“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.

Prepped and waiting on the sidelines……

I have a 22″ x 30″ piece of heavy weight watercolor paper that I originally was going to use watercolors on but after drawing on it, I decided to try something new. 

Since the sketch took me quite a bit of time and I didn’t want to lose it, I decided to take a Sharpie extra fine marker to my drawing then gesso over it. I’ve done this on several paintings before using acrylics and was quite pleased with the final product. My choice of using oils this time is because acrylics always dry so fast on my palette and now that we’re heading into summer, I want to alleviate my frustration. If any of you have tried this technique or have other thoughts, I would love to hear from you. 

Terrill Welch, Ceative Potager, recently painted red poppies by the sea and did a beautiful job! I get so much out of seeing how other artists handle the same subject matter and it will be interesting to see how my “poppies in a vineyard” come out.

California Delta

Whether boating, fishing or camping, there are miles and miles of the river to enjoy in Sacramento, CA. About 5 years ago we had taken a few boating trips to the Delta with our family and some friends and will forever cherish the memories of the time spent here. A great thing about boating on this waterway system is that you could dock your boat and go find a restaurant to eat at then hop back into your boat for more hours of enjoyment. And let me tell you, Sacramento has a lot of really great restaurants! We are up here for a wedding and will enjoy that but we are definitely missing being on the water! I guess we’ll have to plan a trip here in the near future.

There are also acres upon acres of vineyards and wineries. The Sugar Mill is a historic site that has been converted to house many wine makers and you can enjoy tasting as well as picnicking and live bands on the weekend.

The Planning Out of a Painting 

I have been meaning to get back to my blog for some weeks now but a nasty virus/ear infection was tough to get over so it took me longer to finish this painting than I had originally anticipated. I so admire the work I see from artists that are able to paint every day and so many others who, with the time they do have, get so much accomplished! My husband and I became empty nesters last summer and I thought that I would have had all the time in the world to paint but life is keeping me quite busy so that I still have to carve out specific days during the week just for my studio time.

As a studio artist, I start from an idea and work toward a specific end which includes composition, value, color and a final size. In this latest painting I wanted to emphasize the diagonals, draw the eye in a certain direction and have a piece that is vibrant with color.  With the size figured out, I built an 18″ x 24″ canvas using 2″ stretcher bars.

I began with a small grid to work through the major elements and diagonals, then drew it on the canvas. Since this is a more complicated piece, I painted in the areas where light came through the leaves before laying in the rest of the color and detail.

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Highway 46 East

Paso Robles, CA is a wonderful city and is also amazing wine country to visit. Summerwood, Brecon and Ecluse are some of our favorites. We are blessed to have friends who own property up there, Klender Cellars, and they make a nice, bold Cabernet. The Klender’s are passionate about what they do and hard working, as is typical for those who want to make their own wine and share it with others. Having the opportunity to see a vineyard in different seasons and being a part of harvest is a great experience. They really love what they are doing! This painting of an approaching storm is a view from their property.