Often, I see a scene I like but I am not sure how it will translate to a full-size painting. So I do a "study" -- a small painting to test out my ideas. Every so often, I just like the small painting the way it is and call it a day.
"Sonoma Hay" is one of those paintings -- it's just 5 x 7 and I popped it into a standard size photo frame (with glass removed). It's the perfect size for a small wall, a side table or on a stack of books on a bookshelf. If you've wanted one of my paintings - here's a chance to get one for a song - just $150. It's available at Moss and Moss in Mill Valley.
Northern California summer starts when the hills turn from green to yellow to gold. I've been painting outdoors a lot during the past few weeks and every day the changes become more obvious. I've got several plein air paintings in various stages of drying, waiting to be photographed and posted on my website.
Plein air painting, while not officially a sport, is a good workout. First you have to pack your backpack (paints, thinner, brushes, palette, canvas panel, towels, garbage bags, clamps, bungee cords, sunscreen, hat, collapsible umbrella, water and a power bar) and your easel (in my case, a "guerilla" box and a tripod) and then drive to your previously scouted location. Then you either "car paint" if your vista is viewable from the side of the road or you hike. And then you stand for a few hours, stepping back and forth to check how the painting is coming along.
So, if you see a painter on the side of the road while you are out for your run or ride, wave or say hey. We sports people need to stick together!
Northern California weather has been extraordinarily mild and dry this winter. I know this is not a good thing for our snowpack water supply, but it has given me the opportunity to get outside and paint.
I joined a "Meet-Up" group of plein air painters on the last Sunday of January in Sonoma County and had a great experience. The group loosely convened about 1 p.m.and wandered off in many directions. We gathered back together late in the afternoon and showed each other what we had accomplished.
Here's a photo of my finished painting "Marsh and Mountain" on the easel. You can see my pencil sketch up in the corner.
It's now ten days later, the paint is dry, the painting is framed and ready to be shown to prospective collectors at an event this weekend.
MOSS & MOSS is a great "antiques & etcetera" shop in my hometown of Mill Valley, California, owned by a delightful couple with great talents. Larry plays the grand piano and Marjorie creates beautiful vignettes to display the merchandise. One Friday a month they have a jazz and wine reception, and it's a popular place to stop by on the way to dinner in any one of the great restaurants in town. I am very delighted that they have chosen to carry my paintings and prints. It's a treat for me to see how they are displayed, and very exciting to get the phone call saying, "Linda, we sold another one!" Visit MOSS & MOSS at 1 El Paseo, just off Sunnyside Avenue.
Going back to the same spot to paint in different weather or different times of the day is a great exercise in painting what I see -- not what I know, or what I think I see.
One dry afternoon, Mt. Tam looked clear and the grasses along the creek were hot orange. The result is a very warm painting.
On another day, the air had quite a bit of moisture and the mountain had a vague mist around it. The grasses were more uniformly green, and the water seemed more blue. It was a warm day, but the painting is cool.
I've been doing these smaller paintings outdoors ("en plein air" as termed by the Impressionists) as studies for a larger one.
The same paint colors were on my palette each time, but the results are so different, I am tempted to go back to the scene again this week with fresh eyes and see what happens! What do you think?
About the artist
Linda Rosso is a California artist who delights in the colors she sees out of the corners of her eyes. Read more...
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