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Point Lobos Cove Lover's Point Looking Toward Bird Island Alongside Highway 1
Rough Seas Dinosaur Caves At Shell Beach Antelope Valley - A Tapestry Of Royal Yellow and Ming Grey Arrivederci Refugio

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The Collapse Of The St. Francis Dam

Over the weekend as I listened to the continuing depressing news of the gulf disaster and then heard about the flash flooding in Arkansas which killed so many, it reminded me about a video my Dad had made about ten years ago called "Triumph and Tragedy"

My Dad (James Beach) is a retired Lockheed aircraft engineer.  After he retired, he took up several fabulous artistic hobbies, one of which was videography.  In this film, he decided to briefly depict the many successes and the one colossal failure in the life of William Mulholland - a man whose endeavors have contributed to our California life as we know it today.    Essentially, Mulholland's vision and leadership brought water to Southern California without which the southern part of the state couldn't grow and thrive.   The California aqueduct was his baby and his crews built a series of dams and reservoirs.   The many wars over water have continued ever since.

One of those dams in Mulholland's chain was the St. Francis Dam which was built in 1926 in San Francisquito Canyon near Canyon Country north of Los Angeles,  and here is a bit of history about it.

St. Francis Dam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

St. Francis Dam
St. Francis  Dam
colorized photo c.1926

When Daddy had done the research for the video, he took video from the water source areas near Lee Vining all the way to the water's entrance to the San Fernando Valley.  In telling his story he even donned a fake mustache and acted as if he were William Mulholland telling the story.  It was a great documentary and he received several awards from local and international clubs for it.

Dad's 91 but after we watched it again at dinner he told me he'd like to go back and see it again.

All in all it was an interesting day,

"Beneath The St. Francis Dam"

11" x 14" Oil on RayMar Canvas

If you are interested in owning this painting, please contact me.

The St. Francis Dam was a concrete gravity-arch dam, designed to create a reservoir as a storage point of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. It was located 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Los Angeles, California, near the present city of Santa Clarita.
The dam was built between 1924 and 1926 under the supervision of William Mulholland, chief engineer and general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, then called the Bureau of Water Works and Supply. Three minutes before midnight on March 12, 1928, the dam catastrophically failed, and the resulting flood killed more than 450 people. The collapse of the St. Francis Dam is one of the worst American civil engineering failures of the 20th century and remains the second-greatest loss of life in California's history, after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and fire. The disaster marked the end of Mulholland's career.

On Monday I decided to explore and paint the area beneath the dam now almost 80 years after the tragedy.   The painting above was painted there.  It is now a rather pretty canyon area without too many inhabitants.  My only worry while painting there was hearing constant gunshots.  I was afraid some hunter might shoot me while I was painting until I figured out  that  the gunshots were coming from a nearby target shooting range.

I think the whole lesson to remember is that when man does things to change the environment... even though we might think it is for the good... We really don't know all of the possible outcomes.   

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Highs and Lows

Home a few days and down with cough and cold.  Yuck!!   So I sort of took it easy... well not really, but I didn't go outside to paint. Oh well, I'm getting better and trying to figure out my adventures for the upcoming week.

I had a fabulous weekend even though I was stuffy and coughing.  I had volunteered to help out at the California Art Club's Gold Medal Show.  There was a Collector's preview on Friday.  It was quite a gala event!  The good news was that even while we volunteers were helping out, we had plenty of time to enjoy all of the fabulous artwork on display.  Sales seemed to go pretty well, too, which I'm sure made both the artists, the club and the collectors enjoy it all the more.  I so enjoyed being there.  There were collectors and some of the artists were there as well.  I saw many artworks from artists I know personally, artists I don't know whose work I admire, and I discovered some lovely work by artists I hadn't previously heard about.   What a treat!

"Good Times In Times Square"
                              10"x8" Oil on RayMar Canvas

     If you would like to own this painting, please contact me for information or click on the Pay Pal button.
On Saturday I attended a reception at a show where I had some of my own work.  I was honored to receive an honorable mention award...... Any award is welcome.  I also got to meet some new people and see some lovely artwork.  Tyler went with me and acted as my photographer.  (That's why the view is looking up my nose... LOL.)

During the rest of the week I've been home trying to get well.  I revisited and, I think, improved two paintings I had completed before I left and I also painted another in my New York "series".      Perhaps you'll like it.
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New York, New York!!

"Neighborhood Grace"
14" x 11" Oil on RayMar Canvas

To purchase, use the Pay Pal button or contact the artist.

This MAY be my last post for a week.   I'm off on this morning for a fabulous trip with my youngest daughter to Philadelphia and New York.  I'm really quite excited.  I'm not sure if I'll have time to blog.

My daughter has in-laws who live in Philly.  She has visited her relatives several times and when there, she visited many places she knew I would love to see myself.   So since I've never been to New York OR Philadelphia, she is taking me as my Mother's Day present!!!   WOWEEE!!   What a treat...!  A week with my daughter visiting great museums, seeing wonderful art, fabulous homes and exciting cities!!

One of the museums / homes she most wanted me to see was the Barnes.  Apparently it is closing soon, so she decided to seize the moment.   She said that I just have to see all of the painting while they are still IN the Barnes home.   Adventure awaits.

Yesterday, once I finished packing, I decided to paint.  This beautiful jacaranda tree is just beginning to flower.   It is right down the street from me and every year I look forward to seeing it as the periwinkle flowers begin to spread out and grace our neighborhood.  As the winds blow the petals, then the street and lawns are dusted with purple as well.   This year the weather has been so strange.   Our neighborhood trees are flowering very late!  I remember that when I was in San Miguel de Allende in March of 2009 taking a class from Frank Gardner,  the jacaranda trees were exquisite.  This year in March (when I went back to that beautiful city to take another class from Frank) they weren't blooming.  Now it's June and they're just blooming here.   I wonder when they bloomed in San Miguel this year.

I may work on this further when I get back   Paintings always need to "rest" for a while before we see if they need anything more, don't they?

Big Apple.. here we come.
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It Never Rains In Southern California ....... ........ Ha ha ha ha ha!

"Sun Kissed"
16"x20" Oil On RayMar Panel

Use Pay Pal by clicking on the "Buy Now" button or contact me by clicking this link HERE if you are interested in owning this painting. -- Thank you.
After seeing the title of this blog post and then looking at my painting, you might begin to wonder what in the world I was thinking........ but I have to tell you that the weather here in Southern California has been just plain ... well, different!

If you can't remember the words from the '70's hit by Albert Hammond and want to hear the song and read the lyrics, here they are:
If you listened, you will remember that this song isn't REALLY about our weather...  and might even apply today to the current state of California's unemployment numbers and dashed dreams.

Weather-wise, however, generally our Mays are grey in the mornings and clear up to sunny by afternoon.  Similarly Junes are gloomy then clear up... Then July, August and September are just hot... hot, hot, and hotter.   It just doesn't rain.

Since it was particularly grey and gloomy on Thursday, I said a little thank you that all the plans I had tried to make with my painting buddies had fallen through.  No need for last minute cancellations...  Life came up and we weren't going.   So I was going to go out by myself for my usual four-mile walk and then perhaps paint in my studio when I returned.  I walked outside and THIS is what I ended up walking in:

What a surprise!!   I went anyway saying to myself that it was only just drizzling and that I wouldn't melt.  Well it was doing a bit more than drizzling by the time I got back... But I didn't melt.  

I painted once I got home and dried off.  I've been fooling with this painting doing a variety of layers over layers and adjustments ever since then.    It is partly a made-up scene and partly taken from a  beautiful sunlit field of mustard not far from my home where my husband took Tyler to fly his model airplane a while back.  

-----I'm really wondering if it's finished.   What do you think??
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From The Mountains To The Sea

"The Path to Satwiwa"
9"x12" Oil on RayMar Canvas

If you are interested in owning this painting click HERE to contact me...-thanks.

Yesterday I delivered some paintings to the Maritime Museum up in Oxnard for an upcoming  Plein Air Show.  Oxnard is about a hour north of where I live, so I left early, hoping to get there, deliver the paintings and then have some time to paint somewhere up there.  I was proud of my entries and left the museum feeling uplifted as the people accepting the entries were very complimentary.  These are the paintings that will be in the exhibit: 

Mustard Hills          A Beautiful Day

Although it had been clear when I left my home, by the time I reached Oxnard, it was overcast.. a bit beyond what we Southern Californians call "May Grey" or a bit later-- "June Gloom".    I decided to head back toward home and find someplace on the way that would be more inspirational to paint.  All went according to plan until all my morning tea hit me and I had to search for a stopping place.   I ended up in the Camarillo Outlet Store Complex..... (WHAT?????....No, really....  It was accidental....  I swear!!!) 

What's a girl gonna do??   I went shopping.   Now I'm not much of a shopper.  My husband likes to go wandering all over and looking at everything in sight.  Not me.  I just want to get in then get out and that's exactly what I did.  I hit two stores, bought some nice things and off I went.

I ended up painting back at Satwiwa near Newbury Park on my way home.   From there you can walk all the way across the Santa Monica Mountains to the ocean.  The map says there is a waterfall not too far in.  If I can get some friends to go with me, I may decide to hike up there to the waterfall and paint sometime in the near future.  However, while I was there yesterday I had a nice time.  The sun was shining.  There were beautiful clouds scuttling across the sky and the mustard and other flowers were abundant.  I talked to several nice hikers who passed by and stopped to talk and look at my progress.  I even gave out my card to a few... You never know .. I might make a new friend.

All in all it was a pleasant day.

*****   Here's a picture of PROUD me next to my FIRST PLACE plein air painting called "California Color".
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Finding Friends and Finding Beauty

"A Beautiful Day"
11"x14" Oil on RayMar Canvas

My whole week was tied up with art related things.  On Sunday I helped with the take-in for the San Fernando Valley Art Club's exhibit, "Views and Visions".  The best thing about being in a local club is meeting all of the wonderful people.  I've made friends with some fabulous artists and all-around good people.  Monday I spent fighting my computer to make the program for the show and the labels for the paintings in the show.  Tuesday I went to a meeting for the California Art Club and then had a grand lunch with artist friends in that club.  Wednesday I painted at Peter Strauss Ranch (see the related post here).

Then on Thursday I met an artist named Lynn Sanguedolce whom I met on facebook.  Lynn can paint anything beautifully.  She has taught plein air painting and her figurative work is amazing!  I have painted with Lynn once before because another friend, Margie Murray, arranged an outing.  However when she and I were in a show together a few months back she had said she was moving to the bay area.  When I saw her on FB I asked her how the move had gone and surprise! she hadn't moved.   She suggested we get together to paint so we set a date.   I invited friends.  She invited friends and we all met at Malibu Creek State Park.

It was a gorgeous day.  It's funny.  I have painted there many times.  It's a vast area, but I always seem to be drawn to areas around the creek.  Even if I painted from the same vantage point every time (I didn't) it would look different because the seasons change the landscape is always breathtaking.  This time I was drawn to the orangish-red color of the reeds along the banks of the creek.   I probably went a bit overboard with the color.... (As Karl Dempwolf says, "We're artists, not photographers!") but I wanted to do a bit of playing, and I kind of like it!

It turns out that Lynn's friend is a wonderful painter - and an exceptional figurative painter - that I know from classes taken together and from another local club.  Nancy Taylor was also an educator so we have a different bond, too.

I drove out with my painting buddy, Sharon Weaver.  Two other friends that I had invited (Lani Emanuel and Diane Nelson Gold) joined us there.  What a hoot when we discovered during lunch that Lani and Sharon had worked together for two years in the same fashion design company  years ago.  Earlier, while painting away, a friend I hadn't seen in a long while passed by.  She was leading a group of children to discover all the beauty of the park.  It was fun seeing her.

I had to hurry back because I volunteer with Tyler's class in the school's computer lab.

It's a small and beautiful world!!   Life is good!


I'd like to THANK MEL AVILA ALARILLA of the Philippines for featuring me and my work in a recent blog post.  I don't know how he found my work, but I'm extremely flattered!  I hope  you all take a minute to check out his Literatti Blog.  He included several images apparently taken from my website and offered a critique of my work.  I found it interesting.  Perhaps you will too.  

If you are interested in owning the painting "A Beautiful Day", you may contact me or use the Pay Pal Button below.

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12"x9" Oil on RayMar Canvas

Once a month George Malone organizes a paint-out for the members of the California Art Club who live near Malibu and Ventura County.  The information is posted on the CAC website and provides a great opportunity for all artists.  Since he has started doing this, the group, which is always in flux, has grown considerably.   It is fun seeing people I've painted with before and meeting new people.

There are some beginning painters and some who are absolutely amazing, but all are interesting and fun to learn about and learn from.   Almost all of the painters that met at Peter Strauss Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains on Wednesday were previously unknown to me.   I did get to get to see Simon Addyman, a wonderful painter who recently joined my San Fernando Valley Art Club.  I'd only seen his work but never met him or seen him paint.  WOW... he's a master!   I also got to see Jose de Juan, another fabulous artist with whom I have painted  before.  We've actually been in a few shows together.  Although I didn't catch everyone's name, I also met Didi Martin, Bobbi Stegora, Bobby Bina ad Dyane.  

I love sycamores, and decided to tackle a tree painting.  I had seen another artist do a beautiful intimate painting of this twisted tree at a previous paint out and I thought I'd give it a go. 

Around noon, several of us broke for lunch and had a good chat.  I had to leave to pick up Tyler, but several people stayed on to catch the afternoon shadows.  I'm sure they had a great time.

On another note...   I am so proud to let you know that the painting that I painted in the poppy fields near the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve was awarded a FIRST PLACE in the show "Views and Visions - San Fernando Valley Art Club Spring 2010 Exhibition". 

Click HERE to see the first place painting, 
"California Colors".

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Las Virgenes Open Space Reserve

"Mustard Hills"
9"x12" Oil on RayMar Linen Panel

If you would like to own this Southern California plein air landscape, please click HERE to contact the artist.

Since my rather strenuous hike up in the hills of Topanga last Monday, I've stayed home to paint in my studio.  I decided, however, that on Friday I probably should venture out again.  The weather has been fabulous and despite my creaky joints, I wanted to get out and paint en plein air.  I dropped Tyler off at school and headed out.  I hadn't made plans with anyone... wasn't sure where I wanted to go, but since I needed to be in Thousand Oaks by mid-day I headed in that direction.

Instead of heading south on Las Virgenes Road, I turned north off the freeway and drove until it ended.  I have friends that live in that direction and knew there must be something pretty to see in that direction.  I discovered a delightful area called The Las Virgenes Open Space.   Although the area had suffered a fire a few years back, many of the oaks had survived and, of course, the grasses and bushes so common to SoCal were ever-present.   The spring greens had turned to amber, but the beautiful greens and yellows of the new mustard was coming out.   

I walked about a half mile into the space.  Hikers, bikers and other people out to enjoy the area, occasionally passed me by.  The big surprise was an absolutely gorgeous HUGE stand of thistle bushes.   Now I've seen the occasional thistle, but this was a really large area totally covered with head high thistle plants...  The shocking pink thistle flowers were really pretty, but I wouldn't want to have to pass THROUGH them!!

I ended up going back near the entrance to the Open Space and painting one of the gorgeous oaks which graced the grasses and fields of mustard.
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Green and Golden -- Up, Up, Up and Up Some More

"  Near Eagle (Elephant) Rock"
8"x10" Oil on RayMar Canvas

California's nickname is "The Golden State".  This probably comes from our motto, "Eureka" which came from the gold rush era.  I do remember, however, that our California car license plates used to have something like:  "California - Green and Golden" written on them.  Some might think this, too, has to do with the glitter of gold and the green of money, but I think California's real worth is in it's beauty.  The hills, which were brilliant spring green just a few weeks ago are beginning to take on the ambers, taupes, dusty pinks and sandy colors that will cover our hillsides throughout the upcoming summer, fall and winter.

Today was the day to pick up my award winning painting (Monterey Magic)  from the Topanga Inn Gallery.  That painting has done some traveling.  It's gone from a local show in the Valley to Santa Cruz (judged by Kevin Macphersen) and back, then to Michigan (Richeson) and back and then it went into a local show in Topanga (judged by Frank Serrano).  I decided to take advantage of the opportunity before picking up the painting to see a bit of the Topanga mountains.  While Topanga is relatively close, I really haven't spent any time there.  I had heard that there are beautiful vistas and great hiking trails near by the Inn Gallery.   I got directions and headed out.   

It was quite a hike up the mountain from the Inn -- I wasn't sure I would make it.  I've included a little map for you to use so you can see the route I took.  Even though I was panting all the way up -- WOW.... it was so beautiful!   The flowers were amazing and bountiful.  At the top of the mountain the view extended across the hills to the ocean.  There were hawks and bees and butterflies everywhere. 

Although most of the time I was alone, there were also hikers, horseback riders and mountain bikers. I was glad I had decided to bring only an 8x10 panel because it took longer than I expected to get up to the top and then decide where to set up.   

I tried to layer the colors starting with contrasting darks under the greens.  I liked the beautiful clouds and the way the beautiful blues of the sky contrasted with yellows of the path and flowers.

I know that I didn't take advantage of the natural beauty around me for such a long time.  I encourage you to... where ever you live... The state and city and national parks are a real treasure to be enjoyed by all.
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Playing With Paint In California's Colorful Hillsides

"  California Colors"
12"x16" Oil on RayMar Panel

If you'd like to own this plein air painting of "California Colors", please click HERE to contact me.

I had been planning to drive out to the Antelope Valley to see the gorgeous poppy fields for several weeks.  I almost went out last week, but the weather was supposed to be cold and winds were forecast.   Having been out the the poppy fields in cold and windy weather, I knew that that was NOT something I would enjoy, so I postponed the trip.

On Monday all seemed right.  Although I hadn't arranged to drive out with a friend, I just decided to go for it.  It was SOOOOOOOOOOOO worth it.   The poppies were ablaze with an orangish/ reddish color on the hills and it just made me smile as I drove along the base of the hills on the 11 mile path from the freeway to the Poppy Reserve.

I decided not to go into the reserve as it is fairly crowded with people.   Also... I was looking for a point of view that was just a bit different than I had seen before.  A painting on FaceBook that Ignat Ignatov had done had caught my eye a month or so earlier.  I was so admiring of his down-to-the-ground-level wide angle perspective.   I didn't want to paint the views near the preserve.  (By the way if you haven't seen Ignat's work, you really should check it out...  He's an amazing artist.)    I drove around the back dirt roads until I found a view I liked that was perhaps just a bit different.  Not only were there beautiful poppies ablaze in the foreground and far-away hills, but the light caste a purplish tint across the hills and the grasses and foreground flowers provided a nice contrast to the colors around me as well.  Heaven, indeed!  It was about 11:00 when I finally tramped through the bobbing poppies and arranged myself in the middle of someone's field  (hoping I wouldn't be thrown off in the middle of a painting.).

I painted on a larger canvas that I had toned dark and was immediately caught up in the joy of where I was...  What a awe-inspiring space to spend time in.   How lucky I am to be able to get out and really see the beauty around us!

When the ever-present Antelope Valley winds kicked up in earnest several hours later, I packed up and left full of that glorious feeling one has thinking they had really painted something nice.

SIGH...  That evening when I pulled it out my masterpiece was NOT gorgeous!   Either from the dark of the underlying tone of the canvas OR from my glasses which turn dark in sunlight, the whole look was way too dark.  What a disappointment.   However, now I've worked on it a bit at home, picked off the many gnats which had become part of the painting, and lightened it up enough that I'm happy with it again.  Hopefully there are viewers who like it as well!!
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What's In A Name?

"In The Zone"
12"x9" Oil on wood panel

It's funny what makes a painting "sale-able".   As I finished up painting another bicycle scene for inclusion in the California Art Club's event during the Long Beach Bike Festival this coming weekend...  (Sounds like fun, doesn't it??)... I took a break to meet with the people who purchased the painting I had painted at Arlington Gardens a few weeks back.

I delivered my painting, "Three Sisters" to the clients today.  While we chatted, we talked about why they had wanted to purchase it.   I thought their reasons were interesting enough to share....  The colors, the peaceful flowers and the title.   Now I could have guessed that the colors and subject were desirable, but the fact that the title played a part in the lady's decision to purchase the piece made me smile.   She recounted that it reminded her of her mother and her two aunts.... three sisters.   Whatever her reasons, I was certainly happy that she liked it and that her husband wanted to purchase it for her "for Mother's Day".   I always feel very special when someone likes my work well enough to want to see it in their house on a regular basis.

From now on I'll think a bit more carefully about the titles I assign to my paintings.   Of course, subject matter, composition, style and color and how well a piece is painted is most important... but sometimes the name does too!

Are you or someone you care for a bicycle enthusiast?  If you are interested in owning "In The Zone" for yourself or a friend, please either visit the Phantom Gallery in Long Beach (170 N. Promenade, Long Beach, CA  90802), this weekend or click HERE to contact me.

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California Art Club and The Long Beach Bike Festival

"Morning Ride"
10" x 8" on RayMar Panel

Next weekend the California Art Club is teaming up with the Arts Council of Long Beach to coordinated with the Long Beach Bike Festival for an art exhibition and sale.   It's part of the events planned for the CAC's centennial anniversary celebration.  After a brief showing at the Phantom Gallery where art can be purchased during the festival, pieces will be juried for possible inclusion in the Long Beach Museum Show.

My friend, Sharon, and I were going to go down to Long Beach to paint together, but the rainy weather and other circumstances conspired to keep it from happening.   I drove down alone on the only day I had available and painted, but the weather was dull and overcast.   After a bit of painting, I packed up and then drove all over Long Beach looking for other likely spots, but ran out of time.  I took quite a few photos, so I may end up using them to paint another.

After I brought this painting home I decided to add in the biker and play with the color a bit so that the overall look of the painting was less drab.   I'm sure there will be some very special paintings at the exhibition so I hope that if you're in the area, you'll drop by to see them... and perhaps to participate in the bike festival.
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Plein Air Adventures

"Up Red Rooster Road"
8"x16" Oil on RayMar Canvas Panel

Well, it finally happened...  the weather gods smiled and my intrepid friend, Sharon Weaver, and I drove off to Red Rock Canyon.

If you are interested in owning this plein air landscape, please click HERE to contact me.

I used to pass through Red Rock Canyon every time my husband and kids and I drove up to Mammoth to ski, but really haven't been by since then.   It is about an hour and a half north of where I live in the San Fernando Valley but when artist, Chuck Kovacic, suggested that we all meet out there I thought it sounded like fun.

As it turned out we only saw Chuck and another friend, Lee Edwards, up there.   Apparently there were a few others, but since I couldn't stay for lunch, we didn't get to see them.   I think we all struggled with the red rocks.  WHY I can't tell you.  The canyons and rock formations were very beautiful, so it was hard to do them justice.  Sharon had asked one of the rangers about where "good" spots were that we might paint and she suggested a place up "Red Rooster Road".     All was well and good until I realized that my beautiful Infinity G37 which is not designed for off-roading was going to have to do a bit of off-roading.  It wasn't too bad... just a narrow dirt road lined with rocks, but when we saw the ditch caused by the recent rains, I decided not to go further...   (I also delayed the problem of having to back out of the place since there were no turn-arounds until we finished our paintings and went to join up with Chuck and Lee.)   We walked up to the turn around and the canyon and set up to paint.  As the ranger had said, the desert wildflowers were JUST past their prime... but still beautiful.  It was amazing.

Both of us had fun.   I tried using the thick paint... "playing with the paint" as David Gallup had suggested.  I still need to work on that with the shadow areas, but...basically I was happy with the painting.  (So apparently were the numerous small insects which insisted in landing on the paint and becoming part of the scene... I got MOST of them off after the paint had dried a bit..)

On the way home we could see the blaze of red orange on the mountainsides near Lancaster....   THAT will be my next painting trip.   I hope to make it before their glory is past.

I send out a monthly newsletter and would love it if you would be interested in receiving it.  Just click on this link and complete the little form and you'll get a news update about the middle of each month.
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What Inspires A Painting?

"Summer Storm"
11"x14" Oil on Linen Panel

A missed trip to Red Rock Canyon, CA last week -- lots of threatened rain -- my daughter calling from the Grand Canyon, fresh from visiting Monument Valley and excited about seeing the Grand Canyon in the snow -- all this led me to start reminiscing about a trip I took with my husband and Tyler during the summer of 2007.

We drove to Arizona, took the train ride through the National Park to the Grand Canyon... and of course... "got robbed".   It was beautiful and Tyler loved it all. 

It was August and that year -- perhaps every year -- August was complete with wonderful summer storms that raced in almost every afternoon with their displays of lightning and claps of thunder and sort of washed everything sparkling and clean.   I loved it!!

We drove on to the Petrified Forest National Park.  I remember visiting there with my Mom and Dad as a child and was hoping that Tyler will remember it fondly too, when he's an adult.   We were able to walk through the beautifully colored fallen trees before the afternoon storms began.  Then we drove on to the Painted Desert.. a part of the Park.  The rains had washed down the red rocks and just shined them up so they stood gleaming in the sunlight that filtered through the wind-swept clouds.   What a great trip we had!   I may just be moved to try and paint a few more memories.

If you would like to purchase "Summer Storm" for your own collection, please click HERE to contact me.
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10" x 8" O/Canvas Panel

If you are interested in purchasing this painting, please click HERE to contact me.

The last two days have been a bit frustrating for me.  Yesterday I was packed and had headed out to paint up the coast when the drops of rain on my windshield made me decide to turn around and head home.  I know that many artists paint in the rain, but I just wasn't ready for that.  I really do prefer dry... (and cozy warm.)

Today I was scheduled to head out with a group of artists to a beautiful canyon a good long drive from here.  The place we were scheduled to paint is called Red Rock Canyon.  With the weatherman calling for intermittent heavy rain storms with lightning, I formed this picture of all of us being washed down the canyons by flash floods.   I decided not to go.----  Didn't really want to make a splash on the evening news in quite THAT way.... so to speak.

Now I look outside and while it's pretty cold, it isn't raining and the clouds are absolutely gorgeous!!  So I've been kicking myself for being too chicken prudent.  

Here's the good news:   Because my flower painting from Arlington Garden has now SOLD,  (See my last post.)  I was left without a painting to submit for their fund-raising sale.   I'm REALLY HAPPY that the painting sold, but I did want to try to contribute to the cause, so I decided to paint some new paintings from the photos I took in the gardens.  Though not quite as satisfying as painting en plein air, it is nice to try to create from the comfort of one's studio.  Above you see the results of yesterday's efforts.   I'll try to do another today... we'll see.  I may even try to paint another version of the three irises I painted before.

And more good news.....  I just got word that the Red Rock Canyon trip is rescheduled... So I'll have another chance at that one... Yeah!!!

Happy painting to you... whatever the weather and where ever you paint!!

Oh.... and by the way...   If you are interested in getting my monthly newsletter I'd LOVE you to sign up.  Just click the link below and complete the little boxes.   THANKS SO MUCH!!!

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Three Sisters At Arlington Gardens

"Three Sisters"
12" x 9"  Oil on RayMar Canvas   SOLD

If you are interested in owning this plein air painting, please click HERE to contact me.

There is a group of plein air painters loosely called the "Thursday Irregulars" who originate mostly in the San Gabriel Valley.  My friend, Sharon Weaver, paints with them fairly often and every so often I tag along. 

I always enjoy exploring new and beautiful spots and the people are a nice to talk with.  Their mediums vary... about half are oil painters and the others are water media lovers.  Most days (although not this week) one of the group will critique all the paintings offered for view during the lunch break.   This is a great bonus and one of the reasons I like to go.

This week the group met at Arlington Gardens.  I found this three acre community garden to be absolutely beautiful and inspiring.  It is owned by Caltrans and supported by grants, local neighbors, community fund raising, and politicians with the city of Pasadena.  It is a beautiful water wise garden that is a gift to all who visit.  

There were so many beautiful spots to paint it was hard to decide where to set up.  I finally decided to do a more intimate scene featuring some of the beautiful irises that were abundantly growing.   They reminded me of a friend of mine from when I was a Principal.  This lady, Jan Fletcher, was always at the school helping children, helping the school itself.   At home she raised animals of all kinds AND she had a wonderful green thumb.  She loves irises and often shared pictures of them.   I have never seen such gorgeous petals... until my visit to Arlington Gardens.

The community will be having a celebration of their fifth year on May 8, 2010.   Painters who create their artistic visions of the gardens may offer them for sale on this day.  A portion of each sale will go to sustain the gardens for the people to enjoy.

Perhaps you'd like to paint there and participate in their event as well.

Sign Up For Marian's Newsletter if you haven't already done so:

I would like to offer you the opportunity to sign up to receive my newsletter.  I send it out once each month or every other month.


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What April Flowers Bring

"What April Showers Bring"
12" x 9" Oil on RayMar Canvas Board

It rained all night Sunday night and the weather was predicted to be rainy Monday as well.   When I woke up however, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the clouds had gone.

I was going to take a walk, but over the weekend several of my Face Book buddies had posted gorgeous photos of the poppy fields in Lancaster and I ran in to others who had been up in the flower fields on painting excursions.   So I said (to myself), why not drive up while I can and while the flowers are out?

Go! I said... and I did.  As I was driving out toward Gorman, CA, (I decided not to go as far as Lancaster) it started to sprinkle.   Well, I could always try to get some photos.   I kept on driving.

It cleared up again and I was hopeful that I could paint.  As I got toward my destination, I saw the snow on the hillsides and I began to question whether the cold might keep me from painting.

I know that some of you hearty people in the midwest and east coast paint in snow and cold weather, but this SoCal girl isn't used to that.  The car        thermometer said it was in the high 40s.   Well, I had brought several layers of clothes, so I'd just bundle up. 

Then I saw the hillsides around Gorman, CA.!  There was no way I wasn't going to TRY to paint.  It was just too beautiful to miss.

I found a great spot and hiked around a bit trying to figure out what, and why and how I was going to try to capture the scene.  Finally I went back to the car and hauled my gear up a hill and sat near a fence to begin painting.

It was lots of fun.   I tried to remember that this was just a study.  I did have some issues with my glasses which become dark in bright sunlight.  In the past this hadn't bothered me, but I found it difficult to judge the colors so I just took them off for a while.  Because I was alone (except for occasional people with huge cameras who stopped down near the road to photograph the flowers) I decided to use my timer on my camera and take my own photo with my little painting in the beautiful field of flowers.

I was cold but warm enough.  It didn't sprinkle again until I was on my way back home to pick up Tyler from school.  I smiled the whole way back!
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Spring At King Gillette Ranch -- Painting With Friends

"Spring at King Gillette Ranch"
12"x16" Oil on RayMar Panel

If you are interested in owning this painting, please click HERE to contact me.

Maria Klar, one of the gals I've met while painting en plein air with the California Art Club group, emailed me last week to let me know that she and several friends would be getting together to paint.   Yippeee!!!   My buddy, Sharon Weaver and I drove out together on Thursday.  I was thrilled to be able to join Maria and it was also great to see Sharon Burkett Kaiser and Lynn Gertenbach, who brought some students with her.   I have painted before with Wendy Seigfrid and Diane Scharlin and know the other student by face because I think he's in one of my clubs.  Hopefully we'll meet out painting again.

Everyone had a great time and I so enjoyed talking with Sharon and Maria about painting and their ideas on creating a great painting.   I commented to Sharon Kaiser that I really had LOVED her painting of these very same cherry trees that was exhibited at the California Art Club's "On Location In Malibu" show last year.  She said she had painted it from a number of studies she had done of the trees.  

I believe we all had a fabulous time.    Even though I brought a relatively large canvas with me (12" x 16") I decided that I needed to take Sharon's expert advice and think of each of my plein air paintings as studies... to be used as a basis for larger studio paintings.  Of course, if a viewer happens to want to buy them, then that's great too.   Although I had to return early to volunteer in Tyler's class so couldn't stay and chat during lunch, it was a great day with good companions and beautiful scenery. 

I hope to have the opportunity to paint with Maria and her friends again.   Apparently she's going to try to set up weekly "paint outings".   With the lovely weather and the beautiful spring greens and flowers all around, everyone should be able to find something wonderful to paint.

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Trying Something A Bit Different

My artist friend, Leslie Saeta, is not only a terrific artist, but a wonderful resource for creative ideas to enable people to see her work.   She also does a bi-monthly chat for artists to call in and discuss various ideas.   Anyone is welcome to join in so maybe you will next time ... (I think next Thursday is her next call in time.) Anyway, she told us about an app most of us with G3 phones can download for free which creates a sort of colorful bar code that will instantly transport people to a URL.   She also discussed a photo show that she had made.

I have decided to try out these ideas and see if people might enjoy seeing some of my paintings that celebrate California's wonderful shorelines and some fun figurative work I've done related to summer beach goings.
One of my paintings ... (actually three since it's a triptych) was juried in to a show at VIVA gallery.   The reception is today (March 11 from 2-4 p.m.) and I'll see if I can place the bar code label thing next to the painting label at the gallery.  Maybe some people would enjoy seeing my California Coast paintings along with my "California Kids Triptych".   (I also put it on the back of my business cards... just in case.)

Hey...  It's an experiment.   I'll let you know if anything comes of it.  

And thanks so much for the ideas and support, Leslie!!

Here's what the label looks like.  

If you have the app and use it to view the bar code from your phone, it will take you to my regular blog website to see this post.  Pretty cool, huh?
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I Ran Over My Pochade Box The Other Morning

My mind has been in such a muddle lately that I did something REALLY stupid the other morning.   I almost wasn't going to write about it for fear I'd confirm to anyone who reads this blog that I am a total ditz.  But oh well... as Popeye says... "I yam what I yam..."

I was in a hurry to get Tyler off to school and trying to decide whether I should go out and paint early or take my 4 mile walk while the weather was beautiful.   I dragged all of my gear out and set it in back of my car (saying to myself.. this isn't smart... I'll probably run right over it when I come back).   I went in to get more stuff, got Tyler into the car with all of his stuff, then decided to take the morning walk and promptly backed right over my back pack which contained my pochade box.      Tyler reminds me that it's not nice to say bad words....   sigh..   he's right.

Anyhow, after I got Tyler to school and returned to my community entrance to start on my walk, I began to wonder if I had done it subconsciously to keep from painting en plein air.   I've been going around and around about what I want to do with my art.  Do I really have goals which are reasonable and challenging, but achievable?   Why can't I just paint and let that be enough?   If that's enough, then will I always be deluding myself about whether I'm improving or whether my art is "good enough"?   Ah, geeze, the litany goes on and on.  However, by the time I completed my walk, I decided I'm just rather much of an airhead and there was no black undercurrent to the accident.

I still had two hours left before I needed to pick Tyler up so I went into my nearby canyon and was delighted to find all sorts of beautiful wild flowers.  I sat down with my somewhat damaged (BUT STILL SERVICEABLE STURDY EASYL POCHADE BOX....  Thanks, EasyL!!) and painted.  

I felt the painting was not among my best, but I did enjoy my time.   When I was home in the studio I kept messing with it and finally just decided to have some fun with a palette knife over the original lay in.  The result  "Canyon Brush" shown above on the left.

Coincidentally this morning I received an email blast from Sylvia White, an art consultant whose ideas I read.  My girlfriend must have thought I needed to read this article, because she too sent it to me.   The topic is Success -- What is it?  Who gets it?  Why do I want it so badly... or do I?"       Hmmm .... You, too might enjoy reading it!
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Discovering New Vistas

 "Satwiwa Hillsides"
5"x7"  oil/RayMar canvas

Sometimes things happen that make me wonder why I keep painting.   And then I go outside and I know why I paint.   If I wasn't trying to paint from life, I would probably never visit the beautiful spaces around me and I will have missed so much.  And each time I go out I rejoice in the beauty and new discoveries I make.

I was scheduled to gallery sit today way out in Newbury Park where I have two paintings in a show.  I also found out about another plein air group which was coincidentally meeting nearby.   My PLAN was to head out early, set up and paint and maybe meet some of the members of this group.

I got lost.   I didn't end up having time to hike to the area, set up and paint and still get back in time for my "sitting" duties.   So when I finally found the meeting place I decided to hike out and take photos, which I did.   As I was hiking back down the hill, I saw members of the group heading up and introduced myself.   I'm sure they had a great day, as Satwiwa Park was a lovely area.   There is an area set up to teach people about the indigenous people of the area, the Chumash.  Actually from there one can hike 8 miles all the way to the Pacific.   I may go back and give it a try if I can convince a friend to go with me.

There were many small wildflowers among the grasses and I so enjoyed seeing them celebrate the recent rains and warm sunshine with their presence. 

This afternoon (before our power went out and before my art club meeting) I sat down and captured a little scene from the beautiful area where I had hiked this morning.   If you are interested in purchasing this little painting, please click HERE to contact me.


And speaking of my art club meeting,........ Tonight the demonstrator was John Paul Thornton.  John Paul was my first art teacher.   Over the years that I have known him he has taught me so much.    I am reminded each time I see him paint, listen to his stories and lessons or read chapters from his book, "Art and Courage", of the absolutely invaluable gift that he has given me.... and so many others....

John Paul shared his gift and his vision of art with me and while I'm still on the "art journey", I so appreciate that he showed me the way.   Thank you, John Paul Thornton!
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A Good Friday

"Shadow Creek"
8"x10" oil/canvas board

Tyler signed up for a few hours of tennis camp today and Gastone was at work, so I decided to spend my time painting a little scene from one of the photos I took on my drive before I left for Mexico.

This is the creek that winds between Malibu Lake and Peter Strauss Ranch and Troutdale, CA. 

If you are interested in purchasing this painting, please click HERE to contact me.

I enjoyed myself and used a lot thicker paint than I have in the past, but I realize I'm still doing the "postcard look".  I guess these scenes just draw me in more than those that are more intimate.   I'll work on the others as well.

I hope you enjoy your family and other blessings this coming weekend.
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Spring Break and Priorities

"A Walk In The Park"9x12 Oil on Raymar Canvas

It's spring break and Tyler is at home this week.  When he's around I like to spend time at home with him and with my husband, but I did manage to slip out for a bit on Sunday to watch my friend and former art teacher, Johanna Spinks, do a demo for the Valley Artists Guild.   Johanna  is a terrific gal and a wonderful artist.   She brought a friend with her to be the model.   Johanna just did a fabulous job of not only entertaining, informing AND painting a terrific demonstration head study!  I'm glad I went.  I got to see lots of my friends that I often don't get to talk with.  To top it all off, I won the raffle and was able to take home a beautiful head study that Johanna had generously donated to the group.

Today we're in San Diego to visit my youngest daughter, but for a bit yesterday, I finished up a plein air study I had started early last week.   I tried to "play with paint" and did have fun, but I think I lost the simplicity I should have had if I wanted to achieve what I should have on this one.   Balboa Park in the San Fernando Valley is alive with pretty cherry trees all in bloom.  They are really gorgeous in real life.   Perhaps a bit more practice with trees in in order, however.

I'll try to take some pictures while I'm down here... There will be no time for painting, but it is absolutely gorgeous today.  The weather man says it will be raining soon, but perhaps we'll have some outside time tomorrow as well.

In the meantime... have a wonderful Easter or Passover or celebration of spring.

Lucky me... I won it in the VAG raffle
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Always Searching -- Currently Flummoxed

"Nature's Rhythm"
(Leo Carrillo)
12"x16" Oil (lots of it) on RayMar canvas board

If you are interested in purchasing this painting, please contact me by clicking the link HERE.

Although you can't tell because I haven't posted in a bit, I've been doing a lot of painting lately.  Mostly I've searched for spots of colorful flowers and in that search I've found some beautiful spots - some familiar and some I hadn't visited before.   Of these paintings, I've either not finished the plein air studies on site because of time constraints or what I painted was totally wood-chipper quality.

I've had a few successes that buoyed me up and some major disappointments -- all in the last week.  Sometimes when this happens, I just sit around and wonder... WHY am I doing this??  How do I know if I'm going forward or sideways or backward on this painting journey of mine?   All in all, I know I enjoy painting, and will keep on painting... but sometimes....  sigh... I just get flummoxed.

A while ago I had tried to take a class from landscape artist, David Gallup.  David has a fabulous project to paint all aspects of the Channel Islands and I've been fascinated by his adventures and by his wonderfully unique paintings.    Before I left for Mexico there was a weekday class that I ended up missing.  When I saw he was teaching another class, I signed up but only for the weekday - not the weekend days.  I do try to save weekends for being with Gastone and Tyler, and since I was away for a week not too long ago, I decided not to push it.

I have to tell you that yesterday I found myself totally confounded.  I really liked David's discussion of the various paintings that class members had brought in.  I think he tried to be honest without being hurtful.  There were some wonderful painters in the group that I'd like to get to know better.  David talked about what makes a painting something that a viewer - a buyer - or a juror will take a second look at.   He said there are lots of good paintings -- what we need to do is paint something that stands out.....    He discussed the importance of deliberate design and a limited number of interesting shapes that lead the eye through the painting.   All of these things I have heard before but I think hearing them over and over, may eventually drum them into my being.   I had brought in a couple of paintings I liked which he said were fine.... but they were "postcard" paintings.   I remembered that Sharon Kaiser once said that to me and it sort of suddenly had more meaning this time.  The idea of finding something unique in a spot rather than a standard panorama view draws the viewer in more.  Because we're painters and not photographers we need to make our work different in a way that only painters can do.   David also talked about a painting's "story".  This I took to mean almost a spiritual journey between the artist, the subject and the paint.   I need to work on that one.

During the day, David encouraged me to "play with the paint".  He talked about the opportunities lost by so many artists when they don't use wonderful, glorious colors for the dark shadowed areas.  If values are right, they look like shadows, but they include beautiful colors that can help harmonize with the lights and local colors of the rest of the painting.  He demoed paint mixing (using lots of paint, no medium and no palette knife, he cajoled and finally (probably exasperated with my reluctance), he just showed me.   I discovered some uncomfortable things about myself yesterday.  One... despite the fact that I KNOW a painting can be improved with good advice and counsel, I was unwilling to paint over one in the workshop.  I'm not sure... I may do it later or I may not.   HERE IS THE LEO CARRILLO PAINTING I DIDN'T WANT TO CHANGE.  Rather, I started a whole new one of the same central theme (showing the wild waves and the rocks at Leo Carrillo State Beach) using his advice about cropping and color and paint strokes.   I was surprised about how anal and control-oriented I am, (probably those who know me well would not be surprised) but it was difficult to PLAY with the paint as David had encouraged.   However.... Once I got going, I DID enjoy myself.  And when I came home, I continued until I finished the painting -- well, okay finished it so far... LOL. 

I'm not sure if this is how I want to paint every painting, but David's theories and instruction will certainly help me find my way, even if right now, I'm still flummoxed.  

I would LOVE to paint again with David... either in the field or in a studio setting like yesterday, so I hope he does this again during the week.  Let me know, David, when you decide to do it again!
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In Search Of Flowers

"Paramount Hills"
12"x16" Oil on Canvas
If you are interested in purchasing this painting, please click HERE to contact me.

Ever since I went to Pt. Dume a month or so ago and sat high on the hill overlooking the ocean amid the gloriously blooming coreopsis, I have been searching for more beautiful fields of spring flowers.  I'm afraid I'll miss them as our SoCal spring is usually really brief.   I read online that Paramount Ranch usually had wildflowers and when I drove up this morning, I saw that the mustard fields were just beginning to spring up...  not quite in their full glory yet.

So I just went in to the area around the old western town to explore around until I settled on a scene I liked...   There were no fields of colorful flowers, but there were beautiful colors in the hills and trees just the same.  I really enjoyed myself.   I had decided to try going larger.  For the last several plein air sessions I've been painting on 11x14s and have done okay.   So I went a bit bigger ... on a 12x16.   -- Always trying to stretch myself.

The Park Rangers worked all around me clearing and cleaning -- getting ready for a movie shoot scheduled later in the day.   As I was working on the last bits and almost ready to clean up a bit after noon one of the rangers came over, made a nice comment about my work, and then suddenly froze.   He pointed ahead and we both watched as a rattlesnake crossed the cleared ground about 8 feet from where I was working.  I went a bit closer (behind the ranger) and got a shot of him as he scooted down into the grass ditch.  

When we were in Mexico, Frank Gardner had set up his easel for a demo.... until he discovered the shed skin of a rattler.   Then (wisely we all thought) we moved closer to a road.   We never saw the rattlesnake in Mexico....  Today was a different matter.    The ranger said that this is the time the snakes begin to come out to sun, but that most of the time, they try to stay away from people, if they hear things like people or animals around them. (like the rattler did today when he heard the ranger coming his way.)    I'm just happy the ranger saw him... I never did.   I was too busy painting.

I may tweak this a bit...after it has a chance to simmer,  but for the most part I'm am very pleased with it.

I hope you had a great day too!

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Spring Greens

"Dance Of Spring"
10"x8" o/c panel

Last week was a spectacular weather week in SoCal.  We had fresh, clean air (not often the case in our smog-prone city) and warmish moderate temperatures.  Too beautiful to resist another outing to paint.

This time Sharon Weaver and I headed for Tapia State Park, not far from Malibu Creek State Park.   I had been several times in the fall but hadn't been in the spring and Sharon had never visited.  It was lovely but surprisingly I think I like the fall season best.   I've been hoping to see wildflowers out, but the flowers were not to be found.  Instead we found ourselves surrounded by the verdant greens of spring.

Sharon had fun with her new experiments in color and I just tried to have fun with the paint.   It was a good day.

At home, I've tried to catch up on business left unfinished since my trip to Mexico and I re-evaluated my Malibu Creek painting ... and tweaked it just a bit.

If you are interested in purchasing either of these paintings, please click HERE to contact me.

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Green, Green, Oh So Green!!

"Spring Creek"
11"x14" Oil on RayMar Linen Panel

If you are interested in purchasing this painting, please contact me by clicking this link HERE.

I'm back home in beautiful sunny Southern California and appreciate the change of climate and scenery from the more arid beauty of central Mexico.  Well today it was evident that spring has definitely sprung.  Since today is St. Patrick's Day, I was really appreciating all of the green in my world.

The California Art Club Malibu / Ventura Chapter sponsored its monthly paint out today at Malibu State Creek Park.   This is a vast and varied State Park that is absolutely gorgeous no matter which season one visits.  One can paint near the parking lot or hike much further in and each spot will thrill the viewer with gorgeous views which are totally different.   I drove to the park with my friend, Sharon Weaver.   There we met other painter friends, George Malone, Annie Hoffman, Lynn Gertenbach, Maria Klar and several others.  Sharon and Annie and I walked down the trail further into the park for a bit, but then were entranced by the beautiful water in the creek.   More often than not, this creek has much less water.  Today it was flowing rather full.   The reflections were beautiful and the three of us set up and painted next to the joyously noisy stream.  Soon Lynn joined us.  

I think all of us enjoyed the morning.  Sharon and I and Lynn just were too in to painting to give up and eat with the group, so we missed their good company.  We were about to leave and Sharon discovered that the cap of her turp jar was missing.  It's a real mystery.   She had to go home without the top as we never discovered its hiding place... but we all had a great time in one of Southern California's most beautiful spots.
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It's Hard To Say Goodbye - Frank Gardner's Workshop Comes To An End

"The View From Casa Del Sol"
11"x14" Oil on Raymar linen panel

If you are interested in either of these paintings, please contact me by clicking HERE.

Today, our last day in Frank Gardner's workshop was the best yet.  Not only did the weather cooperate -- beautiful sunny skies and almost NO WIND, but the painting gods must have been smiling.

Frank started out the day by bringing in three paintings he had previously started en plein air.  He discussed how he would adjust them in the studio using photographs and demonstrated as we watched.  Although sometimes he will return to the same spot several times to paint a painting that isn't finished the first time, on other times he will make adjustments which would improve a painting back in the studio using photographic references to help him remember a scene.  He reminded us to be careful with photographs.  Never try to rework the entire painting... We risk losing the spontaneity.  When painting en plein air we make lots of decision about color and what to leave out or move that normally should NOT be adjusted.  He prefers to suggest a scene rather than make a detailed reproduction.

10"x8" Oil on Raymar linen panel (SOLD)

A tell-tale sign of a painting that is done using only a photograph is putting in too much detail and having darks without any information.  Don't go too dark in the shadows.  As long as the relationships between values are accurate you are going to do well.  The benefit of painting from life is that you have more of an idea of the true value range than you can get from a photo which is generally too dark in the darks and too light in the lights.   

We should always "raise the bar" on our work. 

After Frank discussed the changes he would make on his first painting (note that he made the changes with the photograph and the painting upside down.), I thought he was finished and headed off to paint for an hour or so before lunch.  (As it was he discussed a second painting and I missed that demo.)   

I went off to paint cactus (nopales)... I had felt good about trying to capture what Frank had done the day before, so I thought I'd try it again by painting my own cactus painting.  I tried to remember what Frank had discussed as I painted my cactus, but in the end, having only an hour, I simply placed color on it to cover the canvas.   Surprisingly it turned out rather well, I think.

In the afternoon we all stayed relatively close although we all faced different directions and we painted alongside one another.   The painting on top was my final painting and I was rather happy with it.  I felt I had tried my best to apply the ideas and suggestions that Frank had been making during the week-long workshop.

I'm sad to say the class over.   Suzanne and I went out to celebrate a FANTASTIC WEEK...  I had some GREAT margaritas.... and yes, I tossed one back for my friends from previous painting adventures.  

Happy painting to all of you.
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The Good Times Keep On Comin'

It is hard to believe that the workshop is coming to an end.  This morning the winds were light so Frank suggested that we all go out and paint and he would do his demo after lunch when the winds were due to rise. 

I decided to paint the same scene from the same spot that Frank had painted earlier.  Frank came by all of us to make suggestions and comments several times.   We had spread out all over the ranch so he really did have his work cut out for himself.   I had changed the format from vertical to horizontal because I didn't want to do something  that seemed like a copy.  (I needn't have worried...  It's nothing like Frank's... sigh.)   I really like the painting I did in the morning but when I compared it with Frank's after lunch I can see many many things that need to be done to it.

The lunch - as always - was delicious.  I've included two pictures so you can all see what a gourmet fair we are treated to daily.   It's nice to relax and be served and find out all about one another.

After lunch we walked out to an area with many nopales (cactus), where Frank did a demo for those of us who wanted to watch.  Frank took his time and mixed up several piles of colors that he saw in the cactus paddles and in the grasses.  He made "notes" or marks on the canvas to note the outside edges of the shape then roughly brushed in the basic overall color note.  As he began painting in the various paddles he grabbed colors and mixed between the piles of color on his palette.  he designed the painting as we went building up subtleties in colors to suggest what he saw and to make a pleasing design.  He reminded us not to become too specific too fast... he said he wanted to be able to make a nice orchestration on the canvas.   Frank decided to leave the background fairly loose.

We all left happy and satisfied today, but really tired.  Suzanne and I debated about whether to go out but when we heard the fireworks and drums and trumpets we had to go out to see what it was all about.  We never did find out why the people were having a parade, but it was interesting to watch.  It was a religious celebration of some sort... Most of the women were wearing pink and blue and they were carrying a statue of a saint.  However there were what appeared to be Aztec dancers as well along with a lively band group and mounted police to follow up.   After following the parade through town, we found a restaurant and had a great meal.

And now.... buenos noches!!

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Mid-Week and Still Having a Great Time -- (And Eating Well!)

High up there among the many perks of Frank Gardner's workshops is the fantastic food we are served during our lunch break.  This year we are staying at Rancho Del Sol Dorado the whole week and they have created some absolutely wonderful menus.   I think the chile rellenos from yesterday's lunch were my favorite main course so far.   The chiles were stuffed with ground meat, raisins, corn and all sorts of good stuff and the sauce was out of this world.   Luckily we've been doing a lot of walking around town so we can sort of walk off the calories (at least I tell myself that.)

Today was clear and bright although still quite windy.   Frank suggested that we all head out and paint and that we would do a critique session and he'd talk about something he would paint that morning as well.  We met a lunch and after we were all filled up and happy he began discussing the good points and how we could make our paintings better.   Then he should us the "demo" painting that he had done and discussed what he felt he still needed to do on it.  (It was gorgeous.)

In the afternoon we spread out again and he came around and gave us pointers as we went.   I was happier with both paintings today.  Frank gave me some good suggestions that I may work on when I get home. 

Another walk through town with glorious sunlight and good company with Suzanne, my B&B buddy.  Now it's time to clean my brushes and catch up on the zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzs!
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Day 2 - Frank Gardner Workshop

Today the skies were clear and the weather was perfect -- although there was a pretty hefty wind which sapped the water from your body and gave all of us excuses for not being able to paint a straight line.

No excuses for Frank.   He started the day with a demonstration that was challenging to say the least.  He wanted to show us all another approach to painting and to emphasize the point that most paintings are all about values.  He chose a scene that was almost all in the shade and he developed it thoughtfully and carefully emphasizing subtle color shifts of slight variances in value.  He reminded us that no value in the dark family (in this case in the shady area) cold be lighter than any value in the light family (the sunlit areas).  This was especially challenging because the carriage he was painting was WHITE!...   He began by establishing the lightest light (the sunlit area in front of the stable) rather than the darkest dark this time. I think that alone impressed me...   Although the demonstration took most of the morning, it was well worth it to see how he carefully selected values and colors that were very close together and deliberately put down strokes of paint to eventually let the painting emerge.  

Frank was also very careful with his drawing.. often checking his initial measurements.  He did not DRAW out the whole scene with detail but rather made "notes" to himself using a cad/ultramarine mix which he continued to check.  From there as he layed in each paint stroke he reminded us to judge every value by comparing it with the lightest light and with the values closest to it.

He isolated color shapes and kept asking himself, "How dark is it compared to what is next to it?"  He said not to stare too long at something -- just get the impression of color and make value relationships using your last impression.  So much can be said with economy of stroke.  The look is more about feelings and colors... it is a study in greys.  -- It's like a poem.. Let the viewer imagine more....   Some paintings can be skillfully right but are just boring.  Push color variations, one stroke at a time.  Don't just paint in a section like a coloring book.

Thick texture comes toward you so be careful with your brushwork and use it to lead the eye.

After another delicious meal we all set out to paint on our own.   I did better than yesterday, but not as well as I would have liked.   None the less, it was another terrific day.   We all enjoyed hearing stories about all the painters who visited San Miguel earlier in the year.  Frank has several of their paintings up on his gallery walls alongside his own beautiful work.   It was interesting seeing how so many great artists can paint side by side and still create work which is unique and wonderfully different.        

Hasta manana!
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Encore Workshop with Frank Gardner In San Miguel de Allende

I had such a wonderful time last year in Frank Gardner's plein air painting workshop that I decided to try it again, so here I am in Mexico.  When I got here, Frank offered to take me along with him to visit some of the beautiful churches I often see in his paintings.  Interestingly enough, many of these little gems are now being renovated for the upcoming independence celebration and Frank was a bit dismayed because parts of the aging sections that he likes so much were being "fixed".   Oh well --  It will be a new opportunity to paint what may seem like a new scene.

This year I'm staying in a different B & B because some of the artists from the workshop were staying here.  It is nice but not as beautiful as the B & B I stayed at last year.  It is, however, closer to the center of town.  I've enjoyed getting to know Suzanne -- it's always good to have a buddy to share your defeats and victories with..  (and to share a meal and a margarita with too!)   We walked all over town on Sunday.   There is a new beautiful scene around every corner.
Yesterday was the first day of the workshop.   Frank had said that he planned to do it a bit differently this year and do some practice block ins to work on value, and design.  I had reviewed all of his notes from the previous workshop the night before and was dismayed to realize how much of what he had said I had NOT been utilizing.  Makes me realize how much I should review the notes I take and try to take on one thing at a time until I've mastered it..  I have been working on color and value, but may never ever get to the point where I'd like to be.

As with last year, Frank talked about his limited palette of alizerin, cad red, cad yellow light, lemon yellow, french ultramarine blue and thalo with white.  He mixes piles of color with the palette knife to avoid dirtying the colors.  He tries to mix the colors that he sees in the scene he will be painting on the palette before he places them on the canvas or board.  I enjoy listening to Frank as he explains what he's doing.  If only I could internalize it better. 

If you get a chance when he offers his class next year, book it!  Between the great city of San Miguel, the fabulous gourmet meals on the painting site and the great instruction, this workshop is a real winner.  I've taken many workshops... enjoyed almost all of them and learned from all of them... but I came back for a second time to this one because I enjoyed it so much.     (Don't hold these paintings of mine against Frank!)

I painted three real dogs yesterday, but still had a good time.  After doing his demo, we began to paint and Frank talked to each of us several times as we worked, giving us pointers as we worked.  He wanted us to just to do block ins to get a feel for the values and the compositions as well as to do a bit of practice with the color mixing.  I was exhausted last night so didn't get much chance to blog and it's almost time to leave again this morning so I will finish up and post more later.  

In the meantime,   I wish you all happy painting.
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If The Sun's Out, Let's Go Paint!

"Japanese Garden"
8"x16" on RayMar Panel
If you are interested in purchasing this painting, "Japanese Garden", please click HERE to contact Marian.

Tuesday was the day scheduled for our San Fernando Valley Art Club paint out.  In past years the club's paint outs had been scheduled irregularly and always on weekends, so I never managed to go.  This year, with our new paint out chairperson, Trish Bennett, they have been scheduled well in advance each month and so far they've been planned for weekdays.  Unfortunately, on our inaugural 2010 paint out in January, it was pouring rain.  CANCELED!

The weather reports have been quite inaccurate in the last week or so, so I wasn't sure if it was a go or not, but luckily today there was no rain.   We went to a place I never knew existed, called "Gardens of the World" in Thousand Oaks.  This is a privately run beautiful area in the middle of Thousand Oaks near the Civic Center.  The public is welcome but must sign in and agree to obey by printed rules which we had to read and sign before entering. 

Additionally we were able to enjoy club member and friend, Janet Snodgrass's watercolor and photo show which is hanging in the main salon area of the grounds.   Her opening is Saturday, March 6th, from 2-4 p.m. if any of you want to go to enjoy her paintings.   I will be in Mexico so I'm glad I got to see it today.

The grounds include an old a "California Mission" area, Japanese gardens, and several other beautifully landscaped and arranged areas representing parts of the world.  It wasn't the wild abandon natural landscape that I love to paint, but it was beautiful and after wandering around and taking photos, I finally settled in to the Japanese garden area.  There were about ten other painters from the club and I think we all had a good time.   I got to chat with Carol Tator, Trish Bennett, Janet Snodgrass and Chuck Kovacic.   George Malone, whom I had invited, painted in the California Mission area with a few other people.  Unfortunately I had to leave after about 2 hours of painting in order to pick up Tyler, so I couldn't stay and chat during lunch, but I still enjoyed myself.

I apparently didn't follow the rules as right after I blocked in my painting, I was asked to move.   After getting over it and moving on, (grumble, grumble) I dug in and enjoyed painting.   I had decided to try one of my 8 x 16 panels, and thought the result was okay given the limited time we had.  Unfortunately I didn't put it in a good place in the car on the way home and it got a bit mushed, but I spent a few moments at home cleaning it up and am able to say to myself...  "That was a good day of painting!"


I have a technical question for those of you painters who wish to chime in.   I've been painting and painting and have decided to do a TRIPTYCH.   I'm using three of the 16x8 panels (vertically) and am hoping that what I am planning will work.   All of the panels include children at the beach or on their way TO the beach.  The sizes of the kids on the two outer panels will be larger than that of the kids in the inner panel.  
Here is my question:....  WHAT exactly are the rules for a triptych???  
  • Does it have to be ONE painting on three panels, or can it be ONE theme on three panels?   
  • Does it matter about the relative size of the figures on the panels???   What do you think???    
  • After I'm finished I'll show you all three and then you can chime in with more opinions, but I wanted some opinions before I'm finished as well.   
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Painting Caballero Canyon - Karl Dempwolf Demo - "Googled" by Ken Auletta

"Caballero Sycamores"
14"x11"  Oil on RayMar Canvas board

If you are interested in purchasing this painting, please contact me HERE.

I love painting outdoors.  I love the sun and the beautiful sights. I love discovering new spaces and re-exploring familiar spaces.  I see things I would never have seen if I hadn't started painting outdoors.  I love everything about painting outdoors......  well, perhaps I could do without the bugs or the too hot/too cold/too windy/too wet aspects of it... but hey... the good really does outweigh the bad -- especially here in Southern California!

This painting is a familiar scene... one near my home again...   The sycamores in Caballero Canyon are actually pretty bare right now, but several trees do have some leaves hanging on and those just light up the area with color. 

I recently watched wonderful artist Karl Dempwolf do a demonstration for the California Art Club members and was reminded that when painting, the painter should not try to duplicate the scene exactly... that's what photographs are for.  One should create an interesting mosaic of shapes.  If a tree or a rock doesn't help the composition and lead the viewer to that "ahhhhh" feeling, then move it or leave it out.  (One of these days I WILL blog about Karl's demo as I promised...   really I will!..  I wish you all could have been there.)

So when I painted this painting, I did try to interpret the scene in a pleasing way.  I added colors and leaves that I thought looked nice.  It still has the spirit of Caballero Canyon sycamores, but it's my interpretation of the area... NOT an exact copy.   And I, for one, like it!!

(PS... I apologize for the huge photo file, but my favorite laptop died and I am unable to resize my images without my trusty software until and IF I find my original discs.)

On another note:
I love to read.   Usually I read books with no value other than to enjoy for that moment.  My son-in-law, Greg, in an effort to improve my mind, I think, had recommended a book called "Googled" by Ken Auletta.  Since I'm generally a reader of fiction, it wasn't the fastest read, but it was so interesting!  It really did make me realized how we all have come to rely on the internet --- most especially those things involving Google.  I am in awe of their meteoric rise and the changes the company has caused in most of our everyday lives.  The book did give me pause, however, when it came to the issues involved in the somewhat causal demise of the traditional newspaper, media, book, and journalism itself.   Auletta, mentioned that so many of us feared the big brother changes brought about and predicted in Orwell's "1984" book, but then said that it looked like we were more likely to be brought down in a way that Huxley predicted in his book, "Brave New World".   As Auletta quoted from Neil Postman's book called "Amusing Ourselves to Death", "Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information.  Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism."        Hmmmmm....  

Here I am... amusing myself to death ON GOOGLE!!!!    But enjoying it all the way.

Who could have predicted how much the internet has changed everything about what we do and how we do it?   I wonder whether we as a collective world of people will be able to steer ourselves in a direction which will not result in the equivalent of flushing ourselves down the toilet!!!
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Point Dume Plein Air

"Point Dume Coreopsis "  Work in progress 11"x14"

I've been involved in so many activities lately that it has been hard to catch up with things that are important.  I've been painting but the last few efforts were so bad that I couldn't even save them to make them decent enough to post them.  

Last week I had gone with Sharon Weaver to paint with the Thursday "Irregulars" group...  It was a cold and grey day, but some of the other painters made absolutely gorgeous paintings.   I didn't.  I totally understood Walter McNally's critique when he talked about my need to mass the shapes rather that daub in individual leaves or flowers.  I tried to save the painting when I got back home but alas... it was a true dud.  On top of  THAT, my regular computer just up and DIED ! We have other computers in the house, but my files and programs that I depend upon and love are out of reach until I can get it fixed.

Over the last weekend I went to two demonstrations and had an art show opening.   I'm going to blog about Karl Dempwolf's demo later this week.   I do however, need to cut back on the weekend art activity.

Today, however, was absolutely glorious.   It had rained last week and again earlier this week so I couldn't get out but everything worked out today for a wonderful, beautiful day.  There was a film crew getting a set ready for a movie of some kind so I had to park far away but when I got to the base of the cliff and began to climb up, that's when the real beauty reviewed itself.

I hiked all over and just gloried in the scene.  I've been in this area before, but never when the coreopsis was in bloom...    Yellow flowers rioted across the top of Pt. Dume and danced in the light breeze. 

I finally settled in and started painting.  Several people came by and made nice comments...  As always, I laughed off the nice comments and said something like it would look better later.  All the while I talked to myself saying that if someone had something nice to say, I should accept it.   I was almost ready to start packing when a nice lady walked by and started talking to me.   We talked about the beauty of the spot and she said something to the effect that when days were this glorious...  if God took her at that moment, it would be okay.  It was a sentiment I totally agreed with.   After a while we exchanged information and she said that she might be interested in the painting.  Wow... A perfect day made even better!

Shortly after she left, I began to pack up in order to get back and volunteer in Tyler's class.  As I came down the cliff, one of the fellows working on the movie set stopped to talk.  He told me that if I waited around for a while I might get to see Tom Cruise.  Ah well...  The day was already perfect and I had to get back to work in class.

Now that I'm home, I can see that the painting needs some work, but I did get the color notes and a bit of a feel for the scene.  I think it's a nice study... one to finish or one to use to make a bigger painting.

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Plein Air Adventures

The CAC's monthly paint out was rained out by the spate storms that came through SoCal in the last few weeks so some of us emailed one another decided to try to team up and go out on a different day.

"Leo Carrillo"  SOLD
Maria Klar had suggested that we meet at Leo Carrillo State Beach and since I'd not been there painting, I jumped on the opportunity.  I drove out with Sharon Weaver and there we met Maria and Nita.   WHAT A GLORIOUS DAY!!!  When Sharon and I arrived, it was calm and warm and clear.   we each set up and began painting.  By the time Maria and Nita arrived just a short time later, the wind had kicked up a bit and the temperature dropped some, but it was still clear and beautiful.

I had decided to take a larger (11x14) RayMar board... I wanted to stretch myself a bit. It was also (gulp) linen.  I really enjoy painting on linen but I'm so darn cheap thrifty.  Since not everything I try turns out wonderfully, it KILLS me to spend the extra bucks on a support with out knowing it will be WONDERFUL.  (OMG!!!  ;o) )   I know............ I need to get over it.  Interestingly, since I've started experimenting with different supports, I've found that I like plain MDF boards that I've coated with toned gesso, canvas boards AND linen boards... I like them ALL... but for different reasons.  It adds another layer of decision making before I start out... but that kinda adds to the fun, too. 

If time spent trying to get something down on the support counts as progress, I know I've gotten to be better as I've been painting outside over the last few years.  I used to go out with a small board or canvas - usually 8x10 or smaller and I'd labor for well over 3 hours and end up with ..... well it was the best I could do... but ... well, you know.   Now I can go out for an hour with a 6x8 like last Thursday and come up with something I liked.  After about 2 1/2 hours on Friday I felt I had gotten a decent painting and was fearful of doing more and messing it up. 
I walked to the port-a-potties then to the car to get our lunches and came back to see how the others were doing.   Maria was finished and the others were wrapping up.   I left my lunch with Maria to watch and went back down to the rocks to clean up my stuff.  There I found my brushes all over the rocks!!  A seagull had apparently flown down to snatch what he though might be a snack and LUCKILY dropped the bag of brushes on the rocks and not over the side of the cliff!  Just then I heard a loud yell.  When I returned to find out what was going on, I found that as Maria had turned her head away, another fearless gull had grabbed my PB & J sandwich bag right out of a big paper lunch bag and flown off with it!  We stood on the cliff and watched as the gulls fought over my lunch, (Maria even took a photo!) then later we walked down to the sandy area where my lunch was no more and chatted as Maria and Sharon ate their lunch.

No worries... I'm a LONG way off from starving to death and it only made the day more memorable!!
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The 6x8 Painting That Almost Cost Me $250+

"Time Worn"
8"x6" Oil on RayMar Canvas

If you are interested in purchasing this little gem, click HERE to contact me.

The last two days have been absolutely GORGEOUS!  After last week's unusual deluge and a follow up weak rainy front this week, we spoiled SoCal inhabitants were accepting of the needed rain but longed for our normal sunshiny weather.  Well, it's back!!

After dropping Tyler off at school, I went for my bi-weekly almost four-mile-walk down to Gelson's and back.  When I got home I still had about three hours before I needed to be in Tyler's class to volunteer.  It was an almost physical need that pulled me outside to paint.  Have YOU ever felt like that???  I debated whether to do the bills or work on club business, but it was so beautiful outside, I talked to myself and decided that I could squeeze in a little time in the nearby Caballero Canyon to paint something small.  What joy!  

I walked down into the canyon and had decided to paint something which included the very interesting rounded, water-weather rocks that are near the path where I have painted frequently before.  It wasn't a long hike and I settled in quickly.  In my mind, I had also planned NOT to hide out as I frequently do when painting outside in public... I set up right by the path that hikers, joggers and bikers pass by and told myself that I needed to get over my reluctance to talk to people.  I steeled myself for the thoughtless questions that I've heard in the past like, "Are you any good?" and "What is it that you're painting?"  I told myself I need to practice how to handle these questions and use them to grow with.

I started with a small 6x8 canvas orange-toned canvas board and sketched in the scene then quickly decided on the value pattern and began to lay in the paint.  I tried not to be stingy with the paint as I so often am.   I had SUCH a good time!  The first people to come over to see my work didn't say anything unkind and the lady even commented on how pretty the "salmon" color was.  "Well," I said to myself, "hmmmmm..."   (The salmon color was actually the toned canvas that I hadn't painted yet.)  But this reminded me that one of the things I was trying to achieve was to include interesting and "pretty" color in the scene as well as interesting brush-work.  So I started mixing up some salmony paint and off I went.  

When I had finished the painting and was starting to clean up, another couple walked by and asked to "look".  They had originally asked if I was painting "something in particular or the whole scene ... this said as they waived off into the distance"...  When they came over to look, I told them that I was focusing on the rocks that had been rounded and worn down by water and left in the canyon.  As they got behind me and the easel, they commented that the painting was prettier than the scene.  I laughed because I THINK it was meant as a compliment.  ;oD

I  cleaned up and was back home in time to eat lunch before heading off to help in Tyler's computer class.  THEN I realized I couldn't find my camera!!  PANIC!!!.....  I stuffed down my lunch and headed back into the canyon....  NO CAMERA......  What had been a terrific morning had become a disaster!!...  I even had paint all over my clean shirt!!

When I got home from my volunteer duties, I dumped everything out from my purse, then my trunk then I scanned the floorboards of my car and I FINALLY found the camera UNDER my Easy-L palette at the bottom of my backpack....  Thank goodness...   All in all a near perfect day!
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Selling, Schmoozing and Revisiting Work

"Canyon Shadows"
14" X 18" - Oil on Canvas

Email me, please, if you're interested in purchasing this painting.

(detail on below right)

It has been an interesting two weeks.  I've been painting and thinking, talking to lots of people about my work at the "Urban Spaces" Exhibit at La Galeria Gitana, and happily delivering a few paintings that I've sold!!   I also recently was contacted by a person in Minnesota who requested some note cards.   This resulted in my reviewing some of my older work and going in to rework it and repost it. 

Several years ago I had painted a scene from a summer trip with the family.  We visited the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert.  We also visited the Little Colorado Canyon which I recalled as a child and again as a young mother for its terrifying straight-down no-rail canyons.   They were also awe inspiring and beautiful -- just as the Grand Canyon is.  The colored layers of sandstone turn all sorts of colors as the light and shadows dance across them.

Trying to capture the beautiful colors and dancing light, I had painted a scene to remind me of this trip.   However after "finishing" it, I found some glaring issues which made me unhappy with the painting, so I put it away.   The note card request inspired me to browse through my paintings and I decided to rework this one so it was more pleasing to me.   I fixed some "floating grasses", added some darks and some highlights and now I'm happier with it.
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Goals For a Beautiful Sunshiny 2010

  "Winter In The Valley"

14" x 18" Oil on RayMar Canvas
For sale at La Galeria Gitana  - $550

I was driving home from shopping this morning.  The rains have stopped, the sun is shining and the far mountains are COVERED with glorious sparkling snow.   I saw the same view I had finished painting early in January.   It was so beautiful!!...  I'm ready for tonight's show...  But I remembered something I haven't yet done... 

 My plan to set new goals for 2010 has been a bit delayed... first by a wonderful family holiday, then by trying to get ready for the URBAN SPACES show that is opening tonight, then by "stuff", and then by our unusual rainy days.   Okay... lots of excuses, so now I'm moving on..

I was pleased that I set goals for last year... I think they helped my focus and although I didn't meet all of them, I got a sense of accomplishment from those I met and surpassed.  I will do the same for 2010... set reasonable, attainable goals to kind of steer me on my way.

Here they are:
  • Increase my painting skills though continual daily painting AND by taking workshops and classes from artists I admire.
  • Paint en plein air AT LEAST three times a month.
  • Learn from other painters by blogging and looking at their work on their blogs.
  • Better evaluate the juried shows I enter.  Follow the advice set out by Alyson Stanfield in her posts:  "Knowing When It's Time To Move On" and "Assessing Juried Art Exhibits".   NOTE TO SELF:  Carefully re-read her book, "I'd rather be in the studio".
  • Sketch or draw at least weekly.
  • Market my work ... develop my marketing skills.
  • Continue exhibiting in "La Galeria Gitana" and seek other appropriate venues to exhibit my work...  (Make sure to have a good "body of work" in order to do that!!)
  • Accept and complete one or more commissions.
  • Sell 50% more paintings (and make more $) than in 2009.
I don't know if I'll achieve all of these goals, but nothing ventured... nothing gained.

If you're interesting in receiving my monthly newsletter, please click the link HERE.
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It's Raining, It's Pouring

Today was the day the San Fernando Valley Art Club had scheduled a paint out.   I know several of us were looking forward to it, but when the weatherman said it would be raining all week, we pretty much knew it was not to be.

We Southern Californians are pretty much weather wimps.   The worst weather we have is really drought.  Our storms are too often FIRE storms from hot winds and vegetation which is too dry.  We've been trying to conserve water for a while and this year we went on mandatory conservation measures.  Rain is not unknown, but when we get it -- it's not too much to worry about. 

Well... This week is a bit abnormal for us.  We've had storms....   WET, WILD, AND WINDY STORMS!  I was soaked through and through yesterday when I went to deliver a painting to a client and then got stuck on a major freeway for an hour and a half because one of the freeway's drains had stopped up and formed a LAKE on the freeway!  Today I went out to get gas at just the wrong time.  As I put the gas nozzle into the car suddenly the overhang shade "roof" let lose with a WATERFALL right over my head!...   Oh well, at least I won't melt.   I can whine and whine but in reality we really need this water...   Hopefully a snow pack is building up in our mountains which will relieve some of the drought conditions in the year to come.

I made the decision to spend the rest of the week indoors.  So instead of painting outside en plein air, I painted a rainy scene while I was inside... nice and dry and warm.  This is an evening wet street scene remeniscent of some of the paintings I did for my upcoming show "URBAN SPACES:  The San Fernando Valley".  This little 6x8, called "It's Raining, It's Pouring!" isn't one of the 15 paintings in the show, so if you're interested in purchasing it, please click HERE to contact me.

Although several storms are expected to come through even into the next week, a break is expected between the storms for the weekend.   This is good news as my show is opening on Saturday night and I am hoping that many people are able to make it out to see the wonderful art.  If you live in or around the San Fernando Valley, this show will be a fun look at the urban scenes we are most familiar with.   I'm very excited to be a part of this group show with exceptional artists that I have long admired.   Come on by!

La Galeria Gitana

120 N. Maclay Avenue Ste. E
San Fernando, CA  91340
(located just behind Cold Stone Creamery on Maclay)
(818) 898-7708

Opening Reception:  Saturday, January 23, 2010   6-10 p.m.

Come see the art and meet the artists:
Karen Anable-Nichols, Susanne Belcher, Donna Geist Buch, Jose De Juan, Marian Fortunati, Teri Garcia, Irena Jablonski, Trish Kertes, Chuck Kovacic, Jennifer McChristian, Darlene Mellein, Tony Peters,
Ellen Rundle, Alex Schaefer, Jennelle Song, Beth Summers, Loraine Veeck, Mary Kay Wilson

Just click on the underlined links to see images of my paintings and details about them:


I  would like to offer you the opportunity to sign up to receive my newsletter.  I send it out once each month or every other month.

Thanks to each of you for reading the blog and for cheering me on.  Being able to share my work with you is one of the main reasons I keep painting and trying to become a better artist.  It's wonderful to hear from you now and then and I love seeing those of you who can come to exhibition receptions when I'm there.

A special thanks to those of you who have purchased my work.  I'm very honored by your support!
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