I have taken the opportunity these past months to get out of my comfort zone and “stretch” my artistic style with relatively quick oil sketches. These all need adjustments in some way but I have decided to keep them as is with notes to myself of the changes to be made since a few of these have the potential of becoming larger paintings.
View of Lake Pleasant
We are enjoying the opportunity to visit the Phoenix area and Scottsdale while staying at the Lake Pleasant Regional Park in Arizona. We, my husband and I plus our 2 Boxers, have been to Arizona in Spring and Summer but the winter season in the desert cannot be beat!
This morning, before the rain really set in, we were able to take a hike down to the lake and see the beautiful views.
This trip had a rough beginning though. We were supposed to leave Sunday evening but got only 10 minutes from the house when the truck lost power, causing us to turn around. Being so close to home when we broke down was a blessing though and we are so thankful that we were kept safe. Two days later, we were on our way again to enjoy family and the beautiful Arizona scenery.
Happy Valentines Day!
Happy New Year! Since my last post, the holidays have come and gone. From Thanksgiving on, every day has been filled with “to do” lists, places to be and of course, enjoying the holidays spent in the company of friends and family. I pray that you all had a wonderful holiday season and look forward to beginning the New Year of 2019.
I managed to get one last painting in for the year – – a small, 9″ x 12″ watercolor portrait of a friends daughter. It has been far too long since I’ve painted something other than a still life or landscape, so it felt good to get back into painting people. The colors reflect the temperature, time of day and hopefully, mood.
Below is from my sketchbook:
Final painting, “Evie”
I completed quite a few paintings this year, some that turned out well and others I just chock up to a learning experience. I narrowed down my favorites to 6 paintings:May 2019 keep you healthy, happy and give you all a prosperous new year!
Fields of Canola Flowers
Our travels continue on from Coeur d’Alene to McCall, Idaho. The Pacific North West or “PNW”, as it is known as by those living in this region, is absolutely beautiful. We traveled through mountains, farmland and ranch lands and as driving through, we are struck by fields upon fields of bright yellow. We were in Grangeville, Idaho and cars everywhere were pulling over so that people could take photos. The need for fueling up our truck came at the perfect time for me to get out and ask what we were driving by and was surprised when I was told that they were Canola flowers.
Of all of the items I buy in the grocery store, I have never once put any thought into canola oil but seeing those fields gave me a new appreciation for what is being harvested each year.
We traveled up the next mountain range and this was the sight as we were leaving…
As we climbed the mountain, we were struck by even more beauty…
White Bird Hill Summit mountain pass is at an elevation of 4,450 feet. Located at the southwest corner of the Camas prairie, White Bird is near the Salmon River crossing point for the Lewis and Clark expedition and also the location of the 1877 Battle of White Bird Canyon, which was the first fight of the Nez Perce War where the U.S. Army was defeated. The summit was named after Chief White Bird. Photos of this view do not adequately show the elevation or beauty but trust me, it is stunning!
We traveled down through canyon along side the Salmon River.
In part 3, I will share the photos of McCall and it’s landscape.
Ballpoint pen sketch while traveling
RV traveling is great to see the countryside and stay at “off the beaten path” places but can also seem long as the miles roll on and on. So this year, instead of letting myself drone out while my husband drives, I decided to make the time profitable and sketch. I’m not sure if any of you have ever tried to sketch while traveling in a vehicle, but it is not the easiest thing to do, so I figured that a scribble technique with a ballpoint pen would be my best option.
With our usual, familiar landscape, my first sketch was of the artichokes grown locally
As we traveled through Northern California and Oregon, the landscape inspired me to do a couple more sketches but since the landscape changes so quickly, these are just quick impressions.
Here are some photos of the areas we traveled through…
A small inlet of Lake ShastaCooper and Luna
Klamath National Forest
Lake Coeur d’Alene
Lake Pend Oreille, Bayview, Idaho
So much more to see and many more sketches to do, so stay tuned for Part 2
Happy and safe travels!
12″ x 16″ watercolor
In our yard, we have a dwarf Meyer Lemon tree which produces the sweetest, best tasting lemons! This little tree was the perfect subject and of course, it was so nice not to have to travel anywhere to create artwork. Today I finished this small watercolor painting and am pleased with how it turned out. Generally when painting, I know when to be “done” but with this particular project, I was getting way too close to overworking it and had to force myself to put my paintbrush down.
Here is a recap of the process:
1. The concept drawing
2. Drawing and beginning stage of laying down color
On the edges of the lemon and part of the stem, I painted an art masking fluid
The above photo shows the project almost completed and below, the finished painting.
Like the majority of my work, this painting shows my strong illustrator background but I enjoyed allowing myself to get looser in some of the areas behind the lemon. It is my hope that you find helpful hints in the creation of this painting.🎨
Taft Gardens and Nature Preserve is a local treasure with acres and acres (264 acres to be exact), of plants, trees and paths to meander. There were so many beautiful areas to explore but since time was of the essence to start painting, my friend and I chose a place relatively close to where we parked to start painting.
There are over 20,000 different species of plants and trees and I only captured a very small percentage of them.
The recent California fires were devastating and it seems like no area was left untouched but firefighters were able to save so much of the gardens. The surrounding hills and nature preserve was a different story but thankfully new growth has already begun with the recent rains.
Tomorrow we are suppose to get another few days of rain so I plan to head back there soon to see even more wildflowers and green hills before the summer months turn it golden.
Until next time, take care and take time to enjoy your surroundings wherever that might be.
Vasquez Rocks Park, Agua Dulce, CA
Tuesday, March 6th, was a windy day but beautiful and the temperature was perfect for painting “En Plein Air” with a group of friends. I am a native Californian but have not been back to this area since I was a child and now that I have been back, I kick myself for waiting so many years to do so. This is a perfect area for so many sports along with photography, painting or just hanging out to enjoy the beauty.
Vasquez Rocks was home to the Shoshone and Tataviam peoples and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. These iconic rock formations known as “hogback ridges” are steeply ridged strata that sit along the San Andreas Fault system and of course, we as Californian’s have to deal with the occasional earthquake now and then because of this fault system.
This area has been used to film motion pictures, television and advertising since 1935 but prominently since 1963 with episodes of the Outer Limits, the Wild Wild West, Blazing Saddles, The Flinstones and Star Trek’s episode “Arena”, where Captain Kirk rolls a boulder on the reptiloid alien, Gorn. The prominent rock formation has been nicknamed “Kirk’s Rock” since it had been featured in a several Star Trek episodes. Taco Bell, Nike and Bank of America have shot commercials here and there are so many more, too numerous to mention but interesting to look up.
I continue to set aside days to paint outdoors and am loving the time but with all this amazing reference material, it’s time to head back into the studio. I consider myself a perpetual student and look forward to the challenge and practice of this technique. I am encouraged by what I was able to accomplish in a few hours and encourage any other studio painters to grab their gear and head outside.
There are so many wonderful sites to visit in Southern California and if you like the desert and are traveling in the area, definitely make a point to explore this area. Happy travels!
I drew this concept sketch over a year ago and have finally begun the painting.
This is just the beginning stage of a new watercolor painting and my goal is to maintain the warmth and vibration of the sunlight through the leaves of this Meyer lemon tree. Final size will be 12″ x 16″.
Harbor Village, Ventura CA
Some days just go into a 180 degree direction….
I met with a new group to paint the Tall Ships at Harbor Village. It was cold but beautiful and so I posted to share my day. I had planned only to be there a few hours so that I could get to my “chores”. Heading over there on the freeway, I ran over something metal that hit my car with quite a racket but by the time I got to the harbor all seemed well. So imagine my disappointment when I got back to my car and one of the tires was completely flat. I called and waited for AAA to help. The young man changed the tire and left and as I barely got 10 parking spaces away, my spare went flat! Ugh. Another call to AAA and more waiting then I was towed to a tire place to wait, yet again, for the tire to be replaced. It was a really long day but on the positive side of things, while I was waiting, I found a cute UV hat for my outdoor painting adventures, the tire was able to be fixed – costing only $10 and I made it home safely.😊
A couple of lessons were to make sure I don’t post just to boast and to take the good with the bad gracefully. Stay safe everyone!