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Friday, October 30, 2009

Path to the Sea

The Guy Fleming Trail has the nicest trees of all the trails, I think. This painting was done this morning there. Two field trips of 3rd graders came by while I was working. They were so cute. They think I'm a famous artist! What an ego boost!

In the afternoon I hiked the longest trails - Broken Hill Trail to the beach, and the Beach Trail back. Got my exercise for the day.

Afternoon Hike

I hiked the other half of Razor Point Trail, but the trail did not have many wide areas where I could set up without blocking the trail. So I took pictures. Then I hiked a little way along the marshlands.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yucca Point Trail - "Oceanside Canyon"

It was a GORGEOUS morning at Torrey Pines State Reserve. No wind! Yay! I hiked part of the Razorback Trail to Yucca Point. There was a nice canyon there to paint. I was able to take off the covers to my pastel box and work in a more relaxed manner. I spent more time and it shows it. It was lunch time so I went back to the room to finish yesterday's sandwich ... somehow it just doesn't taste as good as yesterday's!

Going back now to do an afternoon painting.

WINDY afternoon at Torrey Pines

I went back after lunch and had a tough time painting yesterday afternoon. The wind was very gusty and strong. So I just did a 30 min. study of a tree.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Breezy Day at Torrey Pines

This morning I went to the Torrey Pines State Reserve and found a sheltered spot from the wind and a park bench to boot - and did a little one-hour study. Then I met my husband for lunch and am going back out to another spot to paint this afternoon.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Lion Pride at Duma Tau at the Linyanti Swamp

I finally finished these lions. I'm really happy with them. But I'm also happy I'm done with them. This was the never-ending painting! One thing I learned about transparent and non-staining watercolors was: when you wet or wash over an area you already painted, certain colors get disturbed and disappear. So I had to go back later and put that area back in they way it was. Other times I thought I was putting in a soft blended area and it dried as a hard edge. I had to go back and smush it around to blend it. Now that I think of it, I did a LOT of smushing! But the beauty of these paints is that you can go back in and lift out to white paper - which I needed to do around their muzzles and whiskers.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Autumn Creek

Yay! I finished.

I am now packing my pastels in a suitcase to go carry-on to San Diego next week. My husband is attending a meeting there and we are staying at Torrey Pines. While he is busy, I will go to the Torrey Pines State Reserve and hike the trails and set up and paint. Torrey Pines is known for the rare and twisted pine trees, sandstone bluffs that go down to the ocean beach and a marshland. You can check it out at .
In the meantime before we leave, I will go back to watercolor and maybe even finish the lions!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Slowly getting better...

Today I worked about 2 hours. This painting is a stinker. I think it is the surface. Maroon is very dark. So it takes layers and layers of lighter pastel to bring up the lightness in the painting. When I work on a painting like this, I am reminded by my teachers' preferences to surfaces with a medium value - you don't have to go too far either way with the darks and the lights.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's getting better! Whew!

This painting had me scared for a little while. I worked mostly on the stream today, then started bringing up the values in the grasses and willows, and a little bit of their reflection. Then I started bringing out the highlights of the rocks - especially the ones in the light. But I don't have time to make the rocks more presentable today. That will have to wait.

This morning I went on another trail ride. We went on the Jumbo Grade trail that goes from Washoe Lake all the way to Virginia City, Nevada. We only rode a quarter of the way, but at least now I can say I was on the old historic road to the silver mining town of Virginia City!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Now this looks weird!

OK, so I had this maroon colored Colorfix pastel paper. I thought "maybe it would be good under a lot of green and gold in a landscape." I blocked in my darks with a deep dark blue and used turp to give it a wash look. You can see my rocks in the creek. Then I started putting in colors....this is really strange looking so far. Stay tuned... we'll see how this develops!

I went horseback riding up a canyon below Mount Rose called Thomas Creek. We meandered through aspens in all their golden glory, as we followed the babbling creek. It was a GORGEOUS ride! I am so "into" fall and the colors right now. All my paintings are about fall. This weird creek painting hopefully will have golden colored willows by the stream, and the reflection of gold in the water.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Plein Air in Truckee, California

Yesterday, while we were still in Truckee, I drove through our neighborhood and found a view to paint. The wind was just beginning, as a storm was coming in. I painted as fast as I could, but the wind began to pick up. I had to hang onto my set-up with one hand and try to paint with the other. Then a big gust came up. So I lowered the legs of the tripod the whole way, and pulled up a low seat (part of my art-cart). Finally, I had enough of this. So today, I printed the photo of the scene, and then looked at my incomplete painting - and what? They were sooo different! Maybe I was so concerned with the wind that I wasn't looking at the view very much. So, today I worked about an hour to try to finish this painting, but I didn't use the photo at all. I just tried to make the painting work. It's not the greatest, but I got to try a few new colors and techniques, and I think I learned something. This view is of the backside of Mount Rose and the upper part of Martis Creek before it winds into Martis Valley.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Plein Air in the Backyard!

Yesterday after I got to the Truckee house, I set up in the backyard. The fall colors are nice and it was a gorgeous day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Getting close to finishing Lion Pride watercolor

Sometimes life interrupts! But I squeaked in a couple of hours today between preparing my horse for the horseshoer, and packing up the bunnies and heading out to the Truckee house for the weekend. The lions are getting very close to being finished. Next time I work on them it will be a touch here, a bit softer there, an accent here. Yay! I'll be glad to be finished with them so I can move on to something else.

They trapped two house-raiding bears in our Truckee neighborhood. They are in "time-out" for a few months then will be released somewhere else. So now I can bring my bunnies and not worry about them being hors deurves (spell check doesn't know French - neither do I!).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Back to the "Lion Pride"

Today I did watercolor day with my friend. It was good to get back to the lions. I did a lot of work on the lower half of the painting today. It is taking shape.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fall Grasses in Sunlight

Today we are having quite a bit of rain. Actually, that is very good. I'm glad our plein air workshop was last week and not this week!

I painted another painting of this scene in Hope Valley. This time I took out the tree branches draping over the rock to see how it would look without them. It opens up the picture and the important thing now is the sun hitting the grass and surrounding willows.

This painting was done on blue-green La Carte. It was an adjustment to go back to my usual papers! At first I felt like I was lost and didn't know what to do. But as the painting progressed I no longer felt like a foreigner.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hope Valley Plein Air Workshop

I'm back from Lorenzo Chavez's plein air workshop. It was a great time for all 10 attendees and we learned so much. A special thanks to our organizer Thaleia. I was one of the lucky ones who got to stay at her cabin. Hopefully, by helping feed the "starving artists" with my lasagna and apple pie, I will be asked to come back!

Painting en plein air is a special challenge. You basically have only two hours because the light changes. Add to that - I decided to only work on the surface our instructor uses - Canson paper - which I normally don't use. All the artists tried it, then went back to their own favorites. But I was stubbornly sticking it out the whole 5 days. So, let me explain that my paintings start out wimpy and get stronger toward the end of the workshop. You really have to push and scrub the pastel into this paper! So much fall-out into the tray!

I haven't done plein air very much, so my paintings are not something I would do anything with. I consider them "field studies", from which I can do a studio painting from that might look great and I'll frame! So, please view my paintings here with a grain of salt! But, I learned some great techniques and lessons to do this kind of painting. If I try to do a little plein air each week - I will probably improve.

If you want to see an accomplished plein air painting - see Lorenzo's website at .

Friday, October 9, 2009

"Queen Anne's Lace" Watercolor Painting

This was a fun class. Jan taught us how to place medium size salt crystals on the moist painting to make Queen Anne's Lace. Only problem was, I seemed to drop crystals other places where I didn't want them! Another thing I learned was that you have to babysit the painting and when the salt sucks up the paint to the desired shapes and sizes, you have to dust off the salt crystals. I must have been yacking with the others during lunch hour and some of my flowers bloomed a little too much!
This is the last of the Jan Foss Watercolor Workshop pieces. You can visit her site at . Hopefully I am back home and have lots of plein air paintings from Hope Valley I can post!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Wild Roses" Watercolor Painting

This was done in Jan Foss's class. We learned how to use liquid mask to paint the pistons and stamens to save the white. Then, after the painting was done, we lifted off the mask and painted them the appropriate colors and details.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Oriental Lilies" Watercolor Painting

This painting was done in Jan Foss's class, but I chose to do something different than the other students. Normally, Jan shares her reference photo collection of flowers and landscapes for us to choose our own to paint our own composition from. But in this case, I bought some flowers and brought them in to paint live. That turned out to be a good idea. You can learn so much more and understand your subject more when it is right there in front of you. Photographs only show one view. Another benefit was that I continued working at home with the flowers.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"Golden Aspen" Watercolor Painting

By now, I am in Hope Valley, painting fall colors on the aspens up there. Isn't scheduling posts ahead of time great? So, think of me when you see this old painting of mine - done in Jan Foss's class.

This project was fun because we splattered paint to create the lacey look of the aspen trees. Then, when dry, we painted around them (negative painting) to fill in the background.

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Poppies and Lupin" Watercolor Painting

This piece was done in Jan Foss's class. I loved this project. I also learned about positive and negative painting. When you look at the leaves, you will see some are painted on, and some are painted "around".

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"Lake Tahoe in Spring" Watercolor Painting

This piece was done in Jan Foss's class as well. In this class we learned how to paint a streaky mountain sky by lifting off color with a tissue while still moist. We also learned how to do wildflowers, pine and fir trees, and granite rocks.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"Strawberries & Lace" Watercolor

This is the first in a series of postings which are showing my first comprehensive watercolor classes several years ago. I was attending classes with Jan Foss, a watercolorist in Incline Village, Lake Tahoe. These classes were so much fun. You can visit Jan's website at .

This first one was from a photograph she took of her own still life. She printed these pictures for us to work from, and demonstrated how to do lace and shadows and the strawberries. The lace was fun. You just draw the spaces or holes in the lace, then paint in there with a pale shadow color. I was very happy how it came out, but being a workshop piece and from the teacher's photo, I cannot sign it and enter it in shows or sell it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Abstract Multi-Media with Watercolor - "Under the Sea"

The poor lions are on hold AGAIN! But SOON I'll be painting all day, outside, for five days straight! I'm packing, making a lasagna and apple pie to share with the other artists. This is Lorenzo Chavez's Plein Air Pastel Workshop at Hope Valley, California. This is up in the Sierra Nevadas where there are gorgeous mountain peaks, evergreens, aspens in fall color, and alpine meadows of fall grasses and willows. There is no phone up there, no cell service, and I won't be able to post until I get back. So, before I leave on Sunday, I'll post some pictures I did several years ago.

This one I call "Under the Sea". This is the most abstract thing I've ever done. It was a class on loosening up in watercolor. We used cheese cloth ripped in strips, we also used pieces of rice paper, and of course, watercolor. We used a full size sheet of watercolor paper. When I got home I really didn't know what to do with it, so I cut it up in quarters. To this one I used wax colored pencils to darken and accentuate areas I wanted to. It reminds me of a coral reef with fan coral and sponges.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I'm back! Sorry to keep you waiting!

My visit to the Pastels U.S.A. (Pastel Society of the West Coast) annual show was inspirational. So many beautiful works! And a program with photos of all the work as a keepsake to drool over for years to come!

It has been too long since I've painted regularly! I have to change that right now. I did a little more on the Lion Pride here while I waited for my Mom and her caregiver to arrive for a visit. We toured the beautiful senior residences in the area and Mom liked one in particular. So, we are happy she would like to move up here to be near family!