Wedding Bouquet (Finished or Fix?)

Wedding Bouquet, oil on linen panel, 10x8"

Wedding Bouquet, oil on linen panel, 10×8″

I started this painting of my daughter-in-law’s wedding flowers soon after the wedding in January 2014 but wasn’t thrilled with the way it turned out so set it aside. I began reworking it again recently, and after several times reaching a point of saying, “Finished” and then working on it some more, I remembered the saying, “Art is never finished, only abandoned” and decided it was simply time to stop.

But there’s still one thing that bugs me in this painting: the pink rose on the right just feels too Barbie pink to me. Every time I look at the painting it irks me. But I’ve repainted it 5 times and perhaps because the photo I’m working from isn’t very good, especially of that rose, it keeps turning out the same. I may try one more time. What do you think? Leave it or try again? Or maybe find another photo of the set up with a different view of that rose and try again from that photo?

My challenge in painting is always how to maintain the freshness of my original inspiration, color choices and brush strokes while holding back my inner perfectionist who wants to keep noodling around forever. Another challenge with returning to an older painting is that the fresh flowers are long gone and only a so-so photo remains to work from. Likewise all my new fresh ideas about painting have to be set aside to work on something from the point of view of a year ago.

Advertisements

Mira Vista Country Club Golfcarts

Mira Vista Country Club Putting Green and Carts, ink & watercolor, 5x16"

Mira Vista Country Club Putting Green and Golf Carts, ink & watercolor, 5×16″

My plein air group held our annual season kick-off meeting at the Mira Vista Country Club on Saturday where one of our painters has a membership. Afterwards, I sat on a bench in the sun and sketched the clubhouse, putting green and all the cute little golf carts.

Mira Vista, left side of spread, 5x8"

Mira Vista, left side of spread, 5×8″

Although I prefer jeans to dress up and agree with Thoreau’s quote: “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes,” the club has a dress code that prohibits denim. So it was fun seeing how nicely the paint-spattered artists I’m used to seeing at our painting sessions can clean up, even if it meant I had to dress up too.

Mira Vista, right page, 5x8"

Mira Vista, right page, 5×8″

Our plein air schedule starts up again next month. Last year I only sketched at our paintouts but this year I’ve committed to dragging my oil painting supplies again and giving actual plein air painting another try. But if I still find it too frustrating to stand in one spot instead of exploring the locations, I’ll go back to sketching.

Happy 75 Cerrito Theater! (Sketching on a Cube of Stone)

Theater, ink & watercolor, 6x8"

Theater, ink & watercolor, 6×8″

Well that’s a confusing title! What I meant was that I sketched while sitting on one of the giant cubes of stone set into the sidewalk along San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito. I assume they are meant to be used as seats. According to this brochure, a primary goal of the recent street upgrade program that included the stone blocks was “to identify El Cerrito as a distinct place…” I guess the city fathers (and mothers?) felt that poor little El Cerrito just didn’t have enough “there” there.

The Cerrito Theatre is having its 75th birthday celebration this week.  It originally opened on Christmas Day in 1937 as an art deco “motion picture palace.” It closed in the 1960s and was used as a furniture warehouse until a community group worked to bring it back to life as a theater in 2006.

Sunset at Sunset View Cemetery

Sunset View Cemetery shadows, ink & watercolor, 5x7"

Sunset View Cemetery shadows, ink & watercolor, 5x7"

The shadows and ridges in the grass (and what might have caused them) fascinated me so I tried to capture them before the light changed, which it does rapidly at sunset. At one point I had to stop drawing and just watch the glorious sunset over the bay and the way the fog moved in and out and back in.

View of the Chapel, the flat lands and the Bay from the cemetery, ink & watercolor 5x7"

View of the Chapel, the flat lands and the Bay from the cemetery, ink & watercolor 5x7"

The light was so odd when I painted this last one before it was too dark to see that the colors came out really pale. I tried over painting later at home and only ended up overworking instead, I’m afraid.

I’ve struggled with trying to paint the view from the hills to the bay many times. I either put in too much detail so it doesn’t read distance or get the proportions wrong. Someday soon I’ll challenge myself to paint it again and again until I get it.

Sketchbook Ate My Sandwich

Two Good Pots, ink & watercolor

Two Good Pots, ink & watercolor

My favorite two sketches the night we met to sketch at Fat Apples Restaurant in El Cerrito were the two “pots” on the left hand page above. The guy was the first thing I drew, the coffee pot the last. I wasn’t in great shape, having had little sleep the night before.  I just couldn’t get into the drawing zone, turn off the inner critic or relax into seeing, drawing, and enjoying the adventure.

Underneath the watercolor apple above are lots of messed up lines and the word “Grrrr” written all over the things that frustrated me. The waitress on the right kept returning to her spot and standing in exactly the same position each time and the counter beside her was even more stationary but I just couldn’t draw it.

Fat Apples BLT, ink & watercolor

Fat Apples BLT, ink & watercolor

When I added m ore watercolor at home to the BLT (left page above) I must have closed the book too soon because the pages glued themselves together. When I tried to separate the pages, part of my sandwich stuck to the other side. Not only did that ruin the sandwich but also a small ink drawing I’d liked on the other page.

I’d repainted the sandwich because when we showed our sketches at the end of the evening and I said it was my dinner, one of the sketchers innocently asked “what was it?” And she was right — it was so loosely drawn and painted that it wasn’t recognizable as a sandwich.

%d bloggers like this: