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).


Judy P. said...

Lovely paintings; can you elaborate
on your trick about the slight difference in cool-warm temps for the snow and sky?
Thanks- I'm glad I found your blog!

Jose L De Juan said...

Hi Judy.
It's not really a trick but I find many people , when painting far away snow, focus too much attention on trying to get the shapes right and blur the area too much. I think it is more effective to suggest with a few strokes or with knife and using a slightly warmer white than the one of the sky but in the same tone or grey value. (if it is an evening scene fro example)

Jo Allum said...

I love your work, it has such atmostphere. your colours are beautiful! I generally work in acrylics and recently a little watercolour...oils next! thanks for the inspiration!