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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Harvest Time

"Harvest Time" 9 x 12 Chalk Pastel on Paper
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Back from a hiatus, and in the fall mood...

I used good old Arches watercolor paper for this piece, and blended my chalks using water. The color scheme was supposed to be red, gold, and green based colors, but I had to add a bit of purple for emphasis. It's a scene from our trip last year to Lavender Hill Pumpkin Patch in Fallbrook. I always spend a little too much time hovering around the different types of pumpkinsand gourds, snapping as many photos as I can for later paintings. I guess you could say that I share my toddler's excitement when it comes to the sight of pumpkins.

This was the first piece I painted in the last couple of weeks that I felt like sharing. I'd intended to paint through a trip up north and continue painting on return; unfortunately, it took me a while to jump back into my routine. Taking a break gave me a chance to get a fresh perspective on my art, and now I'm back into daily painting mode and ready to catch up on posting.

In other news, I have two pieces in the Fallbrook Art Association fall show, located at 103 S. Main Ave. The show opens Friday, October 28th and runs through Sunday, November 13th. Click here for more details:

Want to see more nature-inspired originals?
Click here to view my botanical and garden gallery!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A View of Dusk

"Dusk in the Grove" 9 x 12 Chalk Pastel on Paper
Click here to purchase original
It's hard to tell which is a more inspiring time to paint: dusk or dawn. Not being much of a morning person, most of my paintings take their inspiration from dusk.

In "Dusk in the Grove," I used a picture taken on my phone as reference (had to set the screen time out to 10 minutes so I wouldn't go crazy). We were visiting friends in Fallbrook, and my daughter had grown squirmy. This led to an outdoor walk, and we followed a sulky black cat through the trees. I was actually trying to get a photo of the cat for my daughter, but it had managed to disappear. I like pictures of shaggy, unmanicured grove trees better than the well-maintained kind, so I snapped one for future reference.

This painting shows what I love most about living in Fallbrook: each piece of property has its own agricultural charms, and as the light fades to the west, there is a sense of peace and anticipation of the owl and cricket-filled night to come.

To see some of my Fallbrook-inspired plein air originals for sale, click here:

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Out in the Cold

"Sleeping Under the Clouds"
9 x 12 Pastel on Paper
Click here to view large or purchase:

It was another lucky moment: the little one was asleep in the car, the rain had stopped, and things were just dry enough for me to grab my materials and sit outside and paint some of the striking clouds passing through Fallbrook.

I sketched the land portion first, then turned my attention to the sky. I worked quickly, my fingers cramping a bit in the cold. Thanks to the steady wind, the clouds sped along, changing lights and darks but remaining purple and blue. Once I had them fairly well blocked in, I went back to the land, a part of Fallbrook known as the "Sleeping Indian" (supposed to resemble one sleeping on his back, presumably). I always looked for this landmark as a child, since it often meant we were getting close to my grandmother's house in Fallbrook.

I honestly don't know how people work with wet paint in stormy weather conditions. I worked in a fury to get my pastels down, and just when I thought I couldn't take any more shivering, the sun broke through a few of the clouds in the west. I added a few golden highlights in the clouds and hopped back in the car to get warm.

In case you're wondering, I have a very low tolerance for cold. If it's not sunny and seventy degrees, I'm shaking like a chihuahua.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Autumn Colors in California

"Pumpkin Pair" 4.5 x 6 in. Chalk Pastel on Paper
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I found this little pair at the pumpkin patch in Fallbrook last year. They looked so cozy together, I had to take a quick picture.

Fall is a great time to be outside in Southern California. Most of the time the weather is clear and warm without the stickiness of summer. The intense light makes for great photographs and paintings, as it casts extra dark shadows and highlights all the bright colors of our beautiful surroundings. The air is also cleaner now than it is in the summertime, which means sharper visibility of all the surrounding hills and mountains.

I was relieved that my daughter passed these two pumpkins by last year. I would have felt bad if she decided to separate them and take one home.

A little fun I had with watercolor and pastel last year:
"A Fauve Goes to the Pumpkin Patch"

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