Monday, December 30, 2013

Swami's - Encinitas

Plein air with the SD Plein Air Painters - Saturday.  A pastel - 11 x 14 at Swami's.  It was a beautiful day!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Winter Bouquet

This is a larger format than I usually paint (30x24).  I have quite a few large canvases but haven't had the time to get something going.  By that I mean all that is involved, deciding what to paint, working on the composition and then taking the time to paint it.  I really had to think about it.  Which ended up being a very rich learning experience.  I knew the flowers would only last about a week so I got them into pretty good shape in the first week. (see below).  But I didn't like the composition, the brass cup was too far away from the vase.  I then added the apple in front of the brass cup.  This makes the composition come together better. I also needed to work on the values all over the place.  Rule of thumb, your lightest light in shadow should be darker than your darkest dark in light.  So I made some adjustments there.  I could probably still find some that need work if I look hard but this is good for now.  then I worked on the background, the last think I did was the foreground and the highlight on the apple.  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Wedding Day!

Small sketch of friends of mine on their wedding day.  I love her dress, I've done a few paintings from this wedding - her flower girl and another of the Bride.  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Santa Ana Summer Day

It was a hot day - we had a Santa Ana condition with temps well into the 80s so I headed to the beach.  But this time, with pastels instead of oils.   This is my first plein air sketch using pastels.  And it was fun!!!  There is less set up and practically no clean up, and the whole kit weighs much less than my oil painting easel.  This kit is just a tripod, with a cigar sized box - flayed open on it's spine where the pastels are held.  I see more this in my future!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Evening Ritual

There are a bunch of people that fish on the shores at Torrey Pines, usually I see them in the morning but I took a hike recently on a beautiful evening, one without a marine layer, and I saw this fisherman in the shallow waves against the setting sun. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Play Ball!

I've been sketching and painting people lately - and so it led me to dive into all of my reference photos. Way leads on to way, so I had to then change my file system and get organized.  Even though it took some time, I was reminded of places I have painted, views and scenes I was taken by that I wanted to paint.  I did throw 20-30 percent away but not too much.  Now I can find the subjects I want to paint by type.  The above sketch is from a reference photo that my brother took at the College World Series.  I really like the subject and background and I want more baseball - shouldn't be difficult to get my hands on more.  Great thing about the College world series is how close the fans can get to the players and the action.

This one is a small (6x6) sketch of my daughter and her friend Kelsey doing each other's makeup.  This was a great exercise in painting the head at different angles.  Loomis/Proko methods really worked for this.   

Friday, October 18, 2013

Balboa Island - Newport Beach

I'm still playing around with pastels.  This is a small painting (7x9) that I did from a reference photo I took last month.  It is challenging to do a small painting with pastels, and I suppose it demands then that you don't fuss around, as I did below.

This sunrise is from a trip to the Grand Canyon I took last year.  This is about a 1/2 mile down the trail into the canyon, and I took this the morning after we came back up from the bottom.  The sunrises are just breathtaking.  I will redo this one - it's a 9 x 12.  I think I'll paint this in oil next.  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

San Diego - New Library

Painted with the San Diego Plein Air Painters this Saturday.  The location was off Imperial, on K Street.  No, not that K Street.  This is Sherman Heights, very diverse, very low income neighborhood in  East San Diego, just east of 5.  What a great view of the city, and the people here were very friendly, very curious about what we were doing on their block.  I think we heard from at least two people that they would like to join us in the future and one guy was an artist, sounded like he might get busy with it again.  Very nice morning all together.  So - the building with the dome is the new library that we've been waiting for - nearly 10 years now.  It's quite something, a lovely addition to the skyline.  After I painted I drove over to take a tour and maybe do some sketching but I couldn't find a parking space.  It just opened to great reviews, I will have to get back there soon.
Below is some work I've been doing on drawing the head.  These are 5 minute sketches using techniques from Loomis and 'Proko' (  Each is supposed to be at a different angle. I keep telling myself that I'm learning to draw the figure to become a better painter but it is so much fun and interesting - who knows where it will lead?  
 I wonder if one can tell which was my first and which was my last?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Maderas - Entrance

There is a beautiful tree on fire at the entrance of the Maderas Golf course, down the road.  I went there last night at sunset to take some photos and did this in pastels.  I have no idea what I'm doing with pastels but I am having fun.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Low Tide - La Jolla Coast

This is my second painting from Saturday, after lunch.  I started the day downtown at the Farmer's Market and after lunch headed to the beach in search of lower temps.  About half way between the cove and Mitt Romney's house (with the car elevator) right on coast blvd, I found a spot.  The tide was so low that I was able to go out on the rocks.  As the sun started to go down, a photographer set up next to me in between two large rocks - then his model showed up. Not sure if she was a swim suit model or a model for an adult mag, but she was barely clothed, and splashing around in the shallow water - driving all the Dads crazy.  They kept bringing their kids over so they could catch some of the action!  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Little Italy Farmer's Market - The Bitchin' Sauce Guy

I found a spot at the Farmer's Market to paint where I wasn't in the way and had a view of one of the vendors.  This is the guy that sells Bitchin' Sauce, they frequent many of the local farmer's markets, I've bought it myself - they have good sauces that are almond based.  So, I'm not selling their product here, just some background.  It was hot day from sun break on, we had a Santa Ana this weekend and the only place to be was near the water.  I did this painting in the morning and then another one in La Jolla after a late lunch.  It was hot at the beach, almost no breeze whatsoever.  Beautiful sunset, green flash and all.  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Waiting for the Wedding

Two people on the green at La Jolla Cove waiting for the wedding to start.  I assume the little boy was part of the wedding party, perhaps the ring bearer?  Quick sketch using casein paint.  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Last Summer Days

I painted with the California Art Club this Saturday at La Jolla Cove.  It was a perfect morning, we had a Santa Ana condition - so with the warm wind the usual marine layer was nowhere in sight.  I have been focusing on painting and drawing figures lately.  I did a few practice sketches which I won't post here, and then went on to paint this brother and sister, playing in the shallow waters of the cove.  The boy, older, sat most of the time while his sister was more interested in running around in the shallow water.  And that's the fun about sketching people that are not sitting for you - trying to get the gesture, the proportions in the moment.  

Below are some 10 minute oil sketches I did of my daughter, well, more like 12-15 minutes sketches but by the last one I got down to 12 minutes.  In 10 minutes all I'm trying to do is get the gesture, the proportions and the values (light/dark).  Nothing else.  The last one is a sketch of my daughter, Ali, using Casein paint. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Egg Lady - Farmer's Market, Del Mar

Spent the afternoon at the Del Mar Farmer's market this past Saturday.  As everyone was setting up, I was sketching.  Once it opened I started painting.  The sketching was challenging, again trying to capture gestures as people moved around.  It's good practice - I need to get to the point where I am familiar enough with the angles and proportions that people in motion are easier to sketch.  The bonus of painting at a Farmer's Market is being around good food - I grabbed a couple sambusas from the stall next to me while I was taking a break and a french baguette on the way out.  All around a satisfying day!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September Surf

I went to the beach today to practice sketching people, I took my watercolors, watercolor pad, my sketchbook and my camera.  It was a hot day with pretty big surf all day so the surfers didn't leave.  I sketched or tried to sketch people walking, but damn, they just won't stay still long enough.  It was frustrating with pencil, I had more fun at it with the watercolors.  I painted this when I got home from one of my reference photos.  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Maritime Museum - Harbor Drive, San Diego

I painted with the San Diego Plein Air Painters this weekend, it was an early morning - I started about 8am.  It has been as hot as Miami in July for the past two weeks, this Saturday was no exception.  Must have been about 80 degrees by 9am down by the Harbor, with nary a breeze.   What looks like a building in the back is the main part of the Maritime Museum, and is a boat itself, looks like one of the old river boats.  There is also a sub here, a Swift boat used in Viet Nam and other boats.  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Oceanside Harbor

I did this painting the day after I returned from Ireland and considering how little time I had to right my own ship, I am happy with the outcome.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Morning Light - Sunset Cliffs, San Diego

The San Diego Plein Air Painters descended upon Sunset Cliffs this past weekend.  It was a beautiful morning, turned out to be a very sunny day.  I wanted to capture the light, just as the morning marine layer was burning off.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sunken Gardens - Newtownbarry House, Bunclody, Co Wexford

And on the fourth day...I just returned from Art in the Open where over 180 artists from all over the world participated in the largest plein air event in Europe.  It was a wonderful event, chock full of opportunities to paint.  This is one I did of the sunken gardens at Bunclody, which is where the bus took us on the 4th day (at least I think it was the 4th - the days started running together).  A beautiful, very picturesque farm with sheep, cows, ponds, barns with bales of hey and beautiful grounds where we stayed for 8 hours to paint and lunch and wander.  

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Life Drawing

Art in the Open continues non-stop. Today we went to Ballyhack with East Passage right across the harbor via ferry. We had our first day of typical Irish weather, as they say it was a soft day but at times the rain was coming straight down and sideways. In So. California I use my 'brolly' to block the sun, not the rain. Today I was drenched from head to toe but I still got a painting done. Then came back to dry off, warm up and then off to Life drawing.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Loch Garman, Wexford county, Ireland

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Irish Sea at Carne

Day one of the Art in the Open festival. We spent the day at the sea in Carne. The morning was rainy and windy but the afternoon was sunny and blue skies. The painting below is from the afternoon, glare and sand included! After a full day of painting I went to a Life Drawing session from 8 to half ten, yes that's right, I said half ten just like the locals, who by the way are the most friendly people in the world. Half ten is also when the sun is finally down for the night.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:County Wexford

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sonoma Summer

This is from a recent trip to Sonoma - it was during a heat wave.  To escape the heat, I took a drive over to the coast, to Bodega Bay and this is one of the many beautiful vistas along the 2 lane highway.  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

First Set - Cardiff

It was an overcast morning at Cardiff, just south of Swami's.  I am still working with only red, yellow ochre and black (and white of course) for this small study.  Keeping this simple and trying to catch the atmosphere of the marine layer.   

Friday, July 5, 2013

Pitcher and Pear

Playing around with a limited palette of ivory black, yellow ochre and cad red light.  As you will see below the pitcher is navy and the pear is more yellow green.  I had to make adjustments, and although it's very simple I kind of like the harmony in color.

I started with a old used panel that I covered with a cad red light ground.  From there I just worked with the values and the brushstrokes.  

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Still Life with Orange

I started this a few weeks back and posted what I had here.  I have wanted to get back to it to work on the highlights and edges.  This is not out of focus, I worked on all of the edges many times, overlapping color, cutting through edges and color and going back into them, trying to deconstruct the painting a bit.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sonoma to Bodega Bay

I went to San Francisco and Sonoma recently, during a heat wave.  San Francisco was sunny from sunrise to sunset (which I have never experienced), and Sonoma was tickling 100.  So I drove over to the Sonoma Coast, which was foggy and cool, just what was needed.  On the way I stopped and took several photos - it was beautiful country.

There were several little shacks along the road like this - on the way to Bodega Bay.

There were several cattle and or dairy farms along the 30 mile stretch - cows were everywhere including right close to the road, at the very top of the golden hills and some were lounging in the front yards of farms.  More on the beaching coming.

Monday, June 24, 2013

White Roses

A friend of mine gave me some roses to paint, aren't they beautiful?  And white roses are so elegant.  Due to that I wanted to keep the palette very limited so I 'starved my palette' as I heard James Gurney say.  I used only cad red, ivory black and yellow ochre (and white).  This very much enabled me to keep the roses unified, so that the changes in value were harmonized to a certain degree; the various colors I used for the roses didn't fight each other.  

This is a another study on Arches paper for oil.  I might be getting used to this paper, for studies.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dancing Palms

Last night I was so pleased to get an Honorable Mention in the 13th Annual San Clemente Plein Air Competition.  This is my third year of participating and needless to say I was surprised.  I haven't yet taken a good photo of the painting but below is a snapshot of me standing next to it (the one with the ribbon!).  I did this painting last Thursday, on the beach just to the left of the pier, next to the pylons at the beginning of the San Clemente pier.  The dinner/gala on Saturday which included the awards ceremony had quite a crowd, attendance was at least 25-50% larger than last year, so hopefully this bodes well for a good year in art sales!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rose Pastel

I've been doing a lot of plein air painting in  "Paint San Clemente" this week so it is nice to come home and do a little study with pastels.  The roses are from my yard - probably the last batch this summer.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Blue Vase in Pastels

Another experiment using pastels.  I'm having fun, not sure about this works yet but it is a lot of fun to play around.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


My first experiment with pastels.  This still life is a composition that was one of the many at the San Clemente Paint Out - the quick draw.  I painted this yesterday in oils, and took many photographs of the flowers.  Today I took a shot at it with pastels, it was a blast even though I don't know what I'm doing, perhaps that's part of the fun.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Shredding at Swami's

Quick study from a reference photo I took last weekend at Swami's - it was a great day for surfing, lots of people on boards that day.

Monday, June 10, 2013

China Mums and Daisies

I started with an old canvas that I painted over with the red ground, as seen below.  I used cadmium red, which is so so strong.  I thinned it out quite a bit, even so most of the original painting was gone.

The next step was to do a loose drawing, as seen below.  Once I did that, I used my palette knife to lay in a lot of paint, focusing on values.  I thought I had a photo of that but I guess I didn't stop.  I really struggled with my final photo because of the lighting,  I need to replace some of my internal lighting.  

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Red Tractor (Carlsbad Flower Fields)

I did this study from a photo I took this spring while painting at the flower fields in Carlsbad.  What is it about tractors?  Is it the DNA of generations of farmers in my lineage?  I see a tractor and I immediately want to climb into it, play with the steering wheel and the gears, like a 10 year old kid.  And to top it off, it's red.  So I just had to paint it!

Saturday, June 8, 2013


I painted with the San Diego Plein Air Painters today at Swami's in Encinitas.  This surf spot has been called Swami's forever, I assume because it is next to the Self Realization Fellowship, which, by the way is where Ravi Shankar's memorial service was held late last year.   The waves were big this morning, and tons of surfers were out.  Some pros were surfing too, their photographers were positioned up and down the beach ready to take that money shot.  I saw a couple of 360's while I was painting - fun, fun, fun.  

Friday, June 7, 2013

Palms at Sunset

I've painted these palms several times - they are in a neighbor's yard and I can see them from mine.  So pretty in during sunset, they really light up.  Maybe I should do 365 days of painting these palms like Kevin McPherson did with his pond in Taos, so instead of "Reflections on a Pond", "Reflections on a Palm", it could happen.