21 February 2011

Extreme painting (so to speak).

It seems lately I've had to paint in some unusual conditions. Yes, I could have stayed home and paint in the studio but I just love love love winter here in Los Angeles. It is the only season that really matters because you can feel human. Summer months are so damn long and hot one can barely muster any energy or mood to paint. Plus it's all so brown and scorched anyway.

So besides going to Santa Cruz a few weeks ago I've been escaping to paint here in Pasadena despite some inclemency in the weather. I found this swarms of blooming soulangea magnolias ("tea cup" some call them) close to the city center and just had to paint them....even if it was raining heavily, even if it was a bit chilly. The painting below was painted under the sole protection of a tree branch. It was pouring so it was a bit hurried . It was finally interrupted when lighting and thunder began to rumble. But I like how I captured the mood, the fallen petals, the wet pathway...it is a 6"x6" piece.
I went back the next day because it was sunny but the clouds rolled in again. So I had to change course midway and change my color scheme. Then, it go so cold I ran home where I settled on a watercolor of Hollywood based on some pictures I had taken.

Whenever I can I try to take pictures when it rains, weather makes everything interesting.

08 February 2011

Painting in Santa Cruz, Channel Islands

Last weekend we did one of our field trips. Joshua Tree was our destination last year. This year we were fortunate enough to have a friend with a (very nice) boat that offered to take us to Santa Cruz, one of the absolutely beautiful Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California. The trip lasted about an hour, the day was splendid and, more importantly, I didn't get sea sick which would have been a bummer. Once anchored in Scorpion Harbor, we took a small boat to the dock were we had to climb gear in hand. But it was worth it. Recent rains had covered the island in luscious green and the water was calm. My painting, meh. But what a wonderful day anyhow.

03 February 2011

Montecito Flats

Montecito Heights (Flats is the popular name of the area around the antenna on the top, a semi-private lot with a gate and a self-appointed caretaker called Tuck ) is a rarely mentioned neighborhood south of Pasadena with some beautiful hilly areas and a rare undeveloped area on the very top that affords majestic views of Los Angeles skyline. Our Group painted there for the whole month of January which posed some challenges since it is not a place with a lot of foreground, it's all about the far back, mountains and city views.
I painted three small pieces that try to capture the majestic sunsets and distance in a tiny square. Here are the uneven results.

The first piece is my favorite with a sunset feel of the eucalyptus and a hint of the snowy peaks in the distance. I find the trick with is to allow a slight difference in cool /warm between the white of the snow and almost identical sky color. A bit of volume in the paste also seems to help create the impression of distant-but-not-same.

The second piece was another 8x10 , no deer showed up I am afraid but I added it in jest so I could enter a wildlife exhibit in nearby Audubon Park. Ok, so I cheated, so sue me :)

The last piece I did hurriedly *while* or rather in the minutes of sunset I had. So I would paint the piece of the day and then run to
my sunset spot and paint for twenty minutes on the ongoing work below. I tried to capture the abstract play of light on the mass of buildings and trees. I think in the future I will use a different approach, less color based, with a lot more matter involved as I've seen other artists do (Bryan Mark Taylor for example).