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:

Friday, November 4, 2016

Woman with coffee

Pencil sketches are my comfort zone, so if I am feeling blocked, I get out my sketchbook and, in this case, a mechanical pencil. Google images is always a fun place to go for ideas, but sometimes overwhelming. As I was having my morning coffee, this particular image caught my eye, with the stark lighting and the pensive look. The trouble is giving credits to the photographer who originally created the image. Since this is in my sketchbook, and not likely to ever be sold, I figure I'm safe. This particular image is Allison Emm, makeup artist / blogger.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Horse in Georgia

I seem to get into a rut sometimes with creating art. I come up with all kinds of excuses...I have too much work to catch up on, I'm too tired, it will take too long.  I have to remind myself that creating is suppose to be fun and relaxing, and to just get back to the basics, keep it simple until I find my creative "spark" again.  So I pull out my sketchbook and pencil:that is my comfort zone.
Here is a quick pencil sketch I did while on vacation in Georgia of the horse across the street, while hanging out in the countryside with the grandchildren. It was a beautiful warm fall afternoon and it would have been a perfect opportunity to do the sketch plein air, but I'm only there to visit with the grandkids for a short while, so I snap a picture with my phone, and wait for them to be off at school the next day.
I have to remember to schedule creative time onto my calendar or it will never happen.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Eye of Jupiter

This is the eye of Jupiter, that giant red dot that always seems so mysterious. This was inspired by a picture posted by NASA recently, taken by Voyager 1 in 1979, in anticipation of the next spacecraft to investigate Jupiter, Juno. I thought that this was such a great example of science imitating art, so now here is my art imitating science.
Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, is 89,000 miles in diameter, big enough to swallow 1000 Earths. The vibrant bands of clouds are carried by winds that can exceed 400 mph, and continuously circle the planets atmosphere. These winds sustain spinning anticyclones like the Great Red Spot, a raging storm 3 1/2 times the size of Earth!
I have been fascinated by Jupiter ever since I was young, when my dad would show me pictures that he brought home from JPL, where he worked on many of these space probes, including Galileo, which orbited Jupiter from 1995 to 2003. Voyager 1, credited with taking my reference photo, is still transmitting information to this day, almost 40 later!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Lighthouses have always had a certain allure to them, standing alone on the edge of the ocean in some of the most scenic spots on the coast. With these two lighthouses though, that is about all they have in common. This first piece, a plein air pencil sketch, was done in my sketchbook at Santa Cruz, CA. This is not the same Santa Cruz lighthouse in pencil that I had sketched before. This one, the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse (named after a surfer who died surfing nearby) is just east of the wharf and was built as a memorial in 1967. It was converted into the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, "the first surfing museum in the world" in 1986. It is unique because it does not have a round tower, but a square one.

This second lighthouse is the Yaquina Head lighthouse just outside of Newport, Oregon. It is more of your typical lighthouse. It was built in 1873 and is considered the tallest lighthouse in Oregon at 93 feet tall. I painted this piece with watercolor, at home in my studio from a reference photo I had taken this summer.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Pair of geese in paradise

I was sitting on Pope Beach enjoying the sun and was inspired to paint the Canadian geese. They are all over the beach at Lake Tahoe. At one point, there was a flock of 30 of them making there way long the beach. Now, that doesn't mean there were not people. The beach was crowded with people too. I just decided to paint them out, and focus on the geese.
In order to capture the geese in my painting, I actually took a picture of them with my phone and worked from that, because they never stop moving except to beg for some food from someone, then move on. So I took a couple of photos to work from. I think that this might have even been the same goose, but in two different positions. I had thought about putting 3 geese to improve the composition, but then the title came to me: pair of geese in paradise, and thought I would stick with that. I think that if I did this again I would take the tree out altogether, but the trees right on the edge of the beach (I think they are lodgepole pines) is one of the reasons I love Pope Beach so much.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Pencil sketching while camping

On a quiet afternoon, I sat at the picnic table next to our campsite and started sketching the tree-lined meadow. After I got about halfway through my sketch, though, I realized that I was smudging my drawing a lot. I had started on the left side of my sketchbook, and was working my way to the right, but the problem is I am left handed!
Normally I would just grab a scrap piece of paper to put under my hand to solve this problem, but I didn't have anything convenient since I was out camping. I did eventually find some paper that would work, but it was considerably later in the day and the lighting had changed so I figured I would add to the sketch from a different perspective. Having covered up the first part so it wouldn't smudge anymore, I continued my drawing. I realized later that the tent was way too big and thetwo sketches just didn't quite fit together...oh well.