Tuesday, April 19, 2011

California Wildflowers

Sunday, I went out painting plein air to a park in Oakland. It was really a gray, foggy day when I started painting, but the sun came out as I finished-up. This was a little area of native wildflowers, which included the bright orange California poppies. There were some little yellow and white flowers that a former Easterner, I don't think I've seen before.
I have some conflict about posting my plein air paintings because I feel that they are just studies, and not as good as my studio works. But they are more spontaneous. When I am outdoors painting in the landscape, I am in the subject, I am part of it, so to speak, so it is a whole different experience than studio painting. In many ways, it is a different art form than studio painting. So, maybe they shouldn't be judged by the same standard.

Okay, I do have a tendency to think about stuff too much! Nonetheless, I am looking forward to my next plein air experience. That's the thing, even if the plein air paintings aren't as good from a technical point of view, they are a record of experience.

Thanks for reading these thoughts. Now you go out and paint! And try not to think about it too much!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Coyote Hills Paintout

We checked in at 6:30 am and had our canvases stamped. I was glad I had put on five layers of clothing because it was so cold! I had tucked "Little Hotties" inside my gloves. The sun was just starting to come up as I set up my easel at the edge of the marsh.

I took a photo, and this is what the camera saw. Well, the idea is to catch the feeling, more than the appearance, and who wants to paint all that brush? So, racing the sun and painting as fast as I could, I did the top painting!
Here it is in progress. 

This event was sponsored by the East Bay Parks, and Coyote Hills is part of the park system. After I completed the first painting, I walked to the top of a very steep hill to do a second painting. Well, now the sun was really up, and people were coming in to the park. They were all making comments about the paintings and how the different artists were painting differently (I think there were about 30 of us.) One guy took my picture, then I gave him my brush, and let him paint on my painting while I took his picture! It was a lot of fun!

Here are some more of the artists.

At 12:30 we all had to stop painting and return to the visitors' center, where we were given a tasty lunch by the park staff. We all were to bring frames and easels to display our paintings. Each artist had to choose one painting to display.
The park staff had set-up canopies so we could display our paintings without sitting out in the sun. Here you can see the artists setting up. People could vote on a People's Choice and bid on a silent auction to buy their favorite painting. Unfortunately, by this time it had become very windy! The easels started blowing over. Then the canopies were blowing over! So we took them down. But we all had a really good time!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring Tree--Lake Anza

...Spring Tree--Lake Anza...
oil on linen panel - 6" x 8"

I went with some friends to Lake Anza, which is in a local park. People were there enjoying the sun and letting their dogs swim in the lake. I really liked this little tree, which was just starting to leaf out, but also starting to fall into the water. The lines of the branches were so graceful. 
I set-up my easel and started to paint. I got the underpainting on, but that really needed to set-up a bit so I could put on the next layer of paint on without smearing. So, I came home and finished it in the studio.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Plein air painting along Lakeville Road

Yesterday, I went out painting with some other artists. It was such a beautiful day! Sunshine at last! I liked the way the light was hitting this barn, and the atmosphere in the distance. Behind that fence in front of my easel there was a field of the cutest miniature horses with their fowls. People kept stopping and taking pictures of the horses. We artists talked about painting them, but they look like out-of-proportion horses, so we would have to title it "Miniature Horses," and still, really not a good subject for plein air, unless you know horse anatomy very well.
Anyway, I got really engrossed in the painting and was concentrating on mixing the colors to reflect the quality of the light. So, the resulting painting was a surprise--
I kept telling the others I don't paint like that. Well, not normally. They seemed to like it. I haven't decided...