Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cool Publicity

A week ago or so, a dear painter friend alerted me to an online article that featured me. I had no idea it had even happened, so was certainly glad to get her message! I had sent out a batch of photos a while back, but had quite honestly forgotten about it. (Thank you Page and thanks for the great comments everyone).  I meant to send out the link to the article that day, but we went out of town on Thursday for several days and am just now remembering it. Guess I'm too busy painting or something...........anyhow, check out the link to Outdoor Painter and Debby and Joe, check out your paintings!!!!

Captivating California

Yes, I DO live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, but there are many other fantastic stretches of coastline as well. This is an amazing spot near Big Sur and it's unique because of all the scrufty red stuff that grows along the ridges of the bluffs. Painters just love red, and I'm inclined to think that viewers do too. It's a 'wow' color that makes us feel happy inside, while complimentary to the background mountains and a nice foil for the varieties of blue within the glorious ocean. Hope you enjoy taking a jaunt down the California coast with me and sense your own inner borders broadening as a result.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Coastal Glow

I head down this hill to my house and yesterday took a shot from my car in hopes of making a painting soon. Well, today was the day, just like that. I love the shape of this house and 'its tree' as it stands against the backdrop of sky and ocean and have painted it many times. Kinda wish I owned this place, but it's been fun to capture it every so often over the years. I suppose there isn't a structure in town that I haven't painted since I've been visiting Mendocino for 35 years, so you might say I know this place like the back of my hand.........

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Peek Around the Water Towers

Here's another opportunity to visit my village from an unlikely perch just below the high school. We had a Hungarian foreign exchange student living with us two years ago and I took her to school most mornings. On my way down the hill one day, I made sure the school bus wasn't behind me and stopped my car in order to take this shot. Like I've shared before, this little tiny town is packed with photo and painting ops and I never have any trouble coming up with something to work from. Hurray for such a visual feast!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cottage in the Vineyard

Not long ago, I visited this spot in the Anderson Valley with my buddy Leslie in order to start a painting. It's a bit secluded, behind the tasting room of the Standish Winery and it took us a fair amount of time to settle on just the right painting location. We got out our easels and all the materials, set up our chairs and began to dive in. I did the drawing and just as I was going to apply the paint, realized that I'd left my palette knife back in the studio! ARRGGGHHHHH, is the nicest way I can describe how I felt. I rummaged around in my purse for something else to use and after trying a nail file and the end of a small tube of lotion, finally heaved a sigh and packed everything back up. Poor Leslie, it wasn't her issue but she had to leave too. I took some photos and was able to produce a nice painting back in town, and now I'm offering a tiny version of the same lovely vantage point. This time I was equipped and now you know another one of my crazy stories.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hills of Coral and Blue

Ok people, I'm offering a looser, goosier version of my inner self. Edges that are less defined along with fewer brushstrokes and an overall ethereal quality. I painted this while visiting with my Mom and her 2 cents really resonated with me, so this can even be dubbed "Painting by Committee"! Besides all of that, this location is a lovely pond in Hopland, California and the barn with the tower is actually a hop kiln. Hope you like this simple little sketch of a painting and that it brings with it a breath of fresh air.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wine and Roses

One of the true glories of summer is roses with a capital 'R'. All the colors, all the types and all the fragrances just send you into orbit. Maybe there's a reason that roses are planted near vineyards (they are susceptible to the same diseases and act as guinea pigs), but I am most transfixed by the aesthetics. This is the V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena, and I love it because it's like going to Italy without hopping a plane. Just look at that rustic, old style building, and the inside is just as grand. I've painted it many times, but this is the first time to include the luscious blossoms. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Old World Portico

This colorful and textural portico was the gracious entry of a French farmhouse that we stayed in one year. It was a tiny village near Carpentras and surprisingly, we were on the Tour de France route and were able to make posters and wave to them as they zipped by. It's not easily apparent, but this painting was done with a palette knife and has lots of yummy texture which makes it almost feel three dimensional. I made the mistake of telling the hosts that I especially liked goat cheese, not realizing how many STINKY varieties there were! Since then I've been more specific about asking for the mild, young cheeses, but it made for great laughs amoungst our group after we left this otherwise fabulous place.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Brilliant Morning

Cresting the Lansing Street hill and heading down into town can be a cheek pinching experience. To see the morning sun lighting up the facades of our proud old wooden buildings is one thing, but to see that surf crashing in the bay beyond is just too much for words. It causes a lump to rise in your throat and even a tear to well up in your eye on certain days such as this. Glad I can share one such moment and maybe this will convince you to visit, if you haven't done so 100 times already, or up and moved here yourself.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Yep, It's Summer

Here's yet another fantastic vantage point in this quaint little village by the sea that I call home. My friend Leslie says that we can plant two by fours in the ground here and they will bloom, and though funny it's not that far from the truth! Our mild climate suits most flowering plants to a "T" and it's often hard to tell just what season it is because many things are still blooming in the middle of January. However, it's that deep blue band in the background that  takes everyone's breath away.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Irish Stone Walls

Back to my newly discovered Irish roots, to an inspirational spot along the Dingle Peninsula. I have the sea to my back as I gaze up into the hills that are have been adorned for centuries with these winding stone walls that separate small plots of land. Sometimes there are sheep or cows within the enclosures, but more often they are just zig zagging up and down the hills in haphazard fashion and giving the land a glorious sense of antiquity. Leslie and I stayed close to this spot and heard our innkeeper tell us that her kids were extras in the film 'Far and Away' that was filmed on the beach just below my scene. 'Ryan's Daughter' was also filmed in the same area, so you can see why we settled on this location to drink up some visual vitality.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Happening Place

Fort Bragg's Noyo Harbor is a hustling and bustling working harbor. It is delightful to drive down there and catch a whiff of fish and salt air and see the seagulls checking for tidbits. (Hopefully we don't end up with certain tidbits on our heads) Many lovely restaurants share the docks with the fishing boats and people dining can be seen waving to the passing fishermen as they come or go.  The place is just funky enough to be paintable and just snazzy enough to dine well with a great view. A painter's paradise it certainly is.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fabulous Fog

Sometimes fog can be downright dreamy as evidenced by this Sonoma County back road. If my husband is driving, I get to shoot up the countryside to my heart's content and you can tell that my vantage point was right in the middle of the Old Lakeville Road. The colors are subtle, the textures and edges are soft and that one little lit up window is an invitation to go inside and get cozy. It's time to make a pot of soup or maybe just curl up with a book then head to Papa's Taverna after a while.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lingering Glow

This is my reaction to drizzly fog. I'd painted a larger version of this scene with a palette knife some time ago and was quite honestly sad to sell it. I guess I'm just a push-over for this dreamy almost-evening light. It makes my mother in law melancholy, but does the opposite to me. It gives me that frantic, I have to take 1,000 photos kind of feeling, or if I sit still, it carries me into deep places of the heart. Driving around Mendocino during the 'magic hour' is one of the most pleasurable experiences of a lifetime, that's for sure and for certain.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Murder She Wrote Rerun

Got in my car today in hopes that I could park in such a spot that I could see "Jessica Fletcher's" house again. This is quite the popular local landmark, and my earlier painting seems to be following suit. This time I've included a bit of the neighborhood, complete with snippets of lavender fog that's been wafting about most of the day today. It's such a joy to be on location, if just in my car and looking out the window!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cypress Dance

Thankfully, there was a break in the fog that was forecast to last all week. It was a glorious day, so I headed north with my dear friend Kersti in tow, and we lounged in the tall grass while I worked and she read. It was one of those memorable coastal days with the warm sunshine, sweet breezes and all the beachy sounds you'd expect to hear. Birds chirping, waves lapping, children playing in the surf and the occasional photographer snapping the same view as me. However, I had the advantage of placing this graceful stand of cypress trees closer to the end of the bluff to create a more inviting image. Ah, the life of a painter, decisions, decisions, decisions. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

One Blustery Day

The fog came in today and since I'm a fair weather painter, I opted for my 2nd story studio with the warmth and comfort it affords. This scene is certainly a cousin to several that preceded it, though each little village lane has its own personality. Simply put, Mendocino is a picture postcard kind of town and everywhere you look, there is a painting waiting to happen. Actually MANY paintings can be made from one single plot measuring 3x3 feet as in each direction there is something wonderful to capture. I did that one time in Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard as I stood in one spot and did 4 paintings. Those east coasters are who settled this stretch of our coast, so it's no wonder they are visual cousins too................

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fun and Funky

This scene is a half block east of yesterday's painting along one of Mendocino's funky gravel alleys. I had to stand on the floor board of my car to get a shot that showed enough of the bay, so this one was done from my photo whilst in the comfort of my sunny little studio. My home town affords innumerable painting possibilities, so I look forward to hanging out a lot now that the weather is improving, either in my car or sitting in a clump of weeds. I hope that I am enticing you to plan an actual getaway, but in the meantime that you enjoy how I 'seize the day in a tangible way'. Maybe that will be the title for my upcoming book of these little paintings.........

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mendocino in May

The Spring weather in Mendocino has supposedly been wonderful. I say that because it has been gloriously sunny, but the wind has been persistently fierce and has sadly kept me indoors. I decided that today was the day to try painting from the comfort of my car so that I could be 'on location' without having to deal with the elements. Using this small format I can happily report that I may have discovered something quite wonderful. I was able to park in a level spot and place my materials on the passenger seat and paint the fabulous view before you! Can you believe that such a place exists right around the corner from my house? Hip, hip, hurray is all I have to say.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Seaside Silhouette

I had the privilege of living next door to Vanessa and her amazing garden for 9 years, and this is her gazebo on a golden summer evening. We vacation rent that house now and a few sets of guests have used this lovely location as their wedding 'chapel'. It's a hidden treasure to be sure and if you come to visit me one day, we'll sneak over there and share a cup of tea and make a special Mendocino memory.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Murder She Wrote

Jessica Fletcher has spent time in this house as it was used as the set for the once famous television series, Murder She Wrote. It is known here as The Blair House and is now a B&B. Visitors wander around town looking for it, but thankfully don't see any evidence other than heresay. Our best buddy Rick Sacks the famous artist/sign painter created signs for the show that presented our sleepy little burg as Cabot Cove Maine. Maybe you want to check out some of the old episodes and take a walk down memory lane, literally and figuratively. Besides this little piece, check out the pics below too.

Dan Hitchcock, my very own Dad, posed yesterday for a portrait group that I attend on most Monday mornings and you'll see what I did in honor of his 80th birthday which happens to be today, the 8th of May.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Santa Cruz Sunshine

Heard from my darling French friend Marie Gabrielle yesterday and it made me think both of France and Santa Cruz where she spends most of her time. I love wandering along any cliff side roadways that reveal ocean vistas along with beachy dwellings, and discovered this scene a couple of years ago. Isn't this just the situation of your dreams, to be perched above azure waters complete with the occasional sailboat? No joke, this boat was in my photo so this painting isn't even romanticized. However, the overall impression is QUITE romantic eh?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ocean Peek

I've definitely been on a Mendocino kick lately. It's close to home and also to my heart, so it's been fun to take you out and about in my tiny little town by the sea. Here is Calpella Street all dressed up for Springtime and my dear friend Michele was blessed to live on this street a while back. Her house is 2nd from the right and Dave and Marion live next door. At the bottom of the hill and just out of view is the little house we live in and maybe I'll get around to painting it one of these days!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mendocino Dreamin'

Now here's a combination of 1892 and 2012 for ya as the cars give it away. One day about 24 years ago, I showed some postcards of my artwork to the innkeeper at our B&B in England and one of them showed several of these same buildings on Main Street in Mendocino. When she got to that one, she said, "I don't much like this one, I don't like all the modern buildings." Needless to say I was dumbstruck as we here in California think that these relics are pretty special and OLD. I had no answer for her, but I present them to you in all their sunlit glory along with a little gleaming modern metal.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

September Sunset

Here's another offering from my corner of the coast, just a few short steps from yesterday's vantage point. This is Ukiah Street looking due west and into the glorious blue beyond. It is such a privilege to live within eye-shot of such exquisite beauty and something I never take for granted. Observing me with my easel or camera is like watching a kid in a candy shop- all wide eyed and frantic. It's a tad risky to be following me in my car because I'm apt to slam on the breaks if I see something riveting. I assure you though that I do look in the rear view mirror before I stop...................

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Corner of the Coast

These are the gorgeous long shadows that appear at the end of a summer day, and right in my neck of the woods. It takes me about 30 steps to get to this vantage point and I love it at all times of the day, during all times of the year. Years and years ago I did a watercolor of this scene from a photo I'd taken and surprisingly there are power poles and lines in that painting. I've been coming to Mendocino long enough to have seen it turn into an official historic district and watched all the lines go underground. It's amazing what a simple thing like that does to a landscape as now you can't tell if it's 1892 or 2012....................

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

French Flowers

This scene is from a cottage in the hamlet of Avejan, about an hour or so from Avignon. The nearest village is Barjac and I was happy to see it featured in a documentary we recently watched called "The French Organic Revolution". It is well worth the watch and you're sure to be inspired in many ways along the lines of health. It has nothing to do with this painting, but how neat to know that an obscure little region in a faraway land has put itself on the map in such a great way! In the meantime, do stop to smell the flowers and sit a spell.