Flower Power

lupine-poppies-and-rocks

“Lupine, Poppies, and Rocks”, pastel, 12×16

Despite the stormy January weather, flowers have the power to brighten the dark days of winter. My painting, “Lupine, Poppies, and Rocks” caught the eye of juror, Peggi Kroll-Roberts at the Delicato Winery Show in Manteca, California. It received an honorable mention in the show which is on exhibit January 11 – February 4, 2017.  The artist reception  will be held on February 4th.  What is not to like about art, wine, and appetizers?

Technical notes: Rembrandt, Unison, Terry Ludwig, NuPastels, and Conte pastel pencils on U Art 400 sanded pastel board.  A few photo references  were taken while on a hike at nearby Brushy Peak in Livermore, CA last spring.

 

Abundance

fountainsketch

Livermore Fountain, ink and watercolor sketch

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Early stage -Photo on location

There has been a drought in California. There has been a shortage of posts on this blog in addition to the severe lack of precipitation. Despite the drought, this fountain in the heart of downtown Livermore, California continues to put forth cascades of water. It once seemed like an excess when the average resident was going to great lengths to conserve the precious water. My worries were put at ease when I learned that the fountain used recycled water. The symbol of abundance in the Livermore Valley was a challenge to capture in this sketch. I see several errors in the structure of the trellis, but I tell myself that this is a sketch. The goal is not to make a completely accurate rendering, but rather capture the essence of the scene. I hope that was achieved.

Americana

Marshfield Hills General Store, 5x7, pen and wash

Marshfield Hills General Store, 5×7, pen and wash

Recently I visited family in Massachusetts and we stopped by the Marshfield Hills General Store which is now owned by actor and comedian, Steve Carrell. In a Boston Globe interview Steve, a native of Massachusetts,  explained that he saw this as an opportunity to preserve a little piece of history. He felt that the gathering places of general stores give people a sense of community. The Carrells have owned the store since 2009.

I remember going to this store in the early 60’s with my friend who lived nearby.  She and I rode horses, stopped and tied them outside on a post, and entered the store for a snack.   When I visited the store with my parents last week, it was a snowy afternoon filled with memories of the town where my father was once a high school  science teacher. How wonderful that Steve Carrell appreciates the importance of preserving this general store!  The Marshfield Hills General Store and Post Office is located at 165 Prospect Street in the Marshfield Hills Historic District.

Technical notes: Studio sketch from a photo of the Georgian Colonial General Store in a Stillman & Birn Beta Sketchbook, Micron pen and Watercolors by Winsor Newton and Daniel Smith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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)

Challenged

Home Portrait as I received it to finish

Home Portrait as I received it to finish

My unusual challenge was to complete a commission of a watercolor painting which had been started though not completed by another artist before she passed away. It was an unusual challenge, but I decided to take on the challenge. The Arches watercolor paper had been damaged and I found that Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground is a wonderful product that will restore the surface of the paper.
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I decided to change the direction of the vineyard rows so that the viewer was directed to the home which was the focal point of the painting.

Repair of home portrait, watercolor commission

Repair of home portrait, watercolor commission

The watercolor ground made changes possible. Some time was spent determining the specific tube colors that had been used to add continuity to the piece.

"Walker Home Portrait", watercolor commission

“Walker Home Portrait”, watercolor commission


Although many artists advised me not to take on this challenge. I felt that it was important to support my clients in their project. In the process it was a opportunity to learn from the challenge. It is impossible to match the hand of a different artist since brushstrokes are like signatures, but I did include both names in the lower right.
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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