We went out to Point Reyes, where we had perfectly clear skies that day. I could not ask for a better day. We painted at the northern peninsula past Inverness.
There was a view from Pierce Point Road close the entrance to Tomales Bay State Park. I chose this composition to utilize the large dark mass that takes up most of the canvas. It started off strong, but I think I lost a bit of the strength by breaking up the dark mass with the light tree tops. I'm not terribly happy with the foreground also. I might use it as a study for a large piece. I think those trees could be impressive when you make them 3 feet tall on a canvas :-)
This is a great view looking out towards Tomales Bay, close to the entrance of Tomales Bay State Park. I liked the atmospheric depth of the foreground and middle ground. I think I can push it further by lightening the background hills some more and darkening up the foreground around the tree. One of my new challenges in landscape painting is to tighten up the values further within the major shapes. There is a lot of skill and beauty to be had in learning to put detail and variety within very narrow value steps.
The next day we went out to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park just east of Santa Rosa. This is a great area with a lot of variety. The headwaters of Sonoma Creek originate from here. I spent about 2 hours on this creek. I enjoy painting creeks a lot. I definitely want to make this a larger painting. I can do a whole series on creeks. It's something I am considering doing. For this piece, I like that i was able to keep a lot of the rocks simplified. I think the foreground can stand to get darkened up a bit more, especially in the water. Also, it would be cool to "spot-light" the middle ground a bit as well.
Rod did a lovely study of this area as well. I hope he decides to post it up.
Heading up the Godspeed Trail takes you up to this view. I looked backwards to paint this view. This painting started off very abstract. I tried to simplify it as much as I could in the beginning. I think the middle ground and background needs more clarity in separation on the left side of the painting. Maybe if I darkened and silhouetted that whole side of the painting....
The next day we went to check out the Carmel Art Festival (someone remind me to apply next year!!) to check out the works of some of my friends and view the winners. I also checked out some of the top galleries in Carmel to see what they had in stock. John Burton's paintings were excellent, and Kevin Courter's paintings were great as usual.
Contrary to the forecast, the weather was incredible. We headed out to Point Lobos, which is a magical area just south of Carmel on the way to Big Sur. It's one of those picture-perfect areas that you can't help but want to paint, but it's way harder than you think. You have to find an area that you can tackle in a couple of hours or else it's too overwhelming.
This is a view looking eastward at Carmel Valley. There was a small beach you can see beyond the park. Believe it or not, this little scene took a lot of designing. There was a lot of stretching and squeezing the horizontal "band"/planes that go across the paintings. I like to block these 6x8" pieces in very quickly, I'm talking 15 to 20 minutes. I use a stiff Rosemary&Co. Ivory brush that will move the paint around easily. In my progression I like to go from harder to softer as I go along. When I am finishing the painting, I come back in with a small stiff brush and reinforce the hard edges that I may have lost in the middle of painting.
This was a tough little painting to get through. I was thinking it was going to be easier than it turned out to be. It took some extreme simplification. The values arent quite what I want them to be, but I got some of the color in the shadows that I wanted. The water needs some work too. I think it's a good color study in case I want to make a large painting out of it. I need to draw more cypress trees. They are so hard to get their specific shape if you're not used to drawing them.
Once again I will be showing a piece at the Randy Higbee Gallery this weekend. They are hosting the Laguna Plein Air Association's "Less Is More" show.
I painted this piece from life on the way to Putah Creek just east of Lake Berryessa. I got lucky with the cows walking by that I was able to put in there. They weren't staying put for long.
"On The Way To The Canyon" 6x9 Oil on Canvas.
For more info about the show click here: http://www.lpapa.org/less_is_more2011/LessisMore2011.html
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