Comment on or Share this Article >>
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.
Comment on or Share this Article >>
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.
Comment on or Share this Article >>
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!
Comment on or Share this Article >>
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!
Comment on or Share this Article >>
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.
Comment on or Share this Article >>
There is a beautiful bronze horse statue at the Mission San Juan Capistrano titled "Empty Saddles". This painting is of that bronze statue I created back in February 2013. It was a great exercise in painting the form of the horse. But for this I felt a tribute within me for all those who worked hard all their lives for keeping the Mission alive and available for the people to enjoy for many years to come. I loved painting this and adding a bit of my soulful, spiritual experience with horses and the Mission.
When I arrived at the mission, it was getting later in the afternoon. I settled upon sketching the statue as I have wanted to do this particular one for years. I felt it was time. After the sun went down, I left and decided to come back the next day to create a painting of it.
I began by carefully sketching the horse in a diluted oil blend of alizaron crimson and cadmium yellow toned with chromatic black. I used to sketch horses from life all during my teenage years when living in the country of Napa, California and upstate New York. I really enjoy sketching horses, it is a soothing exercise and very good to practice drawing skills.
Then I began to capture the colors and values to build the form of the statue.
The sun went down and therefore my natural light, so I took it to the studio and completed it from reference digital images. I used my artistic license to arrange the background more abstractly so your eyes would not be taken away from the main focus of the piece, the horse statue. Highlights of sky blue were placed to give the form a sense of being in the outdoor light. It was a satisfying experience and I would do it again but not replicate this original.
I am also going to create more paintings of living horses. I used to own a couple of Arabians and my sister has a herd of horses. There`s also a ranch in the High Sierras I go visit to be friendly with some Quarter horses and mules. It`s time to capture the living creatures on canvas.
Comment on or Share this Article >>
It`s the Fourth Annual Randy Higbee Gallery 6" Squared Exhibition. Each year over a thousand artists submit their delightful 6x6 inch artworks to be accepted into this show. We have slaved for months beforehand at our easels both en plein air and in the studio to create these little masterpieces. This year I had two pieces accepted. Scroll down to the end of this page to see information about the exhibition location in Costa Mesa, California. Opening Reception night is December 7th, I will be there.
Below is the first piece titled "Colorful Cove Sunset" 6x6, oil on linen panel, it will be framed in what is called a 'floater frame' that shows all the edges of the artwork. It floats or in other words is adhered on a black mat within the wooden frame. So, there is not any loss of the paintings surface fitted behind a frame which usually loses one-quarter inch of each side. You have a full six inch by six inch view instad of five and a half inch view. Price is of this artwork at the show is $250. Clicking on the image will take you to my website page so you may read the story behind the piece.
Second piece is titled " Sunny Aspens on a Snow Blanket" 6x6, oil on linen. Also will be framed. Price is $250.
Below is the Randy Higbee Gallery info for the show. Go here for his website. Go here for upload of all the artworks accepted in the show. They also will be available for sale online or by calling the Randy Higbee Gallery with your choice(s). But please come to the opening night, I guarantee you will be amazed at all the incredible works of art.
Comment on or Share this Article >>
My pomengranate tree gave me a good bountiful crop this year, I was watching them grow more red with anticipation as October went by. I was enjoying consuming them too, so tasty. I just couldn`t stand the beauty anymore, I mean without doing something to remember them by, so I decided to paint them before I had to harvest them all. I am very fond of the backlit appearance on any any subject matter, so I arranged them on an old wine rack in the garden and a gallery owner gave me the persimmons on branches from Hamilton Oaks Winery. I tied them up, it was just an instinct to do so. It lended to the natural appearance of being on a tree still. An old piece of driftwood lumber lent itself well and acted as a fence. The backdrop of Monarch Summit in the canyon provided wonderful hues of blues to violets. As this took several days to paint, on the third afternoon as the sun was beaming brightly over the summit and ocean, a group of cummulus clouds drifted in. I couldn`t be more happy as they brightened the upper third of the composition giving more contrast and a sense of atmosphere to the piece. Plus those clouds saved my eyes from being blinded that day. This work took four days of painting during the short afternoon hours before the sunset. I was determined to paint it from life as it was a complicated scene with many nuances of light and shade and tons of negative space. Since I knew the leaves would dry up quickly without water, I painted in the shadows first, then the light values to capture the shapes and positioning. Sure enough, the next day the persimmons leaves were crisp like parchment paper and the pomengranate leaves were curled up like spirals. I cut some more fresh branches of pom leaves and kept painting from those, borrowing what I saw and shifting them into my painting. The weather was very warm each afternoon, we are having a late Indian summer in November. I enjoyed that everyday I was painting, except for the curled up leaves. Below I add a chronological set of images from initial sketch to completed piece.
Pencil sketch in my book, I do these first thing to make sure I have the right composition idea. There are almost always changes from sketch to painting, I added another pomengranate and the driftwood beam when beginning to paint. The last line, "Hanging Onto What Life is Left" was my original title idea. I did not stick to it. I think I was in a strange philosophical state of mind that day.
Above is the layout of my garden studio and the first oil sketch of the subjects on the canvas. This was not all I accomplished on the first day. The image below shows the painting after the first day, I successfully blocked in the essential leaves and fruit, being very tentative in my approach to positioning each major subject piece within the canvas. I took the below image the next afternoon though, right before my third day session and it already shows the leaves being shriveled. It was warm, dry air!
The image below was my third day when the lovely clouds appeared along the horizon. I blocked the whole painting in in the short session, less than two hours, then quit as the sun had set and it was getting dark fast. I knew I had another day of painting to fill in all those negative spaces of blank canvas between the leaves, twigs and fruits. You can`t see it well here, but they were everywhere. I wanted the foliage to be painted like this as opposed to painting it over a wet oil background already brushed in. The latter would ruin the crispness of color of the leaves. So, I had to paint the background later as a negative space, it allowed me to think abstractly and paint thickly at first. There is much textural brush stroke work as an addition. Those globs of paint make it more exciting and there still are loads of tidbits of bare canvas showing the initial flat toning color peeking through.
Below is the fourth day. Looking done, but I think a fog bank came in this day and I had to quit earlier.
I realized I had enough information from four days of painting and observations and took it into the studio for refinement that evening. Although I used a digital image to make sure I was not painting the wrong sides for shadows and direction of light, I pretty much focused my eyes on the painting itself. I drew out the best qualities of the work of art exercising my right to pump up colors or contrast where I wanted to, then lessen or cool areas I wanted to recede. That is the sheer joy of being an artist, to really put our fingerprint or unique spirited self into it.
Below are two images that are close-ups of each pomengranate. Enjoy! Oh, and excuse me while I eat some tart and tasty pomengranates!
Below is the final image of the completed whole painting.
I will include a frame valued at $40 with this artwork. S&H is extra. CA residents must pay 8% sales tax.
Comment on or Share this Article >>
This painting is the last of the 4 in series of autumn Aspens in the High Sierras. It seems I wanted more yellow-orange to cover the canvas as I neared the end. I found it the morning of my last day in the Bishop Creek area. I went to a place called Intake 2 where many fisherman go on a daily basis. The fish haven`t been great there this fall I heard. It never stops a fisherman or woman from trying. I was there a few nights earlier and was flipping out over the colors of the Aspens reflecting on the lake. Yes, I do flip out and will even jump up and down when I see something fantastic to paint. Even though the fall colors were subtle being in the late evening, I was eager to see it in early morning light. Here is an image of part of the lake and those brilliant aspen reflections in the morning hours.
As I stood there in awe, I was overcome by what to paint. The lake was almost a perfect mirror of the autumn trees, pines, mountains and sky. I was drawn to the brightest orange colors of the Aspens. I had only a 6x6 linen panel and maybe 1-1/2 hours, so I decided to paint the zoomed in area around the fishing/viewing dock. It was so cold, I went to a spot that had ice near the edges and was out of the way of other fishermen. A lone fisherman came out on the opposite side deck the same time I set up and he stayed exactly the same time it took to paint it, so I was happy, he became the center of focus. Even though he is only a couple of brush strokes in the painting, I held off adding his draped fishing line until the final end. I could see it highlighted in the sun, I love seeing that. Water ripples a little where it meets the surface. I did not want to overdo any details in this small area, so a few brushstrokes here and there tell the story. It was a challenge to decide what color tones to paint the reflections in. Light reflects darker and dark reflects lighter, there were light and dark colors in the Aspens and light and dark colors in the pines and dock. I had to either add a little white or add a little darker tone accordingly. Directions of brushstrokes drag downwards in water reflections and across for the water ripples, there is a lot going on both in the background trees and the water. To make it a simple start, I drew an oil sketch that showed the major shapes and the area of focus. Below is an image of it:
After reading Edgar Payne`s Book on the Composition of Outdoor Painting, I am much lighter now on initial oil sketches. In Edgar`s words, "One good idea to apply to any kind of drawing is to make the preliminary marks very light, the surface barely touched, a dot here and a broken line there made between gestures of the hand. This gives a chance to roughly gauge measurements. At the same time it allows subsequent correction and alteration to be made without erasure. The mental concept of form is best held when light touches are made between gestures." What he wants us to feel is the mass principle, the broad impression and not get bogged down with the small details until the end. Edgar`s words, "The "hold together" quality by value, mass and space arrangement is important here."
My next step is to mark down my shadowed areas in color tones I view in the scene.
This is done in a painterly fashion, loose brushstrokes to indicate the shadow area of the masses. This shadowed area is vital to hold the structure of the painting strong, if you wipe it all out with lighter tones, it will be very hard to get back and the painting will began to look woolly. Squint and you will see what belongs in the shadow family. My next process it to build up the rest of the painting by adding in midtones and the light sections, as in the sky and highlights. I especially liked the analogous colors from a light red-orange to orange and finally bits of Chinese Orange and yellow tinted with white for the trees. It took careful consideration to build up the water reflections with some blue dashes from the sky. The dock underneath stayed the darkest to give it that stable anchored feeling. This would make a nice larger painting, I had a good time - though I froze in 40 degree temperature to capture this in plein air. I say it was worth it. Here is an image of it when I was done and the morning turned much brighter in the distance.
Everything changes fast in the morning on a lake, so painting it with a small canvas that can be completed quickly is best. This captures an essence, a moment in time and life, a place or season with absolute freshness. Plus I was shaking so badly from the cold alpine wind, I needed to go to my car and turn on the heater afterward!
It is priced without a frame. I always recommend buying a frame from King of Frames aka the Randy Higbee Gallery. I may enter this into the Higbee 6" Square Exhibition which is coming up in early December. Unless it sells first.
Comment on or Share this Article >>
Here is another 6x6 from my trip and plein air excursion into the High Sierras last month about mid-October. Bishop Creek is a special place to my family and I. We spent the last 24 years going up there since 1989, our first daughter was not even one when we started camping there as a family in the summer of 1992. After our second daughter was born, they both learned to love the beautiful alpine nature up there. Anyhow, it has grown into my soul over the years as each year of explorations soothed my spirit. When I saw the large Jeffrey Pine log over the creek 24 years ago, I immediately walked over it to the other side. It is a huge tree trunk that actually killed a man as it fell. Sad story, but true, it took a life and formed a bridge that will stay there forever. When I saw it this fall with snow on it, it spoke to me again. Not as a sad remembrance, but to paint it as a mighty fallen tree. The whites on dappled blue-violet shadows in contrast with the golden trees and deep green-blue waters, the patterns of deep shadowed rocks leading to the log all grabbed my artistic brain. I set up on a fairly sunny day as the temperature in the sun was about 50 degrees. Two days before it snowed about 8 inches and the chilly weather, especially in the shade kept the snow from melting. I truly enjoyed painting this without campers around, the campground closes sometime after the first moderate snows hit, which in this case was early this year. I hope to paint it again with more snow this winter. I never know when I may go up there. Below is an image of how it looked the day I painted it with my easel on location.
The price is without a frame. It is on hold as someone has expressed serious interest in it. If that deal does not go through, it will be available.