Thursday, July 24, 2008

Summer storms

Didn't quite finish this plein air sketch overlooking the west of the Tucson valley. But I was happy with some of the things that were happening in the clouds and rainfall. Still trying to learn this medium, I don't have much experience with wet on wet effects.

And the new colors in my palette completely threw me when I tried to paint the mountains. That'll teach me not to mix some samples before going out. I think that splotchiness in the blue on the mountain, center-right, is from something called "granularity" in the paint. I just read about this aspect of pigments in the new Daniel Smith catalog. Maybe some watercolor mavens could straighten me out if I'm wrong.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Someone stop me, before I art again

From my Moleskine sketchbook. This was done late in May at a terrific B&B/Artist's Retreat, the Triangle L Ranch. It's run by an artist in Oracle, Arizona, Sharon Holnbeck. The painting is a view from the porch of one of her cottages. It strikes me as slightly overpainted -- which brings up the question, "When to stop?" It's quite the metaphor in art. When to stop, indeed?

And I'm still surprised to see a bird in this painting. My attempts to include birds in paintings rarely add positively to the work. I paint them oversized, and stilted, so they don't add spatially to the composition.

That hawk kept circling around, though, like she thought she ought to be included. I was really struck by the presence of birds at the Ranch, everything from a family of horned owls to a cacophony of quail. Because of that heightened awareness, I think the hawk became a necessary part of the image; it was intrinsic to the place.

Is it just me, or are flocks of birds smaller and fewer between than a few decades ago?

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Coughing and spluttering, yet another blog is born into a crowded, weary virtual world. A cry goes up, and one's first tears are shed. So it begins.

This watercolor is of Ted DeGrazia's chapel. It was done in the Spring of 2008, on location. I can't say I'm a big admirer of Ted's popular works, but I do admire his courage, conviction and activism as an artist.