Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The moon with a fence around it

My computer is not acting right, and it took a huge pile of time to put this up here. But for all that frustration, I don't overlook for a moment how wonderously lucky I am. I am disinclined to take much longer. I do hope you like the pictures.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fly, Number One

I think I'd like to have an art show some day. I certainly have more than enough material already, but not only is it inconsistent in quality,it's inconsistent in virtually every way. It is a mishmash. It has no unity and no focus, and I think it might look cheesy if it were displayed all together. So I thought it was time to do a series. This is the first painting in that first series.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hale House

This was painted at the Heritage Square Museum, which is kind of like a retirement home for old houses. The Hale House was its first resident - a gorgeous and quirky Victorian; I chose to paint only this small detail of window, because I know my limits and because I was attracted to the colorful sun-catching planting.

My first foray into gardening was indoor potted plants when I was in my teens. I had only to find a nice spot for the plants and water them, and they rewarded me with life, lush greenness and oxygen. I branched out into flowers next. It was much trickier to keep plants alive outdoors, with a variety of weather conditions and herbivores. Yet it was more than just keeping them alive; I needed to encourage beautiful blossoms as well, possibly even fragrant and colorful blossoms. when I took up cultivating fruits and vegetables, there were new areas of concern: my plants needed to produce in quantity, and my fruits and herbs should have a pleasing texture and flavor. My prizes should grow to a proper size and juicy ripeness.

Art has been quite a lot like gardening for me. A painting consists of subject, composition, lines, values, colors, and technique. Sometimes I can't get any of those to work. The more I try to paint, the more respect I develop for painters. Paintings that I once would have written off as bland or trite, now show me a level of mastery I know can't even touch. Wish me luck. And water and sunlight.

Coffee Gallery at Night

It's true I painted this once before, and posted it in the earliest days of the blog. However, I like the image - the cool funky stand-alone building partially lit by the streetlight, with more light from the streetlight pooling on the ground, and then fading into darkness. This is the place where I paint on Monday nights and where I see live musical performances as often as I can. So I mainly see and think about the Coffee Gallery at night, although of course it has a life in daylight as well.

This was painted for the Calypso Moon Artist Movement challenge, which was to paint light in darkness. Other subjects I considered were my front porch light, my bedside lamp, the St. Andrew's clock tower, and light and shadows through a fire escape. All these subjects are electric lit, but with yellow and soft light. All warm and welcoming images, except the fire escape which was quite film noir, but better I think as a photograph. I have a friend I think might want this painting.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

And life goes on

I think I've never before seen a bee quite so frosted in pollen as this one.

Several months ago, our neighbor cut back her cactus. Her driveway was piled high with trimmings to which we were welcome. We moved several to our driveway. My husband donned gloves and potted cactus cuttings, one of which has moved on to its new home. He didn't pot the long piece, because it had a high center of gravity and needed a bigger pot. It lay in our driveway getting a little yellower, until a week ago it sprouted a bud, and then two nights ago, in the dark, it put forth a glorious bloom. It seems so brave, I think I have to plant it now.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Wilderness Park

I took a different approach to this painting. I had a single large and slightly damaged canvas. I used up a lot of time before I started painting, and I didn't have a sketch that I liked much. Because I have come to hate cleaning brushes, I set to painting with one of my most beat up large brushes. I had no particular worry about screwing anything up; I just didn't want to go home without a painting again. I think reckless abandon may just be a good thing. If I can't get my colors right, I might as well make them bright and beautiful.

This was painted at Wilderness Park in Arcadia. The stream is just a trickle right now, and the ranger told me that's probably because Santa Anita Dam is old and a little leaky. I remember once wading there in fast icy water. I saw a fox at Wilderness Park once too. It might have been the inspiration for the reddish blurs.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sunny Blues

There must be a song by that name. This piece is more old stock, because I haven't posted much of that lately, and because last Saturday's plein air painting was a bomb. I tried to do a watercolor of the spectacular Lummis Home in under an hour and a half, and ended up with two little papers that look like nothing. I'm working on something from a photograph I took there, but I'm not sure it's really going anywhere either.

The pictorial offering today isn't all that interesting. I'm pretty sure I did it just because I had a scrap of illustration board. It is a pleasing color, and seems to capture a whole range of sunny skies.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Two of these things were once instruments of flight, but they will not be flying anymore unless the wind picks them up and carries them. The little palm tree had designs of growing skyward until I reluctantly killed it. I realized as I titled the post that grounded is a two-edged word. To be grounded is to have no altitude, to be flightless. To be grounded is to be practical, realistic, and steady. And then there was the punishment, when we broke rules; we were hobbled, but with good intentions.