Interrupted sunset

6 x 8", oil/primed paper.  After a good start on this one, I had to leave for a while and intended to resume working on it when I got back...but ultimately decided not to, because it had a freshness and emphatic feeling that I liked.  


More car paintings

Both are 6 x 8, oil on primed paper.  Done in the car as we traveled from Las Vegas back to San Diego last month.  There was an unusual quality to the sky color to the southwest, and I didn't know the reason for it.  Eventually we came upon the smoke plume from the huge Blue Cut fire which was raging in east San Bernardino County.  In fact, we were delayed getting through on highway 15 by another fire that had just started.  Sadly, it's the new normal.


Skying in Vegas

6 x 8 oil on primed Hahnemuhle paper.  There were some pretty amazing cloud formations and monsoons happening after the duststorm.  I'm not used to being able to see such a huge expanse of land to the horizon, since the scale is very different in Hawaii.  The Nevada desert and skies seem immense.

3 x 5 oil on primed BFK.  Quick study that was part of the three-a-day.

Painting oil on paper has a long and illustrious tradition.  Corot and the other early plein air landscape painters routinely painted on thin paper which was then mounted onto canvas at a later time.  It's a great way to generate a lot of work when weight and portability are extremely important.


Vegas mountains

6 x 8, oil on primed bamboo paper.  These were actually very distant, but the morning sunlight on them was a welcome sight after having been obscured for a couple days by that duststorm.

3 x 5 very quick study of the clouds.  The unsettled weather did create some amazing cloud patterns.  More of those upcoming.


Dust storm

6 x 8" oil/primed bamboo paper.  

The first day in Vegas, there was a major dust storm blowing in from Arizona/New Mexico, combined with existing smoke in the air from the California fires...so visibility was extremely limited.  Air quality was bad enough that people were advised to stay indoors, so here's the view out the hotel window, extending about a block in every direction.    Thank goodness for air conditioning.

These are little 3 x 5 doodles, imaginary landscapes.  My goal was three paintings a day regardless of size or circumstances, so these were part of that exercise.


On the way to Vegas

These are all very small, about 5" on the long side, oil on primed watercolor paper.  They had to be small, because I painted them in the car on the way to Las Vegas.  This process is great because there's no choice but to release all expectation of recording an accurate scene (because the scene is flying past at 65 mph)...so the focus has to be on creating something that makes visual sense and is nice to look at.  It cannot be an exact record of what is there, just bits and pieces reassembled to create an impression of what it looked and felt like.  It's immensely freeing, and even more fun if an old painting is underneath, contributing colors and shapes that wouldn't be there otherwise.  Control is scarcely possible, so it's an exercise in letting go.



Cholla Cactus, 8 x 6, oil/canvas panel.

I've just returned from a three-week trip to SoCal and Vegas, with a bundle of new paintings to post.  But first, here's one that was done during a previous trip to San Diego a few months ago.  At the time, I couldn't decide if I liked it well enough to not just paint over it.  After some time away, I think that it says something, so here it is.  It's a good idea to put away work and look at it later when objectivity is possible.  


Take Cover

Today we are sheltering in place from Tropical Storm Darby, so this seemed like a good one to post (done a couple weeks ago).  It's a rapidly-moving storm at Kaneohe which ended up soaking me before I would stop painting it and take cover.  6 x 8" oil on primed heavy bamboo paper.

North Shore Calm.  6 x 8" oil on primed heavy bamboo paper.  Paint applied with rags, almost an underpainting but had too much going for it to paint over.


Clouds, and Sky reflected

Clouds over the Koolaus, 8 x 6", oil on primed wc paper.

 Looking down into the creek below our (10th floor) apartment, where there are goldfish and a sublime reflection of the sky and dense plant life along the bank. 6 x 8". oil on primed Hahnemuhle.


Skying at the Soccer Fields

 View across the Soccer Fields in Pearl City, HI; trees in bloom and clouds.

Gravel parking lot overlooking the soccer fields.

A scattered young tree, soccer fields and Waianae range in the background.

These are all 6 x 8" oil on primed paper.  This was the first "plein air by bike" outing in quite a while (longtime readers will remember that I used to do a lot of that), it hasn't been easy finding rideable roads here in Hawaii.  The soccer fields are deserted early in the morning, acres and acres of open space and sky.  Gotta get out early before it gets too hot.


Skying at the Beach

5 x 7", clouds at Bellows Beach, oil on primed Hahnemuhle Ingres paper.  Winds were strong enough to blow sand all over the painting (visible if you look close) and my palette.

6 x 8", Pyramid Beach, oil on primed Fabriano rough watercolor paper.  This storm was a real soaker.


Cloud studies

All are about 6 x 8", oil on primed paper.  These are the view out my window, more or less.

Constable is not a favorite painter of mine, but he had a great work ethic and made a practice of painting cloud studies.  He called it "skying."  He said, "It will be difficult to name a class of landscape in which the sky is not the keynote, the standard of scale, and the chief organ of sentiment...The sky is the source of light in Nature, and governs everything."  You can see one of his studies on the Google Art Project here.  Such studies are of immense benefit as exercises in concentration and rapid depiction, because clouds do not stand still--especially here!


Found Roses

8 x 6", oil on card

Found a whole arrangement of these in the trash, and picked out the best three to paint.  Hawaiians throw away some very nice, useful things.  Hard to understand, when things are expensive and not always easy to get here.


Whiskeytown paintings

Besides the "Bridge Repair" painting in my last post, these are the works I did at Whiskeytown.

 Brandy Creek, 12" x 9" oil/canvas panel.
Much of Whiskeytown's history revolves around the water.  Brandy Creek is crystal clear, because the waters are snowmelt and rainfall runoff.  Looking down into the creek from a bridge, the full depth is visible as it heads off over the rapids at the upper left.

 Brandy Creek Beach, 6" x 8", oil on primed watercolor paper.
This is where the creek empties into the lake, not far from the Bridge Repair painting in the last post.  The lake is often mirror-like if there are no winds, almost impossibly beautiful and very different in appearance when one is used to painting ocean!  In the summer, this beach is full of people.  In March, still a bit too chilly.

Whiskeytown Boat Ramp, 6" x 8", oil on canvas panel.  
The lake is vast and very much enjoyed by sailors and kayakers.  

 Apple Blossom, Camden House.  6" x 6", oil on Ampersand gessobord.
The abundance of water in the area made it possible for extensive mining operations to spring up in the 1800's.  Levi Tower and Charles Camden were partners in mining ventures, and Tower established a renowned hotel where guests enjoyed fresh fruit from orchards he planted on the grounds between Camden estate and Tower House.  Over 160 years later, many of the apple trees are still alive and producing fruit.  Not far from the orchard, Levi Tower's gravesite is surrounded by a low white picket fence.  That's it, in the upper left corner of the painting.

 Kate Camden, 12" x 9", oil/canvas panel.  Collection Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.
Kate Camden was a native Indian girl (possibly Wintu) who was brought into the Camden family to care for the Camden daughters.  To me, she represents the intersection of the two cultures.  Not much is known about her (a research project is underway), and only one photograph survives of her as an adult.  That photo was the basis for this painting.  Young Native Americans were frequently exploited by the white settlers of the time, but that seems not to be the case with Kate.  She was well loved by the Camdens, who gave her their name but did not formally adopt her.  She died at age 27 of unknown causes, possibly from TB or typhoid.  Her gravesite is also on the grounds of Whiskeytown.

Rider near Horse Camp, 8" x 10", oil/canvas panel.  
Miles and miles of trails wind through Whiskeytown, with expansive parking areas for horse trailers.  I saw a lot of riders enjoying the park, and wished I could join them.

Lake from the Visitors Center, 6" x 8", oil/canvas panel.  
This was a demo on Easter Sunday, with many visitors in attendance.  The sky was overcast and the lake had a subtle, moody look.  The weather is very unpredictable and changeable at the park, at times it seems to have its own climate.  It's sublime, in the 19th century sense of the word.

First sketch, 6" x 8", oil/primed bamboo paper.
The first day of my residency, I climbed the hill near the Artist Cabin.  I found watertowers at the top and a great view, looking through treetops.  Spring green everywhere.



My Artist Residency at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area happened in March.  I did a total of nine paintings, and I'll post them here--starting with the last one I did, which became my contribution to the permanent collection at Whiskeytown.  It's an homage to the hard work done every single day by the rangers and National Park Service workers who make it possible for all of us to safely enjoy our time in these beautiful places.  These selfless, dedicated people maintain the infrastructure and help conserve the resource for this and future generations to enjoy.  2016 is the centennial of the National Park system, see below.

Bridge Repair at Brandy Creek Beach, 16 x 20" oil on stretched canvas. Permanent Collection, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.

More information about the Centennial: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/centennial/index.htm

More about the celebration, and an easy way to say thanks:

Find your park, and thank the people who keep it going by supporting their stewardship.


Laguna Beach

Storm Coming, Laguna Beach. 6 x 8" oil on primed heavy bamboo paper.

This was done in March, with a fellow painter who is a dear friend and former student.  Clear sky and sunshine at the start, then the wind picked up and a huge storm emerged.  Rain started just as we wrapped up, and was torrential by the time I was driving home.

My husband and I stayed with a friend in San Diego before my artist residency at Whiskeytown.  During this time, in addition to the very enjoyable outing in Laguna Beach, I also painted the portrait shown below of our friend's beloved toy poodle:

Mocha, 8 x 6", oil on canvas panel.  Private Collection.


Near Kaneohe

Looking south toward the pali, from the beach.  6 x 8" oil on primed heavy bamboo paper. 

Pyramid Rock at MCBH. 6 x 8" oil on primed heavy bamboo paper.

As I prepare for the upcoming residency at Whiskeytown-Shasta National Rec. Area, a friend sent me a link to a fascinating article about the abiding tradition of landscape painting in this area.  It's a great read, especially this nugget from an obituary appearing in a San Francisco newspaper in 1899, for the painter Ransom Gillette Holdredge:  "His ambition was to be a great portrait artist, but his natural talents turned toward landscapes.  He has often stated that this was the disappointment of his life, and was the direct cause of leading him to drink."


Diamondhead from Ewa Beach

6 x 8" oil on primed bamboo paper, plein air study at Ewa Beach.  Diamondhead is way in the distance at right.  

The residency at Whiskeytown in northern California happens in March, more about that soon.


Amtrak art, and news

The first week of the New Year was spent on Amtrak trains, crossing the country from Sacramento to DC.  These are two oil sketches, done while underway, from the window of a roomette in the sleeper car.  Highly recommended as a way to see the country.

6 x 8" oil on paper, Arroyos in deep shadow in Utah.

6 x 8" oil on paper, a snowscape in Colorado.

In other news, I've been named one of the Artists in Residence for Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area in Northern California, for two weeks in March.  Really looking forward to another residency, this time in a much larger National Park.  More details about that, coming soon.