The rain stopped briefly and the sun came out, so I went for a walk here in Three Rivers. This was on February 12, but there were other things to blog about last week.
Look! The buckeye trees, always precocious, are leafing out already.
Here is an unobstructed view of Alta Peak and Moro Rock.
The Red Maids are in bloom!
This ant hill is definitely a peculiar sight.
The narcissus are in bloom in my yard.
And what does a Central California artist do for fun when the sun is out?
She mixes a paint color for her neighbor’s kitchen, of course.
Neighbor recently was in Italy and fell in love with a particular color. (Could there possibly be 2 color junkies in the same neighborhood??) The hardware store mixed a too-bright red, so together we figured out the color she wanted. This required adding tan from the gallon container, lightening it with white, and correcting the resulting pinkishness with yellow ochre. Then, we tried it on a kitchen cupboard door and declared it a winner. (It took 3 attempts with minor corrections each time.) Next, I had to match that exact color to convert the rest of the too-bright-red to our newly named “Red Pepper Cream Sauce”. (Last time we invented the color of “Orange Blossom Special” for her kitchen, which looks spectacular with the Red Pepper Cream Sauce.)*
*My own kitchen is blue and white, has been blue and white for 18 years, and probably will probably be blue and white for as long as I live here. Thanks for asking.
When deciding what to draw next, this particular subject seemed like a good compromise of my theme of Tulare County and what I want to draw because I want to draw it.
Strawberry fields have become a common sight in our area over the past 10 years or so in the springtime. That makes this drawing qualify as Tulare County art, yes?
Using colored pencil for extended time periods hurts my wrist. This little bit of color is possible without injury, and it is very pleasing to see one item in color. Not every picture has a place for color, but this was an easy decision.
One might think that this Central California artist’s favorite color is orange. One would be wrong, but one would be forgiven for making that assumption.
Due to her continual paintings of oranges and poppies, this would be a logical guess. But, if one thinks about Central California and what we are known for here in Tulare County, then one would come to an understanding of the apparent excessive use of the color orange.
Here are the latest oil paintings in the continuing saga of this Central California artist’s representation of the best of Tulare County.
These paintings are all available through this link: oils
To continue yesterday’s dissatisfying post about color, here is an aspen painting before I added blue:
Here it is afterward:
Ahem. Why is it that I can repair photos quite well using Photoshop Elements but cannot get the same painting to scan the same way 2 times in a row?
Who cares? I have real work to do!
A friend is learning about art, practicing diligently at watercolor, taking workshops and painting with a group in her town. She also reads about art, and has been kind enough to spend time with me, discussing various art related topics.
She told me about a book called “Breakfast at Sotheby’s: An A-Z of the Art World” by Philip Hook. Not only did she read it, she took notes. AND, she shared them with me!
Two main points interested me in our conversation about color.
1. In Breakfast at Sotheby’s, her notes say this: “Red and blue are the most important colors in modernist art.” (I’ll have to look up the definition of “modernist”. . . always something to be learned around here. . .)
2. One of her instructors believes that all paintings should have some cerulean blue. This is a lighter blue, leaning toward turquoise that I use when I mix colors. (I only use the primaries plus white to make all my colors with a few exceptions.)
While my friend and I sat together in my studio discussing color, we looked around together at the paintings hanging on my walls. We discovered 2 that had neither blue nor red. So, in a spirit of experimentation and adventure, I added some.
Now that is an unfair comparison. The scans turned out differently, although the size is supposed to be the same it is not, and I guess you’ll just have to see the painting in person. I promise that I didn’t mess with the greens. I did mess with the color and exposure on the computer, trying to get the 2 to match, but something just isn’t working.
Never mind. Have a nice day. Thanks for stopping by and making it to the end of this post. Perhaps I should just get to the easels and finish the Kaweah Post Office.
(Happy Birthday, Melissa!)
Anyone remember the Little River Band? Does the song “Long Way There” do anything for you? I loved it in 1978, and I still do.
Many people think of “Long and Winding Road” when it comes to driving to Mineral King. That is probably a more accurate theme song, but I used up that title on a pencil drawing many years ago.
So “Long Way There” is the title of this series of paintings. The first time I painted the Mineral King Road, it looked like this:
I liked it a lot. A friend liked it too and commissioned me to repaint it in a much larger size than I was used to. It just flew out of my paintbrushes, and it may have been the first time I really felt as if I was painting, instead of struggling with paint.
When helping her move a few weeks ago, it surprised me to see that I still like the painting. That doesn’t always happen.
Because I was feeling so confident about this scene, I painted it again, just to have in inventory.
It didn’t sell. It didn’t sell. It didn’t sell.
So, I studied it carefully to see if I could figure out how to make it better. The usual things – brighter colors, more detail, higher contrast, cleaner edges – all seemed necessary.
I love the blue with the orange. (Yeppers, I’m a color junkie.)
Remember these wildflower oil painting beginnings? First, I drew them with my paintbrush.
Stage two was to get the first layer of color down.
The real fun was putting in the detail.
It isn’t often that I get to paint with these colors, and it just makes my heart sing.
Excuse me. Got a little carried away with that purplish-pink.
Now I just know you are singing too!
Top to bottom: Jeffrey Shooting Star, Leopard Lily, Foxglove. Yes, I know foxgloves are not native flowers around here, but they certainly go wild!
These are commissioned oil paintings of wildflowers. When they are dry, I’ll sign them, then scan them, then probably wrap and deliver. (It’s a wrap – another wildflower song in the can!)
Oil paintings at someone else’s home. Someone else who really likes my work. Someone whom I really like. But, this is the World Wide Web, so her identity will not be revealed.
She has others that are not yet hung, only propped against the wall the last time I was over. As she and I discussed the paintings she was considering, I suddenly had a flash of insight. “AHA! You are a color junkie, just like me!”
When one color junkie identifies another, there is no need to explain. We just get each other. Look at the flowers in her front garden!
When she wants a painting, it doesn’t feel like the business of selling; it is simply helping a friend with good taste, an interest in beauty and some disposable income (“disposable”? Who decided that word should go with the word “income”??). I love to help people choose the right picture, whether it is one I have already painted or drawn or one they ask me to create for them (the fancy word is “commission”.)
Remember I talked about painting things just because I love them? That is a different category than painting something because it sells.
Sometimes, the things I paint for myself sell quickly. This is a mixed blessing – WAIT! I wanted that one! Oh. That’s right. I paint to sell things. It beats getting a job.
A friend/customer stopped by one afternoon and fell in love with the sunflowers.
This is how they looked at the time of her visit:
Together we evaluated them. We agreed that the yellow one is brilliant, and that the orange one doesn’t quite have the pizzazz.
It didn’t matter to my friend because she wants to buy them both. I told her I’d study up on the orange one – probably just needs more color and contrast, the usual things. (Other common things that are lacking are sharp and fuzzy edges or needing more detail – it isn’t all color and contrast).
Her husband called me to say he wants to buy them for her for their anniversary. I delivered the yellow one wrapped, and when the orange one is dry, it will join its brother.
First, let’s get that hanger problem fixed. The mini green sunflower belongs at the bottom edge of the painting, not on the side. Since I paint these 6×6″ oils while holding them in my hand and rotating them around and around, sometimes they get sideways. I reattached the hanger, painted out and repainted my signature.
Done yet? After a few more layers of a brighter yellow, I think I will stop now.
Okay, now I think this one is worthy of joining the yellow sunflower!
(Happy Birthday, Ann!)
“In situ” means in position. Isn’t it fun to learn new expressions?
The question that nagged me during the entire process of designing and painting the Blue Moon Nursery sign was this: Would it be able to complete with all the signage along that stretch of the highway in Three Rivers?
See? A whole messa signs! But, I can spot ours. . . can you?
Here is the light blue with the darker green.
This is the darker blue with the light green.
Let’s go inside the nursery.