I’ve found a new favorite place to paint, Moss Beach. The spot I found (at Juliana Ave, Moss Beach, CA 94038) is small, but has it all: Monterey Cypress, ice plant, bluffs, a small beach. It’s also closer than favorite spots like Point Lobos, so I expect to return here often.
Enjoy this latest work, and as always, your comments are welcome.
This study is probably my favorite, as it’s closer to the loose, painterly approach that I’m aiming for.
Here’s a gray day view of the bluffs. Painting on gray days is often under-valued by artists, who prefer full sun, but gray days keep the light consistent for a longer period of time, so the plein air painter has more time to complete a painting. You’re not “chasing the sun”.
Mike and I have planned a trip to Maui! It’s been a long time since we’ve enjoyed a vacation together, so I’m really looking forward to it. Since I don’t plan to travel with my full oil setup, I will paint watercolors plein air. I think there’s something about Hawaii and the tropics that lends itself well to watercolor–the lightness of it all.
To prepare my watercolor skills (which are minimal), I’ve started to paint the figure. It’s a great way to “kill two birds with one stone”: both learn the medium and continue to improve my drawing skills. Of course, painting the figure is the best way to improve drawing because it’s obvious when you make even the slightest error. The first two studies below were painted at a local gay bar (Moby Dick). An artist in the neighborhood thought it would be nice to have a drawing group there, and I have to say, it was really fun. It is a gay bar, so lots of pulsing music and local characters, but I ended up having a great time. It’s Monday nights (at least through the Summer )if you’re interested (7:30-10:30pm).
The last painting is just another tennis player study, in oil. I’ve been doing a seriers of these. The strong light on a tennis court makes for some very interesting color situations–especially reflected light. Enjoy!
Recently, I’ve found a new muse in San Gregorio State Beach (CA). It’s a wonderful, unique stretch of beach on the northern coast of California. It’s a site full of whimsy: high art castles and lowly shacks, all made of driftwood from the sea. A great past time there is to build all kinds of structures from the gnarled, twisted wood spread across the beach. Kids just have a wonderful time building things and exploring “the neighborhood” of structures and arrangements around them. I haven’t painted a full edifice yet, but starting my study of the place with by painting studies of little stretches of beach in different weather, full sun and foggy days, to get to know the place.
I painted the study below Sunday. For me, it was a day of escape. I didn’t sleep much the night before due to a nagging sinus headache that would continue a couple days, including this day. I knew that once I started painting and entered “the zone“–or in physchology, “flow“, which is “the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does” (source: Wikipedia). Someone asked me how long I’d been working, and I truly had the no idea. At first I thought, I don’t know, 10 years (thinking she meant total time painting), and then realized she must have meant the study, so I said an hour. I’m sure it was much longer. The headache did cease while painting! Amazing things can happen when one finds something so absorbing to do. I’m very lucky to have that.
So while I work on concepts for something larger in the studio, here are a couple recent studies to enjoy. The last (below) will be featured in an article I wrote for the June edition of PleinAir Magazine. I’m very excited about that!
It was a pleasure presenting today at the 2nd Annual Plein Air Convention & Expo! If you were not able to attend, here are my slides. In the presentation, I show how social media can either be a distraction or help you reach fine art collectors and build your career. Enjoy!
Sunday was foggy along the coast, but I was able to find something interesting to paint at San Gregorio State Beach. This beach is known for having plenty of driftwood, and beach-goers build really interesting huts and other structures there. It’s well worth a visit. This painting received a lot of comments on my Facebook page, so appears to be a winner! I think people are reacting to the simplicity of it. I hope you enjoy it.
What I love about being an artist is the opportunity to continually learn and explore. My focus recently is learning to use new and different materials. Royal Talens sent me a set of Cobra solvent-free oil paints to try, and these are my first results. The benefit is I don’t have to use solvents, which even though labeled “odor free” really are not, and it’s nice so nice to clean up with soap and water!
As I explore how to work with this paint, I’m find myself painting with a much thicker impasto technique–and I’m enjoying it! Trying new materials can push artists in new directions and open up new possibilities. I hope you enjoy these studies, all done in San Francisco.
Yesterday, I finally had the combination of opportunity and weather I need to paint. It’s been a busy few months, having started a full time job in October. Since I’ll be traveling a lot more, I’m starting to carry a small watercolor kit to take advantage of any opportunities that arise then. I have to say, I really admire watercolorists. It’s much harder than it works. I should probably succumb to a workshop soon.
The sky was just incredible. Behind me was the sea (a normal subject), but looking up the path from the street to the beach, I saw a sight I knew I had to paint. I’m a sucker for intense blue skies!
After a great week of painting (although, lots of work and some tough, 100-degree weather), my paintings for the San Luis Obispo Plein Air 2012 show at the SLO Museum of Art are ready to go! I need to choose three of these five for the show. I’ve listed them in order of my favorites first. What do you think?
Avila Cove (Late Afternoon), Oil on Linen, 11×14
[Update 10/5]: you’ve all convinced me, the last painting below (sunset) is in the show! Thanks for your feedback. It’s really difficult to judge my own work.