Saturday, December 22, 2012

Captivating Crystal Cove

We discovered this gem of California about 10 years ago and have visited many times since. I've done several paintings in various sizes of the ramshackle cottages along this glorious stretch of coastline and never tire of this theme. The 1988 film "Beaches" with Bette Midler was filmed there and the feeling portrayed harkens back to a simpler time showcasing the quintessential beach cottage of all our dreams. It has now become a State Park and people can rent the refurbished cottages if they can navigate the website with it's lottery system. I've tried and have given up, but I continue to visit and while away the golden hours with my camera or easel and gooey paint.
You won't be hearing from me for about a week or so, but have yourselves a lovely time of slowing down and cherishing those you love. Please know that I'll be thinking of you with great fondness.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Awe and Wonder

Seem to be focused on heavenly visions as they provide balm for a troubled heart, and simply living on the western edge affords more than enough. Looking ahead to time with those fabulous boys of ours and making  another memory to tuck away for a rainy day. I love being in my studio and reflecting on stuff like that while I'm painting as it re-charges my emotional batteries. Moments shared, cherished and remembered create a golden pathway before us, giving us strength and joy. May each of you be blessed by the love and family and friends now and into the new year as we anticipate, pray for and create a better world. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Family Photo

I had a crazy day today, getting my hair done and sending out a few greetings, so decided to share this family shot with all of you in lieu of a painting. Our younger son Levi (far right) set up this shot at Thanksgiving with his new super duper Canon 5DIII camera and I just love the sunset glow of the Mendocino sky behind us. Levi works freelance in the film industry and Abe is a professional musician, so they both live in Los Angeles where the work happens to be. We'll be visiting them for a few days and wanted to let you know that I'm likely to be sporadic with posting paintings, but I promise not to disappear completely. Love to you all and may your Christmas and New Year be blessed beyond measure.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Looking Heavenward

I couldn't get that heavenly sky out of my mind, so decided to try and paint it and continue to work through the ache in my heart. Wouldn't you know that my husband and I had a bit of a tiff in the process. Learning to not lean on my own understanding and that involves relinquishing the illusion of control I have over 'things'. Learning to choose to accept each step as a gift, even if it's tough and thanking you for sharing snippets of this path with me. May your week be blessed with the love of family and friends and the coming year bring and awareness of all things bright and beautiful. 
I must share a wonderful quote I saw today on Facebook that I hope ties things together:

"When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit and trust the engineer." - Corrie ten Boom

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Different Day

As I was busy painting a special commission for a friend to give as a gift, I realized that the sky was all lit up and rushed to the window. Just as I finished snapping the sky photo, I saw a new kind of Santa walking down the street with his little helper. This one had a police badge on his arm and the two of them were passing out blue candy canes and spreading good cheer and with it a message of safety. We all need this right now and it really touched me during a difficult week when I haven't been able to truly concentrate on much. The tragic loss of innocent lives has touched us all and I've been processing it with tears and prayers. I hope that these two photos bring a measure of comfort as you process and contemplate.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Local Landmark

Not long ago, I had a bunch of time to kill while waiting for a friend and was able to catch a slightly different angle of "Jessica Fletcher's" house. The arbor goes to the house next door, but certainly adds an element of grace and balance to the other whites in the painting dotcha think? I have to say that it's a bit of a challenge in a town this size to continue to find new things to paint, but thankfully the landmarks are worth repeating and this one in particular eh? One visual delight after another continues to make my life full and fabulous, that's for sure and for certain.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Snowy Blanket

Kinda felt like doing something fitting for the season, so here you have a snowy scene that is nowhere near Mendocino. I saw this lovely pastoral setting on a trip through Southern Oregon some time ago and shot it out the back of the car window as we were zipping by and it took my breath away, even at 65 miles per hour. I have no affinity for snow even though I grew up in South Lake Tahoe (sorry peeps) but I sure wish I saw more of it for purposes of painting the fluffy stuff with those wonderful pastel blue and lavender shadows......................

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Home Again, Home Again

Leaving yesterday's barns behind us we meander toward the coast through some very picturesque and memorable countryside. An oak tree up close and personal hangs over the roadway, creating a gold tinged  umbrella that creates yummy shadows while revealing dramatic shafts of light. It's much easier to drive home in the morning WITHOUT the sun in your eyes but not quite as inspirational, so I'll take the torture any day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Warm Hills of California

Alright people, I have every right to bounce from one location to the other. After indulging in the garish colors of a Southern California sunset, I needed the calm and quiet of my local hills and meadows along highway 128. A bit reminiscent of the triptych I just did but this time with a few rustic old barns and fences. I love watching the animals wander about and the funky old buildings that house them, but must say that I'm happy to be a towny girl that enjoys keeping my hands and feet pretty clean.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

So SoCal

Don't crazy sunsets just get your heart a tickin' with a feeling of awe and wonder? It's hard to take one on in a painting because the colors are just so outrageous, but the reality is just plain like this if not better. This is from a photo I shot somewhere south of LA and north of San Diego and I have to say that palm trees are the ticket. They add a graceful vertical line and spell out 'Warm Weather' is here, so get your tushie here to enjoy it. Wish it wasn't such a long drive from Mendocino.........................................

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pair and a Spare

I have a step brother that got married this past weekend up in Graeagle, so I was out of commission for a few days. A perfectly delightful affair and a gorgeous step sister in law has now been added, much to everyone's delight. On the way home, we passed this location in Lake County (I think), in between Williams and Clearlake and remembered some photos I'd taken in the past. It was fun to discover the old photo today as the sun was blazing and having just seen the scene made it a great endeavor. Green is my favorite color and when these hills have had enough water, they look just like crushed green velvet. Ahhhhhhhh...........

Jesse Kalin Carson with Tomas and me and Krista Kline Carson from South Lake Tahoe

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Luminous Line Up

As if the view at Pacific Star isn't enough, Sally has this spectacular array of giant urns and pots full of glorious color near the entrance to the tasting room. You have seen another painting done from this same location but not quite like this one with different blooms and a new format as well. It is just so fun to play with shapes and shadows and then adding the colors and the LIGHT. I think it's her big stacked up barrels that are casting the shadows, and boy does it smell like squished up grapes around there.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

First Signs of Spring

Well, you must have figured out that my iPad is still giving me problems and that I've been out of town. I'm posting the painting I did as the demonstration in Napa and hope it inspires patient but joyful anticipation of the coming Spring. 
  Next I'm showing you the framed triptych and the lovely couple that commissioned me. We had a delightful time last Sunday night seeing it hung as Steve is quite the mathematical/woodworking superman. It adds a wonderful dimension of warmth to their entryway and ties all of their furnishings, various woods and adjacent rooms together beautifully. My husband had some challenges while framing it, but given the size of each canvas they were minimal and the results were great. What an honor to be trusted with such a project and something I've added to my gratitude list for sure and for certain. Thank you SO MUCH Steve and Susie!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

First Signs of Spring

I had the privilege of doing a demonstration painting before a group of people in napa today, at my friend Jessel's gallery. She has invited me to teach there and wanted her students to see how I paint so that they might want to sign up in the future. It was great fun to do a vineyard scene of mustard as this is what we are now looking forward to after the long winter that is still ahead. I am also posting from my iPad for the first time and feel like I'm all thumbs and quite the dim wit in the thinking department! Hope I can get in the swing of things with this new technology, so hang in there with me and we're sure to have more fun soon.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fabulous Fishing Boats

The rain is coming down in buckets but I shared a delightful lunch at Silver's at the Wharf today and enjoyed the view from our cozy table. My friend Lynn is going through a gnarly chemo regimen but she was able to find just the right thing to eat and we savored the time, the tasty morsels and one another's friendship. It made me what to paint a scene from the harbor, so I leafed through some recent photos from a sunny day and here you have it, our picturesque harbor, dressed to delight.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dance of the Hollyhocks

What's cool about hollyhocks is that for design purposes, there is a great vertical element along with the roundish blooms. Besides that, the colors are amazing and those little round buds add such delight. These flowers grow rather tall, so you get that 'honey I shrunk the kids' feeling when you're close up and personal amongst them. Here's hoping that they make you dream of April showers bringing May flowers to get you through the winter.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Percolating Reflections

This percolator has been sitting on a shelf in my studio for months, just itching to be painted. I had bought this cream and sugar set at a thrift store, so got them out and set up the little scene in my studio on this cold and blustery day and hoped for the best. The chrome reflected EVERYTHING in my studio, but I tried to simplify things and just include the window across the room and of course, the tablecloth and porcelain set. The result is kind of fun and funky and I hope to try it again with different stuff one day soon. Happy daydreaming of a nice piping hot cup of coffee!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Last Light on Main Street

I shot this photo not too long ago, on one of my many tromps along the headlands. I look just like a tourist when walking around my town because I take photos like nobody's business! It's just such a spectacular and picturesque place that it's hard to contain myself as each few yards reveals another wondrous scene. I realize you hear this from me over and over, but I guess it bears repeating that I'm in love with this little coastal gem.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bucolic Rest

24 years ago, my husband and I visited England for our 10th anniversary and we enjoyed the countryside immensely. The photo for this painting was taken someplace in the Cotswolds and every time I come across it, I fall into a dreamlike space just imagining myself walking down this path into the open meadow. It gives my heart rest and this feels good after the flurry of activity these past few days. I stayed strong today when the kids took off, but those tears were about to tumble right out into the atmosphere. Instead I got my tushie to the easel and gave myself something comforting to work on, whew.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Mouth Watering Mocha

I wanted to paint something simple yet inviting today, so I settled on a subject that is near and dear to many of us. This my friends is comfort in a cup, a real splurge which is beyond the daily ritual. Ordering one of these is reserved for one of those special days when you're sharing time with a good friend, or possibly recovering from an onslaught of house guests and the aftermath created! Our family took a walk into Mendocino Thanksgiving morning and I ordered a Peppermint tea latte because caffeine and I just don't get along. I might need something stronger once everyone has gone back home but in the meantime painting such a sumptuous cup is a true delight and I hope it cheers you up. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Grateful for You

Before the Event

Father and Firstborn

As you no doubt figured out, I got myself too busy with Thanksgiving prep to post yesterday or today. Thought I'd give a shout out though to say thank you for being in my life and making it all the more meaningful. I have so much to be thankful for and have enjoyed Dreama Tolle Perry's blog with daily snippets of thanksgiving to post. Life is a gift and so many daily aspects slip away unless we apprehend them and make them sacred. Bless you all and I look forward to playing with paint again tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

South Facing Splendor

Bopping down toward the ocean on Ukiah Street in Mendocino, these lovely Victorian 'ladies' greet the southern sunshine with sincere appreciation. For those of us on the north coast, having a house that faces south is a true blessing because we want all the sun we can get. My house is pretty much shady on the south side (rats), but the west is wide open to the sea and sky which makes up for it, almost. Who can honestly complain with daily sights such as this though???? Especially during the week of Thanksgiving, I am very grateful for every visual and literal feast set before me.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Golden Hillcrests

I live in a place that requires a person to take one of four 'Dramamine Drives' to get here. While two are heavily traveled and one takes a lot longer, the roadway in this painting is much quieter and happens to be my favorite. It is highway 253 that connects Ukiah with Boonville and it affords one glorious hillside vista after another especially at this time of day. It ain't easy shooting into the blistering sunlight, but I manage to block the orb with one hand while I click with the other and often end up with something I can work with. The result is almost monochromatic, but the warm russet tones really are the dancing ticket don't you think?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Watercolor Mist

It's been a bumpity lumpity kind of day with snippets of sunshine and rain, happy moments and melancholy. I guess rain and miles of piles just do that to ya, but at least my decks are clear and things feel tidy again. So now I'm able to present to you a typical misty Mendocino day done in watercolor and invite you to share my town in its more subtle attire. Sometimes it's this kind of mood that can really get under your skin as you view it, allowing you to glide away into a contemplative head and heart space. Much better than Calgon.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Lulu's Bouquet

Never stop loving just about any object next to a window, but flowers have to be at the top of the list. All those amazing colors outlined in their sunlit best and bringing L.I.F.E. into the room. Since it's raining outside it seemed rather fitting to be indoors with an indoor theme that included sunlight. Even though I have a rather Irish heart, too much of that sputtery stuff from the sky is tough to take. Sending you a heart of love upon the beak of a dove and hoping your holiday preparations are happy and hassle free.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dappled Light

This scene is the quintessential sunlit garden path of all our dreams right? Lush plantings abound with a backdrop of soft greens and a sweet little tree to set everything off. Who doesn't want to take a walk down such a path and throw the cares of this life behind? Now that the big painting commission is behind me and we contemplate the perfect frame and delivery to the Los Gatos couple that requested it, I am breathing a sigh of relief and gladly amble down this path with a lightness in my step.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I'm Finished!

Hi Y'All- 
Shouting out that I've finished the big project and am as amazed at you are that it's done already. Between taking the photos, making the pencil and color sketches and tackling the 3 canvases I figure I've got about a week's time into it. I used a big spatula-like palette knife and my paint comes out of 10 oz. caulking tubes, so  the process was easier as a result. I used A LOT of paint, but since the subject was fairly simple, I was able to swipe my knife across a lot of wide, open space and accomplish much in good time. My friend Don loaned me the use of his giant easel and took the photo of me getting started which is something I appreciated and look below to see a party he threw in my honor. Anyhow, here it is and soon I will be back in the swing of painting the minis. 
Now get this! My husband did some sneaky math and told me that this project is the equivalent of 105 miniature paintings. Can you believe it????????

Don invited his neighbors over for a celebration to show off my accomplishment and boy was I touched by such an expression of love and support. Thank you Don and Gigi for supporting the arts in Mendocino!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Busy Week

Just a heads up that you might not hear from me much this week because I am about to embark on the largest set of paintings I've tackled to date. The color sketch shows a mini version of the huge triptych that will be comprised of a 48x60 inch center section flanked by two 40x30s. I am going to use a palette knife for it, so there will be lots of texture and dimension. I will certainly share a photo of the finished project as soon as it is complete, but feel fairly certain that I won't have time or energy to come up with any minis while I'm focusing on this. Wish me luck and /or say some prayers!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Reading Room in Red

Here we are in another cozy interior and again in France no less. This nook is in a 12th century Chateau in the hamlet of Avejan, near Barjac which is kind of near Avignon. Mary is the most gracious host and chef and I've enjoyed two delightful visits there. She is the person responsible for introducing me to 'salad de chevre chaud' and I shall FOREVER be grateful to her. This is a must see, must paint, must eat experience!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Invitation to Rest

It's been a few years since I've painted an interior scene though I'm all about creating cozy and inviting spaces for living people to enjoy. However, painting one is still an invitation to viewers to place themselves in   a restful place if only in their minds. Leslie and I visited a well appointed and inspiring "Chambres d'hotes" in Provence a few years back and I've been hanging onto this photo in hopes of painting it one day. I was recently drawn to the work of David Lloyd, also on Daily Paintworks and decided to give some interiors snippets of my time. Stay tuned for more and let's hope they draw you in to sit a spell.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pretty in Purple

You guessed it. Another view from Pacific Star Winery, this time looking south. I'm just so glad that I took advantage of the sunshine and made a lot of hay in one day. (today it's raining) This place is so awe inspiring that I just spend the day reeling in amazement and pinch myself every now and then to see if I'm alive or simply dreaming. I told Sally that it is the greatest place on earth for me because I can be working while enjoying the wonder of it all. Thank you, thank you, thank you I keep telling her.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Whiling Away the Seaside Hours

Out at Pacific Star, Sally has these Finnish sheds that add charm to the rugged landscape beside the boisterous sea. One is a sauna and the other has a sleeping loft with tiny kitchen and bath and a coupla Adirondack chairs on the porch. Guests can laze away for hours watching the ocean's drama and the sheep in the pasture while sipping some of her lovely wines. I love how the mountain juts up just behind them and how the row of wine barrels creates a fence of sorts. It's the perfect kind of funky where you just want to be there forever and soak in all the sights, sounds and sumptuous elements that her property affords. Don't come to the coast without visiting or you'll really be missing out.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November Drama

Took my buddy Jennifer out to Pacific Star Winery today because the weather was unbelievable and we just had to be outside. I rarely do seascapes, but that location is so outrageous in every direction that I just had to give it a try. It's a subject that has to be interpreted rather than drafted exactly because the water is always moving and sometimes the rocks are hidden. It was fun and challenging at the same time and such delight for the soul to hang out in that inspirational environment. Hurray for Indian Summer!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bands of Fall Color

A little to the right of the first fall vineyard painting I did the other day was this scene, or the inspiration for this painting more like. There was a house behind the glowing yellow trees but it didn't make the cut even though it was my favorite pea green yellow in house paint. There was also a dumb evergreen tree that provided a nice dark anchor for the painting, but it also had to be nixed. What resulted is a calming, simplified version of that glorious day in vineyardland and I rather like that it doesn't have any dark darks.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Downright Autumn

Yep, it's downright Autumn out there in vineyardland and though the skies grew overcast, the colors were still AMAZING. The layered hillsides with their various varietals each sported their very own color which made it an awful lot of fun for me as I dressed each one up with the proper paint. Edmeades Winery has opened their tasting room again and I must say that painting at a winery is a girl's best friend because they have restrooms!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Autumn Confetti

Just like I told you, I hopped in the car and went on a gander into vineyardland today and had a visual feast fit for a queen. This is the first vineyard vista that one sees when departing from the coast, and today it was in   such glorious array that my car had no problem coming to a screeching halt. I scrambled up a little hill to be able to see and had a barrel of fun painting the layers of amazing fall colors, with the icing on the cake being the pale yellow confetti like leaves in the foreground. Even though I was hungry for lunch, I set up a 2nd panel and looked slightly to the right and did another painting! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Walk in the Forest

Those of you that know me know that you can count on one hand the times I've painted redwood trees. It's just a tough subject, trying to arrange those massive trunks and their foliage into interesting arrangements that aren't too busy. I've had fun these last couple of times and hope to go out into the woods and vineyards tomorrow to do some photography for future possibilities, plus do some painting if this amazing weather holds. My studio is upstairs and even with cross ventilation, it's been pretty hot these past couple of weeks so it will be fun to be out 'en plein air' and all that being on location brings to the work. Stay tuned and Happy November!
One more thing. I've donated a painting toward the Hurricane Sandy relief effort. Check out the paintings on Daily Paintworks and reach out in a fun and creative way.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Royally Red Vines

I must be on a fall vineyard kick now as I'm missing the current happenings out there in vineyardland. I haven't needed to drive outside of town, so I've been leafing through my photos of the autumn colors and it feels almost the same as being there. It's all rainy and bleak outside, but my studio is warm and cozy as I listen to Phil Keaggy on Pandora Radio. This piece is a scene from the home ranch of the Seghesio Winery near Geyserville and I love painting it because back lighting really gets to me in a big way. I have no idea what varietal turns this color in October and November, but isn't it out of this world???

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oaks & Vines in Autumn

Since the coastal areas can't boast hillsides of flaming maples, we cling lovingly to our vineyards that also change color. In October and early November, driving along highway 128 is like floating on a golden cloud and the scent in the air is that of snappy apples. It's a wondrous time for a romp with the top down or the windows wide open in order to catch every possible sight, sound and yummy smell. The harvest is finished and now it's time to simply rest and savor and be thankful.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sunlit Elegance

I guess you can call what I've been up to 'a series' of floral paintings. I don't know that I've done an official series before, so this is kinda neat. This one shows a sense of place, and an elegant one at that. This is our dear friends Karl and Gayle's entryway and the last time we visited them this scene just about took my breath away. It's a classic bouquet in a classic home and these folks are right classy too!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blushing Camellias

Tracked down a raft of photos of flowers and still life set ups that have been hidden from plain sight for umpteen years. It was A LOT of fun going through them and thinking about the flowers as gifts, inspiration for future paintings and seeing my different houses represented as well. Someone brought this sprig of camellias into the Mendocino Art Center one afternoon and it was great setting them on the white paper covered table because the shadow was as much, or more fun, as the subject. Someone had left a red purse on a stool in the background, hence the exciting color back there. It's so great to use paint because you can take care of photo flaws lickety split.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dazzling Daisies

Since we're on the topic of flowers and vases, might you take a peek into another side of my psyche? Sometimes I just like to work in a more free and flamboyant manner, with exaggerated colors too. The result is more playful and less realistic, but no less recognizable as flowers in sunlight eh? This is basically a watercolor, but there is some opaque and pearlescent acrylic thrown on for drama and surface excitement. Does it remind you of the finger painting from a few weeks ago?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Birthday Bouquet

The light that streams in through my dining room windows causes the heart to flutter and transforms anything from mundane to magnificent. Not that this bouquet is the least bit mundane, but you know what I mean because now the edges that meet the light are alive with light. It's been fun being on this flower kick and this one is has an overall warmth that makes me feel like sitting down with a good book, a cup of tea, and YOU.