On the Coast

Sea Thrift

“Sea Thrift”, pastel, 8,5×11

I spent a week on the Oregon Coast at Depoe Bay watching the surf, eating seafood, and exploring the area with the Beach family. I began this pastel on the coast, but I finished this at home since I didn’t have many of sticks that I needed for the rocks. The motion of the surf on the cliff below was a constant source of entertainment. I also was attracted to the profusion  of Sea Thrift which was in bloom.  There were many other pastels used in this piece, but I have shown some of the assorted pastels and pastel pencils used.  To get the fine mist of the sea spray, I used a paste of pastel mixed with alcohol and applied it by flicking the bristles of the toothbrush.  The sanded paper was Wallis, 9×12 with a assortment of  pastels by Terry Ludwig, Unison , Rembrandt, Sennelier, and pastel pencils by Conte and Stabil0.

Pastels Sea Thrift

Pastels for Sea Thrift

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I Brake For Sheep

Sheep (detail), watercolor

Sheep (detail), watercolor

On the road to the iconic Mont- St.- Michel, the island monastery off the coast of Normandy , the traffic came to an abrupt halt while we were on a family trip a few years ago.  We got out of our rental car as we saw others exiting the tour buses.  To our surprise it was not a car accident, but a flock of muddy sheep strolling across the ridge of the causeway to the abundant grazing land on the far side.

The moment that I saw the image in the camera, I knew that it was to be a future painting.  I did a study for a more detailed watercolor on an 11x 15 sheet of Arches paper.  I can see that the composition would be improved if I raise the horizon to the top third of the paper.  Also, I plan to add more details to the foreground puddles of water.  The water could also be improved by saving the lighter values for highlights. The color and the mist didn’t photograph well, but will also be strengthened. The sheep which are the main focus, could also be improved with attention to the details of the legs and facial features. Additional sheep on the right will also be included in the final painting. Can you tell that I am fond of sheep?

Sheep at Mont-St.- Michel, watercolor, 11x15( study)

Sheep at Mont-St.- Michel, watercolor, 11×15,(study)

Rhine River Sketches

I just returned from a river cruise down the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam. At each port a local guide took us on a walking tour on the city. On the third day after the tour of Strasbourg, France in the Alsace region, I found time to get in some sketching. I was able to enjoy a café au lait at a café across from the half-timbered Tanners Building from 1572 in La Petite France section of the city. I sketched most of the details on location with a Micron .005 archival pen and later add watercolor wash using a photo for reference. I loved the charm of this section of the city and hope that shows. Here is the sketch:

Petite France Strasbourg

Petite France
Strasbourg


The next time that I was able to sketch was in Cologne, Germany. After touring the Cologne Cathedral we stopped for lunch at the Kolsch Brauhaus. Generally, I prefer a glass of wine to beer, but decided that I should sample the local speciality. Kolsch is an all barley pale ale which went well with my shrimp salad. I didn’t try the huge sausages that were served on huge wooden planks. My sketch is my view from the outdoor table of the ornate Rathaus framed by the awning and flanked by other buildings. Again, I sketched with my Micron pen and later added the watercolor. The intricate detail of the Rathaus was more than I could attempt during lunch. But, I think I was able to get the essence of the scene. Here is the sketch from Cologne: Prost!
Sion Kolsch Brauhaus Cologne, Germany

Sion Kolsch Brauhaus
Cologne, Germany

More Cohasset Harbor Reflections

Harbor Reflections, Cohasset, MA

Harbor Reflections, Cohasset, MA


The Class of 1963 of Cohasset High School recently celebrated their 50th high school. My sister, Janet suggested that I might consider donating a giclee of the pastel painting that I did of our hometown harbor for a silent auction whose proceeds were to benefit the local food bank. It seemed like a win-win situation, so I packaged and shipped the matted giclee print off to Cohasset for the event. As planned, the reunion weekend which was held this past weekend was a success. The Saturday night dinner was held in one of the galleries at the South Shore Arts Center. One of her classmates bid on the giclee “Harbor Reflections”. The Food Bank receives a donation, the classmate has a momento to give to his sister of their hometown, and I welcome the opportunity to keep the conversation going about my art. Yes, it is a win-win situation.

Painting on the Cape and Hingham

 With a portable easel and my pastel painting gear packed in the trunk of our rental car it was off to explore the beaches and harbors of MA and Cape Cod in August.  It wasn’t easy to set aside time to paint between visits from family and friends and enjoying the Cape.  I found that combining painting and a lunch or dinner of that famous seafood was the ticket.

Water and sandy beaches were a theme – Cohasset Harbor, Hingham Harbor, Rock Harbor Beach in Orleans, MA, and Mayo Beach in Wellfleet  were great painting spots. The changing light is always a challenge with painting “en plein air”, and the ebb and flow of the tides was another factor. 

South Street Gallery in Hingham, MA hosted a “Paint the Square” event in September and I was able to be included in this paint out and silent auction.  I had two paintings – “Harbor Home” of a  Hingham Harbor scene and “Movie Date Tonight” of  Loring Hall included in the show and auction.  I am pleased that “Harbor Home” now has a new owner on the South Shore. South Street Gallery’s “Paint the Square”  is on view through Sept.29. 

Wellfleet

Mayo Beach, Wellfleet

 Wellfleet

Painting in Wellfleet

 
Loring Hall

“Movie Date Tonight”, pastel, 11×14

Hingham Harbor

“Harbor Home”, pastel, 11×14

From the mountains to the Livermore Valley…

 

After painting on location at about 11,750 feet for an hour and a half,  it was time to head back down the trail.   Fortunately, I had secured the painting between the foamboard, as the usual afternoon clouds brought rain half way back to the trail head. 

Several months passed before I returned to work on the pastel back in my studio in California. There is nothing to compare with working on location.  But, with some photos for reference I was able to complete the painting started in the mountain meadow.

"Sitting With Columbine"

Painting along the trail in Colorado…

Last summer I hiked a trail called “Mayflower Gulch” outside of Breckenridge, CO .  I was prepared to paint with  limited supplies in a backpack and no easel.  After hiking up the old mining trail about a mile and  a half , I found the view that I had in mind.  The sloping meadow of wildflowers and columbine was enough inspiration  for a year full of paintings. My view of the snow- covered mountains was partially blocked by a few evergreen trees, but I chose to sit  by a tree that offered shade and  a cushion of pine needles.  I love  painting outdoors! Plein air painting is exciting and challenging.  The clouds move quickly in the mountain changing the light  and there are other issues of time, weather, and ants!

Painting in CO

My materials:

Paper: La Carte sanded pastel paper taped on to a piece of foam core board, a piece of glassene, and  then another piece of foamcore of the same size, and  secured with a large rubber band.

Pastels: About 40+  small pieces of pastels-  pencils, Rembrandts and Unisons.