Scribbles From The Road (Part 1)

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…

Mount Shasta

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!

“A Little Meyer”

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

Ojai, CA

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

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!

Newest Painting

18″ x 36″ oil on canvas

This painting began with a conceptand instead of sticking with the usual sizes of canvas, I made an 18″ x 36″ canvas to fit my design. I had fully intended to go with a full color, daylight scene but it was missing a certain feel to me.I was going to scrap the whole idea but figured I had nothing to lose by changing the color and with it, the mood. I went with a limited palette of Dioxazine Purple, Indian Red, Raw Umber, Titanium white and a tad of Ultramarine Blue.The underpainting from the original colors show through and gives a nice warmth to this piece. It is quite a departure in color from my other paintings but I’m liking it and it gives a calm, moonlit effect. I am thinking about creating a smaller version in full color but I need time to ‘rest’ from this subject and to paint in watercolors.🎨

I welcome your thoughts and if you have changed directions as well with paintings of your own.

Just Off of Mulholland Hwy

Rocky Oaks is a small nature reserve and wildlife refuge regional park located in the Santa Monica Mountains.

As we all have experienced, sometimes the time in your day does not belong to you – it gets chipped away by the busy-ness of life and/or the needs of others and this week has been one of those weeks for me. I needed a “mental health day” so I grabbed my art gear and headed off to this state park to meet up with a couple of other artists. The day was perfect and there was even a pond with ducks and various other birds. If Southern California doesn’t get anymore real rain, this little pond may be gone in a few months so I decided to set up my easel to capture the moment in oils.

A Sunny Winter Paint Day

Stoney Point, Chatsworth, CA

In Southern California, the month of January has some absolutely beautiful days and last Monday was a perfect example of it. I packed up my art supplies and met a few other artists to paint at the base of Stoney Point where we enjoyed plein air painting and watched rock climbers and hikers.