I had a great time painting plein air in Palm Springs last weekend! I need to get back soon. The combination of blazing, clear light; nature; and modern architecture make it a great destination for plein air painters. Enjoy!
I’ve enjoyed a long, fulfilling career in Silicon Valley. It’s an incredibly diverse, constantly changing place and state of mind. It’s easy to be consumed here in a world where creating disruption is your job. It see it everywhere as I walk the city (my favorite past-time). I notice the first-time tourists who see San Francisco through fresh eyes contrasted with the emerging technology class glued to their latest device. Watching them, I ask myself, do they miss the wonder in the eyes of newcomers around them? Can we maintain curiosity, and see the world anew every day?
As an Industry Analyst at Altimeter Group, my job now is to understand and council others in technology disruption. But I need a constant: a foundation that puts these ceaseless changes in perspective. How can you understand change without understanding the starting point? For me that starts with family of course, but also, seeing and expressing the undeniable beauty around me every day. So, I paint and sketch. Every day. Maybe it’s a “left brain, right brain” thing, but for me, creating something of lasting beauty in a world of ephemeral apps, devices and marketing campaigns gives me the foundation I need to notice. And noticing—being aware—is the first step in understanding the world as it is and can be.
Balboa Park in San Diego is a painter’s paradise. According to Wikipedia, the park is “Named for the Spanish maritime explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the park hosted the 1915 Panama–California Exposition and 1935 California Pacific International Exposition, both of which left architectural landmarks.” The architecture is great, and the park is surrounded by beautiful gardens. I had some fun with this one. Enjoy!
Whether this is a sunrise or sunset depends upon your perspective, however, I think it’s a false choice. It’s not one or the other–it’s both. It’s sunset in San Miguel de Allende and sunrise in somewhere else. I find this same truth in life all the time, and I try to recognize it when it happens so I can see both sides of any situation. Enjoy!
I have a couple of different recent paintings to share as I continue to explore new ideas and materials.
I painted this plein air work in San Miguel de Allende a few months ago, but it sat in my studio unfinished for a while. It needed just a few adjustments.
I love painting a dramatic sky! This was painted from a reference photo I took while staying at Red Rocks for the 1st Annual Plein Air Convention & Expo. I liked the counterbalance between the drama of the sky and the distant lights of the Las Vegas Strip.
And finally, I’ve been experimenting with new materials. This oil on paper work was done with new Cobra water soluble oils. I love the idea of painting with solvents! So far I like the, although I don’t have enough colors to truly judge–and I haven’t painted on anything other than paper so far. You may recognize this study, based on another done plein air in regular oil paint.
I just returned from one of the best workshops I’ve ever attended, with Frank Gardner in San Miguel de Allende. What made it great? It was a “whole” experience: painting (yes, of course!) and great insights from Frank, but what it made it extra special was the food, music, culture and the unbelievably welcoming vibe of San Miguel de Allende.
While there was always the threat of scorpions repelling from the ceiling (see New Adventures of the Ginger Gringo blog), Casa Santa Ana was a great home base for the class. We had the option of painting from the roof (first painting, below) or interiors in the casa. Frank also took us out to a couple of ranches during our stay (see slideshow below).
This trip is on my calendar for next year. Enjoy!
Here’s a slide show:
Painting in watercolor is SO different from oil. It’s a real challenge, but I’m enjoying it. I decided to take a short break from oil painting to learn a new medium. I’m sure I’ll return to oil soon, but enjoying the immediacy and delicacy required to paint watercolor. Enjoy!
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Had a short–but wonderful–trip to Sydney last week. Here are some plein air watercolors. This is a really new medium for me–I feel like I’m learning to paint all over again 🙂
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Fear can be an effective motivator, at least for me. I was scheduled to teach a short demo/workshop Saturday with the East Bay Plein Air painters. Demos are scary! What if I “crash and burn” in front of 20 artists taking notes, pictures for their blogs, etc. To ensure my Saturday demo went well, I headed to the assigned spot (Legion of Honor) to paint the day before. The weather was unusually warm. If we’re lucky, San Francisco will have a day or two of temps in the 80’s. It was that kind of week, a perfect morning to paint my pre-demo test.
This is the result. I’m happy with it, and the following day I practically painted the same thing, only larger. The group did a great job documenting the demo. I’ll post their PDFs/pics in the next few days. Until then, enjoy this light-filled study, and if you know San Francisco, you’ll recognize the two steeples on the horizon.
It’s been a wonderful couple days here at Hearst Castle for the invitational. The artists and staff of the castle have been great. I can’t wait to see everyone’s work framed for the show June 5. Tickets are available for $175 for the Friends of Hearst Castle’s “Twilight on the Terrace” fundraiser benefiting art programs for at risk youth.
My first effort was painting “Casa del Mar”, a guest house on the South Terrace of the castle. I got to take a peak inside…wow. Opulent doesn’t begin to describe it. Hearst himself spent his final years in this house. This is just about done, I think a couple minor tweaks when I get back to my studio should do it.
My next effort was painting this white marble statue, which I imagine is Cupid (sans arrow). While in full sun is always a joy for me to paint, as white takes on so many colors and reflections of light. I’m not sure the color of reflect light is quite right, so I may make some adjustments before I call this one done.
And on my final day, again on the South Terrace outside Casa del Mar, I painted this fountain and gold statue of a princess holding a frog. I realize the princess statue on top looks like an Oscar statuette, but that’s really what it looks like! Even the shadow side on the gold had a red glow. I’m happy with this one. It’s interesting to me because it almost looks like two different painters/styles: the fountain is high-key, colorist, and the background trees and distant shore are more traditional value painting.
As you can see, all of these paintings push color a bit. With full sun available, I didn’t paint much tonally. To make sure these colors are still on track, I look at the images in black & white as well. If light and shadow read well in black/white, it almost doesn’t matter what color you choose to paint (see my 2007 post on values). I think the light/shadow patterns read in this black/white versions, so these seem to be working.
I am on my way tomorrow to Hearst Castle to paint for an invitational, and taking my time, driving down the coast from Carmel to Cambria with a stop in Big Sur a couple days. To prepare for painting the castle’s architecture, I got out some reference photos of Balboa Park in San Diego. I hope to post all week along the way, but my first priority is painting, so no promises!