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"Pretty Girl Reading" 9x12, oil on linen. I began this painting at an open studio with several other Calif. Art Club members last Friday at the Randy Higbee Gallery. I needed to add her dress pattern and other refinements at my home studio. I asked the model what she was reading, she kept having this little smile come across her face in a sweet crooked fashion. She was reading "Girl Interrupted", the novel from which a favorite movie I liked was made. I felt the title should have girl in there somewhere, plus she was very pretty. Just not crazy like Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder were in the film.
Here is an image of the painting while at the open studio:
I didn`t have much time to paint, I sketched at a different angle at first, didn`t like it at all and had maybe less than two hours to create her form in oils. I liked this frontal position because it showed her eyes glancing down at the book in her lap. The top edge of the open book made a nice contrast upon the shadows in her lap. From head to toe was a nice flow through. I squinted and blocked in major shapes along with proportions using color notes I observed. The painting pulled itself together quickly by doing just that. The light was low and that red dress popped against the black curtains and stage. I particularly liked the Japanese pattern of abstract flowers and what appeared to be litchi nuts? Here is an image of the last work before I brought it home to finish it in my studio.
As you can see I had the major shapes placed down and her facial features lightly indicated. The face was not detailed any more than what was created at the studio. I wanted it to remain fresh and not overworked. Just an impressionistic capture. Besides the face is small in this painting, trying to do any more details would ruin it. Believe me, I`ve done that before and it never ended well. When I brought the painting to my easel at home, I prepared new batches of different values and hues of red using Cad Red Med and Light, a dab of Cad Yellow, plus Alizarin Crimson. All were mixed either with Gamblin Chromatic Black, left full hue or mixed with a tiny bit of white to have 4 values, maybe 5 using black or crimson again as an accent in the folds and trim. This way the dress was formed from the darkest to lightest colors, no value of red was over a 5. After I built the dress I made different values of the colors you see in the pattern design and applied them wet into wet for an integrated appearance. Otherwise the patterns would pop out like they were floating on top of the fabric, not part of the fabric weave. All ended well for this piece.
The price is without a frame, I can have it framed for another $50.00. S&H is extra, CA residents need to add 8% sales tax.
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I received a bouquet of Oriental Stargazer Lilies for Valentine’s Day from my husband, he knew I loved these flowers from long ago and surprised me with them. He is very sweet that way. Their fragrance is intoxicating and they filled half the house with their scent for over a week. I set them on my kitchen table which is an oriental fish pot with a heavy beveled glass top. The Irish lace curtains in the window allowed much filtered light to cascade in. I had to paint them, so I looked for a few more items that I felt related to their color. After I played with arranging the Fenton Glass candy dish and the Caribbean Queen Conch shell, I felt it needed more, so I added the Chintz plate under the vase. They all appeared so old world like a kitchen from the past in Europe. Combining all these on a glass tabletop with sheer lace curtains was an eyeful to enjoy. Only I had to do more than that being an artist, it had to be painted. I wanted to paint a large 24x30 canvas, but I changed my mind knowing the flowers would not last more than a week. I felt stressed to capture the flowers by painting them from life, the impulse was so strong, I just dived in one afternoon when the light was just right. I could only work in a 2-1/2 hour time span each day because that`s when the sun hit this composition perfectly. After that the sun would sink down below the rooftop of the next door neighbor`s house. My kitchen dinette served as an art studio for one week while I enjoyed painting the Stargazers and the other lovely objects. Below is an image of the painting in it`s beginning stages in my kitchen dinette. You can see how much light pours in on a sunny day, the camera overexposed the light a bit on the table.
I kept thinking about relationships of everything the whole time I painted it. I was painting structurally at first. Design relationships of shapes, of color notes, of unity, of reflections, of values, of linear direction and so on. Then I thought about how I relate to each object, these were things I loved and probably things my grandmothers and their mothers would have loved. So, there was a spiritual connection going on both inside and outside; how the objects stood alone as design elements. I refused to paint them pretty and all neat like because I am an impressionist artist and I have the preference to make an artistic statement not a realistic one. Plus, I like to paint with a loaded paint brush, thick and gestural strokes. This whole painting experience was like an exploration of visual textures, shapes of color, figure to ground relationships, movement, rhythm, depth reflections and color harmony. In the end I felt I was crazy to take on lace curtains behind all this matrix of flowers, a glass vase and tabletop, let alone the other objects. The painting really possessed me for a week, I was constantly mesmerized by the compositional arrangement and how complex it was. I had to simplify in an artful-beautiful way that would make these flowers last forever in my mind. The lace curtains had to be an impression, not painted like a thing. I wanted them to interweave with the flowers in a lower contrast, which was a challenge. They were painted last after all the grid-like floral arrangement was painted in. It turned out quite French in appearance, who knows maybe I had one of the French Impressionists invade my soul, like Camille Pissarro. The link will take you to a painting of his from 1875 which is a vase of pink peonies. I loved his simple, direct statement when painting still lifes. I loved his organic choice of colors. I have admired his works greatly, besides all the other famous French artists like Monet, Renoir, Degas, etc… Or maybe it`s all the influence from visiting their works in museums and reading about each for decades. Whatever the case is, artists place their influences from their life, family, experiences and studies into their art. I never know how a work of art is going to turn out because I paint intuitively as the process evolves.
I like how this turned out and am feeling it needs to be kept as a family piece. The next time I get a bouquet of flowers and paint it from this position, I will sell it. Or if you have some highly regarded objects that you would like to commission me to paint, let me know.
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This oil painting is a studio piece that was created from a recent workstudy. It was eleven days ago that I got up very early to see the morning light at Crystal Cove Beach. Only, it wasn`t very light at all, there was a prediction for a mild storm front moving in. What I saw when I arrived on the coastline, the sky didn`t look mild, instead it was mysteriously dramatic to say the least. The sun tried it`s hardest to peep through the breaking clouds as it rose above the Crystal Cove Cliffs at Reef Point as I was standing on a long reef just south of Crystal Cove Cottages. I saw it for a moment and there was a splash of white and yellow orange behind stratus clouds. The nimbus (rain) clouds were the dark blue-violet and moving east in a rather solid mass; bits of the clouds broke off near the sun and seemed to spray in a feather fashion upwards to the eastern sky. But there was ambient light sifting through, a cold light. It made all the shadows colors on the shore deeply warm. I took this image as I was setting up my easel on the reef rocks.
The problem with scenes like this and taking an image with a good camera even is that the sky is usually overexposed and the land is usually underexposed. Hence, this is the reason why we crazy plein air artists insist on painting from life, to capture the truth.
The tide was way out and low, so I knew I had a few hours to paint there. When the tide comes in, the reef rocks become covered in the surge and I have to stand on the sand closer to the bluffs. I liked this feeling of being way out in off-shore position, like a sea captain arriving in his ship. The temperature was around 45 degrees, not bad except the strong on-shore winds were icy and went right through me. I was wearing a cotton turtleneck, 2 cashmere turtleneck sweaters and a heavy cotton hooded sweatshirt. It think the chill went into the painting as what the artist feels, thinks and experiences goes into a work of art through expression. I was alone, since it was early morning you only see joggers along the damp sand. It gave me such peace and quiet to have this place alone to my soul and the spirit of the sea; even if the serenity was only for a while. It was long enough to feel assailed by the dramatic beauty in the sky and how it affected the rest of the seascape. I was one with the sea. Within an hour I was visited by a tiny handful of curious tidepool walkers and that was okay.
I became absorbed into the scene, the rocks were all types of neutrals; brown, taupe, gray, green and red. The low light on the sea created its own array of unique colors. In my head I knew I better block in this first imprint of what I observed in the sky, cliffs and sea quickly. Those clouds would never look like that again for the rest of the day I thought. It was low key and very moody, just fabulous to my heart. I was color-matching what I observed, this was my discovery time. I did not want to paint what I thought the rocks should be like, but what I saw in the values and colors of that first impression. I paid attention to a harmonic composition design also. The workstudy was completed in the two hour period and I packed it up to head out. The sky had clearly lightened up by the time I was done, what a difference in the change I noticed. Later that day the clouds opened up to shed it`s rain on me when I painted another small workstudy titled Incoming Storm. The earlier imprint of the morning had not erased from my inner vision, from my memory banks and it was brushed into the canvas. I took the workstudy home, it sold immediately to a great patron of my art and I began to start this studio piece from the workstudy.
Using the workstudy and digital images as references, I prepared color/tone blends on a big glass palette that matched the workstudy. That was difficult, getting just the right color that you used on location. When I paint plein air, I am grabbing dabs of Ultramarine Blue, Chromatic Black, Viridian Green, Alizarin Crimson, Raw Sienna, Cobalt Violet, Cad Red Medium and Light, Chinese Orange, Pale Yellow, Cad Yellow Medium and Yellow Ochre in a multitude of combinations and portions to create colors. Oh, let`s not forget White also. It`s nearly impossible to re-create an exact color. So, I go with the best match and discover new ones along the way. Once I prepared the colors of rocks and sand I began the placement of the shoreline rocks. Then I built the bluffs and sandy shoreline in relation to the sea and sky which was painted last. I painted it for several days in the ‘fat over lean method.’ Which the phrase needs to be turned around to lean oil first washed in and then fat application with gestural strokes. Also I used a larger brush like a size 10 flat hogs bristle brush that I love for painting layered skies. Everything changes when a second piece is developed in the studio; it is a metamorphosis in a way. It stuck with me how those low hanging clouds were so deep in color tones. Here are both pieces together, I was not quite done with the studio at this stage, the clouds, sea and shoreline needed more development.
I guess I dramatized them up a bit, but that is the emotional reaction I received and wanted to convey in the studio work. I wanted to paint a deep foreboding sky imposing upon a rising sun over a just awakening sea. The clouds, sand, rocks and sea needed to become unified in its moment of time and have the atmosphere believable in its quality of light. I read something very interesting in a Charles Hawthorne book, “If one tilts their head sideways, they can see the color better.” I tried it and it really works, so I have become a punk-rocker head tilter now. In the end, I did away with the workstudy and images to finish it from memory and the color impressions I received from my perception of the scene. In essence I abstracted certain areas to make it a better work of art, not a copy.
Here is the piece, "Dawn Before the Storm" 12x16.
It does not photograph as exactly as it looks in real life either, it may appear darker than it really is. The blues are not as color saturated as they appear on my monitor. I may hang it on exhibition soon and allow it to be seen in person for awhile.
I am being asked by my family to keep this work, I am feeling the pressure not to sell. So, I may re-create an even larger piece from this and it will change also.
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Here is a lovely workstudy from a visit to Crystal Cove Beach. I stayed there to be alone to paint for 24 hours, like an overnight artist`s retreat in one of the cottages. It pushes me to discover, observe, meditate and apply myself wholeheartedly to the sea life as an artist. My new perceptions resulted in new paintings like I`ve never done before. For this painting I woke up at 6am and got down to the beach by 7am. It took me a while to set up my easel, I was exploring different locations. When I saw this scene I knew it was the one. I began with a oil sketch on the linen. I then began color matching what I observed on a very chilly morning with a pending storm arriving later that day. Below is an image of how cold it looked.
Here I show my painting easel on location with finished painting. You can surely see how the sun being higher and filtering through the clouds lightened the scene up.
I built the painting one color note at a time (thanks to Charles Hawthorne for your teachings in your book) like placing the shadowy rocks in first and gradating them as they went into the horizon. I placed an immediate color note of the sun rising up over the bluffs when it happened. Everything else in the painting related to this framework of color and value placement. The darkening skies were a unique tone of violet and blue-violet which are the compliments of the warm yellow-orange sun spot. So on and so forth the marine colors I saw went into filling the canvas space. I melted into the atmosphere and transpired what I felt into this piece also. The waves were repeatedly surging ashore, not very big, while the wind was blowing cold. What a beautiful experience it was as there was hardly anyone out on the beach, I was wearing 3 layers of clothing on my torso. I was one with the sea, standing on a long reef rock platform while the tide was out. Since I didn`t have much time, I literally dived into putting down those color notes before it changed. It painted itself almost. I wasn`t trying to be all neat and perfect, I was being truthful instead so there are natural lost and found edges when you see and feel that moisture in the air. The sun only gave me a glimpse and then it was only showing through filtered clouds. Just enough light to spread subdued and saturated colors around me. It was more like abstracting these colors and shapes I found so out of the ordinary as opposed to a sunny high key colored day. I thought I would tidy it up later since I had to go back to my cottage, pack my things and check out by 11am. Only I didn`t refine the painting in time, there was another scene to capture that afternoon, so this went home. The next day I was so physically wiped out from this self-inflicted plein air marathon, I was too exhausted to paint in my home studio. The freshness of the oil paint had set and with it the energy, mood and emotion I felt was merged into the linen. I decided that day not to fix it, not to fill in the little spaces were you see the staining, red-brown toning color underneath. This piece says I am telling a story of a specific time, atmosphere and emotion that was special. It was a one in a million day. So, I am working on recreating this into a larger piece eventually.
Here is a closer look from the day I worked on location:
This is my virgin, pure capture and she shall not be disturbed by studio refinement.
The price of this reflects it is a workstudy and does not include a frame.
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I was on an overnight artist retreat at Crystal Cove and had a heads up about inclement weather approaching the next day. The afternoon before was sunny and I painted by the Tide pools. I was only hoping for a few hours to paint in the early morning and midafternoon before the storm arrived. I received what I wished for, in the wee hours I woke up and painted number one plein air piece, and then I checked out of my cottage room late morning. After repacking my personal gear from staying overnight, taking it to my Jeep, then packing my Radio Flyer wagon with art supplies, I was to park my Jeep across the Pacific Coast Highway and walk back to take my 'art wagon' back down to the Crystal Cove Beach shoreline. This is the grueling art of painting here; there is a lot of physical exertion, sometimes overkill. I suffer for it later, but no pain, no gain they say. Before I painted the number two plein air painting, I was hungry from all that exercise and decided to sit at a picnic bench to have a late breakfast in front of the Beachcomber Restaurant. It was getting even chillier and I had to throw on the cashmere sweaters and hoody sweatshirt. The sea was kicking up a storm far out west and I was feeling it coming, the wind was icy. The sun came out for a little while, it felt good. As I sat there eating my apple, a hungry seagull decided to get friendly and landed on my table. They were not getting any picnic treats from the beach folk sitting out on the sand; no one was out on the beach except people taking a brisk walk. I thought they were cute trying to steal my food right out from under me, but I was hungry and they were not getting any. I do feed them at times, but not there in front of the Beachcomber where they would cause a big gathering. Birds really like me; I could be one of those old women in the park with tons of pigeons around her and feel happy.
Okay, back to the painting, as I was sitting there, the sun began to disappear behind the upper clouds approaching; only what I saw at sea was incredible. The atmosphere changing from light to shadow caused the sea to luminesce in the waves and flat surfaces. Beyond the sea the sky turned blue-violet intensely as upper warm clouds caused a battle. There was a storm cell swirling and looking very threatening. The seas way out became rough and whatever boats were out there began to rock over choppy waters. I became immersed in this sight as the sky was ever changing, there was incredible power in the storm cell coming in, and I felt it through my heart. Next thing I knew I ran out there on the water`s edge to experience this energy and take images. I ran back to my art wagon, shooed off more seagulls and dragged it out to the shore`s edge, backed up enough so water would not run over my feet. Here`s a look at what was approaching:
I set up my rolling art studio and got to work. But there was an Osprey flying close by, diving for fish, I love those sea eagles. I had to capture some of it`s skimming dives.
It had begun to rain and I set up my Shade Buddy umbrella to finish the 6x8. Which was a good choice because it took me about an hour or more to complete. Anything larger would not work. And so I painted this scene, experiencing the storm as it approached. Enjoying the whole process as I put down the colors I saw which I knew where totally unique to this scene. I knew I had to block this one in quickly before the sky changed again. Then big droplets came down and I was still painting under my Shade Buddy umbrella while rain got on my palette. It felt great to be part of the weather and placing it on canvas. I had enough time to add more detail, but not too much. I knew it was going to come down hard soon.
I packed up, very thrilled to have had such an experience. Yes, I got pretty wet and wondered if those people sitting in the Beachcomber liked the artist painting on the shore performance show. I felt they missed something by staying all warm and dry, protected from Mother Nature. Me...I love every part of her and the high I get from being one with her.
As I was about to haul my art wagon away I saw a group of Royal Terns perched along the shoreline. I am very fond of these too, so I walked over to them and made friends. They will raise their head plumes like a punk rocker if you send enough time chatting with them.
A large image of the artwork.
Price of this artwork includes a plein air frame from Randy Higbee Gallery. Unless you want to purchase it without a frame, it is $200.
CA residents need to pay sales tax of 8%. S&H is extra if you need it shipped. Thank-you!
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Painted from a visit to Crystal Cove, I set up on a rather chilly afternoon in the winter when the tidepools are very visible and the waves can become large. On this day, glorious green waves were gently rolling in, not really large. The sun was gradually setting to the west of Catalina Island and casting it`s glittering reflections along the sea. The tidepool rocks seemed magnetically aligned towards the sun. It was that connection which made me want to paint, the tidepool rocks, the waves, and the glistening of the sun. Here is a view of my painting easel on location and the view I had. Except when I was really getting into the process, the sun began to set with more colors and clouds developed. That part of the day is my tranquilizer.
I was interrupted quite a bit by people asking me when the whales come by and can I tell them all about the whales. It was funny how I was expected to know everything like I was a tour guide. I make it a point to be civilized and talk a little, but I know my time is fleeting and I say please excuse me I have to get back to painting.
This image does not transpire what my naked eye sees, all the colors in the rocks like warm browns with mauves and violets, grays and taupes. The camera under-exposes the shadowed areas. That`s why I like to paint on loction, it`s my preference to be witness to all the nuances of color in the shadows to the lights.
I did not finish this on location, I was working on it in the cottage later that night. I felt it was done, but mother Nature flipped it onto my palette full of oils the next morning. I was setting it up on the easel down by the shore to get a good look at it and take some images. A gust of wind blew it over right onto a huge blob of white oil paint. Also the line of oil colors from the top of my palette coated the bottom edge of the piece. I had to carefully scrape the paint off and rebuild sections of the piece. It wound up coming home where I worked on it in the studio. I relied on memory, some images and my abstracting imagination. It departed from the reality and took on a new life as a work of art. I truly felt that accident happened for a good reason. It has taken on a Frank Cuprien type of style, he loved the ocean as much as I do. Look at some of his ocean paintings, it seems we saw similar colors. I like the vibrant colors that I clearly observe in the sea around here in Southern California. One day last year I stumbled upon Frank Cuprien`s studio location in Laguna Beach at the cross of Bluebird Canyon and Pacific Coast Highway. I used to be part of Studio 7 Gallery in close proximity to it. Deciding to take a walk on a break with my little Chihuahua, I crossed the street. I stood in front of the bronze Viking Shipwreck that is a permanent fixture there and became lost for a moment in time, trying to feel what it was like back in the early 1900`s there. Now there is a modern home in the same spot, but I could just imagine how romantic the coastline looked before, what he saw and how blessed he must have felt living on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, able to paint it anytime of the day. I do feel spiritually connected at the hip with him when it comes to this attraction to the sea in all her moods. The desire to make paintings of it is as powerful as a stallion biting at the bit to charge down a field.
Below is my painting Rolling Sunset, the colors may appear diferent on each computer. I did not add color saturation in my photo adjustment, so it may apper more dull than it actually is. If I added more saturation it made the colors look blown out. This painting is best seen in person. It looks even much better when framed and hanging on a wall.
Here is a close-up of part of the painting, only again, the colors are muted a degree here.
The price includes a plein air Higbee frame worth $50, if you would like it without the frame, substract $50 from the price and buy your own.
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Above is a close-up of the horse`s head showing the charcoal strokes better
Below is the rest of the drawing, a half inch of the edges have been cropped.
I grew up around horses, my sister had one when I was very young, named Star and he was my first influence with the horse. He was a beautiful nearly black quarter horse with a white star on his face, I loved petting him. To get on the back of a horse when you are a child of five is unforgettable. I felt so big, that feeling never leaves you. We moved away to the west, I never knew what happened to Star. Then my sister went on to have many more horses, I would draw sketches of them in the pasture when we lived in Napa, CA. I rode them and jumped them, fell off of them and got right back on again. My sister Maureen had an Arabian named Keno who was so beautiful, she was gray/white with a perfect dish, but she was a wild one, not broke. I remember drawing the fully dressed Arabian horses from magazines that she had. One of those drawings survived when one of my other sisters kept it since I was thirteen. Another horse I loved to ride was a sorrel thoroughbred/quarter horse named Dubey. He was an amazing creature, we were very close, he would stop on a dime and sometimes I would fly over his head into a pile of manure, a nice, soft landing. Riding bareback with only a rope bridal was the greatest freedom I knew, trusting in that connection between man and animal. I felt like I was flying through the fields. I found a book on drawing the horse and made practice sketches so many times with her horses. I received the most praise from those drawings from family and friends as a young teen. I knew I had a natural ability to emulate the horse on paper. I owned a couple of Arabians in my early 20's. My affection for horses is very spiritual; they are magnificent beings and bond so closely to their owners. I read them and they read me, it is an immediate understanding. After having children I had to give away my animals so I gave up on owning horses. I went to college to study art after a divorce and began to draw the horse again. Somehow, back then, I think a counselor or a magazine interview I read told me equestrian subjects are not a marketable subject if you want to make a living from art. I was very impressionable and allowed it to sway my direction in life. I entered a false belief into my memory banks and it controlled my actions to my own detriment. I dropped the subject for decades, believing in what one or two professionals said. I am waking up now to the fact that I should not have listened, as my love for this animal combined with my native ability in drawing them never left. It was sitting, tucked away into the deepest cells of my mind to bring the ability back. Within the past couple of years, I have dabbled in a couple of horse paintings, only still struggling with that negative concept in my head. As of this latest drawing, the old belief is disintegrating slowly. No matter what anyone tells you, listen to your soul, your heart and if you do something good, keep doing it. I let go of my drawing of a subject matter that meant volumes to me for decades. Maybe I also didn`t think I was good enough at horses before, I mean really good like DaVinci or Michelangelo were masters. What really matters now is what I feel intuitively strong about at this stage of my life. Things that make my heart pump stronger. I believe we have more energy sent from within if the thing we are doing is coming from the depths of our souls. Horses do make my heart pump louder and feel warm inside. I choose to keep my heart alive.
What subject matter did you like as a young artist and what ones do you still like but are not exploring them with your latent talent? Make a list of the subjects you like the most, it will get your mind working on what you as an artist favor, your uniqueness. It will spark your creativity. Drawing is the best way to get started to become more familiar with your subject matter and it`s surroundings.
All I`m saying is to not knock yourself down if you believe you are not good enough to tackle them anymore, get up from any difficult trials, dust yourself off and get back on that horse. Be in command of your artistic self. Do not let someone else tell you that you can`t. You can get better if you practice and keep at it. When you are doing something you love, it shows that you put your heart into it. You may discover you have an innate talent and become enthusiastic to create more works on that subject. Practicing that subject matter will increase your technique and skills. Learning about composition and other art principles will add to your level of comfort when creating paintings based on the subject matter.
It`s time to clear your mind of what other`s say, this is your life, your energy, your feelings, it`s about time to use your power, be who you are, not someone else.
Believe in yourself. Say, I can and will get better and better. Beliefs are powerful, they can change your life if you are willing to remove the belief that is blocking you inside from pursuing your happiness.
This drawing came from a visit to the Bishop area where I frequently visit. There are some rather large ranchlands in the Owens Valley. I saw this large herd of pack horses running across the field to get to the stream near cottonwood trees on a cold winter day. I was thrilled to see them galloping, cantering and trotting in groups. I took many images and liked this one that showed the horse`s mane and tail flowing in the breeze. He was a powerful looking horse with a lot of playful spunk. He is a chestnut so a large 48 x 30 oil painting in color will be done from this now. I must get to work now on it and will post it on my website when complete in a few weeks.
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When I checked into Crystal Cove Beach Cottages, I wanted to paint the sunset that afternoon. But as I looked over the deck, I saw the beautiful Christmas tree they put up every year. I was in the Christmas spirit! I packed up my art wagon and wheeled my supplies down to the beach to paint it. It was getting extremely cold that night, but I dressed warmly. It still didn`t beat the cold, but my determination to paint this lovely site won over. When I was a little girl I would incessantly draw Christmas trees on paper during the holidays. I think I wore out a lot of Crayola Crayons. I recognized that child in me again and all the joy of painting with dark green and adding bright colors to it. It`s just as an adult, I wasn`t dashing in colors, I was thinking how to gradually build form with values and colors. Still, the child was felt while the adult reasoned, so much fun! I love the idea of a Christmas tree on a beach, it is so California!
Here`s why I chose to paint on location though. I took a few images using a tripod thinking it would be clear and in focus even though I was creating a plein air piece to capture the real essence. When I later downloaded them in my warm cottage room, I saw the big difference from what my eyes saw on location. When I painted it, I noticed the deep shadowed areas of the tree where the light didn`t shine, it gave the tree substance to keep the general mass or tree shape on the dark side while adding the lighter glowing areas later. For the painting, the dark underpainting shape gives a nice body of sustance, foundation and contrast which makes the lights seem to shine against the dark tree and night even more. In the camera image, the whole tree appears to be glowing that`s because the camera`s infrared eyes can not take in all those low light areas when the bulbs are causing a glare. The image would make a nice postcard anyway. But! And it`s a big BUT... I would rather have an artist`s rendition, a real painting of it, then I can make a postcard or greeting card from the art image. It has the artist`s handwork and that my dear friends is more substance. Here are a couple of images I took of it on location, the first one is what I`m talking about here. The second image is the finished painting, minus the tiny hand painted lettering on the sign. I did those in my studio a few days later. It reads, Happy Holidays from Crystal Cove. The sign on location reads Happy Holidays from Crystal Cove Alliance. I had to edit it for space reasons. Speaking of editing, I also added sparkly lights to the star on top, in the image you will noice the lights are out on the star. I had the joy of perceving what they might look like and dabbed in various colors of yellow and white against the deep ultramarine and alizaron crimson sky. One dot of red was added for good color vibrancy. There were stars out that night, the stars were a must add at the very last.
Notice the treetop star is not lit up. They need to fix it, you think?
As you can see in the image, the nighttime sky is very dark above the sea without a moon, so I kept my background deeply dark. I could experiment next time with bringing it up on the value scale one notch, like a 8 or 9 for variation. About half an hour after sunset it gets to be about a value 7-8, but it lasts for such a short time. I have more times to paint this scene next year and the year after.
The price is for an unframed painting. I highly recommend a frame from Randy Higbee`s kingofframes website.
Happy Holidays to ALL!
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I painted this on location in the plein air style last week while staying overnight at Crystal Cove. What an artist has to go through to capture a nocturnal is above and beyond the norm. I painted this scene as a Christmas tree vignette 2 days earlier, then felt I could go whole hog and squeeze all this night-time atmsophere and perspective into a small linen panel. I will add the other painting I did first tomorrow.
I`m pursuing more nocturnals as I am attracted to the design elements of the deep cool night. How patterns and shapes emerge from the darkness is higher in contrast and more saturated in color than daytime. Nocturnals turns the perception towards the mysteriousness in lost edges, low key colors as opposed to bright light, high key and everything being so defined. Chromatic sparks liven up the piece in just the right places against the deep atmosphere and shapes. There is an all is calm mood in addition.
As the sun went down and I began to set up, I was thinking of a dozen reasons why I should not paint this. For one I was tired from painting all afternoon along the tidepools. For another, it was rapidly becoming frigid. The creative muse told me to stay and tough it out. It was fun, I was listening to Christmas music piped through speakers next to the Beachcomber restaurant where I was standing. While people were dining comfortably inside under heaters, I was doing a little side step dancing to keep my body warm and feet from freezing as the temperature dropped from 60 in the day to 40`s once night fell. Those cocktails I saw on the tables looked pretty warming to my heart, but my motto is to paint sober. Art is commanding on the brain and lack of judgment ruins critical decisions artwise and skill-wise. So, I sang along to Christmas songs a little to perk up my mood. I was so pleased with the results, this is a scene I have wanted to paint for years and glad I finally pulled a couple off. I think it is a good idea to do a Christmas oil painting every year now. I will make postcards and greeting cards from them. Here is an image of the night scene.
The price $200, is for the original painting without a frame. I recommend a floater frame from Randy Higbee`s kingfofframes so as not to lose any of the treetop. It would cost approx $45 to $50 to frame it.
Happy Holidays to all!
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I began this painting on the grounds of the Hamilton Oaks Winery back in the old orange groves. It is a special place to me, I discovered the orange groves about a decade ago as I used to drive by it on a side road to San Juan Capsitrano. Eventually I began to take walks through the groves and paint the orange trees. They are pretty old trees, part of the estate of the Williams-Swanner family. I am not related, at least I don`t think I am. Just a coincidence that I stumbled upon this old farm house years ago. Little did I know that I would have my art hung in the gallery ten years later within the house that is now a wine tasting, wedding and event business.
One sunny afternoon I came to paint the backlight pouring through the canyon down into the orange trees, casting cool shadows on the ground. Here is a shot of the plein air painting blocked in on location:
As the sun sets so fast in the fall and winter with after light going dim, I took the workstudy home. I was content with the large shapes placed in showing correct values of light planes. Later I set it on my easel and completed the work with more definition. It was framed in a hundred year old wood frame from an old barn, hung on the walls at Hamilton Oaks and sold right after. I was rather surprised!
I will continue my series of the orange grove paintings, so look for more in the future.