Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Fall Day in the Gold Country

With the change from Daylight Savings time to Standard Pacific time only one day away, the threat of winter loomed.  My artist friends Ruth Andre and Howard Rees and I decided to try to catch a final paint out opportunity and we couldn't have been luckier.  The day was gorgeous and after the morning coolness passed, it was shirt sleeves and sun hats all day.  Both Howard and Ruth live in this beautiful country, scene of the California Gold Rush, and although I only live 40 minutes or so away, I don't visit often enough.  Each time I do, I'm impressed all over again. 

We drove down some narrow paved roads used mostly by local residents and found countless places to paint.  I neglected to bring my camera, unfortunately, so I don't have pictures of Ruth and Howard, but Ruth took these two of me and was kind enough to share them.

I'm using my new EasyL plein air easel for only the second time.  I broke it in on the trip to Bodega Bay and I'm really enjoying it.  So easy to set up and use with the colors right below the canvas and everything right at eye level.  This is a well crafted easel with the outdoors in mind.  I recommend it and plan to do a 'review' on it soon.  As you can see, the day was warm and sunny. 

I wish I had pictures of the others hard at work, but I have only this one of Howard's set up.  He got a very good painting of this scene..

I did two paintings, both unexceptional.  I've become a bit discouraged with my plein air painting...as I believe I'm mentioned in other posts.  Ordinary is the kindest thing I can think to say about most of them. 

I'm hard pressed to find any redeeming qualities in the first painting I did.  The barn in a small valley with morning light coming from the left was a very appealing subject.  Yet the painting missed everything that made the me want to paint it.  Worst of all are the greens in the painting.  Before this effort, I had already realized that I don't understand green, how to see it, how to mix it, how to vary it with the light.  After this poor effort, I am resolved to begin a small study on green in painting. 

This small 9 x 12 painting was marginally more successful.  If nothing else, I got a bit of atmosphere and space in it.  The greens are a bit better asl well, although I am aware that the tree on the left wasn't even remotely the color in the painting. 

But mediocure results or not, it was a great day...good friends and spectacular countryside were wonderful...and as my talented friend Ruth Andre would say ..they made for a painting day. 

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