Sunday, July 29, 2012

China Camp Beach - San Rafael, CA

OK, last post from the workshop.  This was my last painting on the last day.  I had resisted painting the ramshackle buildings that make up the center of China Camp, a former shrimp fishing village that thrived in the 1880's.  The story is fascinating, but I'm not big on painting run-down anything.  I wouldn't normally choose to paint a rusting tractor or a rustic barn.  But I did relent here, because I wanted to stretch myself, and work the way Tim Horn works, which is with big shapes and strong shadow.  He says it can be powerful to have the bits in light be much smaller than the shadow masses and I wanted to try it.

So here, since we're looking at the shadow side of the building and the background tree masses, the only things in light are the foreground beach the umbrella and the roof.  And of course the bird.  He was really there for quite some time, but not long enough to paint.  I put him in later from a photo, and he's my favorite part!

- Linda

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Toward Blue Sky - San Rafael

This is another of my paintings from the Tim Horn workshop near San Francisco.  I really liked the shadow shapes on this curved road.  I also liked the stop sign, but it took a few tries to get a red that didn't take over the whole painting.  I made it much lighter and more orange than I thought originally.

I found that for all my paintings from the plein air workshop, I wanted to do a little touch up back in my studio.  Mostly I focused on big shapes: making the shadows clear and how to make the forms read using value and color temperature.  As Tim said, if you're not happy with your painting, the problem probably isn't in the details.

This is the first exercise we did in class, which focused on just that.  Tim had some big cardboard boxes that he had painted primary colors, that he put on the gray wooden deck.  The exercise is to show how warm sunlight and cool reflected light (from the blue sky) affects the values and color temperatures of an object.  The top one is Tim's and the bottom one is mine.  It's always easier to paint when someone shows you how!

- Linda

Sunday, July 15, 2012

From the Hill - San Rafael CA

This is one of my paintings from a terrific plein air (outdoor) workshop I took a few weeks back from Tim Horn, a wonderful landscape painter.  I really admire his work, especially his strong compositions and his ability to capture a sense of light.

The view is looking north across San Pablo bay.  I like the shape of the trees against the sky and the land tumbling down to the rocks below.  It was strong sunlight and I was trying to capture those harsh shadows to explain the terrain.

The workshop was in San Rafael, about 45 minutes north of San Francisco.  It was three days, in a beautiful place called China Camp State Park,  which had been the location for a Chinese shrimp fishing village in the 1880's.  The park had a picturesque, rocky beach, and views of rustic cabins and work buildings.

This is Tim, doing one of, I think five demonstrations.  It's always fascinating to watch someone paint, especially if I'm a big fan, because I want to know how does he DO that??  Notice how far he stands from his canvas, and how he grips his brush from the end.  He says this keeps his strokes loose and helps him not get too nit-picky.  He starts on a toned ground, draws loosely and then masses in the shadows in ultramarine.  And makes it look very easy.  Ha!

More about the workshop next week!

- Linda

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Notre Dame - Paris

Sorry for the late post.  I'm just back from a great week in San Francisco, one of my favorite cities.  I was visiting family and taking a terrific workshop with Tim Horn.  Details next week!

When I see Notre Dame I think of the generations of Parisians who worked on the cathedral, knowing it would never be completed in their lifetime.  And of the generations who lived in the shadow of this magnificent structure and felt proud of what it symbolized about their city and their faith in God.  Even today, surrounded by a much bigger, modern city, Notre Dame reserves her corner of peace and beauty.  My favorite  views of Notre Dame are from the side and back, where you can see all the complex roof lines and the flying buttresses.  From there the view is framed by towering trees amidst a tranquil garden.

- Linda

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