Because of the budget crunch, the state of California was going to shut down a number of state parks, Will Rogers being one slated to close. Luckily there was an overwhelming write in against this action from CA citizens so Sacramento reconsider these closures and found the money to keep the parks opened.
It was a victory for all the people who care about our unspoiled areas. Each park helps to make CA such a treasure filled with the beauty of nature.
I found the hazy light looking through these trees, toward the beach, very appealing. The two rows of eucalyptus trees made a natural arch with wonderful shadows. The early morning light made their trunks glow.
Good Place to Sit
The path led to a stream and emerged on the other side of the water. I guess at another time of year I could just walk across a dry stream bed, but this day there was still lots of flowing water.
The roots of the large sycamore next to the stream made a perfect bench to sit and decide what to do next. The water decided for me, this was as far as I needed to go.
Those roots made a fun puzzle in the foreground and the woods behind the field hold a mystery that I will have to solve on another day when the water is gone and I can cross through.
Around the Oaks
I keep returning to the beautiful area around Malibu Creek State Park. Even when the day is overcast, the vistas hold a beauty that is overwhelming. I chose to paint a fire road winding around a stand of oak trees with the Santa Monica mountain range in the background.
Because it was overcast, there were no sharp shadows and the colors were subtle and soft. Even the mountains were in a haze that made the time elapse in slow motion. Lazy and slow, I painted this scene.
Where the Birds Are
Today, I found another great spot I didn't even know existed. Behind the Japanese Garden in Balboa Park, there is a wild life reserve and a lake that is home to hundreds of birds and animals. Cranes, ducks, geese, heron, and an amazing variety of birds are on or near the water. Many of the residents are showing their chicks around the lake to feed. While finding a place to paint I came across a pair of geese with eight little chicks running behind.
After I set up to paint, a pair of heron came in for a landing onto the lake right in front of me. One of the bird watches told me now is the best time to view the wildlife before they migrate north.
I had a great time listening to the birds and capturing the wild feel of this little gem. Maybe next time I will paint the birds as they enjoy the lake.
Behind the Rock
It seems that every day you can find artists painting for different projects. I found out about a paint out at Eagle Rock which will benefit the park. A group called Artists of the Canyon was going to meet there Monday, so I headed over to see what the location was like.
I arrived 9 AM, before the sun is above Eagle Rock so the view was not very inspiring. Non of the shadows would appear till in the afternoon.
The surrounding area was very pretty, so I walking up a small road and found an interesting spot. Since it was going to be over 90 today, I jumped at the chance to paint in the shade and chose the entrance to a house that was nestled in the foliage. It looked so cool.
I need to wait till the paint drys a little to add some highlights, but I like the secluded feeling of Behind the Rock (behind Eagle Rock that is).
On Saturday, I tried to do more than was possible. I started at 8 AM at Leo Carrillo Beach with Karl Dempwolf's class and then had another workshop with Robert Tanenbaum. The morning at the beach was incredible, but more on that in a later blog.
I arrived 45 minutes late to the workshop with Robert Tanenbaum, but had warned him that I would be late. He had some of his wonderful works on display and was gracious enough to go over his initial discussion.
Next to each of his larger paintings, he had a little thumbnail in color. He told me that in order to assure the best results in his larger pieces, he first works out the colors and values in a small painted sketch. I figured I would try that and instead of jumping right into the 20X16 panel I had brought, I did a small 8X6 color sketch.
Robert told me that his small sketch is often more difficult than the actual painting because he is working out all the problems before he starts on the larger piece. I think he is right because my first attempt was not successful and the second sketch is what I have posted above.
It has been my experience that every artist has something to teach you.
Gallery Row, Part Two
Yesterdayís blog gave you a little taste of what can be found in the galleries on Gallery Row on Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles. Today Iíll take you into the second gallery I entered.
The Hive Gallery and Studios is a combination gallery and work studios for artists. It had an edgy quality, with fantasy and nightmare images. Many of the artists had an illustratorís handling of their subjects. And the subjects were whimsical fairy tales, monsters, frogs, elves, dreamscapes, and all manner of unimaginable creatures. But I guess they were imagined, because their they were right there on the walls.
As you entered the gallery, the featured artist was Michelle Mia Araujo, who takes you on a trip of well known fairy tale characters painted in a very novel way. I am not usually a fan of big-eyed, forlorn little girls, but her storytelling abilities are masterful. Her presentation with old books, leaves and pieces of wood, bark and all, adds to the show and makes her display a real experience. Other gallery goers must have loved the experience too, since every piece was sold.
The Snow Queen by Michelle Mia Araujo Wandering Belle by Catherine Brooks
Catherine Brooks, an artist who creates fantasy works of intense beauty, had only a few choice pieces exhibited. Nymphs accompanied by wonderful creatures set in a world of danger, all told their stories, but for me, Wondering Belle stood out. The swirling birds and barren trees of the background look as if they are ready to attack, but she and her furry white companion appear self-assured, almost defiant.
After leaving Gallery Row, my husband and I had dinner at Engine House No. 28 on Figueroa Street. It is one of our favorite restaurants to visit before attending a play at the Ahmanson or concert at Disney Hall. After dinner we hopped on the subway to North Hollywood and home. Wow! What a great night of art.
Last night, I met my husband Jeff at the 7th Street subway exit to walk over to Gallery Row where a friend of mine is exhibiting at Infusion Gallery. There is a thriving art community downtown. No, not in NYC. Here in Los Angeles.
The second Thursday of each month, the galleries along Spring Street open their doors to art enthusiasts until 9 PM. The streets were alive with people enjoying the night and art, walking from one gallery to another. I noticed so many red dots, it was obvious that among the audience there were plenty of buyers as well.
I went to see Rachel Weissberger's art, which I am familiar with since we displayed our work at the same gallery last summer. Rachel uses a rainbow of colors to evoke the energy needed for the musicians in her paintings to perform. The ordinary act of playing the saxophone becomes extraordinary under her brush work. You can see the music.
Lady Sax Player #2 by Rachel Weissberger Trusting by Trish McKinney
Another artist showing at Infusion Gallery, Trish McKinney, caught my attention with her mixed media abstracts. The use of texture and color define her work. The viewer is engaged with her struggle on the canvas. Each piece incorporates a frenetic energy that is balanced by her mastery of color.
I also visited another gallery, but more on that tomorrow.
Walk Around Stoney Point
Driving by Stoney Point, I have always thought it would be a great place to paint but have never stopped. The impressive rock formations can be seen from the highway but I just didn't know how to get to them. This morning I headed out without specific directions, so it took some time to find a good place to set up.
Once there, I realized that the scene was very complicated and needed to be distilled down to the basics. I made several sketches before I had a painting in mind.
I wanted the rocks to loom over the path so you would get a sense of their size. I set them to the side, extending up, off the canvas. I also decided to really layer on the paint and got into the textures of the rocks and trees.
Every scene has its challenges and this one really required some hard decisions and editing to achieve the impression that I wanted.
I took another look at the photos I snapped while out at Rancho Camulos and decided to paint the side door of the barn. If you received my newsletter, the photo I used for this painting is featured. I want to use these photos while I still have a feeling for the day and can project that onto the painting.
I used a darker neutral wash, which you can see coming through the top part of the wall. After putting in the values with a red/purple, I worked on the door. It had to be right because it is so important to the painting. I kept the colors paler than you would think to give a weathered look. I didn't mix the paints, but instead let them blend on the canvas. This gives the door a lot of character and texture. Then I added the panels and last the door knob.
The rest of the painting seemed to paint itself and I had some fun with the dry brush on the top of the wall. Last, I added the stone work detail.
I believe there is another painting in those photos, so I am going through them once again.
These sycamore trees by the side of the stream caught the sunlight just right and I had to paint them again. In contrast to the first time I painted this scene, I wanted to make the stream appear more secluded and tucked in the trees. I used more color and contrast to pop the perspective. I also highlighted the stream as the sun hits the water in the distance.
Each of the three artists who met to paint this morning uses a different medium. I paint in oil, Kim Zamlich paints with acrylic, and Janet Snodgrass is a watercolorist. With the diversity of people and media, it was fun to see how each of us approached the scene. Everyone enjoyed the morning and the results were great.
I had started a second painting at the Rancho Camulos paint out last
Monday (see Rancho Roof blog) but hadn't been inspired to finish it,
till today. The old ranch, farm house, and barns all hold a quiet
beauty but the tree in front of the chapel and the direct sunlight
leading inside, inspired me to paint this spot.
The important elements had been painted on site, so I only needed to refine some of the paintings values. I made the sky lighter and simplified the mountain background. I used a palette knife to form the lines of the roof and also to add the dark accents on the tree. The seat under the tree needed a stronger rust color for contrast. I dashed a streak of sunlight onto the floor of the chapel and put down my brush. I was finished.
Sharon's Art at the NoHo Gallery
Last night was the opening of Earthscapes at the NoHo Gallery LA, where a large number of my paintings will be on display through May 2.
A crowd of art enthusiasts enjoyed the music, food and great art that were provided by Dan DeBevoise, Gallery Director. Everywhere in the gallery lively conversation and laughter accented the night. The collection of artists all have distinctive styles that stand on their own but also complement each other.
Discussing My Paintings
Sharon With Dan in Front of Her Work
Michael Denering's work has a magical quality and is beautiful. He
paints in the plein air style using lovely colors to create intimate
snapshots of the desert. I especially like the dramatic lighting in his
work called Final Light. In this painting the setting sun casts shadows across the desert, contrasting against a flash of sunlight.
Paul Fuentes is a veteran landscape painter with whom I have shared a gallery before. He has many new pieces which showcase his great talent. His painting,
Many thanks to everyone who came to the opening and helped to make it a great event. If you were unable to come last night, stop by during the month of April. Please check the NoHo Gallery website for gallery hours.Comment on or Share this Article →
New Spring Grass
The painting I did at Malibu Creek State Park called Spring Grass has been nagging at my mind. I knew I liked the idea I had when I started the painting but something about the composition was just not satisfying, so I went back and revisited the original idea of the painting. I wanted the viewer to experience the intensity of the early morning light as it hit the new grass. I wanted the shadows of the hills and oaks in the background to contrast strongly against that green grass.
To achieve that first impression, I completely changed the composition of the painting by moving the near oak toward the center. Next, I added a path going into the hills. I simplified the hills, eliminated the oak in the mid ground, and let the colors tell the story.
Now, when I look at Spring Grass I experience the same feeling I had when I first saw this lovely scene.
Old Spring Grass
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Rancho Camulos Roof
I guess now I have a thing for roofs because here is another painting with a roof showing through the trees. I took a long trip out to Rancho Camulos Museum and what a ride it was. There were countless places along the way, I wanted to stop and paint but I pressed on to the Rancho. It is only once a year in the Spring that they open up the museum and farm to plein air painters.
All the flowers were in full bloom with artists scattered around the lawns and buildings taking advantage of the morning light.
I walked down a dirt road toward the river and turning back I found this scene to paint. The dark shadows falling across the road caught my eye but it was the coral roof peeking through the trees that had me stop and set up the easel.