Nest In The Vine

11″ x 14″ oil on canvas

My husband and I have dear friends that own a small vineyard, Klender Cellars in Paso Robles, producing an amazing boutique wine. Throughout the year, we have had the privilege to see their vineyard during its many stages and have participated at harvest time. Owning a vineyard is hard work so it was easy to come to the conclusion that access is definitely better than ownership! Their vineyard is always fascinating and has been a tremendous source of inspiration for me with my painting. On one particular visit, my friend showed me a birds nest that was in the vines of the Cabernet grapes that were still green.

Shown below is my concept sketch and stages of my painting.

Focusing On Painting

12″ x 16″ oil on paper

In the beginning of summer, there was a question that I needed to ask myself, “How much time with social media is too much time?”. As I do my best to get my work “out there”, I realized that for me, it was taking over the already limited time I had to paint so I decided to just focus on my painting. I started by making a plan to finish a stack of paintings that I had set aside quite awhile ago before starting anything new AND before posting. I plan to stick with this plan in order to produce more work and post less.

Here are the paintings that I have completed:

“Poppies In The Vineyard” (22″ x 30″ rework/acrylics on watercolor paper)

“A Vineyard Row” (22″ x 30″ rework/acrylics on watercolor paper)

“Blueberries” (12″ x 16″ oil on primed watercolor paper)

Now that the stack has been completed, I feel much better about focusing on new projects. Until next time, take care and enjoy the last bits of summertime fun and warm weather!

Time for a few changes…

22″ x 30″ oil

“Poppies In A Vineyard” was started a year or so ago and although I placed it in my completed stack, I was never really satisfied with it and knew I would make some adjustments to it later. Instead of overworking something to death, it is better to set something aside for awhile. I finally pulled it out this week and was able to view it with a critical eye and see what was bothering me.

When painting, I always mix a tad of black with other colors for my dark darks but low and behold, I had areas of black that looked like a chalkboard plus I had some areas that were quite rushed in comparison to the rest of the painting. The changes have been made and I am pleased with the outcome.

Here is a recap of the process:

I prepared a 22″ x 30″ single sheet of 300lb watercolor paper prepared with gesso and then made my sketch.

Then came the layout of color

Chose to rework some areas on my desk instead of my easel. Sometimes I will work upside to better concentrate on some areas.

Finally I can call this painting finished!

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.