Saturday, June 30, 2012

Daydream Evening

Our hosts George and Carol live across the street from this amazing stretch of coastline, so it was delightful one evening to just walk over there with our supplies and take in the wonder of it all. The sun was washing over everything in that saturated golden light and there were very few actual dark values. It has a certain dreamlike quality because of that and serves to 'take you away' with it on some kind of golden cloud. Carslbad is certainly a lovely spot on God's green earth and the quality of air and light are equally sumptuous.  Mmmmm, good.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Seaside Neighborhood

This scene finds us in Cardiff-by-the-Sea in one of the many hillside neighborhoods where the houses sit all jumbled up in glorious array. The styles vary, the gardens are magnificent and everyone shares the salt air and see breezes in relative harmony. It's hard to find a spot to plant an easel that isn't in the middle of the road or on someone's property, so we took some photos and went immediately to a friend's studio and uploaded them to a large screen. We listened to Pandora radio and had a peachy keen afternoon whiling away the hours together with paintbrushes and light hearts.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lawn Ornament

My 12 day adventure began in Mary Lou's garden in Live Oak, California, when Leslie and I taught a lovely group of 14 students. This funky but colorful bike was what caught my eye on the first day, so 
the group got to watch me simplify the background to make the subject matter really stand out. I loved the bright yellow green of the lawn and the shadow that the front tire and flower basket cast on that amazing blanket of light. You'll also get to see some coastal inspirations once I get used to the way I have to post them from afar. Like I said yesterday, this whole tech thing away from home is a bit daunting and I am not able to create an auction for the Daily Paintworks site. Hope you enjoy the visuals in the meantime and I'll get things organized next week when I return. In the meantime, we're loving the beachy environment and feel so blessed to be cared for by dear, dear friends. Vacation mode to the max......................sigh.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Good Morning Dear Followers-
I don't really mean to be taking time off from my blog, it's just that I'm experiencing technical difficulties while on my painting trip in Southern California! I hope to be posting again tomorrow and will fill you in a little bit on my adventure. For now I'll just add that the weather is sublime and the warmth of the sunshine mixed with the sea breezes is the best summer treat a girl could have. Thanks for hanging with me and I hope that I can show you some really great stuff this next week.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Billowing Blossoms

My beloved Mendocino in full Spring weed bloom. This is Heidler field with all the wild mustard and radish that creates a colorful cloudlike backdrop to the sweetest town by the sea. It's sure fun to paint a 'pathway' of light blossoms that lead you into the scene of jumbled up houses, hotels and watertowers with a slice of blue beyond. Not to mention the cypress trees that define the north coast of California in a very unique and special way. Hope you've enjoyed the romp and that you don't end up with hay fever.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Haybales and Hilltops

Also in preparation for the trip I'm on, I delved into my Tuscany archives and discovered a photo of this remote roadway. In between the two hills is a farmhouse that I've stayed in twice, so re-visiting this location was a sweet treat indeed. I love the rustic and back country feel of this particular region which is far away from the madding crowds of Florence and Sienna. We packed our art supplies on our backs and tromped up and down this road more than once and I have a treasure trove of paintings and photos as a result. You can now  be an armchair traveler along with me as we amble along at a snail's pace, reveling in the unspoiled beauty of this authentic and ancient faraway land.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Misty Headlands

In preparation for an 11 day teaching and painting trip that I've just embarked on, I went out early yesterday morning to capture the headlands on location even before I ate breakfast. I was excited to see the early morning light and sped to a spot just north of Mendocino where there is a perfect pull out for me to do a drive-by painting. (My mother-in-law actually thought I was driving AND painting at the same time)(So funny)
Anyhow, as I was making the two minute trip, the fog began to cover the sun and when I arrived, the scene was all but blanketed. I must say though, that the mist created some wonderful layers in the background and I rather like the subtlety of the whole panorama. I'm sure hoping that you do too.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Jumpin' Geraniums

I have no idea where I took this photo, but since it is full on geranium season now,  I was inspired to capture their essence. I love how cheerful they are, plus resilient and hardy. Sometimes the simplest things in life can bring great joy and pleasure, like saturated color in garden containers on stone patios. The shadows are almost as much fun as the flowers themselves and just having fun flicking the paintbrush to create the highlights. Painting is certainly a great pastime and profession and I truly love sharing tidbits of my daily life with you lovely people.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Picturesque Portofino

I've only been to Portofino once, but it was memorable enough to last a lifetime. I took a zillion photos and have fun with them over the years, but never have I tried to fit so much into such a small canvas. The bay actually winds along on both sides of what I've shown here and is quite the majestic and glorious site. It's truly ideal that you can climb the hills opposite the waterfront and get this kind of view and it's no wonder that visitor flock there in droves. The locals do have a bit of an uppity air about them, but when you live in a place as special and fabulous as this, it's pretty easy to understand!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Amble Through the Vineyard

If you don't know this about my husband and me, we have bought many dilapidated structures over the years and spruced them up. I have the vision for the final results and he has the ability to demolish and re-build. We've made a great team and have worked really hard on each project. We're just about ready though to slow down and smell the roses. In the meantime, I switched places with him and took the wrecking ball to a painting I posted a few weeks ago! I up and tore down the cottage in the vineyard and re-aligned the plantings so that now it is easy to get out into the wide open spaces. I feel like walking right into my own painting and that is a fun feeling. It's still a real place out in the Anderson Valley and I could take you there if you have a hankering to see it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Seaside Sunset

This is an amazing sunset at Seaside Beach, ten or so miles north of Fort Bragg and a favorite of locals and visitors alike. It is one of the rare beaches where the roadway practically meets the surf, so it is easily accessed and all of us just love to jump out of the car and BE THERE NOW. Aren't we blessed to have such beauty at the tip of our sandy toes?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fading Fast

This barn is a relic here on the Mendocino Coast and will soon be gone due to lack of care. It sits just above highway 1 in a neighborhood called Surfwood, and quite the majestic perch it is don't you think? You can see the slivers of light pouring through the roofing boards just inside the opening which is evidence that it can't last all that much longer. In the meantime though it is still a grand wonder to behold and we cherish it, imagining how it might have been used in bygone days. The painting might need a sheep or two, but that just wouldn't be true to life at this point in time. Instead, feel calmed by the crashing waves and serene view of the   aging antique against the vast blue body of water beyond.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Kasten and Calpella

My favorite vantage points in any coastal town are places where I can see the ocean beyond the houses. That way the viewer gets to 'visit' someone in their cozy abode and see just where it's situated. I've painted Calpella Street scenes over and over, but this one is a bit different as I parked my car near the post office and looked across Heidler field. This is the big field in the middle of town that has a path worn across it diagonally for all the high school kids to access the local deli at lunchtime. It's quite the busy spot as it's also next to the post office, so I saw all sorts of people walk by while I was sneakily painting in my car.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Glistening Sea

I drove around last evening looking for a spot that I could park and paint from the comfort of my car. Yep, it's been windy again and much too treacherous to set up outside. Out on Todd's Point south of Fort Bragg there is a lavish, newly built Victorian house that sits right on the edge of the cliff. What attracted me to this scene though was the roadway leading to the arbor and house and the way the heather and lavender were all back-lit. The icing on the cake was the blinding white gleam on the ocean, and it was hard to look straight into the sun without wearing sunglasses! I took them off to mix colors, so it was on again, off again throughout my delightful little excursion in the front seat of my parked car.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lyrical Light

My husband and I drove to town together today, so I wasn't able to set up my easel in this spot and paint it right there and then. I jumped out and took a photo and made tracks to the studio to do it while the feelings were fresh. This is just around the bend from the recent seascape and it's wonderful to be seizing the day by sharing images with you that are right under my nose. I loved how the foreground bluff cast a shadow across the water with the full sun on the background rocks, and all the colors within this vertical swath of water. I don't take this daily visual feast for granted, just in case you were wondering.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

French Melody

Some years ago I had a hankering to do a painting with red dominance and pulled an image like this out of my head. I love French chairs and shutters, so made them the focal points and did an acrylic painting. I have the painting on the wall of my kitchen, but since today was foggy and cold, decided to warm things up by re-doing that painting in miniature and this time with oil paints. This one is actually quite different, with more textures on the wall and patterns on the tablecloth even though it's so small. Sara sent me a fun article on Provence yesterday and it got my heart a'panting for that lovely region and all that it affords the senses. I don't think I'll be going back anytime soon, so this exercise managed to transport me in a fun and frivolous way.

(Wanted to also apologize for my seen/scene and mite/tad typos yesterday. I was too wrung out to check and re-check!)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Out of the Ordinary

Been a bit under the weather again, even though the weather is GLORIOUS. Sunny, but a mite windy so today I parked my car and painted this seen while looking over my dashboard. I drive by this amazing view every single day and though I've stopped to take photos, today was the first time I painted on location. After 26 years of living here, I was due to finally take advantage of an extraordinary moment in time. Life is made up of a series of ordinary moments with some spectacular ones thrown in now and then. Today was such a day, and while painting I was hearing the lyrics of Eric Bibb's song "Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down". Wow, great timing Eric.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Good Evening

As I meander or race through the Anderson Valley, I always have time for taking a photo or two or ten. This lighting condition requires me to paint from a photo as it is so fleeting, besides staring into the sun isn't all that comfortable. This is that time of day that gives me an ache inside, maybe because I'm a helpless romantic and love how everything is soft, warm and glowing. I love the layers of vineyards, fields and meadows backed by tree studded hills and mountains. Large oaks and redwoods frame many of the scenes and the occasional barn lets you know that people are around and tending to all this beauty. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Together Contemplating

Imagine such a place to sit and reconnect, both with someone you love as well as your spirit. This bluff is along the coastline in Elk, California, one of those tiny towns that if you blink you pass it. However, keeping your eyes open there reveals all sorts of amazing visual treasures and I recommend you make an intentional visit someday. Each of the lodging establishments hug the cliff, so the views you'll find are rare and astonishing. To deviate from the romantic, even parts of the film "Karate Kid 3" were shot there! I usually leave people out of my paintings in hopes that you can better place yourself in the scene and this one is no exception, so I hope you can sit a spell and feel replenished.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Heavenly Hillside

Yet another idyllic place that you wished you owned a little piece of. This is Poros Island in the Saronic Gulf of Greece. I discovered it in 1992 by responding to an ad in an art magazine for a painting holiday led by Pamela Rogers. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life to revel in the beauty and antiquity of that unspoiled little corner of the world. The light...........the water...........the boats............. the whitewashed villas...............the tavernas and their amazing food................the hills that climb up from the depths, dotted with sheep and goats, cypress and olive trees. So much to take in, so I did it in little bites every few years and she has become one of my dearest friends on earth. This is the view from her art studio window which I painted on location a few years ago and now offer a tiny version in order to 'visit' there again. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


All the fixins for summer fun are right here in capital letters. Dontcha just love that feeling of sand between your toes while you plunk down your stuff and sink the umbrella? You almost can't wait to take a dip, then sit down to read a favorite book or just gaze across the vast expanse of blue before you. It's the quintessential summer at the seashore, the stuff our favorite dreams are made of.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lazy Days of June

This is the pastoral view from Handley Cellars in the Anderson Valley. Looking across to the vineyards, fields and mountains, we take a little up and down journey through colors, textures and lively shapes. This is early summer as the grapes are budding, the sheep are grazing and the vine tender is in a hammock lazing. Lemonade awaits on the porch and the kids are coming around for dinner before long, but they'll be good and tired after their day at the river. We love these kind of days, just reveling in being alive and breathing in that summer air that is full of hope and joy.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Situated by the Sea

Here we are in Westport again, just a couple of doors down from the last little scene. This house is actually under construction right now but I can work wonders with a paintbrush in just a coupla licks. It's more of an idealized rendition of what I really saw, but it is the essence of this seaside situation in the sleepy little berg up north. Today we are having a bit of rain, so I relish the hours I spent out of doors just a few days ago. Yesterday was our 34th anniversary and we tromped around the headlands in Mendocino, so stay tuned for some new paintings are a result of seeing a whole new side of my stomping grounds. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Humble Yet Majestic

This is the first painting I did yesterday in Westport, when the morning sun had just crested the high mountains. There are many old funky Victorian houses in Westport, but look at the glorious place they're situated in. That's how I settled on the title for this piece, and I might add that Westport is quite the well kept secret. Just driving there from Mendocino and Fort Bragg is worth the price of gas, as it truly resembles the west coast of Ireland. Sweeping stretches of grassland meet with rocky bluffs while cypress and eucalyptus frame the grazing cattle. If you happen to visit on the weekend, the newly refurbished Westport Hotel is a grand destination for dinners, English high tea and Sunday Brunch. Otherwise, the little market has enough to snack on as you amble along the headlands or down to the beach. Hope to bump into you there someday...........

Friday, June 1, 2012

Looking Toward the Lost Coast

Finally, a humdinger of a glorious day for painting outside. I made a bee line for Westport, just north of Fort Bragg and visited with my painting friend Kathryn LeMieux while I worked on a few new paintings. It was the yummiest summery day and I was sad to drive back into town to attend to other stuff. Soon after getting into the studio the fog came in, so I don't feel bad being indoors. I mostly feel GREAT for getting up early and taking advantage of the sunshine and being in one of my very favorite places on earth. Yes, Mendocino is awesome, but the funkiness and quiet of Westport is ideal for people like me. Yippppeeee.