The Santa Monica Beach Pier was very crowded this Sunday – the result of a confluence of events: St. Patrick’s Day, Spring Break, mid 80s Fahrenheit inland, and the first weekend in a while it didn’t rain.
It didn’t stop me from getting in a quick Plein air painting of the beach crowds waiting for the sunset.
Last weekend I went the the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve to see the California poppies in bloom and paint the views. The poppies were just starting to unfurl their first blooms so there wasn’t much orange to see yet. I set up my easel and painted a view of the Antelope Valley.
This view of this painting is from Palm Avenue looking north across San Fernando Boulevard (in Burbank, California.) This part of Palm Avenue is blocked for only pedestrian traffic and houses a movie theater and many restaurants and stores. It was a bright, warm late morning when I started painting and the acrylic paint was drying fast.
Today I found a place to paint on Rainbow Canyon Road in Temecula, California, which is famous for its wineries and rolling hills. It was a clear, brisk day and the sky seemed enormous as I looked down into the valley. The sky was full of half-darkened clouds that floated by too high to care what was going on below. My painting is a mixture of old and new styles that I hoped would capture the hills, sky, and clouds I enjoyed today.
Sunday morning my daughter and I headed west in search of a new place to paint. I exited the freeway at Tampa on a hunch and noticed a park on the map, called Wilbur Tampa Park. Instead of finding green grass and picnic benches, a tall cliff greeted us with a wooden-fenced trail around its belly. I drove around to where the top of the cliff was level with the road and parked. The view of the valley took a while to take in: tract houses below, the valley with a thin layer of morning haze still on it, the mountains to the south and west, the gaping blue sky with streaked with clouds and contrails. I could have at least made three paintings there that day but had to settle on one.
I’ve heard of Amir’s Garden in Griffith Park, California, but never visited it until today. Looking for a place to paint, I parked near a hill near the golf course. I followed some hikers up a steep path to the top of the tall hill covered in trees and foliage. There were spider plants, aloe plants, jade plants and more carpeting the pathways. Trees such as oak and mulberry provided a lot of shade. I painted en plein air one of the pathways through the trees with gnarly roots growing across it.
I painted this en Plein Air using the backyard as reference. It was late morning and the winter sun cast long shadows of the trees. The oranges are not ripe yet, the fruit large but yellow. This style of painting suits me, I must go forward from here and not backwards.
Saturday I was painting in Pasadena with the Weekend Warrior Painters at the Pacific Asian Museum. I layered a few things to create an interesting composition, the building across the street, a parking pass box, and a few cars.