….on a beautiful day in Laguna Beach, Ca. I painted the scene below on location. I like to paint small studies/paintings to get ideas and good color for larger paintings later on. It is fun and challenging to see if I can get accurate color and the “feeling” of the place on canvas.
It was late afternoon and the sunlight on the bluffs inspired me to paint this scene. The warm sun and light ocean breeze felt so lovely as I stood there and painted. When I paint on location I am always reminded how important it is to paint quickly. The light and shadows can change completely. When I started this oil painting the sun light was on the cliffs and by the end of the painting the sun had gone down and it was a more muted color seascape when finished.
In above photo I have begun the oil painting by sketching/drawing the seascape with thin paint and then I begin to put in the darks and ocean colors.
…..within a few minutes the light changed, a few clouds appeared, and colors needed to be adjusted. The setting sun was muted by the marine layer and clouds. I tried to get the essence of the cliffs, ocean, and sky, without getting into detail. …..the movement of the white water….the clouds floating by…..blocking in distant gray-blue bluffs….
In the final photo above you can see that the painting turned out much darker than the original scene I started with. I may finish this painting at home with more detail or I may just save it, as is, and use it as a color and mood reference for a larger painting. Also, my mind has recorded the experience of being out there in nature …looking at the ocean, feeling the wind, seeing clouds float by, all of this will affect the way a final, larger oil painting is executed.
Moody sunset of California Coast, 36×48 original oil painting. Available. This impressionist painting has a nice soft feeling of a coastal California sunset. Beautiful blues, browns, and sunset colors.
Painted this view from the top of Windy Hill Preserve. Lots of lush greens after the spring rain in California. The grey road in the scene is highway 35, Skyline Blvd. On the forested drive up to this location there were two huge sink holes on the small road which Cal Trans was working on. The view is gorgeous up there you can see the ocean on one side and San Francisco bay on the other. A few purple wildflowers and orange poppies sprouted here and there but mostly a riot of greens covered the landscape. A completely majestic view with a few hikers reaching the top of a trail that begins at a lower entrance.
“Windy Hill Trail” 16×20
This trail leads to Hamms Gulch, a beautiful meadow with views of densely forested hillsides and open fields of lush green grasses. The lighting on the pathway caught my eye…..so I had to paint it. This oil painting on canvas has many greens with dappled purples, reds, and ochre. This Preserve is a day hikers dream.
I was inspired to paint this scene because, after some spring rain, there were wild flowers everywhere in Southern California. Hillsides along freeways had beautiful displays of wild color. Near my home we had fields of yellow and purple flowers that lasted about a month before they faded. A lot of that dry bushery (not a word) stuff that looks like soon to be tumbleweed got deeply soaked and produced wild flowers and new color in unusual places. Dried brush and chapparel sprouted wild flowers that popped with color. In this painting I used thick paint and a palette knife to “cake” on the colorful folage. I wanted to create texture and the feeling of some of the plants. Some felt soft and billowy and others were brittle and dry. This oil painting has vibrant colors; mustards, browns, pinks, salomon, yellows, and many shades of green. It was a hazy or cloudy day so I kept the blue hill dark to suggest a cloud hovering over it. I noticed on cloudy days the ground colors look lusher as if the contrast of grey skies intensify the local color. This original oil painting has a slight suggestion of a walkway or trail though the flowers and traveling up the distant hillside. Keeping this oil painting loose, expressive, and impressionistic I chose to simplify the trees and foliage to their basic organic forms. The blues in the background hill have some of the sky color in it…so I added some light grey mauve, greens, and purple to it. It’s so amazing how a little rain water can turns a hillside into a glorious fiest for the eyes. I am hopeful that next years rains will bring many more luscious and juicy scenes to paint. This oil painting has a nice feeling of natures’ bounty.
Impressionist oil painting of Malaga Cove, Palos Verdes, CA. I painted this scene on location a few years ago and this is a larger version of it done in the studio. I am glad I painted it on location first because the direction of the waves and the way the white foam flowed back into the sea is very different from other surfs I have painted. This is a famous surfing spot because of the height and length of the waves. The colors in it are sea foam green, pthalo blues and greens for the ocean, and ochre and burnt sienna for most of the hillside. The focus of this scene is the waves and action of the white water. There is dappled light on part of the hillside where the clouds parted.
Inspired by the colorful street I painted this scene with lots of pinks, reds, and browns. Using a small amount of greens as accent color. When traveling, I love visiting cities where you can walk everywhere. That way, at the end of the day you are nice and relaxed from exhausting yourself from misreading your maps….it’s a good kind of exhaustion. I remember this day visiting San Francisco with my family. We walked to Chinatown from the North Beach area of San Francisco and when we turned the corner to walk down this street the festival of colors was so delightful to the eye! I had to paint it! So I took lots of pictures and made mental notes or rather “sketches” in my head. This street scene feels like the vibe of that sunny day. I can remember the taste of the delicious chow mein and rice we enjoyed and the smells of the restaurants’ menu offerings. We stopped in a tea shop and sampled different teas. We learned about the health benefits of different teas and how to properly brew and steep them. With our new knowledge of teas we found some beautiful and useful teapots to take home. With plenty of touristy shops to explore, we also found some interesting scarves and trinkets to indulge in.
There was something so festive, alive and dynamic of this street scene… Starting with the reds of the buildings, the hanging lanterns that reminded me of draped garland at Christmas time, and the continuous movement of people, trucks, cars, banners, and signage …all of it is so fun to try and capture on canvas. Simplifying the scene, with impressionistic loose brush work I depicted what I thought was most important to get the gist of the lively day. In this original oil painting I have captured the feeling of that particular day without over doing it with unnecessary details.
“Surf Camp” 16×20 oil painting. $1400
In this San clemente scene I was inspired by the activity of the group at this “surf camp”. A few kids are having a conversation on the life guard tower, another is waxing his surf board, and others are huddled together following the instructors direction. Just getting the gist of the scene… with the crashing waves, and excited students…this scene has a certain beach energy. Such a fun way for kids to spend a summer vaccation.
“Umbrellas and Surf” 16×20 oil painting. $1400
In “Umbrellas and Surf” 16×20, I was inspired by the many vibrant colors of the beach umbrellas. I loved this scene because the activity of swimmers, walkers, and sunbathers seemed to vibrate with the sparkling water and warm sand. Instead of trying to render each beach goer, I just placed the people in with very simple strokes of paint. This painting has warm ochres, Naples yellow, periwinkle, blues, and a variety of orange and reds. The bathers at a distance looked like tiny dots of peach in the water. And the wind, on this day, kept the waves coming in quickly one after another.
“Sunset” 12×24 oil painting. $1200
On this evening the colors of the sunset were glorious and beautiful; yellows, pinks, and oranges. Using thick textured paint I was able to sculpt the billowy clouds into the deep grey-blue sky. Little bits of orange reflect sky into the water. Sunsets are heavenly…eveytime I go to paint one, or photograph one, there is always good amount of photographers and on lookers there enjoying it with me. Whenever I see gorgeous color in the sky and I am in the area I try to go to the ocean and get a quick sketch or take a photo. Once I get there I am reminded how peaceful and centering it is to just sit there and observe nature……and I am thankful for that.
Floating 16×20 oil painting…..$1400
I like to paint my subjects “doing” something. I don’t want them looking into the camera but instead just being. This is my daughter floating on an inner tube. I painted this because I liked the relaxing feeling and mood of her sunbathing. Floating on a raft is the ultimate of relaxation. Just letting the warm sun and water rock you into a lullaby of tranquility. Bliss. Isn’t this the unspoken goal? That we work hard enough and someday soon we will deserve to completely let go and “float on a raft”.
Folklorico Dancers 16×20 oil painting – Buy Now $1400
These dancers were at Old Town San Diego outside a restaurant. So lovely to watch. The purple dress caught my artist eye. I had to paint it! The dancers confidently bounced around the stage. The dance seemed so effortless to them. The sunlight danced along with them, lighting up different parts of their clothing as they moved around the stage.
Koi Pond 20×16 oil painting- Buy Now $1400
This painting is inspired by these children playing with the fish at a Koi pond. It is amazing how mesmerizing fish can be. I stood and watched as the children interacted with the fish and each other for more than an hour. The younger the child the more fascinated they were with the brightly colored fish. I remembered with my own children that it was the simple things that kept them engaged in an activity.
Painting of beautiful Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park. Lots of greens and raw sienna in this depiction of a flowing river. Hiking in the meadows and along the river is gorgeous. I painted this for the 100th year anniversary show for the national parks of California. The exhibit is at Wildling Museum in Solvang, California. The exhibit is up until October 3, 2016.
Painting of my daughters relaxing and conversing at the beach. Too hot and lazy to get up and play bocci ball. Simplifying the figures I chose to focus on their relaxed gestures in the beach chairs. Pretty pastel colors and juicy, thick paint in this original oil painting make you long for a beach day of your own.
Available. 12×16 unframed oil painting $595
This painting of beautiful Balboa Park, San Diego shows the hustle and bustle of tourist season. Lots of vibrant color with the back drop of Spanish-Moorish architecture in the buildings. Keeping the painting loose and painterly I show some details in the buildings while staying impressionistic. Rich ochres in the building hues, blues and olives in the water, and lively pastel colors for the pedestrians.
How do experienced art collectors arrange art in a home? Without a professional interior designer, it can be a bit difficult to know the perfect places to hang your art on your. Placing art of all types throughout your home is a learned skill. Below we have some beautiful examples and practical tips for making your home a place of balanced beauty and art.
In this art collector’s home, above, a Laguna Beach seascape graces the entrance of the home above a table. The reds throughout the rustic table match the flowers in the painting, while the shell lamps go with the beach theme. It works so well because the painting is low enough to create a unit with the table. And the items on the table and shelf keep the eye moving around and back up to the painting. There is balance with the two lamps evenly placed and the painting centered over the table, and there is asymmetry with the way the rest of the items are placed on the tabletop and shelf. This creates a full and visually interesting look.
In the above photo the art collector chooses simple modern frames to go with the clean lines of the room. Both paintings are spacious in imagery complimenting the large window view of a lush backyard. Beautiful woodwork throughout the home makes a perfect setting for the landscape and seascape.
In the sunset painting placement, above, the art collector is making a dramatic statement. They put it above an antique family heirloom dresser in the entrance of the home. Placing the painting above the dark furniture with low lighting makes the painting “glow”.
Available painting “Big Sur” 40″x60″
The above is an example of being bold in the placement of art. In this small living room the huge painting (available, big sur, 40×60) makes the room feel larger by placing it over a dining bench. This room has a neutral palette with bronze/black accents which makes the greens and blues of the painting pop.
An oversized piece of art can create real drama and complete the room. Putting a painting above the fireplace finishes the room nicely and gives it a centerpiece. This piece works well with the darks in the room without competing with the florals.
Creatively displaying all original art in the home, the top image shows how well beautiful glass art on tables tops mixes well with original oil paintings. The second image shows an example of beautiful color combinations in the room with original art on walls completes the total look.
Available oil painting
This original, desert oil painting, “Desert Gold” is an impressionist painting of a California desert near La Quinta, California. My family and I visit this desert several times a year and go hiking with my sisters’ family who lives there. I live on the coast, so I love the contrast of the warm and relaxing desert air. When hiking in this desert area, you can almost hear the native drums. So peaceful, quiet, and mysteriously healing. On this day the light hit the mountains and bushes in a way that felt soft and airy. I put this feeling of softness and atmosphere in the painting with loose brushwork and thick paint. This original desert oil painting has a variety of vibrant colors: golds, purples, blues, pinks, earth tones, and yellows. I painted this original desert oil painting from a series of photos I took on this day of hiking with family.
“I have always loved the desert, one sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…..” Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
Love clementines! You know the little tangerines. So I called this one “Clementine Skies” because it was so juicy to paint! …….Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darrrrrrling Clementine…,you were lost and gone forever, oh my darling Clementine. Sing it! Wow I just had a flashback to my childhood girl scout troop. We sang that song over and over I think to get a singing badge to put on our uniform. Just a pretty sunset at Crystal Cove State Beach, CA. The purple island is Catalina, California. Sunsets are amazing if you live on the coast. I hope you enjoy them often. What is amazing about them, to me as a painter, is that in the span of 20 minutes, as the sun sets, there are hundreds of different color combinations to paint. As a painter the possibilities are endless. This particular painting, Clementine Skies, has many varieties of the color orange: tangerine, coral, peach, clementine, rose-orange, cantaloupe, apricot, bittersweet, carrot, salmon, titian, and red-yellow. This oil painting has thick paint in the white and yellow area and thin paint in the dark area. When the lights are out the painting glows…it creates its own light!
“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, “Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner.” I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.” Carl R. Rogers
Available oil painting
This palm tree painting has thick paint and a pastel color palette. Impressionist painting of Laguna Beach, California. I painted this on location, plein air, at noon-ish. The texture of the paint makes the palm trees look like they are moving in the wind. Impressionist in style allows room for loose, juicy paint. I like to get the gist of the scene and let the viewers finish the painting with their own eyes. When I first started out painting, one of my favorite books was Oil Painting Workshop by Ted Goeshner. The author instructs how we should not paint down to the viewer. Everyone knows what a tree looks like. We don’t need to paint every leaf. I like this approach because it gives more room to focus on atmosphere, mood, and texture. Laguna Beach is gorgeous 365 days a year, even on the gloomy days. With palm trees everywhere swaying in the wind and the sounds of the surf pounding the shore one feels (if you’re a local like me) as if you are on a mini vacation.
Palm trees grace landscape Burst of pink laughter invades Blue sky and water
Dorothy (Alves) Holmes #192 Haiku Palm Trees
Available oil painting
In this oil painting I used lots of blues, purples, and periwinkles for the waves and water. Yellow, pink, and orange for the sunset and water highlights. I was out walking and photographing the ocean when I decided to do an oil painting of this beautiful dusk-ish scene. I remember feeling a lot of anxiety and angst before taking a beach walk. Then the sunset turns into this drama in the sky with the dark clouds almost suppressing the setting sun. On this day before the sunset there were lots of surfers waiting for the next wave. Just floating out there wading in the ebb and flow. Such a peaceful scene of humanity just waiting in the waves. So zen…so one with nature. The ocean often reminds me of how small we humans are in the bigger scheme of things. It is kind of relaxing to think we are just another part of nature. There is a particular safety in the thought. Our lives are not such a big deal…….we can just float along with nature and relax…..that is….until the next big wave comes.
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”–Rabindranath Tagore
Why oil painters paint what they paint. “Strings Attached” Mozart Classical Orchestra , oil painting 16×20
Available oil painting
I was inspired to paint this oil painting because I recently went to this concert. I haven’t gone to many classical concerts, but the ones I have gone to have inspired me greatly. In this oil painting, I tried to capture the essence and feeling of that day. Going to classical concerts is something I just “forget” to do. I mean I love it, when I go but never really think of getting tickets blah blah blah……So as an oil painter and artist I paint what is in my real life and things I am moved by. And I was inspired to paint an oil painting of this scene. On this day we arrived a little late, the concert hall was only two thirds full, and it happened again. After 15 minutes of settling in and getting comfy in my seat, I had the most amazing feeling of a brain massage. It happened a few years earlier when I went to a concert with my senior in high school who had to go for her music appreciation class. On that rainy day, we rushed in, chose the best seats, and looked around the room and it was only a third full. Actually, looking around there were already a few people in the back asleep in their seats! We giggled to each other, “Wow, this is going to be exciting.” So we deliberately relaxed in our seats. I was trying hard not be anxious about “how long THIS was going to take.” And I wanted to be supportive of my daughters arts adventure but it was the weekend, and I had so much to do. Well, like a lot of things in life and art, if you give a little and surrender to the moment you get a lot back. Wow! What an amazing experience. The music was excellent, of course, but the most amazing thing happened. We, too, both fell asleep ( she on my shoulder I on her head….) and woke asking each other “How long was I asleep?” I have never heard anyone talk about it before, but, when you fall asleep to live classical music it feels like someone put their hands under your skin and gave you a deep brain massage. It was the most incredible and deeply relaxing experience I have ever had. I have listened to plenty of classical music and meditations but nothing like this. In the smallish concert hall it felt like music moved through my whole person and it was totally sublime and lovely.
So in this oil painting I attempted to grasp the movement, vibration, and calm of the music while keeping it loose and not too detailed so the viewer could get the feeling of that particular concert. …Also I hope musicians know the great value of their work.
This painting is a commission of this cute baby boy napping. Keeping the brushwork loose I was able to capture a real likeness from a photograph. Portraits and commissions are a challenge and a joy to me as a painter. If I know the person I am painting I think about them and their personality traits as I paint them. If, on the other hand I do not know the subject I may ask the commissionee (my word for person who I am painting it for) their favorite things and traits they love about the subject.
I can still smell the lavender and pine needles from the day I painted this on location. At a local Southern Californian farm. It was a blazing hot day but the scene was so gorgeous I went for it and painted a 20×24 on location. I was standing under a row of pine trees and the wind blew softly while it rained down pine needles onto my palette. I painted for 3 days at this location and when I drove off the farm I immediately started to miss the lovely smell of lavender and pine trees. Wow, to say lavender is relaxing is an understatement ….lavender is a balm that soothes the whole being when around it for long.
Went to Zion National Park for the first time on a plein-air painting trip. Wow it was gorgeous! I was painting so I didn’t go on any hiking trails, but there are lots of YouTube videos on the many trails and hope to hike when I go back. Really beautiful campground right in the entrance of the canyon. As a painter there are scenes everywhere to paint, one more gorgeous than the next. Stayed at Bubbleberry Inn in Springdale, Utah. The two paintings in this post are of the same scene; a small “on location” painting and then I used that for color reference to paint large one from photo. There is gorgeousness everywhere in Zion so I felt a little overwhelmed trying the find “thee” perfect location to paint! “Make a #%** decision woman!” I said to myself. This spot was relatively close to a bathroom so decision made! Walking around the location this scene struck me with its slivers of light hitting the cliffs. And the company of other painters and birds singing made it an absolutely lovely experience…. So where do you get good coffee in Springdale, Utah? Deep Creek coffee has excellent lattes, scones, and fresh juice. For groceries we went to Sol Foods which had amazing veggie soup daily in the deli in the back of the store. Lots of cute shops on the main drag in town. Can’t wait to go back!
12×16 Painted on location at Zion National Park