We have had a lot of rain this year in California, and throughout both ends of the state. North and south. As a result, the hills are a brilliant lime green, and when the sun hits just right, it’s hard to believe our once beige state has blossomed into such beauty. The wildflower bloom is beginning, from the desert to the high Sierra. Cacti, poppies, lupines, and so many other flowers await our eager eyes.
Last summer we ran away from home, up the coast, to La Purisima Mission in the area of Lompoc, California. It’s a small town with a wonderful secularized California Mission, La Purisima, restored by the state during the Depression. It has gardens, outbuildings, a wonderful historical center, and is a lovely place to walk around on a sunny day. I took my camera with me, and today’s painting is based upon the photograph below.
This little patch of weeds is located on the backside of the mission, and I found it so charming. The weeds are typical California plants – hardy, drought resistant, resinous. Grasses and flowers. Furry leaves. All these help keep the plants from drying out in the relentless sun and low humidity.
I am not really sure if I caught what I wanted to do with this photograph, but I am pleased enough to put my name on the scan I used a lot of the techniques I learned from Rick Surowicz’s Fall Lake video.
Putting on the frisket was scary. I was so unsure about it, but knowing the only way to learn was to do, I did! Blobs, lines, sprinkles and splatters of frisket. Paint. Paint some more. Finally I arrived at a point where I just didn’t think I could go any further, and it is at this point I stopped. And then removed the frisket. More paint added here and there, lines, whatever. The final result is below.
We went to visit the La Purisima Mission nearby in Lompoc, California. It’s a state park which is a rebuild of the mission itself, which was destroyed in the 1812 earthquake. The mission rebuild was part of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s during the Depression. This is from a photo of the roof. The perspective is off, and it’s a bit muddy, but it was a lot of fun trying to figure out how to make the color for the curved tiles.
The studio is finally sort of back together. It was torn apart for flooring installation. Putting it back is slow – I didn’t realize how much stuff I had packed away in it, and how little I want to put back into it other than painting supplies, photography equipment, and books. It’s not gonna be easy.
So what! When in doubt, paint! And poppies are the best in a California spring!
There is a poppy coming up in the front garden! With rain, even more will begin to show up in the hills and fields, along with lupines and other wildflowers. The quintessential California wildflower – delicate, lovely, bright.
I did this as a quick sketch this morning to test out a package of 5o pre-cut 6×9 cotton papers from Bee. So far, the paper is pretty nice.
It’s 92 F outside (33.33 C) in late December in Southern California. The air conditioning is on because it was 85 F in the house. A Christmas Cactus blooms in cold weather elsewhere . . .
Today, my little Meetup group went to a local place, the trail by the Chumash Museum nearby my house. (The Chumash are a California tribe.) We were there for about an hour. I began with a pencil sketch, and then, color. We were settled in a small oak grove, with dark and light contrast about as contrasty as you can get. At the end of the hour, this is what I had painted, knowing full well I would look at it and work it a bit once home.
Once home, I looked at the painting. Still a need for contrast, and a bit more detail. More pen, more ink brush, more colors, and some warmth.
Overall, the one above came out okay, but if you look on the mid-right, to the left of the furthest trunk, there is a bit of an odd space, so I went in and worked it a bit with ink to try to mitigate it. I found it very distracting. Here is the final image below.
The area has a few more lines in it, a bit busier, but somehow more in keeping with similar areas of the painting.
I used Koi watercolor brushes and the following paints: Quinacridone Gold, Naples Yellow, Hansa Yellow Medium, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Teal, Ultramarine Blue, Indanthrene Blue, Phthalo Green, and Burnt Sienna. I used a Stillman & Birn Beta Series 8×10 inch softcover notebook, and scanned the images using my trusty, not rusty, Epson V600. Ink is Carbon Ink, and an ink brush.