Friday, March 30, 2012

Out of the Rain

You will recall a couple of Saturdays ago it was raining. I had to paint indoors. I wasn't sure I liked what I painted, but now I've lived with them for a couple of weeks and decided they're all right. These are fast little sketches done from some photographs which may or may not one day be larger and more time-consuming paintings. The rooster is one I watched at Heritage Square. L A City Hall with the palm trees is a daily weekday morning sight as I proceed south on Los Angeles Street toward my workplace.

I'm very fond of the City Hall. It reminds me of being a child and watching television that included Superman and Dragnet. It reminds me of riding in my father's car on the way to my grandfather's house or the beach. That's just for starters. I recently noticed how very similar it looks to the Nebraska State Capitol building, built a few years before it, obviously also in the 1920s. Except Nebraska has a dome on the top and we have a pyramid. I cropped the painting extensively, because I made a mess of the sky.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Technology and Nature

I went to paint at Cal Tech today, but I forgot something to paint on. Arguably, one could paint on just about anything, but I didn't. I took some photos and notes and painted later at home. Not before I walked around and took dozens of pictures.
I took quite a few pictures of this beautiful egret that was fishing for food in some pools. It was not bothered by me.

And I was quite enamored with its white feathers and yellow feet.

Then I noticed this big silent bullfrog

Finally, I noticed this: a bit beaten up by a lawnmower,but still a four leaf clover. I didn't pick it. No reason to press my luck.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


This is part in honor of the year of the dragon, and part an attempt at to paint something taken more from imagination than, say, a real dragon. The form of this dragon is loosely inspired by an old Japanese woodcut. The color is inspired by sun conures (really beautiful little parrots.) I'd like to say more about dragons, but I'm fairly ignorant of the subject. It could use a story.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Well, the rain kept me from going out and painting today. I did a couple of indoor paintings, but I'm not sure I like them enough to share. Here's something good though. It's my second year (or maybe my third) of monarchs in my yard. I don't think there are more necessarily, but I keep getting better at spotting them - the little eggs on the leaves, the tiniest striped caterpillars, and the places they undergo their very remarkable transformation.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Pasadena loves its craftsman homes, probably this one best of all. It was designed outside and inside by Charles and Henry Greene. Charles Greene, I read, wanted to be a watercolor painter, and was disappointed when his father pushed him into architecture. Parents often know best. You can take a tour of the Gamble House and look at some of the most beautiful woodwork ever and hear endlessly about lifting cloud motifs. You can wander freely about the grounds.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Knowing R. J.

This is less postcardish than the last few paintings. This is a view from Bailey Canyon Park in Sierra Madre, looking across Carter and south to the lowlands. I kind of expected to paint trees when I headed up to Bailey Canyon Park, but the ravages of November's winds are still very apparent there. I saw plenty of downed trees and plenty of stumps. There was a lot less shade to be had as well. Challenging painting conditions because of the speed at which the paint dried. I liked the image of the morning sun bathing a roof top with the blue expanse of distance beyond. Since I believe painting is an intimate act, I think I should know something about what I paint. I was able to learn that Bailey Canyon was named for R.J. Bailey, a homesteader who didn't stick around long. Nothing more than that. I don't know who the roof belongs to either.

Here's a treat, and I only wish I could have gotten closer and focused better. This is an acorn woodpecker. There are several that I think live in palm trees to the south of me. They come and get peanuts that I put out in the morning. They've gotten used to me over the past few years and don't seem so shy any more. I think they might be an extended family group; they work cooperatively to chase jays and crows away from the nuts. Hang in there, woodpecker.