Monday, April 7, 2014

Sketchbook Work

Here are some recent pages from my sketchbook. As I have stated previously, it goes pretty much everywhere with me, as evidenced by this random collection of everyday images. The top one is a pen sketch of my studio from the outside patio looking in.

The next one is a view of some hillside houses in Pasadena. While waiting for a friend on the campus of Azusa Pacific University, I sketched a very ordinary streescape. Below that, the view while waiting in line at the car wash. And finally, another hillside scene.

Sketching and painting everyday, and everywhere keeps me in shape, and helps me see things more clearly. 

Reworking Paintings

I try not to throw away a painting that I am not happy with for at least a few months. That gives my time to look at it and reflect upon it, to see if there is any way to save it. These few were in storage for a years. I brought them out this past weekend, and seeing them with fresh eyes, I was able to figure out what they needed.

Sometimes a bad painting needs a good cropping. The top one started out as a half sheet horizontal and is now a vertical 11" x 14". In addition to cropping, it needed some serious color reworking and some softening. The second one just needed a lighter touch with the color, which I did with titanium white paint throughout. The bridge moonlight scene just need a slight color adjustment.

I am still working on the bottom one. I am adding more pen work, more shadows, and some white highlights. This one also benefited from a good, stiff cropping from a half sheet to a quarter.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pasadena Landmarks

Here are two recent paintings of the Green Hotel, and the Pasadena City Hall. They both started out as full size sheet paintings and were done a few years ago. I wasn't happy with them so last weekend I cropped them down, added some pen work, and enhanced the colors. 

Los Angeles River

Here are three panoramic images of the Los Angeles River. The top painting was done on hot press watercolor paper with a pen and ink drawing over which watercolor was added.

The middle painting is a series of separate paintings and sketches mounted to a cradled foam core panel which has been primed with white gesso. Pen, pencil, pastel, ink and watercolor were used, along with a typed narrative of the experience.

The bottom image was done on cold press watercolor paper with pen, watercolor and titanium white for accents.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Tree Abstract

I completed the tree abstract this weekend. It is large: 3' x 4', and is done in acrylic on a stretched Fredrix canvas. I started with a series of small gouache studies in my sketchbook before progressing to a larger 11" x 14" abstract study done on gesso'd 300# Montval watercolor paper. I painted a series of color swatches in my sketchbook, in order to determine the correct acrylic colors to use to replicate the gouache palette. The red was used to create a deeper green shadow in the foreground. From this I developed the final painting, working in the studio as it was raining on and off all day.

I am calling it an abstract, but it is more accurately an impressionistic painting of windblown trees on a hillside on a warm spring day.

Watercolor Workshop at Creative Arts Group

Every once in a while I teach a class at the Creative Arts Group in Sierra Madre. These are images from Wednesday night, February 19, 2014. I like to be organized so I get there an hour before class starts so I can get things set up. I will usually pin up a number of completed paintings in order to show everyone my painting style, and I arrange my painting equipment on the work table so everything is close at hand.

The subject was a collection of old houses in Keeler, California. I did a small study in my Aquabee Sketchbook as a practice, and to illustrate to the class the advantages of fleshing out the composition, the values and to colors before painting the final version. The final painting was done on 140# Fabriano cold press watercolor paper.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sketchbook Update

Here are some recent sketchbook entries. The top two were sketched on the way to San Diego, from the car. They were done quickly with a Sanford Uniball Micro pan, and painted later in the studio with gouache.

The next two were done on Saturday afternoon, as the sun set, and the valley below my house slowly grew dark. 

My work table is shown at the bottom. I was using my laptop to watch a BBC train video  while I painted.