I finally wrangled my artist friend Valerie outside to meet for plein air. Quite a feat, because she has to be the busiest person I know. I used to set type for her, beginning about 1983!
(How is it possible we’ve gotten so old, Val?)
We painted in full sun, so when I got home it was a lot darker than it had looked while working. The sun blasts your retinas out and the paint you mix is darker than you think. This means I should go back in and “add sunlight” to those mountains because there should be a higher, brighter value going on up there. (Not sure I will, I kind of like it the way it is now. Haven’t messed with it yet.)
Valerie started a larger canvas and only managed a block-in before the wind dried up our paint and we were scraping around our palettes. Still, we had a good time and, after a respectable length of time out, we packed it in and went to lunch at Stonefire Grill for a yummy barbecue chicken salad.
Thanks for lunch and for joining me, Val!
(Sorry I can’t seem to get these pictures to play nice and line up next to each other… )
Took January 31st off from painting—I had the end of the website update, two shifts at the pantry, and a long weekend at mom’s that week. Painting was not on my radar.
We met at Jane’s February 7 and 14 because it was windy one week and drizzly the next. This time I went prepared with references. For the first week, I came back around to Phyllis’ son’s dog, Djecko, the one I wanted to paint back on January 10 in her backyard. I had a photo of him staked out on the chaise lounge.
I got most of it on there and finished it at home. I don’t have the finished one to post yet. I am giving it to Phyllis to give to her son.
The second week I did my daughter’s dog, Ranger. Her dog is really a light medium gray and not this dark, but I didn’t really care or worry about perfection of color. I was more concerned about working quickly. I still have to do my touch-ups on Ranger.
These both felt easier than doing landscape. Then again, I think even portraits are beginning to feel easier than landscape.
My New Year’s goal seems to be “think less, move faster.”
There’s a ladies restroom in this building, off canvas and up the stairs to the right. Phyllis walked by on her way over and asked, “Painting the women’s bathroom?”, so the title is on her. I thought I was painting the urn and tree.
I was able to get into this one fairly quickly. On the last two paintings I have tried using “sight size” to get started. That means I hold the canvas up at eye level and to one side of what I am aiming at. With a pencil, I roughly indicate the horizontals of the scene–in this one, the top roof line, the tile roof line, the brick line, etc. It takes 30 seconds and helps get the proportion of the scene in place. It all gets adjusted from there, but it has helped me speed up…at least so far.
I decided to lay in the big patches of color first and then go back and modify each patch…quickly, now, without thinking a lot. It still needs areas of bright sunlight and some bright color, and thicker paint, but I am not unhappy with it. Another one to play with on another day.
Feeling negative about painting. Didn’t want to paint today.
I can’t tell if it is the old I-don’t-like-painting-as-much-as-I-think-I-do OR I-have-too-much-on-my-plate-to-relax. Probably the second thing. I have a website update to do in the next two weeks, a pattern to design and sew, and a pantry booklet to revise (again).
Think I’ll wait until those are done to think seriously about g-o-a-l-s.
Oh, yeah. So, this is a dry, river-rock-filled wash. I had/have no idea how to paint river rocks en masse at this distance. At least two of the others were painting the huge tree to the left that was casting the shadow.
This was a much nicer view than I have it; I brought it home as you see it. Not sure if I’ll get back to it to do it justice.
There was too much to choose from in Phyllis’ backyard. It faces east and, judging from her photographs, has endless beautiful sunrises. To the left (northeast) is a mountain, adorned with a house that looks over the entire San Fernando Valley. Phyllis says that you can see all the way to L.A. on a very clear day.
Taking in the Valley view to the right (southeast), I was waaay overwhelmed by the overload of information no matter where I looked. I finally settled on the mountain and house because it gave me peace by comparison. Actually, it was a day in which I would have preferred to paint the dog had I thought he would have stayed put for an hour. (As it turned out, he sacked out on the chaise lounge and I missed the opportunity.) Carol, however, tackled the Valley and got a very nice start with it.
This is what I came home with. I’ve had no time to play with it.
I really oughta make some sort of plein air goal, it being New Year’s ‘n’ all. Hmmm.