Thursday, April 29, 2010

Strange Nature

Green parrots eating the neighbors' loquats

The venus flytrap about to bloom, and hosting a small mushroom

A napping bee

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jack O Hearts

Once upon a time, I was a bored teenage girl. Computer solitaire was yet rare and precious, so I whiled away my time dealing actual cards. I couldn't help but notice that the jack of hearts was rather handsome, especially as compared to the other jacks. So I made a drawing of him looking rather like a surfer. Then to lend credence to his title, I gave him a castle - in a loch no less.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mission Playhouse

My plein air painting companions left me alone today, except that one stopped by with a useful critique, and caused me to shift values. I shared the space outside the playhouse with an exuberant church youth group who was raising funds to end hunger. They were having a bake sale and urging drivers to honk. They had vast lengths of paper chains, and they brought tears to my eyes when they explained that each link represented a child who died from hunger every day.

The photograph has a weird texture going on that I think was an incorrect camera setting. I'm thinking about my art and its purpose and its direction. Shall I just paint for pleasure, or am I driven to make it an effort?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Belated Earth Day

Personally I didn't do too much to observe Earth Day. I had a vegetarian lunch. I like to think I'm good to the planet everyday. I think about it and I try. Here are some views from my yard. A day late and a dollar short.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hugo Reid Adobe

In most of the world, and even the rest of the country, you can find seriously old buildings. In California, 150 years qualifies as extremely old.

This is another 12x16. I missed breakfast, and got faint with heat and/or hunger before I was finished with this. I'm not sure it was worth it. But anyhow, I've used up all my blank canvases (except one that smells like mildew.) I think I'll get smaller ones. I think I learn as much on 8x10, and I think my chances of catching and condensing a moment of beauty are every bit as good. At least for now. Until I have bigger brushes, and work faster, and find a subject that screams to be a monumental painting.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Passion Flower

At the request of my younger son, here is a passion flower. We are fortunate to have these adorning our back fence. I painted it with a combination of transparent watercolor and gouache.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pizza & Beer

I painted this for the the Calypso Moon Artist Movement challenge. Alice Thompson asked us to paint food that is bad for us. Now pizza, you may say, is not that bad. Well it is when you don't stop at two or three slices. But pizza is also good, and it's good with beer, which is also good in moderation. Very likely, pizza and beer was the menu for my first ever dinner party. It still makes a good dinner party. Tonight we're dining al fresco.

The toppings on the pizza proved challenging to paint. It's a random jumble of color and shadows, and it was difficult to keep track of all the little bits and keep it looking lively and appetizing. This is a 9x12 watercolor.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mary's Market

Mary's Market sits somewhere between the heart and the foot of the eclectic enclave that is Sierra Madre Canyon. The setting is idyllic. There was a babbling brook (or the equivalent) right behind me as I painted, and two robins were foraging there. The people of Mary's and their customers were very nice and friendly. A couple of especially wonderful locals loaned me a place to park and hosted me for lunch at Mary's. Mary's is even cooler inside than out, I think, except it doesn't have the trees and babbling brook. It does have very good coffee and food.

I struggled quite a bit with this painting, but in the end I'm kind of happy with it. I especially like the background - the house and the trees. My oil paint trees improve a little each week I think. I think I did well to generalize the cars and the patio. The front of the market got a little too precious, but then the sun came out and made some interesting shadows. The photograph has some sunlight and shadows too.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

All bugs

I present you with images of a ladybug (keeping the rosebud safe), a greenbottle fly, a grasshopper, and a crane fly. Everything gets to live in my garden except arrowhead flatworms. I find all the insect life kind of balances out, some becoming food for others or for the birds. Caterpillars may eat my plants, but grow up to pollinate them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Something Old

This is a fairly old painting of a fairly old toy as well as a flower and a bottle which must be long gone now. I started collecting wind-up toys when I had a college art class assignment to illustrate a mechanical toy, its component parts and its motion all in one illustration. I liked my picture (which is not this one) a lot, and when I come across it, I'll be sure to post it here. My subject was a little hopping sparrow, which fortunately I was able to reassemble. One of my classmates had a toucan, which I simply had to have, and thus began my collection. I was particularly drawn to their lithographed surfaces. I stopped collecting toys after I had children because at that point quite rightly my toys were their toys. I do still have some somewhere put away, unwound and getting older, rather wastefully now that I think about it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Green

Today I painted in Central Park, the slightly less famous Central Park in Pasadena. This is 12x16 - much larger than the plein air paintings of previous Saturdays. For that, if nothing else, I'm pretty happy. I managed to slap together a credible 12x16 oil painting in only 3 hours. I easily found a parking space, which was not metered until 11. I forgot my sketchbook and paper towels. I passed up a lucky penny. I got totally absorbed in my painting, and didn't notice that 11 o'clock came, and sometime after that parking enforcement came, and ticketed my car which was about 100 yards straight ahead of where I stood. So this is at least a $42 painting. Bad greedy old Pasadena.

I think the painting is not nearly contrasty enough. The colors are interesting, but the values don't sing. Perhaps a value sketch would have helped. I have figured out how to use the alarm feature on my cell phone, and will use it to avoid further parking tickets.