Tuesday, September 15, 2015
I painted the tree in the picture, perhaps a year ago. I hope this tree is still thriving and taking in the rain of the day. As I think most tree people can tell, it's a nice big California live oak. It grows in a curious little spot that is the tail end of the vestiges of a lost nature park. This spot has been borrowed from the utility that owns the power lines and transformed into a semi-private sanctuary. I'm going back to paint there next Saturday.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
I love this painting. A big part of that is probably that it made my friend and her sister truly happy, as well as a little comforted about giving up their childhood home. Another reason I love the painting is that it's chock full of my own memories. I'll come back to those. And then I just think it looks good. It isn't painted front on from a photograph. I walked around and picked my favorite angle. The light is pure Southern California. It's not a real showpiece house; it's pretty basic, but in a lot of ways that makes for a better painting. On request I enhanced the orange tree a little. The tree was struggling in the drought, had no oranges, and got removed not too long after. I like the moon, peaking out in in the hot daylight. And the memories.
Listening to record albums, especially The Beatles, over and over again until we knew them by heart. Making prank phone calls. Ditching my last undershirt there, not quite ready for a bra, but for damn sure was not going to wear an undershirt to junior high school. My first slumber party, pretending I was hypnotized. Walking to a nearby vacant lot with a tree to climb. Walking to the variety store and buying candy and gum and wax lips and mustaches. Puppies. Looking over the back wall at the cemetery. Teak Danish modern furniture that required coasters. Which is what I still think of when I hear Norwegian Wood.
Saturday, August 8, 2015
This is a painting made on the grounds of the the beautiful Church of the Angels on Avenue 64. That's the way the Avenues of East LA are named - not 64th Avenue and not Avenida 64. This hillside is very interesting, and I understand there are stairs to climb up it. I will definitely do that one day, but not in the heat of August.
I used to work with a woman who asked me for a ride home one day, or actually only part of the way home. She put me onto her shortcut from downtown Los Angeles to Pasadena, and I've used her shortcut ever since. It's the 110 to Avenue 64 to the 210. I wouldn't swear it's the fastest way, but it's direct and also scenic and relaxing. That was how I came to notice this view and eventually paint it. You can decide for yourself, but I like the eucalyptus and cypress trees best.
Monday, June 15, 2015
I participated in an "Every Day in May" sketching challenge. I just counted up my pictures and I managed twenty days. Which is not too bad. There are a few more I might do yet, but more likely not. I was hoping it would become my new habit - daily sketching - and supplant some of my television, facebook, sudoku and freecell. Some guy in the 1950s posited it takes 21 days to form a habit. Current research suggests it's much longer. I could use some new habits. And maybe a beer.
Saturday, May 2, 2015
I still haven't learned who or what Singer Park is named for. I'd like to know. Singer must have been or done something special to have the park named thus, but if nobody knows what, then it's pretty meaningless. We might as well call it Park Near the Freeway, or Park With Nice Restrooms. I think I'll find out eventually. After years of wondering, I just finally found the house where Guy Rose was from. I'm going to see if there is something to paint there. In the meantime, here's the second painting.
Finally, I found a thirty day drawing challenge. Thirty days seemed like a modest enough commitment. So here's my day one drawing.
Friday, April 10, 2015
This was painted at the Self-Realization Fellowship International Headquarters. It is a beautiful peaceful little chip of Los Angeles, with gardens in which to quietly reflect. It is so peaceful that watercolor painting seems almost disruptive. But who cares?
There are bonsai trees with large weights on the branches. There are benches in the shade. There are stepping stones. Stepping stones are like life; at least they are more like life than stairs or pathways.
I was trying to think what might be the opposite of self-realization. I came up with self-befuddlement. I almost used that for the title of the post, but finally decided that might reveal too much about my feelings.
I hope people make their way back to my neglected blog. I could use somebody to talk to.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
Friday, January 9, 2015
I'm going to break from my normal pattern here, and I don't mean my pattern of going weeks without feeding the blog, but rather my pattern of taking things in order.
I've been doing this Saturday paint-out thing for going on five years, since March 6, 2009, if you want to keep track. This is how it started. My youngest son was going off college, and I thought I ought to dedicate myself to making good use of my expanding spare time. I was already drawing and painting, but I decided to put more time into it. I signed up for a watercolor painting class and joined some art clubs. I found out about people going out and painting on location every Thursday, and I badly wanted to join them, but I couldn't shake off my Monday through Friday full-time employment. So I said to the board of one of the art clubs, I think there should be paint-outs on Saturday mornings. And the board said, make it so. I got a little help early on, but soon it fell to all me. It was going to be a club activity, but the club's insurance carrier could not condone club members being led out into the wilds to paint, so it became its own thing. Unaffiliated and unsanctioned. Just a bunch of people getting together and painting. Sometimes, though, it wasn't a bunch. Sometimes there were just a couple of painters. Sometimes only me. Frankly, I like it better when there are other painters around. It's more fun and it's also safer. But I don't mind painting alone. So I stuck with it. I habituated it. I paint on Saturday mornings. I am constantly on the lookout for places to paint. I send emails to people who want to get emails about Saturday painting.
I've had companion painters come and go over the years. I understand that there are hundreds of other things to do on Saturdays. Yard sales, cartoons, diner breakfasts, daylight lovemaking, gardening, and hiking, to name a few. I send emails to seventy people. Some have never actually come to paint. I'm glad all seventy don't come, because that is much too big a group to paint with. I think about 5 to 10 people is optimal, and that is just about how many people come these days. My painter friends make me happy, and I think I've done a good thing giving them a nudge to come out and paint on Saturdays. I treasure their friendship and their company and their artistic wisdom and their art. So once a year I invite them to my house and give them some food to show my gratitude. Then they hang around and paint pictures of my house. Maybe someday art historians will wonder why so many artists chose to paint a modest one-story 1917 bungalow with Christmas colored trim and unkempt landscaping. Like this:
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
I'm still not sure about the palm trees. But I think the painting has kind of vintagey exotic look to it, and it isn't even too tortured by its drawing errors. I've been inside the Athenaeum a couple of times - once on a luncheon date with a graduate student, and once for a class reunion. Twentieth, perhaps. The Ath, it's called locally by insiders.
For a lot of money, I could become a supporter of Caltech and apply for membership at the Athenaeum. Then maybe I could sip tea or eat prime rib and possibly cast flirtatious looks at very smart old guys. Something to think about as I formulate my retirement plan and need some balance for my painting.