Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Cold Morning in Locke!

This morning I joined the Sacramento Plein Air Painters Meetup Group for the regular "first Saturday of the month" paint out in Locke.  It's one of my favorite plein air locations.  Martha Esch led a small group of artists into the slough area behind Locke for a hiking and sketching trip while I stayed behind and painted the town!

In the early morning, the sun was out and, although it was chilly, it felt comfortable.  However, as the morning wore on, it got colder and colder...or so it seemed to me.  Standing virtually motionless at the easel for the better part of two hours was no doubt a large part of the challenge.  Fortunately, hot coffee was available just a walk down main street at Al the Wop's famous dive bar and restaurant.

This little plein air study is 12" x 9" on a raymar canvas panel.  I started out with a pencil sketch and even went so far as to establish my vanishing point and horizon line (thank you Terry Muira!)  And speaking of Terry, I shamelessly stole his technique as well -at least as well as I could - but then that's why I took the workshop, right Terry??  When I returned to the studio this afternoon, I added a few palette knife strokes to establish a few edges, suggest the direction of the building siding, and put in the powerlines.

Locke Cultural Center  Plein Air oil on 12" x 9" canvas panel
  Martha Esch returned with her group and snapped this photo as I was finishing up. 


  1. Thanks for showing your sketch and progression photo of this new painting. I like your use of color for the building. Very nice plein air piece.

  2. Hi Ruth...
    The color of the building in the final painting photo is actually pretty close to the awful color that the Locke Foundation painted the building a couple of years ago. Up to that point the building was unpainted weathered wood. I have several paintings of the building from that time. When they decided to turn it into a cultural center, they made the building habitable and painted it. I was aghast when I first saw it. It was (is) so incredibly out of place in Locke. Now several years later the paint is already beginning to weather and flake off...and is looking a little less awful. In another five years, it should look like it belongs in Locke: old and weathered just like me!

  3. Hi Bruce,
    Excellent work on this piece. That building was made (painted) for plein air.....the fact that coffee is available close by makes it perfect! Killer job on this one.