Phyllis’ Backyard

Plein Air #37.01 / 01.10.18 / 8×8 acrylic
Phyllis’ Backyard, Porter Ranch, CA
“House with the View”

Well, finally. Back out there.

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.


Cody / 5×7 acrylic
Cameron / 5×7 acrylic











Cody at 20, and Cameron at 18, my sister’s kids. I shot the photos in 2012 at my daughter’s wedding. I painted Cameron as a 30-in-30 exercise in Jan’16. My sister saw it and I wanted to give it to her, but I didn’t want to give her only one son.

I started Cody a year later in Jan’17 and finished him Jan’18, plinking away at him here and there. I found it tough to want to work on him–I was a bit afraid that the two paintings would fail to “hang together” since I was supposedly an older and wiser painter. I did get a better likeness and some softer edges on Cody than I did on Cameron, but I’m probably the only person who can tell a difference.

These days, Cameron is 23 and has filled out. With a similar beard, he looks A LOT more like his brother. I saw a more recent picture and they almost look like twins.

Last Day of 2017

My first year of Plein Air has come to an end. By my count, I met with the group “in the wild” 23 times and “in house or yard” 8 times. I also went out on my own 8 times.

That’s 39 plein air painting trips for my first year, and I’m satisfied. Over all, on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give myself a “4” for painting effort this year. That’s an improvement of a point or two over previous years. And over half way to an impossible high of 6, maybe 7!

(Haven’t painted outside for the past three weeks, after all ;))

By the by, I am finally finishing up a small portrait of my nephew for my sister. She has been waiting a year for it. Landscapes have made me want to do other paintings, purely so I can start and finish something without a time limit!

Looking forward to “Plein Air, Year 2.” Happy 2018!

Jane’s Garage

Plein Air #36 / 12.06.17 / 8×6 acrylic
Porter Ranch, CA
“In Jane’s Garage”

This was the week of extreme wind and fire in our locale. 16 fires, four within 25 miles, with >1000 structures lost at last count. Out of range for the moment, we ducked the wind in Jane’s garage.

Carol worked on an Italian gondola, Jane on a French boulangerie. I didn’t know what I was going to do until I got there, taking no references with me. The obvious subject presented itself. I think Jane’s husband thought I was crazy for immortalizing his Sparkletts bottles. No “before and after” because I made almost no changes.

Tampa & Wilbur Park

What I brought home! (Not a lot!)

Hey, two neighborhood-type parks in a row, this one on three levels. We walked up a long driveway and chose to paint on the uppermost level. I chose this view for all the sweeping pathways. There were a lot more houses in the distance, but I thought four or five were enough.

Plein Air #35 / 11.15.17 / 10×8 acrylic
Tampa & Wilbur, Porter Ridge, CA
“Near the Sandbox”

I brought my new friend Sue to our little plein air group, and we made introductions and enjoyed a bit more talking than usual. I didn’t get very far while there, but that’s okay :).