Featured Post

Spring Radiance

  Spring Radiance 12 x 12 watercolor on paper  Newest painting of the bright colors of a sunny Southern California spring day.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

November Vines, California Watercolor Landscape Painting

November Vines 13 1/2 x 15 1/2

This started out as an experiment for me, I was waiting for a bicycle event in Sonoma to end and found these two ancient vines next to the road, I was missing fall color in New England so decided to try my hand at these two wild ones.

I liked their wildness and the play of warm and cool reds and burnt oranges.Like painting trees , I concentrated on the gesture and main shapes made by groups of leaves rather than rendering every leaf. The distance away I was sitting helped. It is a luxury to get to paint outside in California where the fall colors are accompanied by temperatures in the 60's.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

California Watercolor Landscape Paintings Calendar 2014

California  Watercolor Landscape Paintings 2014

Calendar January 2014 (12 Months)
California Landscape PAintings 2014

Price: $18.99
Ships in 3-5 business days

Here is the link to see all the paintings on the calendar


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Susan's Evening Walk

Susan's Evening Walk 10 x 12

This is a recent commission of the scene outside my client's vacation cabin in New Hampshire.
It was painted from a lovely photograph Susan took.
I don't usually paint from photographs but this one had a lot of positives going for it:

The Arrangement of light and dark areas( the foreground trees were already separated in value from the bog beyond.)
The Color contrast of warm and cool colors along with complementary colors.
The Subject with a clearly depicted foreground , background and lovely atmospheric perspective.

I made a few adjustments( of course)

I grouped the trees more closely together for the sake of the composition.
The value of the water was lightened to help with distance.
There were bird houses on the trees that were distracting.

I enjoyed this collaboration and hope it is the first of many!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Why I Revised Point Lobos Summer

Point Lobos Summer 11 x 14

I thought Point Lobos Summer was finished but as I looked at it it needed something, it took until this week for me to know what to do.
Originally the foreground was a very warm, intense gold, which was very close to what was in the landscape. I realized it overpowered the rose green  areas by the trees and rock clff that I  had intended as the focus.
To bring the painting into balance, the foreground needed to be cooler but not darker.
Here's where my willingness to break any and all rules to get a painting where it needs to be comes in.
After rewetting the area and blotting off excess pigment, I mixed a pale lavender ( actually the sky color) using as much white as I needed to create a semi opaque wash and scumbled it over the grass area to create texture and change to hue to one that is more in keeping with the rest of the painting.

Here's Point Lobs Summer in it's earlier form.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

October Oak 12 x 12 Plein Air watercolor

October Oak 12 x 12

I ran out of Q Burnt Orange while painting this one.
The importance of the bits of blue green ( I used manganese blue hue and cobalt turquoise for the blue green color patches.) to contrast with the warm autumn colors is what I was concerned with colorwise .
The distance away I was standing was important , it allowed me to see the larger shapes and not try to paint every leaf.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hollister Peak Morning, Hollister Peak Afternoon, Port San Luis , Plein Air watercolors from San Luis Obispo

Hollister Peak Morning 14 x 21

Hollister Peak Afternoon 14 x 21

Port San Luis  10 x 16

After a few tries, I was able to paint Hollister Peak in San Luis Obispo. The peak is so close to the coast that it is frequently covered with fog.

This was a good chance to look at the effects of morning vs afternoon light on the same subject. The peak was famously painted by William Wendt as " Where Natures God hath Wrought ". I am happy to have my own versions of this subject.

The afternoon version of this was a challenge, I usually paint in the morning. The colors were cooler and closer together in value in the afternoon.

 Port San Luis was a wonderful place to pull over with the beach next to me and the ridge in front of me.
I was directly across from the entrance to another Diablo, Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.

Monday, September 30, 2013

"Fresh Greens" on Exhibit at the 14th Annual National Juried Exhibition of the American Impressionists Society until Oct 30th

"Fresh Greens" 18 x 24

And in the plein air style frame, with museum glass.

2013 American Impressionist Society’s
14th Annual National Juried Exhibition
M Gallery of Fine Art
Charleston, South Carolina
September 28–October 30, 2013
I will be at the receptions in Charleston on October 3rd and 4th.
The American Impressionists Society has published the entire catalog of 200 paintings online here:
 I am thrilled to be a part of the exhibition.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sonoma Plein Air 2013: Paintings

Quick Draw "Hillside" 5 x 7 sold

Faun Colored Hill, Chileno Valley 12 x16
Late Light12 x 16
Windbreak, Chileno Valley 12 x 12 sold
Bennett Valley Morning 12 x 12 sold
A Gathering of Oaks 12 x 12
Schlocken Hill 9 x 12

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sonoma Plein Air Art Sale, Saturday Sept 21st 10-4

I am packing up, preparing frames ,paper and palette for the Sonoma Plein Art Art Festival starting next Monday. There is a gala dinner  and auction on Friday night and an all day art sale in the plaza on Saturday.
This is one of the best run plein air events around and it attracts very talented artists. I am thrilled to be painting in this festival .

Here's a link to the artists


and one of my favorite  recent Sonoma  Plein Air Paintings

Sonoma Morning Haze 12 x 12
and in the frame

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Some thoughts on framing plein air watercolors

Lately I have been framing about  half my works without a mat, in Plein Air Style frames, with museum glass or plexi for glazing.
I think this works because my paintings are fairly saturated in value and don't have a lot of white paper.
 I do this frequently when I am exhibiting with mostly oil painters in exhibits or galleries. I don't know if this will be acceptable to watercolor societies as well,  I  will let you know what I find out!
The photographs are not as good as they could be, I originally took them for my own records and not for publication.
 Here are a few of my recently framed paintings:

Mission San Jose Morning 11 1/2 x 13 1/2. At the California Art Club "Along El Camino Real " Exhibit.
The photo dosen't show it but the frame is dark  red that shows off the painting well.

"Windswept" 14 x 14 At the Fairmont Gallery, Sonoma

Hill and VInes 12 x 12, At the Fairmont Gallery ,Sonoma (Sorry about the glare)

"On a Clear Day" 12 x 12 At my wonderful framers: FastFrame of Lafayette

Fresh Greens 18 x 24 , on it's way to the American Impressionist Society Exhibit

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Summer Hill, Upper Valley 18 x 24

Summer Hill Upper Valley 18 x 24

Some paintings take a LOONG time, I 've had this one on the easel for months.
 I did not want to stop painting it.
 I saw a painting of this hill by Arthur Hill Gilbert about three years ago and I have been hunting for this hill  ever since.
I am in love with this hill. The rounded slopes of the grassland remind me of sculpture and the oaks and chaparral are full of strong  exciting colors and textures.
Here is a detail of the chaparral:

Monday, August 19, 2013

Coastal Quiet demonstration

 Coastal Quiet 11 x 14 Plein Air Watercolor
The fog seems to muffle the sound of the waves, thus the title"Coastal Quiet".  There is plenty of time to take pictures as I wait for paint to dry in foggy conditions.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Point Lobos Summer

Point Lobos Summer 11 x 14

The Coastal Atmosphere series is coming along and I am learning about the importance of  including warm colors even in a cool foggy scene. I was attracted to the rose colors of the ice plant and the sage green of the coastal shrubs. One is invasive and one is native but they compliment each other.

I am also learning about seeing the shapes and gestures that are crucial to painting trees. I like how these two are companion trees but each has its own character.

Here's how this painting started :

Adjusting exposure for more accurate values. This is a little bright , the other one is a little darker on my computer screen

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Luminous Meadow

Luminous Meadow 14 x 21 Plein Air Watercolor

This was painted at Carmel Mission Ranch during a light drizzle that was followed by a luminosity that I tried to capture. The cloud cover thinned enough to let the light through and the scene in front of me glowed. In addition to the atmosphere, I liked the pattern of colors that the grasses made, they were cropped by sheep to expose gold, copper , green and blue green areas that remind me of water.

Here are some earlier phases of the painting to give you an idea of my process:

" Luminous Meadow", in Process

This has the shadow from my easel on  the top but I hope you get the idea.

"Luminous Meadow " in process

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pacific Inlet final

I spent a long time staring at this one and changed a few of the values and intensities of the land masses. I am still finding my way with these higher key coastal atmosphere paintings.

Pacific Inlet  13 x 17

Scroll down if you want to compare it to the earlier version.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pacific Inlet

Pacific Inlet 13 x 17

Trying something new, the quieter cooler tones of a foggy day.
 There's a real challenge in managing the transitions between white paper and lightest values.
 Here I tried to weave the areas of white to make a path for your eye through the painting, not sure if this one is done.  I may let it alone or I may intensify the colors in the water.

Friday, July 26, 2013


Windswept 14 x 14

More trees and pushing the colors of summer. The gestures the wind sculpted these trees into attracted me to this scene. Plein Air and finished in the studio. Here's an earlier state to give you an idea of my process:

Windswept, in process

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wildflowers and Fog, Pebble Beach

Wildflowers and Fog Pebble Beach 12 x 12
I escaped the heat inland and found this colorful meadow next to the beach in Pebble Beach. There seem to be wildflowers in bloom there year round there because it's like spring  year round. I was attracted to the patterns and the colorful tapestry the flowers created and the contrast of the warm colors with the cool fog.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

San Jose Mission Morning in California Art Club Exhibit. Along El Camino Real: The Missions of California

San Jose Mission Morning 11 1/2 x 13 1/2. Something different, I was interested in the colors in the shadows of the building and the contrast of scale with the hill. This is mainly a studio piece, although I drew on my memory of being there in the early morning for the colors. This Mission is adjacent to the open space of Mission Peak so I was able to get a hill in as well.

Along El Camino Real: The Missions of California
The Old Mill, 1120 Old Mill Road, San Marino, CA 91108
September 4– January 12, 2014

Saturday, June 22, 2013

California Art Club 102nd Annual Juried Gold Medal Exhibition and Sale

I went to the Gala and got some photos of some of the highlights. I apologize for not posting sooner! The exhibit runs to June 23rd and there are a variety of closing events if you are in the LA area.