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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Little Corona a favorite place to paint

Little Corona Del Mar is one of my favorite places to paint because it is right in the middle of everything but is still secluded from the usual beach madness.  It is between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.  It is at the furthest north point of Crystal Cove State Beach.
This is a small stretch of beach protected on both ends with dramatic rock formations.  These rock formations are the biggest attraction for me as a painter.  The sandstone cliffs, the shadows, and the ocean complete the attraction.  Little Corona Del Mar is a great little place to paint in the middle of everything.

Is everything a reaction?

Is everything a reaction? 
The simple answer for me is yes.  When I wake up I am in a certain mood.  My thoughts about what and how to paint are a reaction to my situational daily condition.  Is it a beautiful day?  I will decide to paint plein air or studio based on the weather.  What color is the sky?  It will help determine what color choices I make in my painting.  The color that I want to paint with helps shape what subject I will be painting.
My reaction keeps shaping decisions to the point where the decisions themselves create smaller reactions like the ripples on the water.  Everything I do during the painting changes everything I do on the painting.
The key for me is keeping true to the main thoughts and decisions so I can stay on track with my original intentions.  When that happens I have what I consider to be a really good painting.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Favorite Places to Paint-Coal Canyon

Coal Canyon is one of my favorite places to paint because of the scenery as well as the access to it.  Because I live 5 minutes away I am able to paint plein air without the extended travel time.  Because it is close I am able to explore to a much greater degree.  I am not worried about ruining a once in a life time opportunity.  The wealth of subject matter is wonderful.  All three of these pictures are taken within one mile of each other.  In fact these are all about 400 yards from each other.  I love the varied mood of the hills.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Banking on Art

I had a piece of my art in the Banking On Art show.  The show was put on by the LPAPA.  It was at the Wells Fargo Bank in Laguna Beach on Ocean Blvd.

This is the piece I had in the show.

Banking on Art

These were some of the paintings in the show that really caught my eye.  It was nice to see the different styles and technique.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Fall Colors in Winter

It was a gloomy day and it looked like it was going to rain but I decided I was going to paint anyway.  So I set up by the car so I could pack it in quickly if I needed too.  I tried painting on a red underpainting because I wanted to change the feel.  I thought I would work off of a purple/gray starting point and develop it from there.
As with everything in plein air painting it all changes so quickly.
The painting goes where ever it has to.  You hope that it goes in the right direction.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Painting Along the Hills

I tried to keep the marks fresh and not go back into the areas but as the sun came out from behind the clouds everything else changed too.

In the end it seemed like I was trying to save the painting more than creating a painting.  I was unhappy with the composition and the colors.  There were a couple of wins for the painting.  I will take some of the technique I used for the foliage in the upper right hand corner.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Time For A New Pallet

As I was painting down by the Santa Ana River my Heilman slid off of my easel and hit the ground.  It sent my pastels all over the ground.  It was a tough interruption because of the time it took to get everything back into the box.
This is the remains of my pallet on the ground.  It is kind of funny that the day before I was examining goals for this year and I thought I should change my pallet.  I thought there were too many colors that I was not using and that there were too many colors that were too similar to others in the pallet.
The qualifications for my pallet going forward will be that each color will have to stand alone for its beauty-it will not be enough for it to accentuate the other colors in the pallet-other than the full values available to me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Painting at the drydock in Newport Beach

Painting with Debra Huse

We met at a dry dock in Newport Beach close to her gallery on Balboa Island. Debra Huse Gallery This was a great opportunity to paint with Debra.  She had just recently won a second place ribbon at the 14th annual LPAPA Invitational. LPAPA

She was painting on a canvas tinted with raw sienna.  Debra said she uses raw sienna because it helps establish the overall tone of the painting and that the color is not too dark.  She started her painting with small dots arranged on the canvas to get the overall size of the boat established on the canvas.  Debra did not start with a thumb nail sketch or any other prep work before she started painting.  She drew her subject with raw sienna as well.  As a marine painter she had a lot of insight that I found helpful.  She said to find the face in the boat.  Start with the windows and work out from them to get all of the elements of the face related to each other properly.  She said if it is not working it is not working and to wipe it out. 
During the course of her drawing in the boat she would smudge sections that did not relate to the rest of the boat.  As she blended in the sections it ended up helping to establish the values of the boat.  It also helped her establish the overall shape of the boat.  Once the shape was set Debra added the main colors of the boat.  Debra said to make sure to get all of the big shapes before you freak out. 
Once the drawing was completed she shared some thoughts about her process.  Debra said she should make some decisions about the painting at this stage because of the light and where the shadows were headed.  With the shadows shifting Debra put them onto the hull of the boat before moving on with her painting.  One of her thoughts was that a boat yard should be "gritty".  The painting shouldn't have too finished a feeling.  One of her big decisions was what to do with the sky.  Should she add masts to the painting, a flag, or how much vibration should be in the sky?

Debra Huse and Laguna Plein Air Painters Association