Category Archives: landmark

Local Resources for a Father’s Day Project

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Fifth Element at Cap Sante

In between completing the Atmospherics Landscapes class, I decided to hand-paint a Father’s Day card.  There’s a fairly good little art store within walking distance of the marina, Good Stuff Arts.  We are even given a coupon for 10% off this local business when we check into Cap Sante marina.  They do carry my favorite Pro Art tape, but they only had the note-sized frame cards.

I checked Bayshore Office Supply across the main drag, Commercial Ave,  and they had the Strathmore photo-mount cards.  I was looking for the frame cards that have a 3.5×5 opening, but this would have to do.   

Read my next post to learn how I created this card.

Golden Mist

This painting was deceptively difficult.  The idea was to create a misty landscape and imbue it with a golden glow by a glazing it with Quinacridone Gold.  I had a tough time getting a good balance between soft and hard edges as witnessed by my first attempt.  I got the color stuck in some places again due to lack of water and the foreground branches are too regular and distracting.

Golden Glow, first attempt

Misty American River, first attempt

In my defense, I’m painting this on our boat in an even smaller space than normal because hubby’s tools are everywhere.  Just a 3×2 space on the table and I only have my travel palettes which only have at most a 4” square mixing area.  Birgit’s work involves large puddles of paint, so I’m making do fairly well.

Still, I thought I could do better. So I concentrated more on creating a focal area on the upper left bank and worked harder to get the rest of the painting to flow freely.  I like this version much better, although I still don’t like my foreground branches in the lower right.  Chalk that up to loss of patience; if I did this again, I would sketch that area a bit more specifically since the darkness of that area really makes it prominent- it needs more attention to the details to look right.

This is one of those paintings that looks better from a distance.

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Golden Glow on the American River, Sacramento, 2nd attempt

Calistoga Paint Out

plainAir-back-IMG_9671-4webLast month I participated in the Calistoga Paint Out held by the Calistoga Art Center.  As a watercolor painter, I faced some interesting challenges that artists in other mediums may not encounter.

The essential elements of a plein air festival include a check in period, a painting period and then a public show of the resulting paintings.  During check-in, the artwork supports, typically canvas, panels or paper are stamped on the back with an identifying mark and date.  This step ensures that the painting actually takes place during the painting period.

What I did not anticipate was that the stamp needs to be visible when the final artworks are displayed.  This is usually not an issue for canvas or a panel, but display of a watercolor sandwiched between a mat and backing board then inserted in a frame is a problem.  The stamp would be covered up.  

Fortunately, a more experienced artist suggested I solve this problem by cutting a hole in the backing board.  This required that I get my paper re-stamped near the center so that the stamp would not be covered by the frame moulding.  Then I had to measure the location of the stamp carefully to make sure I cut a hole in the same place on the backing board.

For future paint outs, it would be easier to have the watercolor paper permanently mounted on the backing board ahead of time so that I could simply have the backing board stamped.  I haven’t yet found a pre-made watercolor board that I like, so I intend to glue my favorite watercolor paper to foam core board or a flat panel.  

My paintings were not my best work, but I have to remind myself I did these in about an hour each battling wind and even rain showers.  I plan to repaint them in my studio.

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Downtown Calistoga

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Calistoga East