Across from Maintenance

Yesterday was so hot. We went to paint at Inspiration Point in Balboa Park but before we knew it, it was too hot to paint in the sunshine. One by one, we made our way down to a shaded pool across from the maintenance office.

It was a beautiful old reflection pool, surrounded by gnarled cypress trees. Shady and cool, lovely in its greens and blues, it was a perfect place for plein air on a hot day.

The challenge was painting the statue of the nymph in the center of the pool, who looked like a baby playing with water. I ended up with a dreamy young woman. Regardless, it was a treat to be there painting.

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Morning in the Eucalyptus Grove

Eucalyptus trees have made a home in San Diego and can be seen just about everywhere around town. They are invasive, messy, brittle, and incredibly beautiful with their mix of dusty pastel colors.

In the early morning light today, the eucalyptus grove in North Park was particularly stunning. Some of the foliage seemed to be backlit and that set off the colors in the tree trunks even more than usual.

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The colors of the orchids on a table across the room command my attention. Is it a form of meditation to sit and dwell in the colors or is it just a way of passing time? Probably both, but in either case the net result requires a sketch with gouache.

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Hawaiian Night on Zoom

Our model wore a gorgeous Hawaiian shirt for the Fresno Zoom sketching group tonight. He topped his outfit off with a canvas bucket hat and a bright yellow lei and I had lots of fun trying to capture it all. I thought the model had a wistful look and wondered if he might have been thinking about pre-covid days.

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A Tangle of Eucalyptus Trees

I brought this sketch home on Friday from Balboa Park, thinking I would rework it. I painted it in the middle of a sunny day, but it looks like it was painted at night. There was a paved sidewalk curving through the bottom right side, but it looks like a suggestion of a creek or a small slope. And the one oval tree in the middle of the painting seemed distracting.

I put it up on my home easel and stood back to study it. I was full of indecision so I kept putting off changing it. Yes, it was not really true to the spot where I painted it, but the more I looked at it, the more I liked it the way it is. So, here it is, with no changes.

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North Chapel

As I drive past it, I often admire the chapel at the former Naval Training Center in San Diego. Yesterday I stood across from it and spent a few hours wondering about all the people who may have attended services there.

As I sketched, I found myself filled with nostalgia. Making this painting reminded me of the many sketching trips my family took to old churches in Arizona and Sonora. My father was fascinated by the Jesuit missions and his idea of a great trip often involved stopping by a mission for a few sketches.

I struggled with all the lines and angles that make up a chapel of this size. A ruler might have been a good tool to bring, but my uneven lines do go with the disproportions and the way I painted the gorgeous cypress trees.

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At the Window

I am used to sketching on Zoom now, but even so I had trouble drawing the model tonight. Despite a strong pose and interesting costume, my first sketch was way too tight.

I got out a two-inch flat brush for the second pose and used it with better results. Because the brush is so large, it forces a more relaxed and a more exaggerated sketch. By the time I began the third pose, which is the one with this post, I knew what I wanted and how to do it. I was able to turn the brush to get details in the fingers and variegated color in the head. If only we had had a time for a fourth pose!

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