Saturday, October 30, 2010

4 Sale

I just dropped these little guys off at the Studio Gallery for their annual "Tiny" show, which is billed as "small pieces for under $400". Check it out, there's some pretty amazing stuff going up on their walls (I got a sneek peek!).

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Still at it

After work paintings that is. I got a little boost from some nice encouragement, and also from this great painting spot I discovered not far from the office. It’s accessed from an easy to pass-by trailhead off of an equally scenic drive heading towards West Marin. I must have driven by this spot millions of times in the decade that I’ve been working in Marin (looking for painting spots no less!), but there it was. Great views of Mt. Tamalpais, the Bay, and of course those quintessentially Californian rolling gold hills. The dog loves it too!

Mt. Tam from the Terra Linda/Sleepy Hollow Divide
Open Space Preserve 5X7 O/P

Sunset Hills, Terra Linda/Sleepy Hollow Divide Open Space Preserve
6X8 O/P

The weather has been gorgeous, even during our mini heat wave.

But it's the light... ahhh...

Caught this moon-rise on the way back down, I'll have to try a nocturne out here soon.

It's always dark when I get back to the car, but what a great hike.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Down by the river

Made a quick trip to Yosemite the other weekend for a friend's wedding. In between all the socializing, I was able to be a little anti-social and grab this little sketch by the Merced river near Mirror Lake.

Shadows on the Merced 6X8 O/P

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Some after work sketches

Preparing to say farewell to after work, early evening painting sessions. Hoping to squeeze in a few more before the dreaded time change.

Santa Venetia Marsh in Marin near China Camp 6X8 O/P

Hills above China Camp 6X8 O/P

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fresh Air

Earlier this month, I took a little birthday backpacking trip into the Eastern Sierra (The Big Pine Lakes Basin) with my buddy Frank and my dog Kirkby. It was a tough slog straight up to 10,250 ft. above sea level, and I cursed the heavy painting gear, but it was all worth it when we caught first sight of the lakes. Still, next time I'm hiring the mule train to carry the gear!

Temple Crag at 6:30 am(ish) 6X8 O/P

Beach Rocks at Second Lake 8X10 O/P

I struggled with my paintings as well as the altitude and ended up scraping most of them down. My gear, process and site selection seems to need a little tweaking for mountain travel and light, but I had a great time nonetheless.

My trail buddies

Second Lake from our campsite

Temple Crag from Second Lake

View from Third Lake

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Some new-uns

I've been panicking lately, feeling that I've been wasting precious summer daylight. Gotta step it up!

Mt. Tamalpais from Big Rock Ridge 6X8 O/P

Return of "The Hat" 6X8 O/P

Marin Headlands from Land's End (S.F.) 6X8 O/P

Had some fun paint sessions lately with good buds Ian and Richard. In the first two paintings, I was experimenting with a full value scale block-in in warm tones to try to brighten up my palette, only it seems that I covered it up a little more than I wanted. It may be worth further testing.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ford Econoline Pickup

The COOLEST truck, where else but the Berkeley Marina?

1960 something Ford Econoline Pickup in my 3.5"x 5.5" Moleskiene Cashier notebook. Pen, watercolor, and bodycolor.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hauled Out

At the Berkeley Marina on a gorgeous sunny day.

The Hazel 'A' 6X8 O/P

Sunday, May 2, 2010


No, not a cry for help, yet... Went painting yesterday with two amazing illustrator/artists and wound up in Tilden Park in Berkeley. This is what I ended up with.

Little Farm, Tilden Park, Berkeley. 6X8 O/P

Mike and Tiffany were working in gouache, a medium I've always struggled with, and came away with beautiful images of this scene. Hopefully they'll post!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

New pochade in the wild

Finally got to take the little Alla Prima Pochade outside for a proper session.

At the Berkeley Marina 6X8 O/P

It's been forever, but I finally got to use the new box. I actually "took it for a spin" way back when I first got it, but that session was unsuccessful, gear wise and especially painting wise. I ended up sending the box back to Ben for a quick modification, he put magnets on the top side of the lid to store the side tray when packed up rather than the bottom (the standard location). It's a small point, but without the change, it meant hving to screw the quick release plate on and off every time I set up and again when packing up. Kind of defeating the purpose of a "quick" release plate. Again, awesome service from a real craftsman, he didn't even charge me for the work, and I'm happy to report that everything works great! I thought I might have an issue with how small the mixing area is (it's REALLY tiny), but it actually made me scrape down the palette more often, which in hind sight is a good thing for me when trying to keep my colors clean. I'm still building my little kit ( I just got a new bag to carry it all in) but that's half the fun when you're a gear junkie : )

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tahoe in Snow

Started this one outside, but the tree I was under was no shelter for sideways blowing snow.

Truckee River 6x8 O/P

This was as far as I got before being snowed out, a pretty fierce storm blew in pretty quickly forcing a hasty run back to the car. Still, it was more than enough information to let me play with and still be true to the scene (mostly). Once I got home, I saw how horrible my initial lay-in for the foreground river was and altered it for a more interesting angle. I also added a little more color because with the overcast, blizzardy conditions, it was pretty much just a black and white scene. A real nice subtle study in values. I don't know if adding color kills that effect, but it felt like it needed it. Maybe I'll go back and try it again in just grays.

Here's a picture from the previous day, the weather was much clearer, and my long slog uphill schlepping all my painting gear through knee deep snow only got me tired, and bad photographs. Still, scouting around for scenes was really fun, I just need to remember to pack the snow shoes next time. That and a lunch, dang I got hungry!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring 2010

Some weekend stuff...

Near the Sugar factory in Crockett, Ca. 8x8 o/p

Looking North from the Es Anderson Equestrian camp, Tilden Park, Berkeley Hills. 6x8 o/p

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Rig


Well my new pochade from Ben over at
Alla Prima arrived last week, ain't she purty? Here it is right after I cut the glass and siliconed it into the palette bed (the ugly white silicone has since dried clear). It's a replacement for the Julian experiment. I really wanted a small paint box that I could carry around and use like a sketchbook for oil sketches, and I think this will fit the bill nicely. At 6X8 it's seriously tiny, but it's got the two key features I was looking for in a little sketchbox: integrated panel storage, and enough clearance in the lid to keep wet paint on the palette. As my buddy Ian says (he just got this guys' big brother) these are just beautifully crafted, with lots of clever design solutions. Maybe I'll go into a deeper review once I get it a little dirty : )

In the top pic, that's a tiny 5X7 panel loaded on the box. A 6X8 pretty much covers the entire mounting area, and slides perfectly into the lid.

Mt Tam from the Albany Bulb 5X7 O/P

Monday, February 1, 2010

Between Bouts of Heavy Rain

Looking NE from the hills at Del Valle Regional Park 6X8 O/P

Looking north up the coast from the Muir Beach overlook 6X8 O/P

Monday, January 4, 2010

Leftover turkey

Just getting around to posting this from a Thanksgiving trip to Bishop, it may be a little stale ; )

The White Mountains in low clouds. 6x8 O/P

I finally got around to testing out the little Julian Box over the Thanksgiving day weekend, and discovered a few key points. First, don't try a new setup in 30 degree temperatures and 20 mph winds. Second, if using a bare wood palette, make sure the wood is "seasoned" first or it will suck the oil out of your paints and make mixing (already thick and frozen paint) a real bitch. Third, the solid frame slides that hold the panel in place, make it difficult to paint to the edges of your panel. And finally, even if you're just experimenting with a new set-up, don't skimp on good brushes, always use the best brushes you have.

Everyone's a critic...

Even with, or perhaps because of the limitations of this session, it was actually really fun! The light was changing fast, so I had to fix a composition in my head and then paint like mad while it was still fresh in memory. I'm thinking that this race the clock mentality is the way it's actually supposed to be (at least for quick studies) as it really makes me more focused as I try to break down a scene into it's most basic components. And the added plus of fighting with your materials, and trying to keep your easel from blowing away only adds to the excitement. I finished this in under 40 minutes, because on top of the changing light, I could'nt feel my fingers anymore. Which brings up one final point, when painting in cold conditions, limit the amount of bare metal your fingers come in contact with eg. frozen paint tubes, leatherman tools that you need to use the pliers to open the frozen paint tubes, metal paint scrapers, wing nuts on your pochade box, tripods and tripod heads, and even the ferrules on your paint brushes.

So in the end, I'll have to give the Julian box a 'fail' as an oil paint box. Probably the biggest drawback it has, is the lack of space between the palette and the stored panel. This means that you can't leave paint on the palette and close up the box, which to me, means longer prep and cleanup time, as well as wasting paint. Who knows, it might still find a new calling as a sketching/watercolor box, but that may require a few mods... : )