Friday, October 5, 2012

Back to Ft. Bragg and Mendocino

For the second year in a row, I joined the Howard Rees Workshop in Ft. Bragg and Mendocino. 

The weather couldn’t have been more beautiful.  It was sun every single day.  We did not see a cloud or a fog bank until Thursday when it was gray in the early morning, but blue skies and fluffy clouds by 11 am.  The group was small, but all good friends from the previous workshop and many others: Rusty and Elaina, Andy and Cindi, Renee and Noni, Barbara and Mario and of course, Howard and Janey.

For this plein air excursion, I set the goal to push my boundaries a little bit and also to bring my paintings to a more finished state (I don’t want any more half- done plein air paintings).  For the first goal, I tried hard to loosen up in the beginning with very broad abstract lay-ins.  I think it helped…but I still have far, far to go.  I was most pleased with my results on the second goal.   I used 16 x 20 canvas and did only one painting a day.  Most days I was done early…probably around 2 pm or so…but I tried to take my time, relax, think and refine without overworking.   On Thursday, with only the morning to paint, I used a 12 x 16 panel.   With the exception of the Mendocino painting, I think all of them are finished right from the field.   I like the Mendocino painting, but it needs a bit more work in the middle and foreground. I'll wait until it sets a bit and then try to refine it a bit more. 

On the first day we went down to Point Cabrillo, about halfway between Ft. Bragg, where we were staying, and Mendocino.  It was a spectacular location with lots to paint.  I felt my painting on this day was very successful.  With some very good tips from Howard, I think I got a good plein air effort.  It has the looseness generally associated with plein air, but consistent with my goal, I think it is a bit more finished.  I tried to bring lights and darks into sharper contrast and to model forms more than I usually do, yet not lose the freedom of plein air work.  I'm pleased with the result.  

Pt. Cabrillo Morning   Plein Air Oil on 16" x 20" canvas
Howard and Andy
 UPDATE:  This painting was DONATED to the Sacramento Fine Arts Center for the "Ars Gratia Arts" fund raising event, November 2012. 

 Below are a few of the folks from the workshop.  Missing is Barbara.  I don't think I took a photo of her, but I don't know why!  Also missing are all of the patient spouses Janey (Howard), Cindi (Andy), Elena (Rusty) and Noni (Renee).  A great group!



  1. I love this painting, beautiful!! Wish I could have been there!

  2. We missed you Vickie! Next year, OK??