On Betsy’s Patio

Plein Air #27 / 9.13.17 / 12×11 watercolor
Porter Ranch, CA
“Crown of Thorns on Betsy’s Patio”

Oh, Watercolor…it’s been awhile. I took a refresher class 8 or 9 months ago in which we did a few exercises and copied a couple paintings. I’ve also bought a few books and a couple classes on Craftsy lately, all in hopes of working up my nerve to revive a triptych I did back in 2006 for my living room.

(Phyllis asked me why I didn’t just start over and repaint it.)

(…Because the idea is horrifying!)

Anyhoo, the refresher class taught me a few things I didn’t learn the first time around, eleven years ago: Layering, for one. Remembering to leave some white on the paper for another. The Craftsy class guy got me experimenting with ink one-line sketches (see last week). I’ve been watching some youtubes and making thumbnails, experimenting with laying down paint.

So, last Wednesday I sat down in Betsy’s backyard and it dawned on me that I had to sketch first. Pretty much forgot about that part! Then I stared at the subject wondering where the heck to start, seeing as I would have to paint around something somewhere, no matter what I started with. Betsy told me to just pick something and go with it. I managed to get it about 2/3 of the way done while there and finished it at home. 

So many faults! But I got a better start than I’d expected to get and learned a few things. (Ex: Scraping with a knife helped save the thorny stems. Easy to overpaint green.)  Just what I needed–a second medium to play with 🙂 .

A Little Ink

From Life / 8.30.17 / 5×7 ink “Side of Carol’s Garage”

On the last Wednesday in August, we met at Carol’s house. I couldn’t get my painting mojo together, so I took a sketchbook and some ink pens. Carol had these wonderful old green bottles with plants in them sitting on the table. I tried to sketch each one using just one line of ink. I think I’ve heard this called “wire” drawing, or the “single-line sketch.”

Then I sketched her art bag, and easel and palette. After that I did the side of her garage that I could see through her french doors. If I were brave, I’d tint these with watercolor.

From Life / 8.30.17 / 5×5 ink “Green Bottles”


Garden Still Life

From Life / 8/9,16,23/17 / 12×12 acrylic
Garden Still Life, Winnetka, CA
“Two Frogs”

For August, the plein air group thought we’d dodge some of the heat by meeting to paint on my patio. We set up and worked on a garden-themed still life over three weeks. Each person brought some garden items, making for maybe 18 objects on a table. I wish I could post everyone’s effort, because we all chose different things to include or leave out.

On the first day I started to do a horizontal 9×12 that had more objects in it, but by the end of Day 1 I thought it was way too literal and really pretty dull. I rethought it between week 1 and 2 and decided the story was about the frogs, so I started over and made a new block-in in a (12×12) square format. I edited out a bunch of stuff and changed the scale of some of the things a bit.

I like it a lot better, but still have qualms. The spacing doesn’t sit right with me, but that didn’t seem to bother Carol when I asked her. Carol brought the green wooden frog, and I contributed the orange ceramic one. It was my grandma’s, and she kept this one in a little garden wheelbarrow outside her bedroom window. I remember a lot of croaking at night in her little town, and seeing a lot of little flat frogs on the roads.

The pot in the back with the succulents was planted and given to me by my sister. In all I think I have about 7-8 hours in this, and that is a lot quicker than I might have done anything like it before.

Oceano Lagoon, CA

Plein Air #25 / 7.11.17 / 10×8 acrylic
Arroyo Grande, CA
“Duck Lake”

I don’t really know what the name of this little lake is, but it had lots of ducks.

Wait…hello, Google Maps. OK, I think this was the Oceano Lagoon at the Oceano Campground-Pismo State Beach. (“Duck Lake” would be easier.)

There were families and playing kids and people trying to catch fish. You’d never know it from this scene, though.

I had a heck of a time with all the reeds. Took it home, played with it a while, and then added the ducks :). Hubby wanted to know why I put in the penguin.

I like the tree line :).

Bell Canyon Park #2

Plein Air #24 / 7.5.17 / 8×10 acrylic
Bell Canyon Park #2, Woodland Hills, CA
“Every Which Way”

Carol and Jane are taking the month of July off, as they both have huge travel plans. My hubs volunteered to go out with me on this morning, and we headed back over to Bell Canyon Park (home of Castle Peak). While I was doing the block-in, hubs took an hour hike/walk before settling down next to me, waiting for me to finish.

I believe that the big tree on the left is the same tree as the one in the center of the first Bell Canyon painting I did.

I noticed again today that I cannot mix that shade of BRIGHT light gold, or get things that are in the sun as bright as they are in real life. Spent an hour and half there, then took it home to finish it.

Over the time I stood there, maybe a dozen hikers happened by, and every path was used.