Friday, November 11, 2011

Joshua Tree

Desert Window, 21 3/8" x 12"

Last fall, we visited Palm Springs for a couple of weeks. It was nice to extend summer (temp in the 90°s) for a bit at that time of year , just when the cold is beginning to set in at home. It's very refreshing to see palm trees and relax by the pool in November! Having visited it only briefly before, one excursion I wanted to make was to Joshua Tree National Park, with the hope of getting some photos for painting reference. I especially wanted to capture the morning light and strong shadows. Ironically, we arrived at the park early enough, but had gone to the south entrance and most of the boulder formations and trees are nearer the north side, so by the time we drove through the park, the light had started to change. It's still quite an amazing place however, and I enjoyed translating it into watercolor!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dordogne Countryside

Dordogne River View, 10 1/4" x 14 1/4"

I thought this as a pretty scene with the chateau and the river. The composition with the row of trees was interesting and I also thought that painting the reflections in the river would be a bit of a challenge, and it was, but it turned out okay. Just a nice summer view!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

One Man (and One Woman) Show

The nice folks at Pavé Fine Jewelry in downtown Bend (on the corner of Bond and Minnesota), have graciously invited my wife Gabrielle Taylor and I to display some of our work and be on hand for the October First Friday Art Walk!  She and I thought it might be fun to do a show together.  Gabrielle is a jewelry artist creating beautiful work in silver metal clay and quality gemstones, whose work has been represented by Pavé for some time.  Having never shown my watercolors before, I thought this would be a great opportunity to give it a try!  Please stop in and say hi during the First Friday event, Oct. 7, or throughout the rest of the month and take a look at our art!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Golden Bicycle

La Bicyclette d'Or, 14 1/2" x 17 1/2"

This was a scene from the farmhouse where we stayed near Mouleydier, in the Dordogne region in France. I thought it was a rather quintessentially European country image with the bicycle, flowers and rustic building. I also enjoyed the concentration of golden hues and felt that it had a warm, summery feel to it. One of the great things about painting from my travel photos is that I get to re-experience the ambience of those wonderful places!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lake Tahoe, again

Tahoe Shore 2, 14 3/4" x 11 1/4"

Lake Tahoe is such a picturesque area with the beautiful blue water and granite boulders, and is  always an inspiration. This was sort of a quickie, once again trying to keep it fast and loose, without getting too wrapped up in details and the end result. I find that it's often refreshing and helpful for me to simply make a point of that right from the start, and it's something I should probably practice more often.

Monday, June 27, 2011

California Coastline

Big Sur, 14 3/4" x 11 1/4"

A couple of years ago, my wife and I took a nice road trip, part of which was driving up Hwy. 1 along the California coast. I hadn't been on it for quite some time, but it's still beautiful and certainly quintessential California! One of the loveliest stretches is through the Big Sur area. Here, I tried to capture some of that beauty and also make my first attempt at painting the ocean. I messed up the sky on this initially, but actually managed to save it, and then went on to do exactly the same thing while painting the water! One of the things I have learned with watercolor is to give it another try if you think you've screwed something up - it often works and besides, if you already think it's ruined you've got nothing to loose!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Place de Vosges

Place de Vosges, 10 1/4" x 14 1/4"

Paris is filled with beautiful parks, and this one was right across the street from where we were staying. With their wonderful water fountains and manicured gardens, they are very popular and frequented daily by locals and tourists alike. This was a small painting I tried to do quickly and loosely, and to convey a stroll through the park on a warm summer day. One of my goals in watercolor is trying to give the impression/suggestion of the image without fussing the details; giving the viewer the opportunity to "complete" the scene with their imagination. Including people in my paintings is also something I'm working on, and once again, without being too detailed about it!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Parisian Elegance

Pigalle Balcony 21 1/2" x 14"

Wandering through Paris, it's impossible not to be enthralled with it's beauty, and certainly the architecture is at the forefront. Every avenue seems to be lined with elegant buildings displaying elaborate architectural details, from sculptural stone work to decorative wrought iron. This was actually a fairly typical large multi-story building with numerous windows and balconies, and altogether striking. One of the more difficult things for me, when faced with an abundance of rich imagery like that, is in defining a focal point and distilling it down to the essence of what I want to say. So I reduced it to this view of a single balcony enhanced by the summer flowers, which really 'explained' my interest in the whole building. Interestingly, the street level of the building was unoccupied store fronts covered in graffiti, which were a marked contrast to the classical details of the apartments above. Although there was probably a painting involving that juxtaposition as well, I preferred this instead!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

More French Scenery

River View, Mouleydier 21 1/2" x 14"

Another painting of France, in fact it's the same building as in the previous post viewed from across the river. I found this scene inspiring, not only in it's architectural beauty, but also from a compositional point of view. The diagonal zig-zag of the of the rampart, treetops and clouds along with the vertical elements of the stairs, the evergreens and buildings created an interesting dynamic. I also enjoyed the shadows and dappled sunlight coming through the trees on a summer afternoon. I wasn't quite sure how I was going to deal with the lacy foliage of the trees against the darks or the masonary of the walls when I began, but apparently that seems to be standard operating procedure - just dive in and figure it out!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Inspiration of France

 Hotel de Ville, Mouleydier, 11" x 14 3/4"

A couple of years ago we took an absolutely delightful trip to France; spending time in Paris, the Loire Valley, the Dordogne region, Brittany and many places in between. It was a splendid adventure, sharing all the beauty and hospitality of France with family and friends. I also discovered that there's a "Kodak Moment" around every corner, and easily managed to max out my camera's memory card! The method to my photographic madness was in fact, to bring home not only memories, but also plenty of imagery for painting.

This painting of the city hall in Mouleydier, where we stayed in the Dordogne, was the first of several I have done. French architecture is gorgeous, and I thought even this small building merited a painting. Just for fun, I did the entire piece with a No. 12 Round brush in an effort to keep it rather loose, and I think it created a somewhat soft impressionistic feel.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Northwest Watercolor Society Open Exhibition

In for the Evening, 18" x 18"

I'm very pleased to announce that my painting "In for the Evening" was accepted into the Northwest Watercolor Society's 2011 71st Annual Open Exhibition and also included on the announcement!  The exhibition will be on display from March 21st through May 13th, at the Mercer View Gallery in Mercer Island, Washington. This piece was a bit different than my typical work, but I thought it captured the wonderful tranquillity of the early evening light.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An Image Flies Into View!

Copper Convergence, 9 1/4" x 21 1/4"

I was standing at the kitchen sink one afternoon looking out the window, when a robin flew down for a visit to our birdbath. It was one of those moments when everything seems to align to create a beautiful image - there was the red-breasted robin on the copper birdbath against a backdrop of the rust colored twigs of a fall shrub - truly a convergence of copper hued elements! It begged to be painted! Naturally, I ran for my camera and managed to get several photos, with the birds being amazingly cooperative! This was the most complex painting I'd done thus far and though it was challenging, I was pretty pleased with the result.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Another Vineyard Scene

Vine and Roses, 21 5/8" x 14 1/4"

I spent a couple of years studying architecture and my wife and I also designed our home and  several remodeling projects.  We both have an attraction to architectural design and beautiful spaces which shows up in many of our travel photos as well as in my artwork.

The tasting room at Amador Cellars vineyard (also near Plymouth, CA), with it's concrete and timber construction, and tall wainscot and clerestory windows had a bit of a European flavor to it, and it inspired me to do a painting of it - so here it is! I thought the perspective of the view emphasized the building and made for a nice composition, along with the roses creating a rhythm and drawing  your eye into the scene. The shadows cast by the deep eaves were really fun to paint in at the end!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wine Country

Wine Time (Red Umbrellas), 11 1/2" x 15 1/8" 

While touring through the Sierra Nevada foothills a few years ago, we stopped at Young's Vineyard near Plymouth, California. Enjoying their wines and their beautiful gardens offered the inspiration for this piece. This shaded terrace overlooking the vineyards was especially inviting. Over the years, I've noticed Adirondack chairs seem to occasionally be the focus in artwork, probably because of their interesting shape and their traditional white or bright colors. What I found intriguing about these was that they were unfinished weathered  wood, which reflected the character of the old barrels and also seemed to mimic the color of the dappled shadows. The combined effect was a pleasant feeling of tranquility, which I tried to capture.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Beautiful Boulders

Tahoe Shore 1, 11 1/2" x 15 1/8"

With this painting, I was trying to work more loosely and allow the medium to display it's fluidity - which is the true beauty of watercolor. This scene of granite boulders along the shore of Lake Tahoe was my first opportunity to experiment with gray hues. In reality the granite is a very even neutral gray value, but by mixing the grays using the primaries it created much more variety and interest in the way the colors interact. Dropping some color into the washes of the mountains created some subtle detail while still representing the imagery convincingly. To me, the ability to see the nuances of the medium itself is what makes watercolor truly distinctive and dynamic!