going coastal

Saturday Drive South

Sunday, March 24, 2019

I had to pick up my paintings from Wargin Wines in Watsonville yesterday since the show ended, so took advantage of the drive to hit some other spots. (Here's a picture of me at the show from a few weeks ago.)

We stopped in at Gizdich Ranch for a slice of their fresh-from-the-oven sweet and gooey apple ollalieberry pie (married with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, of course). I had to take a few minutes to sketch the bakers behind the counter.

100323 Gizdich Ranch pies

Having had dessert, we continued south to Carmel, so I could scout the area in preparation for May's Carmel Art Festival.

We walked around the downtown (yes, many of the buildings there have this fairy-tale vibe) and then went downhill to the lovely sugary beach.

I parked myself on the sand and took out my sketchbook. Even at midday there was a mist on the distant hills.

190323 Carmel Beach CA

Watercolor in Hahnemuhle Bamboo Carnet de Voyage mixed media sketchbook. The paper seems to suck in the pigment so the finish is a little duller than I like. But, as mentioned before in this blog, I've got a backlog of sketchbooks -- and it's just as helpful to learn the papers I don't love.


Condiment of Spring

Sunday, March 17, 2019

When I sketched this Morgan Hill, CA, field last October, it was filled with rows and rows of pumpkin vines. Yesterday it sported an acid yellow coat: wild mustard as far as the eye could see.

190316 Mustard in Morgan Hill

Direct to watercolor, in Fabriano wirebound watercolor sketchbook. Not my favorite paper, as it doesn't love juicy washes ... but I'm on a self-imposed paper diet as I have too many UFSs (unfinished sketchbooks) on hand.


Fixing a Painting with Photoshop

Saturday, March 02, 2019

I'm all about the analog when it comes to painting, but sometimes a little technology goes a long way. Here's how I turned a dud painting into something passable with a little help from my friend Photoshop.

Remember when M. took me to San Luis Obispo to see Jon Batiste at CalPoly? Well, we stopped at at some vineyards on the way - first for lunch and then for painting.

Now, vineyards in January aren't your lush, verdant rows punctuated with plump grapes; they're raw and stark, their twisted twiggy fingers reaching hungrily for warmth. Still, it's California, so the rainy season brings out all the green on the hillsides.

I didn't have a lot of time to paint since we had to get to Morro Bay by dinner, and the light was changing rapidly.

I did what I could in an hour and then packed up. Back at home, I touched it up a little but I wasn't happy with the painting. The lines of clouds were too static, and they were largely parallel to the line of hills below. Plus, the painting wasn't dynamic -- it was pretty much 50% sky and 50% ground. No rule-of-thirds-to be found.

So I opened it in Photoshop to see what I could do. (I use a Wacom Bamboo pen tablet to make it easier to draw or paint in the tool.) I lightened the sky, reconfigured the clouds, and changed the distant hillside line to improve the composition.

I then used this version as a guide to revise my actual painting. I updated the sky color, the clouds, and the line of hills. I'm much happier with it now.

"On the Wine Trail," 8x10, oil.

190406 On the Wine Trail

How about you? Have you ever used technology to consider different outcomes for a painting?