details and texture to help bring the focus to the cliff. Here is the completed piece: