Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Autumn Orange

I had such fun today. Found myself on an island in the middle of a dry river bed, at Eaton Canyon. Wonderful views, and the play of those clouds was just spectacular. Who wouldn't love the deep shadows and bright lights dancing across the San Gabriel mountains. Perhaps a few new to Plein Air, might find it just a bit difficult to find the color notes. Ah.. that is half the fun.

Now...take a deep breath, and color your panel Red Orange. Found that color floating around the canyon, and decided to grab it. Quite fun, I must say.

Take a minute, quiet your mind, and really look. You too will see, the lavendar, teal, ocher, and blues, in your world.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Autumn in SoCA

What an incredible view I had yesterday. The light was acting like a spotlight on the distant trees. One would believe that we celebrate the changing of the seasons here in Southern California. I have always known this to be true, just hard to convince those from the east coast. Really, we are down to 70 degrees. Honest.

Well... I found my bit of Autumn yesterday. Light was moving quickly so I had to grasp what I could. This was painted at Descanso Gardens, in the rose garden.

Oil on 9x12 panel

Angeles Crest

I was taken by the glow on the back mountain ridge. Lovely light. As I proceeded with this painting, I realized the simple shapes were now asking me to participate in their grandness. I needed to not only translate the view onto a 9x12 panel, but I had to also feel the enormous basin that I found myself in. To create the miles between where I stood and the back ridge was my task. Quite a challenge.
I also began this piece, using a ground of a dark purple. I found that color in the shadows of the mid-range. In addition I had not used medium before this in a plein air piece. It has created an interesting texture. One that I believe I will enjoy again.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Eucalyptus I and II

While out with Michael, we hiked into a ravine and looked up to find a pair of beautiful Eucalyptus trees. He suggested that I might like to try a watercolor method of painting with oil and thinning it with medium. It is an interesting way to paint. The day gave me a few challenges though. Being quite windy, the clouds were very active. If I looked up one minute, the trees were dark. If I looked up a few minutes later they were bathed in light. That is the dilemna of a plein air painter.
So I learned from the method.
Two days later I went back to the same spot, and gave it another go. This time with a familiar method. I do like them both.

Funny story... a biker came by and told me to be extremely careful, as he had seen a large cat (not your house kind mind you), in a nearby yard. I could hear the dogs barking madly from where I was painting. I decided not to take any chances, and decided to call it a day. As I walked out of the foothills towards my car, I could still hear the dogs barking. Since I had to walk past their yard, I continued to scan the brush. I did not want to make the evening news. As I came up to the house, where all of the commotion was, I approaced it very carefully. I peered over the fence, and low and behold, it wasn't a cat after all. It was a very frightened racoon, that had been cornered in the pool. He was hanging on for dear life, and everytime he put a back foot over the edge to crawl out the two dogs worked in tandom to move him back into the water. I left a few other hikers there, trying to distract the dogs so the racoon could hightail it out of there. The dogs were having none of that.
So much for painting in the wilds of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


It is the soul's duty to be loyal to its own
desires. It must abandon itself to its master passion.
-Rebecca West (1985)

Something within us helps us to find our passions. It's not like a conscious choice, like looking through a catalog and picking a hobby or something. We are drawn to things that we feel passionate about. We cant help but move towards things that give us that drive, that energy, that life force that is so all-encompassing. We have the desires, and the passions that we have for a reason. Pursuing our passions is one of the most important things we can do while we're living our lives.
-Lissa Coffey


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A New Day

Charcoal on Rives BFK 11x15"

I headed out for the Tuesday Artist Date yesterday. We were meeting up at the end of Lake Avenue. My spirits were high. The day was glorious and bright. This was my second time coming to this site, and I had great expectations. There is so much to explore in this area as the seasons change. Yes... we do have a change of season, here in SoCA. We just don't have to usually change our wardrobe for it.
This is The Cobb Estate. Burned years ago in a fire, and now protected by the Forest Service. It is a haven for mtn. bikers, hikers, dogs, and artists. At the top of Echo Mtn. was a hotel, also burned. However, the remains of the hotel, in addition to the gears from a tram, that went from the hotel, to the top of Lake Avenue, are still there. My view is with my back to the old estate, and I am looking out over the valley towards downtown Los Angeles.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I Just Knew It...

I knew this would be a good week. Don't know how I knew it, just knew it was going to be a good week. Then I woke up and found a simple little email among all the "stuff", and it said,
"I am going to be in CA, plan to be in L.A., and do some outdoor painting. Let"s see if we can do an outing together."
Now, who wouldn't jump for joy at the very thought.
This is Michael Newberry I am speaking of here. My mentor. I am fired up to get back in the swing of things, and here he is telling me he is coming West. I truly believe in syncronicity of this sort. Had it been last week, I wouldn't have had the heart. But today, the skies are brighter and now they shine.

If you have not ever ventured toward his website, you must give it some time. I dare you to spend time there and not come away with having learned one thing. Give yourself the gift sometime, of a field trip to his Tutorials, and his Studio Updates. I had the blessing of chatting with him through WetCanvas!, and then meeting him while taking one of his workshops on Color, this past summer. Now, I am very proud to say he is my mentor.

There was something about this man's work that spoke to me a year ago, as I sat with my laptop, on the living room sofa. I spent hours, reading, observing, devouring, and enjoying every moment. It was rich with passion. It came from the soul. He gave to me, as I have not been given to in years. He did not know then, how much he had enriched my life. How could he, we had never met. It somehow came, via the internet, no strings attached. How was it that we met, you ask? It was a glitch in his website, and I was brave enough to ask him to please correct it, because I needed my Newberry "fix". We will leave it at that, because as the world turns, so do our encounters with others. This was simply meant to be.

He is tough, thoughtful, observant, encouraging, funny, patient, and a really nice guy.
Plus... he is a mighty fine artist.

Modernist Wave by Michael Newberry (on my wall)