Vegetable entertainment

I’ve been pressing my fruits and vegetables into service in the interest of getting frequent painting warm ups. These slim but fiery red peppers are deceptively compact, they deliver a powerful heat, and the white pepper is new to me. The red ones might be Thai peppers. White = sweet pepper, or maybe a bell? I’ll find out how hot is is when I slice it for cooking!

Since I have a light bulb with changing colors, just for fun I thought to try doing one scene with these same vegetables with different color cast shadows. There seems to be no color in my palette which matches either of the cast shadows, or maybe I just don’t know how to do that yet. If you have any insights, please share them!

This pepper painting started out as a 20-minute study. 8×10
the colored lights were overall darker than a plain white. 8×10

Fall tree

The trees on my block turn orange, red, golden yellow at different rates, the tree in front of my house being one of the last to turn—just stubbornly hanging on to summer I guess, so I painted one tree over. I basically got drawn in to playing with color instead of trying to be realistic and following all of the precise colors and shapes.

Elisabeth’s tree

The challenge of capturing children

Finding simple things to do in these days of staying at home a lot. Drawing and painting has been my #1 go-to, since it’s easily done within your home with just a minimum of space. “Simple” may not be an accurate description, maybe “elemental” is more like it. It feels direct, and the outcome is entirely up to you.

A few months ago, I participated in 30faces30days from sktchy art school. One day we were presented with the face of a baby—a difficult subject! You might think it would be easy, but to keep the lines brief and accurate, to show the sweetness is very difficult, at least for me. “There is no growth without pain” they say; this was pretty tolerable in the pain department, though hopefully enough to learn something.

I got through that one, and it inspired me to try some in oil paint as well.

Above is the baby’s face from sktchy. So droll, the old man look for sure.
A baby with fun hair, this one in oils.

sketch—shadows of large objects

Ha! Shadows can be so much fun – something not really there which is visible! In this case, the Carquinez Bridge provided the structure to obstruct the sun. This bridge is composed of an old trestle-ish looking bridge for going North, and the new graceful Southward bridge. I might add a few more pencil lines.

oil sketch of the Carquinez Bridge and shadows

a goat among the grapes

This vineyard painting was beginning in an abstract way, but I didn’t know where to go next. I thought of completing it as a traditional plein air painting, but I really liked the graphic stripes that were there — so I split the difference and added a goat painted in a loose way, with some unusual colors.

the goat in the vineyard
a Fainting Goat

Italian Cypresses

This road wound its way through vineyards, fields, farmlands to arrive to a hunting lodge in the Tuscany hills, of Italy. From my first trip to Italy to paint for a week at an old farm turned agriturismo. It was the most delightful trip and great introduction to Italy’s lovely northern countryside – and food! I was never an Italian food aficionado until visiting and tasting the real thing. This painting has gone through some changes – as the years pass I see things I want to change. This latest iteration is much brighter than earlier ones. You sometimes lose something you like, but often gain something else. The future may hold more versions…!

young poplars

Vineyards frequently plant these rows of poplars as a windbreak. These are young trees, but will eventually grow to very tall and can reach to over 100’. I love the way the wind ruffles the leaves and light catches the occasional leaf and these glow brightly. A celebration by nature.

poplars
Young poplars in the vineyard

Painting the painters!

Although I really enjoy doing Plein air painting with my painting buddies, sometimes I just want to paint them instead the landscape. Trees, hills and sky can be wonderful, but it’s nice to change it up occasionally.

If you take a moment to think about it, you could paint anything outside and it would be “plein air” — you could paint an abstract! A couple of weekends ago, I decided to just give it a try. This was not done all at once, I added the artist watching who arrived later, so it can’t be called “alla prima”. Why is it that we use terms in other languages to describe some of these things? Maybe it’s because we feel like it gives it more gravitas or legitimacy as art or something.

working shipyard

Several years ago I started this painting, finally got back there last week. It is a busy shipyard, with workers biking and golf-carting themselves back and forth on the piers. There was spray-painting, pounding, banging and shouting going on.

painting of Bay Ship shipyard.
Bay Ship, 16″x12″