Portrait In Watercolor

18″ x 24″ watercolor on illustration board 

Whether or not a face is toward the viewer, I love to capture a single moment in time,  as in these paintings. It was a lovely Spring day at Descanso Gardens in the La Canada/Flintridge area of California. In the painting with the water fountain, the reference photo I was working with had these two children in front of a bathroom so I changed and simplified the background. In the painting below some of the detail on the kids have faded, so I’ll need to go back in to touch it up.24″ x 30″ watercolor 

California Burning

When thinking about the normal four seasons, most would say that Southern California has maybe two of the four. Well, as someone who has been born and raised here, we do have four seasons, they just aren’t the norm for most places. The seasons here are Spring, Summer, wind and fire. The central and southern part of the state have had a drought going for a few years now and it was so nice to finally have gottten the rain we needed and the hills and mountains around us were filled with beautiful wildflowers and greenery everywhere.Generally the summers are hot and during the season of Fall, the hot “Santa Ana” winds start up causing fires but things have started all too soon. Sadly, three separate fires have started this past July weekend. Two in the Santa Barbara County and one called the “Alamo Fire” south of Santa Maria.View from the vineyards of Arroyo Grande and Santa Maria southward.

Our fire season has officially begun and our prayers go out to the brave firefighters, police, many workers and all who have been affected by this.

“Along the path at Scuplterra”

9″ x 12″ Aquarelle Arches watercolor block

This is #17 of my daily painting and even though I didn’t get this one done in an hour or even a day, it needed to be completed. Friends of ours had brought us to Sculpterra Winery in Paso Robles and not only was the wine really good (“nummy” as one of our dear friends phrases it), the grounds that had meandering paths were filled with sculptures. 

Awhile ago I had begun a vineyard series and by the time I started on this, I was burned out on painting clusters of grapes so I put it away for quite a few months but pulled it from my “to do” stack a few days ago and completed it today. As I normally work, I began with a sketch to figure out my design then did a textured effect for the background with burnt sienna and finally went in with the detail work. Planning each project ahead of time with sketches and maintaining control of the paint and detail has typified my work but I have a goal to loosen up my style like so many amazing plein air, as well as studio, watercolorists that paint with broader strokes and washes.

Classical Painting and Master Copies

30″ x 40″ personal study/master copy (oil on canvas)

There is so much to learn from the original impressionists and masters of classical painting and drawing. “The Gleaner’s” by Jean-Francoise Millet has always been a favorite of mine and I chose to do a “master copy” of this particular painting to learn some of his color mixing, technique and brush strokes.

Juliette Aristides is a modern day classical painter and teaches through her Atelier in the Pacific Northwest.  I have not had the pleasure of attending her school but have learned quite a bit from the series of books she has published and highly recommend them.