Northern California has some of the most magnificent views and if you go to the right place, you can do a 360 degree turn that will be filled with hills, trees, rock, fog and maybe a surprise coyote or turkey. There is an overpass near my home that has one of the most striking views of Mt. Diablo and the surrounding area...but you can't pull over to the side of the road to view, because of the high traffic. So I took off in search of a road that could give me the same view and I found something close. I wanted towork with the golden grasses on some of the foreground hills and contrast them with the chaparral hills that almost appear black when the skies are gray. I also wanted to emphasize patterning in the redwood trees, the grass elements, the natural ridges found on the hills and the cloud patterns. Three wild turkeys wandered over for about a minute, decided they wanted nothing to do with me and took off.
As I work on a painting, I put my tools down and move as far away from it as I can to see what is working and what isn't. I think I was taught that from the first art lesson I ever took from Mrs. Treester in Aiken, SC. Recently, I read a comment from another artist about his 30-3-3 rule. At 30 feet away, a work of art should "grab" you. At 3 feet away, the piece should tell you a story or make you feel something and at 3 inches, the viewer should be able to see something about the process. (Good luck with security at the museums on getting your eyeballs 3 inches from anything))! Yes, I've cut the top of her head off and have been doing plenty of that recently. I hope I've "grabbed" you from your computer screen (even if it isn't 30 feet) and made you wonder if you've met anyone like her or reminded you of pearls you've worn on a special occasion and let you see the paint application with palette knife and brush. She's not a big image, but I hope she makes a connection ,even if you happen to think that she has to be the ugliest woman with a beautiful set of pearls!
This past Sunday (Mother's Day) my request was to take a drive down to Sunol and paint. It was windy, gray skies and cool, but I found a great spot with some magnificent hills. The buzzards started "swooping" so they became an integral element adding a sense of movement.
A good friend of mine (brave and fearless) is home after having major surgery. Because of the nature of the surgery, I don't believe she can receive flowers so I decided to paint these for her. So these are for you, Sharon. Cheers to friendship, for all the times you saved me, for being my neighbor (a good one!) and to good health! May you have many good years ahead of you to enjoy your family and your friends. (And I want you to know that I AM NOT A FLORAL PAINTER...but I'll do this for you!)
I've been working on this for awhile and just finished today (so good excuse for the title). Nothing like painting your self-portrait to realize how quickly the years go by. I need to pull out the ones I did in high school and college and compare. It was a good Mother's Day, but one son working and one son halfway around the world.
It seems like, once again, the planets lined up and inspiration came from the graciousness of a stranger. A person I have never met, agreed to do something very special for me at a moments notice. Someone who is ill and is very dear to me had been looking forward to watching the royal wedding last week. On a whim, I thought, "Is there a bakery in Mt. Pleasant, SC that would deliver tea and crumpets to this person who is not feeling her best"? So Google and I searched and the FIRST bakery I called could not accomodate my last minute request. However, the young woman ( a culinary student) who listened to my story decided on her own, to find the recipe, buy the ingredients and bake the "goodies" at home after work on her own time. AND she delivered this delightful gift to the very ill person the next morning at 6:30am. (The wedding was 6am EST). So thank you, Brittany. You put a smile on an old lady's face and you also put it on mine 3000 miles away. This is a tribute to your kindness.
West Coast Abstract Painter with roots to the South