Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

It was a fun 2011 in front of the easel and here's to the year ahead!  A slightly modified Irish toast for plein air painters everywhere!

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
The rain fall soft upon your 'easel'
And until we meet again...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winter Orange Blossom

It has been over ten days since my last post!  Today was a beautiful day in San Diego, warm and sunny.  I found two oranges on my little neglected orange 'bush' on the side of my house, and the orange blossom smelled like sweet parfum.  Yes, parfum!  I decided to make Sole Meuniere tonight, according to the movie Julie/Julia, it was Child's favorite dish - but really, she loved all food, didn't she?   So, I was making this incredibly easy dinner for the first time (where have I been?!), and I turn on the TV and Julie/Julia is playing.  I didn't expect that.  I think the food Gods got together with the Cable Gods tonight!  Oh, and it was so delicious, the sole was a bit overdone but I will be making this again and again, practice makes perfect.

Friday, December 16, 2011

On Point

This pointsettia started to fluff out horizontally and I tried to capture the fullness of it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lemon Light

Trimming the lemon tree and this one is about the size of a softball.  Lemons are one of the most, if not the most popular still life objects of painters!  You have to have one in your back pocket,  just in case.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pom and Pear

The way the light was playing off the fruit made this painting fun to do.  I always find something about even the most simple composition that interests me  - and there is usually something in it that teaches me a little bit more about painting.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Torrey Pines - South

This is the most well known golf course in San Diego, and perhaps the most beautiful.  It's got the best real estate in the county and with two courses, North and South - quite a lot of it.  The South course is where the invitational is played every year in January.  

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Carmel Valley

It was a clear, sunny and cool morning (in the high 50's) so I headed over to the beach and painted at the lagoon below the headlands.  

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Padam Padam

I keep seeing this pear - "which haunts me day and night".  While I was painting this I was listening to Edith Piaf's "Padam Padam", which my Mother used to play on a mono record player when we lived at 79 Christian Ave (which intersected with Quaker Path, but that's another blog post).  I remember the refrain and her singing to it, and now, entirely by coincidence one of my daughter's is a Piaf fan. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Poinsettia by the Window

This is the first of many paintings I plan to do this month with the Poinsettia.  Big Leaves, big color - it's pageantry is perfect for the season.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Olive Oil and Blue Bowl

I like the way this bottle of olive oil takes the light and the label, which is a stained with a bit of oil. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

"Don't Walk" on Bleecker Street

I took the photo of this corner two years ago on a rainy day in May on a visit to NYC, it's down the street from the Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker Street in the village. I started the painting at least a year ago and finally got back to it today.  And I thought their cup cakes were quite delicious.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Close Up

This is the hotel from the beach side, from a photo I took over the weekend when I was painting in plein air.  During the season there is an ice rink right here in front of the hotel - and although the hotel has had the ice rink over the holidays for years, it is still just incongruous to see people skating in 80 degree weather. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Make it a Double

They were supposed to make it into a pie but ended up in this glass instead. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

November Sunflowers

The sunflowers are from the Poway Farmer's market.  They look like mums but came on a huge stalk that I cut down to put into this vase.  The Poway Farmer's market has the French Crepe maker next to the Hummus guy with 15 varieties of humus, next to the Mexican taco stand that smells like heaven and down on the same row is the Pepper lady, she carries at least 20 kinds of peppers, no exaggeration.   There is a guy next to them that sells these lemons that have fingers, they smell wonderful but are so odd to look at.  This is the end where all the action is.  On the other end of the market are the sellers with their  blueberries and strawberries, and other delicate fruits and vegetables and 250 grain breads under canopies to shield them from the harshness of the sun.  There are the dates with the samples arranged just so with toothpicks.   And flowers, flowers, flowers, east, west, north and south.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Hotel "Del"

I took a few days off from painting while my kids were here for Thanksgiving.  They are both wonderful as usual, made me laugh and made me cook.  They got to enjoy some great San Diego weather while they were here.  And it continued today, with the temps in the low '80s and not a cloud in the sky, I decided to drive to Coronado and paint.  This is an icon of a hotel in San Diego and after a walk on one of my favorite beaches I staked out a spot and did a quick sketch of the hotel.  This view is from the parking lot to the south.  Again, I used just the red, yellow and blue - keeping it simple and focusing on the values on a very sunny day.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thatch Meadow Farm

Whenever I hear from my friend, Conky, I remember I still have so much material from her farm to paint.  Photos I've taken from the past two summers are high on my list of source material because the paintings come easy and stir such great memories.  I spent many summer days and evenings here,  in this creek with Conky,  our friend Lori and Conky's sisters when we were in elementary school.  We were clamming, swimming and just running around the entire farm as our mothers played scrabble in the icehouse and drank wine.  I plan to do a larger version of this when I have time, it's on the list.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Walnut Oil

I know some artists who use walnut oil as a medium but I only use it for cooking.   However,  for the life of me, I can't recall why I have it or what I last cooked with it - if anyone has any recipes calling for walnut oil, let me know.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Waiting for Merlot

A bunch of us did the Temecula winery tour back in the spring as a farewell to a dear friend that moved back east.  This is from a photo of one of the 'gang' and was taken at the first winery on our trip.   

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Camera Shy

6x6 Oil
After looking at this I sense the slight ghost of Van Gogh.  Not just because he did sunflowers but because of the different yellows in the painting.  Can a ghost be slight?  Is that redundant?
By the way, it will get down into the 20's overnight in the Twin Cities with a chance of snow this weekend.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sun Bathing

Sunflowers and their personalities.  This one is a star, the lead, the last one standing.  It needs no introduction, no side kick. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

First Light

This is one of the lifeguard stands at the beach right below the Torrey Pines Reserve.  This painting is from reference,  from one of the many shots I've taken on my frequent hikes there.  It's early and the air is brisk, and I love how the stands get lit up by the sun when it has just started coming through.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

The "Mac" Book


The book is a very small Atlas with places in it like Persia and Burma and Siam.  There is also the area of French West Africa and the Belgian Congo.  Turkey is listed twice as "Turkey in Asia" and later as "Turkey in Europe".   "The Indian Empire" had 318 million or so people, (the book is quoting the 1921 census), and the US had 106 million in population.  I can't find the copyright but I assume it was printed in the 1920's. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Duck Pond - Kit Carson Park

Beautiful day in San Diego after long day of rain Saturday.  This is a painting of a small duck pond at Kit Carson Park in Escondido.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Poppin Pepper


Had to bring out the cadmium red for this pepper.  This was an exercise to loosen up and and I saw a demo painting of a pepper by a fellow artist and felt inspired.  I love red and love to put it on a canvas.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011


It's Thursday and I've being painting this persimmon for over two weeks now, on and off.  And it's still hanging in there.  I love the color and shape and it looks good in the silver bowl too!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Quick sketch of grapes with that beautiful little citrus from the gods, the lime.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Still Life with Onion

This green bowl.  The yellow onion.  The persimmon and garlic.  There is some harmonious color here.  And what's not to like about garlic?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Silver Bowl

This silver bowl became shiny and beautiful after a bit of spit and polish.  (Quite a lot of spit and polish actually).  I had to get it to a point where you could at least see the reflection of the grapes in the bowl.  The background is a warm compliment to the cool silver bowl. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Rook on the Move

I think these are the Chilean grapes that are in season - more oblong and translucent that local california grapes.  I took this photo while the painting was still wet which is not what I like to do because if the light is not just right there can be a bit of a glare which I try to fight against.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Oh Daisy!

Quick sketch of the blue vase with daisies.  It's a beautiful evening to paint in the studio, rained all day in San Diego.  Sometimes when I paint I like to listen to Classical Minnesota Public Radio.  Yes, St Paul has a very good radio station for classical music, but not better than San Francisco or New York's classical stations, there are many more too.  I just really enjoy the weather reports.  Every hour the host gives the forecast for the day or evening.  Tonight in the Twin Cities area it was expected to be mild, in the low 30's, very clear, no precipitation.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rook of the Year

Another piece from the chess set. Still using the limited palette.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Bishop and Granny Smith

I've started playing around with these chess pieces which are part of a fairly large set. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Persimmon and Pitcher

First day of November and the days are getting shorter.

Monday, October 31, 2011


From my trip last week to Sedona.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

La Jolla Overlook

Another beautiful day for painting in plein air.  This spot, the La Jolla overlook, is just north of Scripps Institute of Oceanography, off La Jolla Shores Dr.   The darker water in the mid-ground is quite a sudden, different value of blue than the water around the cove which makes me wonder if there is a large kelp bed there.  Altogether a great spot to paint and find shady corner to do so!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Beautiful Day for Plein Air

It was a beautiful day to paint out doors today here in San Diego County.  Again, using a limited palette this time of Burnt Sienna, Black and Yellow Ochre.  Lots of fun with this palette, it works well in the late summer and fall in the southwest.  Another note regarding my trip this past week - I took a ton of photos to use as material back in the studio - I will be starting a larger piece of Sedona shortly, hopefully with more time to work through to the finish. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day Three: Yellow, Red and Blue

The morning started with sun then small storms passed through Sedona the rest of the day. Makes an exciting day of painting.  It went from 85 to 60 and rainy in a New York minute.  A lot of breaking down and setting up 'camp'.  All in all another great day at the easel.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day Two/Part Two: Orange, Purple and Green

I was ready to post this yesterday but the network was down all night - technology can be frustrating at times!  Another painting from the King Gold Mine in Jerome.  This old truck is one of a pair of trucks that sit side by side at the entrance.  The owner was giving me some history on them "We call these trucks the working girls, yup".  Just as he was saying this, two women walked by -  timing is everything.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day Two - Blue, Yellow, Crimson

Second day of the workshop with artist, Kevin MacPherson.  We painted at the Gold King Mine & Ghost Town in Jerome.  The mine was established in the late 1800's and is now a tourist attraction of a different sort.  Dozens of old cars and trucks from the 30's, 40's and 50's litter the 'Ghost Town'.  Lots of great models to paint.  I was told by the owner (who is from the 20's, 30's, 40's)  that this is a 53 Ford.  It was fun to paint this composition with a limited palette of cad yellow,  alizaron crimson and ultramarine blue.  The above is painted with color, below is the early block in using the gray scale.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day One - Purple, Green and Orange

Day one of a plein air workshop with Kevin MacPherson in Sedona.   The limited palette was purple, orange, green (and white).   It was a great day starting with lecture and a demo and then we got to put our easels up at four o'clock.  The sun disappeared two hours later.  I managed to block in the shapes, values and color notes.  Kevin MacPherson is one of the best contemporary impressionist painters and a very good instructor - I am thrilled to be taking his workshop.  He and his wife, Wanda, make a great team and what a great sense of humor and attitude they both have!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Orange & Then Some

Quick sketch of valencia oranges.  Trying to keep it loose.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Persimmon and Olive Oil

The persimmons are surfacing at the markets, they are so beautiful and rich in color.  I thought to pair it up with olive oil adding a dark, more dramatic background to let the persimmon stand out.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon

The full verse of the Mother Goose rhyme:
"Hey diddle diddle,
The Cat and the fiddle
The Cow jumped over the moon,
The little Dog laughed to see such sport
And the dish ran away with the spoon"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October Limes

The dark blue vase is great fun to paint.  And the limes are a bonus!  Still playing around with composition.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Still Life with the Driver

Took out the 'driver' for this shot.  Sometimes you just have to open big,  tomorrow it might be the hammer to finish.