Saturday, June 25, 2016


                              The Creek  | Pastel | 6x8

Once again, the water beckoned. I scouted out a site to stand and paint along the creek. An hour and a half of looking, painting, talking with a few visitors and sharing the spot with one of my favorite artists made for a delightful time. The creek runs right by the freeway but seems miles apart from the urban scene except for the sound of the cars going by. Still, the creek babbled along and I noticed after a short time that I was selectively hearing the water noise rather than the traffic one.

Painting Notes: Day 3 of our 4 days to paint in the Los Gatos Plein Air and we were asked to paint around downtown to advertise for the Saturday event. Los Gatos Creek runs through the town and is heavily used by joggers, dog walkers and strollers.  I didn't finish the painting on site as a time deadline loomed; in fact, when I left there, the painting was totally dark - no whites, no highlights. That was the most fun part - those last few moments creating this by literally icing the cake.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


          The Blue Doorway  | Pastel | 12x12

Day 0 of the 2016 LOS GATOS PLEIN AIR I arrived in town by midday, ready to scout some new scenes to paint. I missed 2015's event but had written down some locations in 2014 after talking to some of the other artists. I arrived at La Rusticana - a Tuscan-like Eden whose water wheel at their entrance I had photoed years before. Ringing the intercom button, a lady appeared and after some phone calling, I was given permission to enter to scout painting sites for the next day. Just a few yards up the drive, this doorway grabbed my attention and stays with me to today! Hard to believe this house was not built back in the 1800s but the owners of this extraordinary property have lovingly recreated an authentic Tuscan idyll in Santa Clara County!  This painting was my choice for the Friday night Gala where it sold quickly and remained everyone's favorite the whole show/sale day on Saturday.

Painting Notes : On site, I didn't get the values of the shadowed doorway right but was able to work on it a night or two later and get it down. All week long, I was plagued by the brightness on site and finally reached a point on the 3rd day (7 paintings into my week) where I realized my eyes were 'snow blind' - I couldn't distinguish color shades of the same value range. I was forced to spend the last day in shade, mopping my tearing eyes, making studio adjustments and framing. Not sure why this happened as I always wore a visor and always painted under an umbrella or in the shade.

Friday, June 10, 2016


                      Old Souls  | Pastel | 12x18

We set off on a long drive to find the little burg of Cascade. Privately owner, this hamlet for years used to host a yearly weekend gathering of the E Clampus Vitus, a male-only drinking club. Women were invited, of course. Located 20 miles SW of Quincy in Plumas County, Ca, we found it pretty deserted. Fortune smiled upon us and a man came down to talk with us and took us around. Besides the old truck and the dilapidated two story farmhouse, there remains several out-buildings, including a log cabin bar.  Attendees were known for taking their folding chairs and beer and planting themselves in the trickle of a stream (featured in the painting just beyond and below the middle set of shrubs). Here in the watery heat of summer, they would tell stories that grew crazier each hour, in that way that alcohol grows the tale.

Painting Notes:  Using one of my last pieces of Wallis Warm Belgian Mist, I still did an underpainting of darks for the foreground.  I've been working on my grassy foregrounds. To prepare for doing one, I go into my photo file 'Other Artists', pulling up some Karen Margulis grassy foreground paintings and study them for several minutes. This gets me on track for starting with side swipes, then going to random strikes. Another of the challenges of this scene was getting three of the four planes to recede. There is a large field between the dark trees of the left and the sunlit ones in the right rear.