Monday, August 31, 2009

San Quentin Ca.

You'd never know from the peaceful setting that I was walking distance from death row, but there I was. This is some kind of pump house or something on Main St. heading to the main gate of the penitentiary. I drive by this spot everyday on my way to work, and decided to explore this beautiful little peninsula on my way home.

Down the street from San Quentin 6x8 O/P

There's a rather quaint little community outside the gates, and some stunning views overlooking the Bay, no wonder developers are salivating over the prospect of shutting down the prison. There was beautiful late afternoon light on this little structure just crying out to be painted, but the best light hit just as I was wrapping up ( of course!), the sky went all purples and reds, but it was just too late to add it's full intensity to my little sketch. I did sneak some in, but it's really another painting. Enough chasing of the light for one session. Even though the final product isn't much more than future reference for another painting, this was one of those sessions that make you glad to be an outdoor painter. Despite being a stones throw from the Richmond Bridge, it was somehow quiet, or maybe just muted. The weather was perfect, with balmy, gentle neo-Hawaiian trade winds, and then of course there was the evening light show. Perfect.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Yosemite Rocks

Rocks near the "Devil's Elbow" on the Merced River 8x8 O/P

A broken boulder on the Merced heading out of the Valley 8x10 O/P

A USGS marker? This was hammered into a big slab where I painted the above picture, way too close to the road.

Had a great birthday weekend in Yosemite. Perfect weather, did four paintings, and I even scored the very last camping permit in the Valley. Can't believe I haven't painted in two months, and it showed in my first attempt (which I've since burned). On Saturday I decided to hike up to Upper Yosemite Falls with my not-so lightweight paint gear in search of Germans, Brazilians, the French, and some great views, and I found them all in great abundance. The painting was no success, but it's hard to feel bad in such a beautiful spot. However I did curse myself for carrying all that gear for a "warm-up" panel. I've REALLY got to get my Thumb Box in order. After descending from my 7 mile stroll, there was still light left, so I was able to knock out a quickie of the Cathedral Rocks from near the base of El Capitan.

Sunday I kept to the river and walked down the Merced from the El Cap Bridge to a bend called the "Devil's Elbow". I was in deep concentration when I saw a little movement out of the corner of my eye, and looked up to see a little Black bear right behind the rocks I was painting. My reverie was broken by an ugly stream of tourists stopping their cars (in the middle of the road) and chasing down the poor bugger for a photo (into the middle of the road). Wildlife paparazzi. I didn't get the satisfaction of seeing the fuzzy little guy's mother chasing the tourist's though, too bad.

Cathedral Rocks 6x8 O/P