there is a free day at the SF Botanical Garden once a month, but I rather accidentally ended up there on the free day! I happened to have my painting kit with me and so I thought I would find plentiful subjects there. I wandered around the 55 acres for over an hour, ending up near the main gate where there were some magnificent crabapple trees blooming. I have never had a lot of luck or skill at painting flowering trees, but they were so beautiful I had to try again.
It was pretty late by the time I got back around to that location, and the sun was streaming over the lawn from a low point, making these great shadows that are really fun. It seems the trick is to simplify the trees, just making them into shapes.
I think this is as far as I will go with this one, as there is a flaw in the paper. Why is it so hard to photograph white paper? I could increase the contrast in a photo-editing program, but then all the grays would be lost, so that doesn’t seem like a good solution.
While recently in Scotland with a painting group, plein-air painting in the walled garden of a castle in the cold with every layer on I could find, a message came to me in a text in my pocket congratulating me on my award! I was mystified, as I had not heard of this. A short time later another friend sent a photo of a painting I had entered in a Bay Area show, with a blue ribbon! This explained it, and what a fun way to find out!
You can see this painting and the other award winners at the El Cerrito Public Library at 6510 Stockton Ave, El Cerrito CA until December 10.
When was the last time I picked up a pencil to draw with??—it might have been about 4 years ago. I’ve been wanting to return to working on the faces project and drawing with graphite just feels fun. My original goal was 500 faces, just because it sounded neat, but is that even possible at this slow pace? Doubtful. This felt difficult, I was not happy with the blending of tones — maybe it was the paper or the pencils, or just how much time had passed. Here is a portrait of a woman I admire.
Normally when I go out plein air painting, I do more traditional style painting. This time, the tree shapes were so distinct, and my view of them was so narrow (vertically), the ocean color intense, a few stripes of brilliant sun, that I sort of fell into this more graphic representation. The headlands became pure shapes in the second one, at top.
See these and more at Open Studios in Benicia!
Even though it’s quite simple, I like it.
Benicia Artists Open Studios will take place onSaturday & Sunday, May 5 & 6.
Saturday, 11 am to 7 p.m.
Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm.
At Jerrold Turner’s studio:
640 East L St.
Benicia CA 94510
This one was done in Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro, which I hear is no longer available in the app store. My stylus accidentally went through the laundry, but it seems to be no worse for wear. One feature I wish I had was pressure-sensitivity.
Painting in my back yard with cascades of flowers can be fun too! The nasturtiums were growing with leaves the size of dinner plates, and the ever-present morning glory was being, well, glorious, so I had to try a flower painting. As it’s not my usual subject, I had no idea if it would become something I liked, but I kept some of it graphic, and for a very fast painting, I think it turned out well.
While out in my garden, I unearthed a small mosaic memorial I made for my cat about 10 years ago.
Weekend Warriors – 2-day portrait workshop. Randy is a great teacher – relaxed but informative and supportive. I find his work inspiring, wonderful images capturing a feeling of a place without being slavishly detailed, and lots of luscious brushwork.
These are two sketches and a full-day portrait which I did over this intensive weekend. I scrubbed one. It’s good to throw paintings over sometimes, it makes it easier to abandon those which aren’t going in the intended direction. Don’t hang on – move forward!!