Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Red Flag Day

Red Flag Day, 5x7", oil on linen panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene

My painting buddies and I arrived at one of our favorite beaches early yesterday. The sand has been eroded by the large waves, so the available beach was much smaller than last time we were there. We got first choice of spots, though, since there was no one else there except a man with his metal detector. We'd been warned of the riptides and large waves, so we stayed back on the upper beach. By about 11:00, the beach was nearly full (the parking lot was), and the sun was out. So, so gorgeous. The poor lifeguard earned his keep by hopping off his stand to chase people away from the rocks.

I painted "Red Flag Day" early, before the sun came out. Many of the rocks in the tidepools are covered with algae or seaweed, and such a great color of yellow-green. To get the wave correct, I kept stopping and waiting for the next wave to come in to "see" the next stroke. Fortunately there were a lot of waves to help me out.

Debbie's great view of the tidepools

Jeanne painting the cove view.

We kept remarking about how many amazing colors were in the ocean after the sun came out. From a dark grey-blue at the horizon, to turquoise around the tidepools, to many colors of green near the beach — what a treat for the eyes. Here's a sample.

A bit of paradise on a July morning.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

40 Strokes and Counting

Little Corona; Creek Morning, 5"x7", oil on linen panel, auction here
"To know what to leave out and what to put in; just where and just how, ah,
THAT is to have been educated in the knowledge of simplicity."
Frank Lloyd Wright
What an amazing place this world of ours is, no? I've been painting this summer with a small group of friends. We chat, paint for several hours, sometimes have lunch after, and generally enjoy beautiful scenery and the joy (and agony) of painting en plein air. Last week's trip to Little Corona Beach was so fun that we went again this week. Lots of things happened.

  1. I had an idea to start our morning with a warm-up exercise, painting a simple scene on a small panel in 40 minutes. But the kicker was — only 40 strokes were allowed. Now painting an apple in 20 strokes is manageable, but how do you paint a landscape scene in 40 strokes? I picked a scene and studied it, mixed paint, got out a couple of large brushes and set the timer on my phone for 20 minutes to have a half-time warning. This was hard. I counted out my strokes, making sure to get lots of paint on my brush for each stroke, stopping to mix more paint (duh), squinting to try to capture the value the first time, since I wouldn't likely have a stroke left to correct it later.

    At about 25 minutes in, I had used up 35 strokes. I studied the scene again, trying to decide what was most important to capture. At 39 strokes and about 30 minutes, I was basically finished.

    And you know what? This is my favorite painting of the day. Definitely a productive exercise, and one I plan to do again.

    (When I got home, the painting had smudged in my wet panel box (!) and it took about five strokes to fix it. Disclosure and all that.)

    40 strokes view
  2. While I was painting, a young couple came up and asked if they could leave their things by me while they went for a swim. We chatted for a minute, and they told me they were visiting the U.S. from Germany, and had three weeks to tour the Southwest. They were on their way to the Grand Canyon, then to Bryce and Zion National Parks, then would make their way back to California, hopefully seeing Yosemite before they returned home. They were so fun, absolutely charming, and I hope they have a wonderful trip. I handed them my sunscreen to at least keep their shoulders from blistering — I guess the sun isn't quite so bright in Germany and they didn't realize how quickly they would burn.
  3. One of my painting buddies sold her painting right off her easel to a tourist from Las Vegas. What happens in Corona del Mar stays in Corona del Mar, right? How fun!
  4. I forgot my camera. Oh well.
  5. I decided to try painting something really new and not one of the usual beach scenes. Behind me was where the creek came down a canyon and flowed into the ocean. I really liked the view, so painted it. I'm not sure if I'm completely satisfied with this as a painting, but am very glad I did it. Actually, I think I like it a lot.
Heading for the Pacific, 8"x10", oil on linen panel
So no seal releases or weddings this week, but a glorious morning at a beautiful place. So thankful.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Joy at the Beach

Looking North, 10"x8", oil on canvas panel,
©2013 Cindy Greene

Each time I go out to paint plein air, I try to set a goal for myself. Something new to try, or a part of my painting that I feel needs attention. Last week I wanted to work on putting down intentional brush strokes and leaving them. The temptation to "noodle" the paint is great, especially when in an unfamiliar environment and you are trying to "get it right."

Above is the first painting I did that morning. The marine layer was pretty thick, but the blue sky was working hard to show itself high in the sky. I liked the white and grey clouds looking north toward Newport Beach, so chose to paint this with a vertical orientation to emphasize the sky. It was very subtle, but I'm pretty happy with the brushwork, as well as the colors of the rocks as the sun was trying to peek through.

The second painting of the day was posted yesterday, Little Corona Cove, and I think it's my favorite of the day. I am happy with the brushwork as well as the composition and colors. That doesn't happen often. I will probably use this study for a larger painting.

Little Corona Cove, 5"x7", oil on canvas panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene
This small wave study was fun. I had some time and some paint left on my palette. The beach was full of families and kids by that time, so I just looked straight out ahead of me and painted what was there.

Soft Waves, Small Rock 5x7", oil on canvas panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene

It's great to have painting buddies, especially when they are as fun and encouraging as mine. Jeanne, Debbie and I claimed our spot early in the middle of the beach, while Diane stayed up by the cliff.

Jeanne and Debbie lost in their painting
Diane's first day painting at the beach, and she did great!

Debbie's impromptu painting of the wedding at the tidepools
I mentioned before that a small wedding took place that morning by the tidepools. While it was fun to watch and share that fun, what happened after was even better. Debbie, who paints weddings regularly, grabbed a small panel and started sketching the wedding party before the rest of us knew what she was doing. She managed to get 80% of the painting finished before the wedding party packed up, and walked over to meet them and present them with the painting as a gift. (They weren't sure what she was selling at first!) They were stunned of course, and delighted. Debbie took their address, and promised to send them the painting when it was finished and dry. They had flown in from Colorado to be married at the beach, and really didn't need the burden of a wet painting in their luggage. We chatted briefly with the group, and they took off to celebrate. Meanwhile, we went back to our paintings and had such a lovely warm feeling of joy the rest of the day. Debbie's kindness was not really random, but such a part of her personality and love of giving to others. The rest of our little group received a gift that day as well as the bride and groom.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Nothing Gloomy About July

Little Corona Cove, 5"x7", oil on canvas panel,
©2013 Cindy Greene

I feel so fortunate to live where I do – only an hour or so away from some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. And I am having so much fun this summer visiting these beaches regularly with some like-minded painting friends. I love the overcast mornings as the "marine layer" plays tag with the sun. It can be challenging to catch the correct light, as often we have clouds/fog/mist/sun all within an hour or so.

Last week's paint-out was at Little Corona Beach. Wonderful small beach, with lots to paint (once you navigate the steep walk down to the sand). We even watched a wedding take place by the tidepools!

The small study above is looking south toward Laguna Beach, with the sun still mostly hidden behind the clouds. I'm loving the colors in the cliff, sand and rocks.

Next post, I'll share more of our Little Corona morning. Nothing gloomy here!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Early Summer

Early Summer, 9"x12", oil on panel, available here,
©2013 Cindy Greene

Although I have not been blogging, I have been painting. With a large amount of what seems to be known as Real Life going on in the last few weeks, I decided to just work on studies. No stress, just work. Process, not product! So I have been doing small studies of glass inside, and also painting outside whenever possible. Several afternoons I have sat in my patio and painted whatever the sun was hitting at an interesting angle. One day I took some tea boxes outside and painted them. None of these studies are blog-worthy, but they have served a good purpose. I've been really working on seeing the effects of light, shadow, local color of everyday objects, value changes in dappled shade vs. sunlight. Fun stuff.

So where did this painting come from? I have so enjoyed the jacaranda season this year. My podiatrist moved to a new medical building, and these jacaranda trees line the street of the office park. The field behind the trees will no doubt be the new home of yet another large complex soon. I was so taken with the sight of a large empty field lined with blooming jacaranda trees (in the middle of a large city), that I pulled over, snapped some photos and came home to paint it. The trees are young, probably planted earlier in the year, but were blooming beautifully. And the sprained ankle is finally healing.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...