Saturday, May 28, 2016

China Town in Old Tuscon

Old Tuscon is a place out in the desert ....and an old movie set. Some of your favorites were most likely filmed there! Costumed characters strolled the dusty streets, giving life to the imagination. Painted during Plein Air Convention 2016 in Tuscon, AZ. Price is unframed ($400), but framing is available from the artist - contact me from the web-site for framing possibilities and prices.


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Friday, May 27, 2016

Saguaro Forest
Click on painting for more information, and to purchase. 

I've always wanted to paint saguaro cactus...first I had to learn how to spell it!! They look so lively with their expressive "arms". And yes, there are some that look old and tired with droopy arms! I'm looking forward to painting in the desert again one day. April is a beautiful time to visit! Painted during Plein Air Convention 2016, in Tuscon, AZ. Price is unframed, but framing is available from the artist - contact me from the web-site for framing possibilities and prices. 

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Just a Couple Spots Left for the Ireland Sketchbook Tour in September

 "I dreamt I reached the Irish shore
and felt my heart rebound
From wall to wall within my breast,
as I trod that holy ground....
- Thomas D'Arcy McGee (1825-1868)
 This week, through May 31st, Aer Lingus is running air fare specials (at rates I haven't seen since before the recession!). Now is a GREAT time to book your flight, AND - plan to join us on my Ireland Sketchbook Tour class!  
My website has more details about the trip here. Our host's website to register is right here.

 Our host, Barbara Mastaglio, is an Irish American who spends time in each place during the year. Her Irish home is on Valentia Island, where we will stay in a neighboring B&B as our home base. The rolling hills are dotted with Irish cottages, sheep and cattle - idyllic views for painters! With the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Dingle Bay to our north, mainland of Ireland to the East, and the lovely fishing village of Portmagee directly across the channel to the south - we have spectacular views in ALL directions! 
 If you are a fan of beach-combing, we'll have an opportunity for that as well! There are several places to scoop up some interesting finds for sketching.

Nothing says it better than pictures though. I'm hoping you'll click through to the ValentiaArt website to see what our views are like! 

On our trip, you will learn to simplify the VAST Irish landscape to fit onto your sketchbook page. You'll learn the simple practices of sketchbook keeping enriched with watercolor washes - and bring this practice back home to your creative life. 

Create journal pages as unique as your own handwriting. I will show you how to enhance your drawings with creative page layouts and journal entries, as well as a bit of mixed media. If you think 'you can't draw', I will teach you! You'll be inspired and encouraged! 

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Time FLIES When You're Having Fun!

 "A lot of people ask me if I were shipwrecked, and could only have one book, what would it be? I always say 'How to Build a Boat'"- Stephen Wright

 "Cruising has two pleasures. One is to go out in wider waters from a sheltered place. The other is to go into a sheltered place from wider waters."
- Howard Bloomfield

 I've been told to "never apologize for your absence" on blog posts! All I can say is ...time flies when you're having fun! Sunday afternoon I had the incredibly good fortune to be invited to go out to Whalebone Cove off of the Connecticut River.  My friend Judy is helping me on a current project of CT River paintings. She knows the river quite well, and has recommended some really great spots for me to go paint.  One of her favorite places is "Whalebone Cove" - and she suggested that I go out with her and her hubby so that I could get some sketches and photos to work from, for larger oil paintings.  I felt like Monet, out there in the water! Her hubby Tom rowed, while I got to simply ride along (keeping centered in the boat mind you) with sketchbook and camera in hand. When I'd see an interesting view, I'd make a quick, loose sketch....nothing much more than "simple notations" so that I could commit to memory the things I was seeing.  The top sketch above shows us in the cove, looking out the mouth of the cove towards the river, the tall cliffs reaching up above us on one side, trees growing out of the rocks. 

Just within the cove, was a grouping of conifers, one practically laying on its side, all of them with long swooping boughs, and pine cones dangling down. 

Further up within the cove, wild rice grows in the water in wide swaths. Judy told me that by fall, these areas will be full of wild ducks and geese that fly in for a good feed.  The banks just past this particular stretch of wild rice rose up above us. A large stand of hemlocks had been eaten away by woolly adelgids. They look like a stand of skeletons rising up above us. The sketch below shows an interesting plant growing beneath the surface of the water. There was a huge stand of these as well. It almost looked like they had been planted to grow down there at one time! It might be arrowroot (?) 

Some thoughts for sketching in a small boat; keep your supplies minimal, and be satisfied with working quickly, and without much detail. Tides will keep you moving, drifting, and your waterline views will change drastically in the period of a few hours during the afternoon.  I brought a Stillman & Birn- Zeta sketchbook. I'm not greatly fond of the hard, slick paper, but I'm determined to finish out this book none-the-less, trying different working methods with this type of paper. I took a simple fine-line gel pen, made by "The Write Dudes", 0.5mm line. No pencils, just quick intuitive lines....and some waterbrushes to get a quick wash of color down before floating away to my next view. 
Here's my friend's hubby Tom, who kindly carted me all over the cove. And by the way, he BUILT THIS BOAT!! based on an early Newport yacht-maker's design from the mid-1850s, the design is a life-boat design. But what a sturdy, steady, shallow-draft, quiet boat to take a quiet afternoon in the calm waters of a cove. I felt so lucky to be able to do that- and am so grateful to both Tom and Judy for making that happen!
 Here is Judy, scouting out interesting places in the cove, keeping watch for otters!
 and a multitude of underwater plants that were so interesting- blue green leaves with long yellow stamens (?).
And last but not least, this beauty of a little boat on the shore. I'll leave you with a funny quote..."Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat....and taking the tartar sauce with you"! 

Don't forget, if you'd like a sketchbook adventure of your own, join me in Ireland this September. There are just a couple spots left, and you'll want to reserve your space at the B&B.  To register for the trip, click here. 
To find out more about the trip, click here.... and here.