View from Zoro Garden

Zoro Garden is a sunken garden squeezed between two large buildings at Balboa Park. On three sides, it is built up with stonework nooks that shelter plants attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. This view is towards the fourth side and a hiking path beneath a bridge. The morning light made its way through the foliage and caught my attention.

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Santa Margarita Waders

You are not supposed to swim in the Santa Margarita River, even when it is sweltering. But there are a few spots where the trail crosses the river, and people are allowed to wade to the other side. These two adventurers made the most of the crossing, clearly enjoying each drop of water along the way. It was lovely to see how they relished this part of the trail.

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Marbles and Books

It’s Tuesday, so our group of artists met on the internet to paint a still life scene together. The contrast between the rectangular books and marbles made this a fun sketch to make.

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Succulent of Unusual Size

I am getting ready to give a demo for the San Diego Urban Sketchers at the end of this month. I’ll be sketching at Balboa Park’s Succulent Garden. It is full of eye-catching plants and land formations and is one of my favorite places to paint in San Diego. Three succulent garden scenes, in particular, fascinate me, and I have returned to paint them multiple times over the past few years.

I think I have settled in on a 20-foot succulent because I like its style and unusual size. It sits on the edge of a canyon and lends itself well to the Urban Sketchers’ mission of telling our stories, one sketch at a time. Additionally, we might like the abundant shade from the majestic eucalyptus trees that border the area.

This is my practice sketch for the demo. After looking at it, I know I will choose a more rectangular sketchbook to work in so that the stalks can stretch up into the sky. I like having a figure in the sketch so that people realize just how big the plant is, but I think I’ll move her a bit behind the plant so that the plant is the clear focus. Finally, I will emphasize its spiky leaves for visual interest. But sketches take on a life of their own. Who knows what I will really sketch when I go back in two weeks?

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Oranges across a Table

It was my turn to set up the Tuesday night still life scene for our Zoom group. There is a lot of thought that goes into one of these. Is it something that the limited range of a computer camera and the Zoom application can handle? Will the other artists like the scene? Will it have the right amount of challenge? And so on.

I started with a bowl of oranges on a blue tablecloth but ended up tipping the bowl against the wall, rumpling the tablecloth, and spreading a few oranges across the table. I think it was a good setup because I had fun painting it and the other paintings were terrific.

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A Painter Paints

A Painter Paints

Our Thursday Plein Air group met at Harbor Island near the San Diego Airport. One of the painters standing close to the bay was backlit by the morning light bouncing off the sky and water. He was very focused, and I think I conveyed a bit of it in this sketch.

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Happy But With Issues

The couple on the bench near where I was painting this morning caught my attention, mainly because their body language was so strong. They stayed on the bench for more than an hour, maintained eye contact, examined each other’s faces, laughed, and raised their voices at times. I thought they seemed very content to be spending the morning together on a park bench as they worked through a tricky issue. In any case, I was delighted that they stayed put on that bench, and I could sketch them.

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