day 6. little boats

small boats are almost always charming, in my mind. Even if they’re ungainly or clunky, you can imagine all the utilitarian errands and occasional fun jaunts that they are put to. Those who use them put up with their sometimes flawed condition: broken oars, frayed ropes, leaky hulls. This one happened to be pretty stalwart, and a beautiful color as well. This is a very small painting, maybe 6×8, I don’t remember now, it’s gone home with someone else.

blue skiff
Advertisement

day 3. painting in the fog

a few years ago my plein air group and I took a trip up to the Guerneville area. We rented a cabin on the Russian River and spent three days eating, painting, socializing and generally having a blast. One of the days, we headed out to Goat Rock, along the coast. As we got closer to the coast, the fog became thicker and thicker, until by the time we arrived at our destination, it was a thick blanket you could scarcely see through. Some of us continued south until we could find some clearer skies, which we did, but I returned to Goat Rock determined to paint that almost-island. Still socked-in, but I set up my gear and focused on a nearby bramble tangle. It turned out to be an abstract, and super fun.

Goat Rock painting
Not Goat Rock!
Goat Rock painting detail
detail-so fun to push the paint around

Art Escape Italy challenge

Art Escape Italy recently presented a self-portrait-during-the-lockdown challenge. If you won, you would get a free workshop in Italy in 2021. What’s not to like about that?! I had been to one of their plein air workshops in 2016, so I knew they chose quality instructors and great venues. This was a “stretch goal” for me, to accept the Art Escape Italy challenge, but I figured it was worth it, since the worst that could happen was nothing and the best that could happen was to win a workshop!

It was fun to try, and my first selfie in oils. Although it makes a lot of sense to paint yourself, it doesn’t always feel comfortable as it feels narcissistic or something, so I haven’t done it much. If you don’t want to bother people to sit for even a photograph, much less an actual painting, you yourself are always there…  

They had about 150 entries. I did not win, but was close! The winner was a stand-out and I admire that portrait. Here’s Art Escape Italy’s blog post.

Micaela Marsden self-portrait
selfie 2020

SF Botanical Garden

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.