Pasadena Adjacent

Life Lived on the Edge of Pasadena

Watercolor #23 in 33 Years: Garfield Park


EG_Garfieldenlarge to appreciate

En Plein Air Painting #23 on a Saturday morning. Two view points, one park, two dogs; Elwood (belonging to my cousin Dave) and Frankie (belonging to Barbara).

This should have been #22 but I was so uninspired by my start, that I allowed it to sit around and collect dust. Consider it the first in my loosing streak. Last Saturday was a visit to the South West Museum. Arriving late, I wondered the museum grounds, took photos and marveled at an excellent show of 20th century South West potters. Despite my brand new palette of Holbein paints, I didn’t even start a sketch. So what choice was there but to finish the Garfield Park painting.

[WARNING SHOP TALK] The painting came out much better then expected. Perhaps this was due to my new palette or because I was unattached to the outcome. Maybe both. The paints lather up with ease making it easier to get richer and more densely pigmented washes. As to structure, there is some serious wonky perspective at work. Like the Egyptians, I’ve  placed size and value on the same plane. The sycamore has a huge trunk, but in reality, it’s far back on the picture plane — but not in my world.  Causing the leaf crown to look like those DTLA sidewalk Ficus trees. Where the business owners chop off the crown and they grow back looking like lollypops. A deliberate choice was made to leave off the hanging foliage from the redwoods in the foreground. Hard since my inner editor doesn’t believe ‘less is more’ But with the high detail of the trash receptacle grounding the composition, it works. As does the way the two sides of the painting (divided by the sidewalk) integrate. Browns and purples on the left, greens and blues on the right.

Watercolor #22 in 33 Years: Arlington Gardens Spring


AG_Springenlarge to appreciate

En Plaine Air Painting #22 on a Saturday morning. This session took advantage of the springtime display at Arlington Gardens. I’ve done a painting of this garden before – and with better results. Of course you knew my string of successes wouldn’t last. I did. Maybe it was the exuberance of springtime? Or that I created the painting from a compilation of three different viewpoints (always dangerous). My inner editor has always had trouble with abundance. Those of refined taste understand the concept of more is less. Those of us who survive on less know that more is more. Best to keep around ‘more’ for a rainy day.

[WARNING SHOP TALK] This painting is a combination of good, bad and ugly. The good is that most of the painting was done on site. And if it were possible to crop out some elements, move things around a bit, we’d have good. That’s my goal: to complete a painting on site. Which requires that I loosen up and learn to edit (the genius of waterlogue – results in video). I’m just not sure what’s bad. Is bad just another way of saying ‘too much’? Like the Pepper (bush). Mr V really likes it. The object that looks like a blanket is an umbrella. Failed at getting that detail across – and don’t even get me started on the agave. Or the Gazebo. Barbara pointed out that the trees are not in fruit. I pointed out that I like my cliches. Including the palm – which is good.

If I were to do this painting again, it could be good. And since I just purchased over a 130 bucks on 9 tubes of watercolors (on sale) I might.

The recommended Holbein Watercolor palette of Pasadena’s Mr Watercolor Joseph Stoddard.

Watercolor #21 in 33 Years: Colby Canyon Fire


colby_1enlarge to appreciate 

Plein Air painting #21 was not accomplished en plain air. Barbara had family matters to attend to, so our Saturday session was cancelled. I could of gone out on my own, but I like the social aspect involved painting with such nice and talented people. That said, I’m trying to make a discipline of creating a painting a week. If something comes up, I don’t have a problem pulling out a photo to work from. This image is from a photo taken on the hill rising behind Church of Angels on Ave 64. It’s of the 2014 Colby Canyon fire. The houses in the foreground are of a 60’s subdivision referred to as the “Arroyo View Estates”

[WARNING SHOP TALK] I have a fear of the dark. Putting in those dark blue roofs was an act of courage. And this painting was a challenge. I doubt I could have done it ‘pleine air.’ Just so complicated; requiring a ton of plotting. There must be 50 buildings that I was trying to keep separate through color, contrast, walls, shadows and trees. And the smoke — I pulled it off (imperfectly).

Strangely, I disliked this painting the evening that I finished it. After a nights sleep, I felt just the opposite. I would defiantly encourage you to ‘enlarge to appreciate.’ The beauty is in the details.

*Waterlogue app images in video


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