Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Finally! A painting for our living room!

Several months ago I did a watercolor painting of a canyon and then did pastel over it.  It was to be for our living room over the fireplace.

Well, after looking at it for a while, we decided it did not make the grade.  From the distance we view it normally, it did not pack any punch and looked blah and all-over the same colors.

Well, I finished the Monterey painting in watercolor today and took it to the framer today.  We had a very nice fine-art poster that was custom framed, that we no longer wanted.  So, we are re-using the frame and they will add a mat.

I believe that contrast was a big plus with this painting.  Contrast in values, and contrast in colors.  Also, big and loose brush strokes and NO picky-unee detail.

I can't wait to get it back from the framer and put it up.  My sister from New York is visiting and she will see that we finally did something about that picture that was lying side-ways on the mantle!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Adventures of a Plein Air Painter Wanna-Be

"Pirates Cove"  9 x 12 pastel

We recently visited the Morro Bay, California area.  My hubby went off to golf, and I had a few hours to go paint somewhere.

It was very, very WINDY the entire visit, and I was having problems with watery eyes and worry over my easel taking flight.  First, I went to a winery in the San Luis Obispo area because I heard it had a picnic area and a lovely view.  TOO WINDY AND COLD.

Next, I drove to Avila Beach, because a friend said it was much more protected than Morro Bay.  TOO WINDY there too, in fact, the sand on the beach was blowing.

I remembered seeing a little winery in the canyon that I passed on the way to Avila Beach, so I started to head out there.  But as I drove out of the town, a road that wound up the southern side of the bluff looked like it might offer a great view of the ocean from the top (for a photo only).  It said it was a dead end, so there was no worry of getting lost.  The name of the road was Cave Landing Road, named after the caves that are in the sea cliff that was saw from Avila Beach.

At the end of the road was a large dirt parking lot and people hiking.  So I took my camera and headed south on the trail.  On the other side of the sea cliff was a beautiful (AND CALM) cove and beach!  It looked protected and quiet - not too many people there.

So I went back to my car and got my backpack and pastel box and tripod and headed down the trail.  A man who had arrived on his motorcycle while I was getting my gear out of the trunk, was headed down after me.  He started to chat with me.  He said he noticed I was from Nevada from my plates, and asked if I'd ever been here before.  No, I said, this is the first time.

"Do you know that this is a nudist beach?" he asked.....

Uhhhhh, noooooo.....I said.

"Just thought I'd give you a heads up" he said.

"Yeah......thanks....I think I'll paint from the bluff.....Does this beach have a name?"  I asked.

"Pirates Cove" he said.  (It is not listed on the map!)

So, just before I went down the last set of beach access steps, there was a grassy area I could set up and still be away from the people (who, by the way, were way far away at the most southern part of the beach).

I had a great time and it was a sheltered area that only got a few gusts.  I got to enjoy watching the seals sunning on the few rocks in the water, and sea otters playing in the seaweed that was in the cove.  The water was gently ebbing and flowing.  People came and left via the stairs and spoke to me about the painting and the seals and what a nice beach it was.  Some other people like me just happened on this beach and they said they "stayed away from the far end"!

Just as I was finishing up, out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw a male "bather" walking toward me along the beach.  TIME TO GO!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A new watercolor painting in progress!

Yes, I still love watercolor!  That last exercise to loosen up got me going!  I am doing a full sheet landscape from a photo I took at Monterey, California.  I am working from top to bottom.  I used liquid mask for the clouds (removed now) and the ocean foam in the lower right corner (still on - it is orange colored mask).

The trees were fun to do.  Very loose, flicking movements with a pointed round brush.  The rocks I am doing with a flat brush.  I am just beginning to put in the orange and red colors of the iceplant flowing down the rocky coast.  When I am done with that color and it is dry, I will put in the greens of the iceplant.  I didn't want the green and red to mix and make muddy brown.

I still have more rocks to put in on the lower half of the painting.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

An exercise to get loose

When I haven't painted in so long, I decided to loosen up with an exercise in watercolor. Taking a full sheet of Arches watercolor paper, I had no plan, just splattered and dabbed paint around, sprayed with water, etc.  After a while I decided to turn some of the blobs of color into flowers.  This is just one corner of the whole painting.  The entire paintings is rather crazy looking, but I like this little corner.

I used a rigger brush to get the narrow wavy lines.  I hadn't used this brush in years, and it was good to play with it again.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Learning by my mistakes

I have been entering juried shows.  My entry was almost disqualified because I didn't have the right pixels (ppi).    I am lucky the show chairman emailed me to tell me.  Here is what went wrong:

I am just learning Photoshop.  I was changing the image size to meet their requirements of 900 pixels on the long side.  I wasn't aware that this was automatically changing the Resolution (ppi) to 72 (they wanted 300).

So, I studied Photoshop more and figured it out.  I will put the instructions down here for anyone who is interested:

The requirements for the entry were:  "Resize the image to 900 pixels on the long side.  Set the Resolution to 300 dpi."

Bring up the photo of your image in Photoshop Essentials. (I have #7 - so these instructions are from this version).

After you crop your photo, do this:

Image/ Resize/ Image Size:
My image contained this information in the dialog box:
Pixel Dimensions   19.1m
Width   2208 pixels
Height  3030 pixels

Document Size
Width  30.667 inches
Height  42,083 inches
Resolution  72 pixels/inch

Below this information are three little check boxes with the words...
__ Scale styles
_x_ Constrain proportion
__ Resample image

The constrain proportion should be checked
In my program, Resample image was not checked, but I NEEDED TO CHECK IT.

By checking Resample image, I was able to make the two changes I needed to do:

--change the Height from 3030 to 900 pixels
-- change the Resolution to 300 pixels/inch

I hope this helps someone else who is trying to teach themselves like I am.

Ahhh.....finally back to the easel, and WHY the garden kept me away!

This painting is called "Light Coming Through", and I finally finished it today.
12 x 9 pastel
OK, so WHERE have I been?????  For those of you who like to garden, continue on....otherwise you can skip the rest!

We moved into this house last summer and the basic landscaping was put in last November, right before winter.  Spring was good to us here in the high desert, and one must act quickly to put in a vegetable garden since the growing season is short.
strawberries, then tomatoes and beans, and  lettuce at the end

The landscaper built three cedar raised beds for me.  The paving people had a pallet of left-over pavers and blocks right in the middle of my garden area.  So, I built them into 4 more raised beds!
my paver raised beds:  peppers and basil, onion box, mint box, then rosemary and thyme

I bought a cold frame so I could keep small pots of vegetables in there and also start some from seed.  When the danger of frost was over, I planted them all in these beds.  We are already enjoying our own lettuce!!!!

I also planted some flowers, and some had to be protected from cottontail bunnies and marmots.
wire baskets protect from munching bunnies

We added chicken wire along the fence to keep the bunnies out, and then used a live trap to catch them so we could relocate them to a distant field.

There were still more pavers which I wheel barrowed over to the back of the yard where there is a hillside.  I made stepping stones so we can reach the other side of the yard for maintenance.
Stepping stones lead from lawn to bird feeders and along to then end of the yard

There were many cute garden things like chimes, bells, hummingbird feeders and garden furniture to get out of storage and set up in and around the pergola.
The pergola with bells hanging

There were problems with flooding in our yard due to the lawn outside our yard (owned by the neighborhood association), and for two weeks I was calling them after hours and getting them to fix the problem.  Finally, after two weeks, they fixed it!

We had problems with my drip lines for my vegetable garden.  They kept bursting off and shooting water everywhere.  It took a week to get my own landscaper to discover the pressure reducer on that valve was faulty and replace it.

It was also time for home warranty repairs, and I spent one day with plumbers, electricians, caulking, landscapers, etc.
red leaf lettuce, spinach, romaine, arugula, parsely and sage

Well, there you have it!  I'm planning on spending less time in the garden now - and more time eating it!  AND, of course, more time painting!