Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Palos Verde Mustard

" Palos Verde Mustard"

Last year I went to Portuguese Bend to paint mustard. Had a great time seeing painter friends of mine and meeting some new painters. While there I strolled around snapping reference photos and this painting was done from one of those images. It was getting late in the evening and this bit of trees across the field of mustard grabbed my attention.

Here is a shot of the reference photo. This field of mustard looked so awesome as the light began to dwindle before we left the area. This is a very cool spot not readily open to the public. I was told this field was actually a bean field back before WW2 and was tended by the many Japanese that lived in the area.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Azusa Canyon Morning

"Azusa Canyon Morning"
I think with most artists there is a love for light and it's effects on color. Naturally this would cause artists to love morning and evening light...both my favorite times of day and the best time to head out of the house with a camera or pochade box if you are quick enough to catch it on your canvas. I suppose you could spend the rest of your life just trying to capture evening light and it's many variations of light on many scenes....happening daily! Morning light is just as spectacular but I think in a more subdued way. Cool colors frequented by explosions of warms.
This Easter morning I headed up into Azusa canyon to take some reference photos of morning light and it's effect on the canyon walls. I wanted to get shots of the pale filtered light and then try variations of that in paintings. This one is my first from that trip and I pushed the pale light that would recede on more distant background mountains. If you look at my ref you can see that the pale light was darker and really made the foreground hillside foliage contrast better. On lightening the background hills I lost some of that contrast...but that's ok, this was about pushing that pale light, not contrast.

Foxen Canyon Mustard

"Foxen Canyon Mustard"
Spring has arrived and the wildflowers are growing throughout the hillsides of the Central Coast. Poppies, Lupine and Wild Mustard are giving off wonderful color splashes that photographers and artists are snagging up left and right in their works.

This scene is off of Foxen Canyon road just above the Firestone Vineyards just north of the small town of Los Olivos.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Azusa Canyon Wash

This scene was painted from a reference photo taken Easter morning. Azusa canyon is a short drive from where I grew up in Pasadena. I've spend many a day up in the canyon. I even caught my first fish just below the canyon at a place called Happy Jacks Fish Farm. Across the street there was a pasture with buffalo grazing. Both of these places are long gone with condominiums in their place. Glad I was raised here before the great disappearance!
I have collected several reference photos of this scene taken from the freeway as I drove by. California Impressionist painter Elmer Wachtel painted the same scene probably 30-40 years before I was born and was most likely setup where the freeway now is and where I took my ref photos out of a speeding car window. Not to be in the exact same spot, I drove to the west side of the wash and took a new reference photo from there. The wash is now fenced off to the public but I made do. I didn't want to paint the smaller dams in the foreground so I just winged it with my own foreground version.
Here is my reference photo.....

And here is the finished painting of mine...

"Azusa Canyon Wash"

12" x 24"
My reference photo doesn't show the wash at all. The dams block it out but I've seen it enough times to just paint it in. At the base of the mountains I added suggested buildings and homes so this is actually a little of both the past and present.


Monday, April 06, 2009

In The Figueroas

I took my daughter up to the Figueroa mountains last week to get some ref photos of the wildflowers and managed to get some good late afternoon shots. This scene looks over our valley and had these great rocks in the foreground so I decided to go for it. Despite my lack of confidence with painting rocks I think the end result doesn't look half bad. I'll continue to work on rocks down the line since that is what I feel is a painting weakness of mine.

Here it is up on the easel. The top, or background area, is finished and I am blocking in the foreground colors.

Here is the finished piece below

"In The Figueroas"

16" X 20" Oil on Canvas