Friday, May 31, 2013

Flower Field Worker

I painted this study from reference photo I took earlier this spring while I was painting at the Carlsbad flower fields.  I had to pull out the lemon yellow and cad orange to get the colors where I wanted them.  

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Apple and Cherries

I didn't intend to paint this, I had a different composition all set up and ready to go but I saw the green apples at the store and just felt like green would be fun to paint.   But it's not really about the apple, I was trying to get the focal point working and the apple was just the back up singer.  There was the fading light too, so I tried to be frugal and deliberate with my brush strokes.  And let there also be harmony.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Work in Progress

I signed this, but a bit prematurely - I want to work on the fore and background a bit more, but it will do for now.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Green Flash

This study is from a photo I took last year at the Scripps Aquarium in La Jolla while at a Green Flash concert sponsored by KPRI.  It was a beautiful sunset, one of the rare evenings when the marine layer didn't come in, a stunning sunset.  The concerts are held on the back patio overlooking the ocean, a very small venue for such good bands and season tickets are next to nothing. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery - Point Loma

Quick watercolor sketch of Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery - Point Loma. I took this photo several months ago along with other photos of the cemetery. A breath taking and humbling place.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

3 Pears (of Shades)

Titled after a good Dwight Yoakam song called 3 pears, album of the same name.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Hanging Around

There is something so lovely about the shape and pliability of tulips, then of course there is their rich color.  My objective in this study was to keep the strokes to a minimum, leaving this loose.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Havin' a Party - The Southside Kind

So I was listening to some old songs by Southside Johnny the other day - and remembered seeing the band at OBI East,  on the east end of LI. 

Tumblin' Dice

And some lyrics from the classic:

Always in a hurry, I never stop to worry
Don't you see the time flashin' by...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


By the time I got home from the market, all but one of these peonies had opened up entirely.  I used a big brush for this entire painting, a size 7 Rosemary brush, which is about a 1/2 inch across.  I wanted to keep it fresh, to minimize the brush strokes yet capture the delicate characteristic of the splayed petals.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

And the Beet Goes On...

The local market was selling these beautiful beets this week - just amazing in color, from the reds in the beets to the greens and the stems - all very inspiring.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Block and Tackle

Reds, rustic, reds.  A simple exercise of blocking in the masses.  Painting all of the grapes as one shape and then coming back in to add some definition and then some changes in value and color at the focal point, and lastly adding some highlights.  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Presidio

It was a beautiful morning in San Diego, and I was on my way to somewhere else when I drove by the Presidio and saw the light and shadow at play - I just had to stop.  I had all of my gear with me so I found a good spot in the parking lot and set up next to my car - I had to do this fast because the sun was on the move, and creeping around to the front of the facade.  

Saturday, May 18, 2013


White is rarely, if ever just white.   Next to the lemon wedge, you could say that the cups lack color but if you look at the cups alone, it becomes clear that I added green, purple, blue, pink and other colors.  And this goes for the shadows as well.  The Impressionists were known for introducing color and light into shadows instead of painting them just flat and dark. 

Now that Minnesota has had it's last snow fall for the season  (last week),  I don't find their weather report as interesting so I have been bouncing around,  WGBH, which is a 'classic' classical station, home of the Boston Pops is always good, and more recently I discovered KMFA, a classical station out of Austin.  They have a very eclectic and interesting playlist.  

Friday, May 17, 2013


Liquid and glass offer many opportunities for reflections of light and color, then add in shadows, cast and form, and you have so much to explore.  I kept this one loose all the way through the painting, from foreground to back. The underpainting is a mix of yellow ochre and cad red light.  

On another note - I got some feedback on my blog post from last night, about Buddha, the definition and the practice from a little renowned spiritual expert, and I am now looking forward to diving into some new reading material.  Everything's better with Buddha (or is it butter)?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Little Buddha

Look at this Omaha Artichoke! Some can reach six inches across and this one almost does.  It was poised, in a meditative state,  a wide and contemplative vegetable Buddha.  Buddha is known as the 'Awakened One', someone who has awakened from the sleep of ignorance and sees things as they really are.  A dailly practice and a noble goal.  And seeing things as they are is a constant challenge in painting - if we painted using only our eyes, this would be so easy.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Split Decision

Values and color mixing is what this one is about.  I could have, would have,  spent more time on edges and background to see what it would do to this study but I called it done - perhaps next time!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Still Life with Pear and Creamer

Reflections and lost edges.  The new palette gave way to some nice reflections in the silver.  And the soft edges of the pear, and even lost edges were fun to play with.  I have a million still life props, and there are lots of pears at the market these days - different shapes and sizes and they so love to have their portraits painted.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Still Life with Lemon

Quick study of a still life done in my studio.  Lots of warm light and color.  

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Rancho Penasquitos - Shed

This study is of a shed at the Rancho Penasquitos Reserve, where the Adobe Ranch House is located.  I chose to paint this scene instead of the ranch house to get into some greens, and there was plenty.  I changed my palette this week and wanted to see how the greens would work with it.  It was an interesting exercise.  
Regarding the change in palette, I am experimenting with the following colors; Cad Yellow Medium, Yellow Ochre, Cad Red Light, Cerulean Blue and Ivory Black.  I consider it a modified Zorn.  First thing I did was make 5 color charts which you can see below.  I had not done this before and everywhere I looked people pointed to Richard Schmidt's book - Alla Prima.  So, since I don't have that book, I kept searching and I found a very good 'how to' here, by Clayton Beck.  I substituted the colors I wanted instead of those he listed.  COLOR CHARTS ARE FUN!  I didn't buy any pre-made formatted charts, I just used Arches Huile-Oil paper, 140 lb.  I didn't put down any tape either, I just wanted simple so I drew the grid in 1" squares and started mixing away with my first color - with a palette knife.  I would say it took about 3-4 hours for all 5 charts.  And I look at them frequently to see which values I want to use, which color I want.  Great exercise and great reference tools.  I plan to do a daily painting/study, a '30/30' challenge for a month, to play around with the palette, see what I can learn.