Monday, January 28, 2013

"Evening Light"

I live near Armstrong Woods Park in Guerneville. My friend Greg is a park ranger, and he used to live in a house at the top of the park. One evening my wife and I went up to visit him. The views and the evening light were beautiful. My wife stopped the car on the drive back down and snapped a photo of this view.

Pepperwood Preserve

This is a new version of a study I first painted two and half years ago when I took a plein air painting class at Pepperwood Preserve. It was a very hot summer day, and I was drawn to paint the curved pathway that led away from where all of us students had set up to paint.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Morning Light"

This is a closer photo of the first painting I did with my new pochade box, which I wrote about in an earlier post. I am pleased with the sense of light in the scene. This was painted in the morning along the Sonoma coast, looking inward. When I paint en plein air, I always try to get the shadows down first, and after that to get the lightest areas painted in. Then I build the rest of the painting around those parts. I love the red-orange, rusted roof on this old barn.


This is my dog, Wilson, waiting for my wife to come home from work. He starts his vigil about an hour before she's due to arrive.

Monday, January 14, 2013


"At times Monet imagined what it would have been like to be born blind and then suddenly be able to see, and to paint, without knowing what the thing one saw actually was. He felt that one's first clear look at a subject was the most honest, because it was the least sullied by preconceptions and prejudices."
--Steve Heinrich in MONET

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Only an eye

"He is only an eye, but my God, what an eye!"
Paul Cezanne, speaking of Claude Monet

Morning Commute

I teach at Rincon Valley Middle School, so I drive down River Road and then turn onto Old Redwood Highway (seen in the painting above) to get to school. I'm usually on this road some time between 6:45 and 7:15 in the morning, and the sunrises are often spectacular. This was my view one morning behind a Sonoma County bus. I don't usually paint sunrises (or sunsets), and I think my lack of experience shows. Will have to paint more of them this year!

Reading Corner at Kathleen's

About a month ago, I was in San Jose for a teacher conference. I had the good fortune to stay at my friend Kathleen's house, though she was traveling. I took my small (5" x 7") Guerilla pochade box so that I could paint in the evenings. Originally, I had planned to paint in Kathleen's garden. However, by the time I got to her house each day, the light was fading fast. I decided to paint a corner of her living room, which is a cozy reading spot. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Creating & Becoming...

"It is not just about creativity, it is about the person you are becoming while you are creating."
--Charlie Peacock

New pochade box!

Spent the final morning of 2012 painting along the Sonoma coast. I used my new Guerilla Pochade Box (a Christmas gift from my wife, Kimberly) for the first time, and it worked GREAT! This perfectly-designed pochade box holds either four 9" by 12" panels or one stretched canvas. It also comes with a cable so that I can attach a bigger canvas if I want. Was fortunate on this day to find a perfect spot to paint. I parked my car right next to the picnic table, which allowed me to open the back door so my dog could watch. Still learning to use my new water-based oil paints, and still love painting with them. I am optimistic that my abilities will progress in the new year!