September 30, 2008

Twin Palms

Acrylic on Canvas Board (destroyed)
Out on the street in Sonoma, I'm discovering I'm more drawn to trees than houses.

September 29, 2008

Brick Hotel

Acrylic on Canvas Board

Joining the Monday Morning Painters group with my father, we painted on location in Santa Rosa's Historic Railroad Square.  I edited out all the parked cars, but the composition is now missing something. Guess I could've left a few in there.

September 27, 2008


Acrylic on Canvas Board

Spooky moody day at the beach.

Now, not only was there no shade, and constantly shifting lighting conditions, but the wind really picked up and the sand went everywhere – in the paint, under my paper palette, in my face. 

What surprised me most was a bunch of Dutch tourists came by to look at what I was doing, nodded and smiled, and  then decided to plop down right in the foreground. I mean, they saw what I was painting, and with the whole deserted beachfront they just had to sit there. Apparently I chose not to paint them.

September 26, 2008

Alamo Square

Acrylic on Canvas Board

A nice, but windy, day in the park. This seemed so colorful as I was working on it outdoors, but now it looks kinda dull. I'm still not used to that shift.

September 25, 2008

Valley Vista

Acrylic on Canvas Board

On location in Sonoma, looking off to the hazy hills in the distance.

September 24, 2008

Lime Trio

Acrylic on Canvas Board

Another attempt at a Carol Marine style still life.  I'm trying to do Carol's approach of mixing the right color first, and then applying it decisively in a firm brush stroke, and aiming to define the planes. Kevin McPherson has a lot to say about this method as well. I highly recommend any of his books, which you can find on his site, or on

I need to do a LOT more of these! The deceptively simple arrangement reveals all the shifts in color and lighting.

September 23, 2008

Apple and Limes

Acrylic on Canvas Board

I've been watching Carol Marine's "Painting A Day" blog for a while now (it's where I got inspired to do a blog after all) and thought I'd try a simple still life similar to what she usually demos. Well, three green orbs proved to be more complex than I thought. I also did not follow her method (which I discovered later watching a video demo of hers) and instead flailed about. It was fun though. I need to do more of this type of thing.

September 22, 2008

Hayes House Bananas 2

Acrylic on Canvas Board Ω
Plants and buildings again. This one was painted outside, but at a later date, I went back and tried to loosen things up a bit and add back some energy. Sorry I don't have a photo of the "before" version.

September 21, 2008

Hayes House Bananas

Acrylic on Canvas Board

On location in the back yard. I really like the shapes and colors in this plant, and the building is a nice boring background. I just wish I could have kept things a bit looser. There's no real focus when everything is so focused and angular. I'll definitely do more of these.

September 20, 2008

Blue Scaffold

Acrylic on Canvas

I'd painted this small canvas completely black ages ago.

I was doing some color testing/mixing to see what the various blues I had randomly collected looked like when diluted with white. It's been a long time since I'd done any color charts!

Anyway, I had a palette covered with daubs of various blues, so I decided to use them in a quick sketch of the scaffold outside my window.

September 19, 2008

Red Pickup

Acrylic on Canvas Board (repainted in 2011 - this version is gone)

This one's pretty big, in size. I was being too stingy with the paint at first until I adjusted to the size. I was still trying to blend areas instead of carefully mixing beforehand and applying. I need to practice that a lot more. It's also hard resolving that the mind says "red" but the eye sees pink/grey. Fun fun fun.

September 18, 2008

Fulton Street

Acrylic on Canvas Board

Finally a San Francisco street scene! This one still needs work, but I'm not sure I'll ever return to it, so I'm posting it as is. That fire hydrant has to go! I keep forgetting that in "painting what I see and not what I know" doesn't mean I can't edit things out.

September 17, 2008


Acrylic on Canvas Board

From a photo of a great looking set of wheels in Golden Gate Park.

September 16, 2008

Oyster Shack

Acrylic on Canvas Board Ω
Just a quick sketch of an old storage shed. Not enough variance in color, and the high contrast shows it was done from a photo. I may revisit this and rough things up.

September 15, 2008

Front Porch 3

Acrylic on Canvas Board

Not as successful as the previous one. Again, I'm becoming too rigid. It works well as an "illustration" of the scene, but has no real excitement or loose painterly qualities, except for that highlighted tree in the middle/top.

September 14, 2008

Front Porch 2

Acrylic on Canvas Board

A looser version of the front of the house. Cooler shadows blurry branches, and more than just white on the surfaces. It was interesting to notice that the terra cotta path really does reflect a lot of pink onto the entryway walls.

September 13, 2008

Pool Square

Acrylic on Canvas

A little paint-by-numbers looking, and a little stiff, but it's fairly representational of the vibrant and rich color of early Summer in Sonoma, before things start drying up and turning straw-colored. The reflections are interesting, but not convincing. If anything, they look like plants floating on the surface. Hmmmm.

September 12, 2008

Front Porch

Acrylic on Canvas Board Ω
On location in Sonoma, this is very boring and flat. It 's almost as though there's no light source at all. The trees are nice and lose, and show the effect of light, but nothing else does.
Actually, its because the light changed so much during the painting of this that I couldn't fix what I really wanted to capture. In fact, I'm still not entirely aware that that is an option open to me. I'm still kinda hung up on "paint what you see."

September 11, 2008

Pool House

Acrylic on Canvas Board Ω
On location looking back at my usual shady spot (not shady right now) by the pool house. The shadows on the roof were what caught my eye, and yet I've failed in capturing what interested me. Intellectually I know they should be cooler, but it's still a bit hard for me to go that blue. Yet.

September 10, 2008

Rust Tree 2

Acrylic on Canvas Board

Pretty dang similar to the other Rust Tree. Actually, I think I have these reversed. This is definitely late afternoon, but the other one is later in the day. You can tell by the almost frigid quality of light in the other one. I'm going back and adding notes to that piece...

September 9, 2008

Pool Umbrellas Again

Acrylic on Canvas Board - 11 x 14 inches - sold

Now the reflections make sense.

September 8, 2008

Pool Umbrellas

Acrylic on Canvas Board

Another of many. This works a little better. Looser, not so paint-by-number, the tree has more volume.

September 7, 2008

The Pool

Acrylic on Canvas Board Ω
Another in a many visited subject, mostly because it has (a) reflections, (b) I'm painting from a shady spot by the barn, and (c) it's hot in Sonoma, so I can jump in any time. Bonus: since I'm using acrylics, I can also jump in if I get paint on myself. I do. Often.
It's hard to tell what the focus is, because I didn't really decide on one. Way too  much going on with no real point. A little paint-by-numbers looking in the end. And what are those long white reflections in the pool supposed to be? Phantom umbrellas?

September 6, 2008


Acrylic on Canvas Board  SOLD
On location in Sonoma, looking at Barndiva. I never did finish this one. Just ran out of time, and I'm not big on revisiting pieces, though this may have to change soon.
An elderly gentleman passed by to look at my progress several times without saying anything. When I was packing up he came back and said it looked pretty good. He said that he wanted my card, because he liked to buy some up and coming art whenever he had some spare money. I told him that I was just learning, but that my father is a local painter, and he should buy one of his paintings. He then said he preferred student painters because they were much more affordable!

September 5, 2008

Rail Bridge

Acrylic on Canvas Board

On location in Sonoma with my dad again. Trying to keep it loose. So why did I pick a steel truss as the subject matter?!? 

September 4, 2008

Sonoma Vineyard

Acrylic on Canvas Board

A plein air study while on location with my dad.

September 3, 2008

Rust Tree

Acrylic on Canvas Board

Leaves turning toward the end of Sonoma's summer. I eventually painted over this on another visit, updating it to a summer tree.

Added Note: After posting Rust Tree 2, I realized that they were in reverse order. I painted this one late in the afternoon. You can see it's become overcast, as we head into Fall, and there are relatively no shadows, and the sky appears almost white. 

Another interesting thing happened. As the air temperature dropped, the paint refused to dry and it became more of an oil painting experience. Quite the opposite of painting on those hot breezy days of August when the paint dries as soon as it's applied.

September 2, 2008

Lake Sonoma

Acrylic on Canvas Board

As seen from the observation deck.

September 1, 2008

Not Her Barn

Acrylic on Canvas Board

Ah, the first of (hopefully) many sabbaticals to Sonoma to paint with my father. He'd painted a nice red barn as seen from the road a while back. The landowner had admired it, but commented that everyone painted "that" barn (her barn), and he'd like to commission a painting of "his" barn. I tagged along to watch the maestro at work and tried my hand at it. 

The shadows were great and deep cherry red/blue/purple and patterned all over the barn, but by the time I was wrapping up, they had vanished. I should have just kept them in "from memory" but I haven't got that kind of eye, yet.

The owner gave me a nod, but needless to say, did not offer to buy mine as well. Not even a two for one deal. Just as well.