Saturday, July 30, 2011

Scenes from my Bike Ride

When I first signed-up for the triathlon, one of my friends said, "Wow, that could engulf your whole life!" And, I thought, "No, there are lots of artists who go for a walk, or do some form of exercise during the day, then spend the rest of the time painting. And often, they get ideas for paintings during those morning walks." Well, this has been a lot more difficult than I anticipated, mostly because years as a couch potato have caused my body to go downhill more that I thought!
I workout with a coach three times a week, and on my own the rest of the week. It is hard! I have wrecked the bike three times! But I am trying to settle into a routine that will allow me to paint, even though I am tired. And there are some beautiful places to run and bike that have me wanting to paint them. Here are a few from yesterday's ride along the Bay Trail.

 This is Ferry Point, where they used to have ferry's that crossed the Bay over to San Francisco. It is abandoned now.

 Here is a little lagoon. San Pablo Bay is behind the trees, as well as a ship, and the Richmond Bridge.

 Another view of the lagoon. I love the shapes of the trees and the light on the water. Bet this would be even better at dusk!

Another view of Ferry Point, this time looking across the Bay, with the city of San Francisco in the distance. Richmond, the city where I live, has 32 miles of coastline! The fact that I stopped to take photos means I didn't get a very good workout this time, but I couldn't resist!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Varnishing Day

Point Isabel - SOLD - Yea!

Today I varnished several paintings. I like varnishing, because not only does it protect the painting, but it makes the colors look richer. When I am working on a painting, the colors are bright and clear, but as the paint dries, some of the colors seem to sink-in and become dull. This has to do with the properties of the different pigments used. So, it's always exciting to take these paintings back to their original beauty! In fact, sometimes, I have forgotten how good they looked!

The varnish contains a solvent, so the painting has to be throughly dry--or you will have a real mess in your hands!

I use Gamblin's Gamvar varnish, which is what they use at the National Gallery. The Gamblin website has an instructional video on varnishing that is very useful. In fact, the whole Gamblin website is an encyclopedia of information for the artist.

I had recently been thinking that I need something to give me more exercise. So, after years as a professional couch potato, I registered for a triathlon! Now before you think I have totally lost it, (maybe I have...) this is a sprint triathlon, which is shorter than the regular one. It is for women only and beginner friendly. Still, it is a quarter-mile swim, 11-mile bike ride, 3-mile run, which is quite a stretch for someone who has neglected their fitness for so long. My goal is to achieve enough fitness to finish the triathlon, without hurting myself.

I signed up for training with a group of "beginners," but most of them have completed at least one triathlon before! I am the oldest person in the group. Wow! So we train together three days a week, and there are optional assignments for the other days. Today, I plan to go for the swimming drills.

Here in Northern California, we are still waiting for summer to arrive. So, I am excited to see that the temperature is supposed to get to 70 today! Good thing the pool is somewhat heated! I'll keep you posted!

Meanwhile, I hope you can get out and paint!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Flowing to the Sea

...Point Isabel...
 oil on canvas panel - 12 x 16"

Ah, Point Isabel, part of the East Bay Park System... This is also a really nice dog park! It's fun to come here and just watch the dogs! You can see San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge from here, but I didn't put it in. There is already a lot going on in this painting! 

This is a layered painting that took several days to complete. It's hard to tell from the computer screen, but there are areas of transparent as well as opaque paint. I love playing transparent and opaque against each other!