Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Trip to Korea

I had wonderful adventures in Korea. Unfortunately, my return home coincided with the onset of some pretty unpleasant illness. Nothing very unusual; my doctor is completely unconcerned. And it seems to be clearing up. Here are a couple of things I drew and painted.

From the roof of Hotel New Prince, Bucheon, Korea

Secret Garden, Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul, Korea

Monday, August 16, 2010


Do you hear your own heartbeat? Do you hear the grasshopper which is at your feet? -- quote from Kung Fu, a television show I absolutely ate up when I was a kid. And I find grasshoppers quite special too.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Arlington Garden

This three-acre plot of land is owned by the California Department of Transportation, for possible future construction of a freeway extension, which has been hotly contested for over forty years. After many years as a neglected vacant lot, it was envisioned as a community garden. Now it has become one. I chose my subject largely for the shade, because it was a hot morning. I think it's a pleasant painting but a little bland. I didn't think it looked all that much like it was painted on location. Perhaps it's the lack of sky, but anyway, I decided to include a photo of the painting on the easel. As proof. I'd be in the picture too, except I was taking it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


This little sketch is so old I don't remember what I was thinking, although vaguely I guess it might have been a song. Here are some words I tentatively added to the bio, to make it unique and thought-provoking, or at least a little clever.

Barbara thinks perhaps an artist is a kind of light-breathing creature – inhaling the visual world, gasping at beauty, holding its breath, infusing its cells with color -- then exhaling to release rearranged molecules and energy.

I just thought of the following, not necessarily for the bio, but I think it has some truth that might be missing. I don't really think of myself as an artist or my paintings as art. Humility is a cardinal virtue, and I aspire.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Portrait of a Spider

Orbweaver, family Araneidae
Identification courtesy of What's That Bug? The name, orbweaver, comes from the beautiful circular (not spherical) web, which you can't see because it's in shadow. And because I didn't paint it. Some years ago, I spoke to a physician who specialized in the treatment of wounds. I can't recall her name, but she worked at Arcadia Methodist. She said spiders got a bad rap; many, probably most, of the skin irritations people assume are spider bites are not. I felt I should pass that along.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

El Molino Viejo

I painted yesterday at Old Mill in San Marino. We call it by its Spanish name which helps distinguish it from the myriad other old mills across the land. This was the grist mill that ground the flour for the San Gabriel Mission a long time ago. For our purposes now it's just a lovely quiet place to sit and observe or read or converse. No charge. Plenty of shade. A little history. California Art Club gallery with lovely small pictures with big prices. Lizards galore. Short hours. Despite all the available shade, I ended up painting in the sun. I ran out of time and didn't finish the painting, but I actually liked it enough to finish it at home. I'm not displeased. I think my plein air paintings are looking more and more like I know what I'm doing. All illusion. The plaza where I stood was tiled, and the white grout between the tiles made a nice pattern. I had it in mind to scrape the paint to make the lines, but somehow my scraping resulted in darker lines. I'm trying to ignore them.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Editorial Assistance Wanted

So I have to submit an artist biography. What do you think of this? Does it read well? Is it interesting? Does it convey anything about me or my paintings? Do you have any suggestions?

Barbara Field was born in Los Angeles. Drawing and painting has been an important part of her life from early childhood. Her parents perceived talent and encouraged her creative expression. Rebelliousness and varied interests led her to follow a different course of study in college. She pursued a career entirely unrelated to visual art, but interesting nonetheless. Barbara is still driven to draw and paint so over the years she has continued to study art and try to make art.

Barbara works primarily in watercolors at present, but has completed numerous works in oils, acrylics and gouache as well. She has undertaken a wide variety of subjects, but particularly likes to paint ordinary and generally unnoticed subjects. Nature is a particular passion. She varies her style and application of paint from work to work, and believes that the style should express the vision but not define the artist. Barbara maintains a blog about her painting, called “What I See.”

Barbara is a member of Watercolor West, The California Art Club, The American Society of Botanical Artists, and San Gabriel Fine Arts Association. She paints out nearly every Saturdays with a very loosely organized and small group. Barbara lives in South Pasadena, California with her husband, and has two marvelous grown sons.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

King of Butterflies

It doesn't happen often, but sometimes a monarch butterfly will catch a glimpse or a whiff of my fancy milkweed and descend on my yard for a bit. The yard is regularly dotted with gulf fritillaries, so you wouldn't think I'd even notice one more orange butterfly. But the monarch is larger and much more substantial. It moves with a casual lumbering grace that brings to mind the most attractive men. It drinks deeply and poses for the camera. I call my husband and tell him the king of butterflies is visiting our garden. I could have said there is a monarch. But I love the sound of "King of Butterflies;" it reminds me of Oberon. My dearest wish for a moment is that the butterfly will choose to lay eggs in my garden. I don't know; it could have been the queen.