Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In the shadow of the great tree

"In the shadow of the great tree" watercolor on paper, 11" x 16" 2015

The weather has been really beautiful these last few days, and hardly feels like Thanksgiving is approaching.  I have set out to work on some studio projects, in the anticipation of some not-so-nice-weather, but that has not been the case.  So, I figure I will post the last of my beautiful weather/San Fran trip studies today, and then continue in my studio for today.  The plan is to enjoy the next day of weather, and do a little local plein air work.

This study was in the shadow of the great tree.  It was so very majestic, that it still takes my breath away, being in God's cathedral.  What a truly magnificent and humbling experience.  I can see now where Gaudi derived his natural inspirations for the columns in La Sagrada Familia.  Just a stunning connection to me, as if a lightbulb went off in my head, and I had that true "a-ha" moment.  So very very lovely....

Monday, November 9, 2015

Redwoods and admirers

"Redwoods and admirers in Muir" watercolor on paper, 11" x 16", 2015

A relaxing day after a whirlwind of activity this last week, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  I can see the huge, benign, billowing clouds drifting by on the currents here, and Huntington is quiet.  It's nice we had a cloudy, "East-like" day here.  Keeps things real.  

Here is a watercolor study I did of some of the ravishing redwoods in Muir Woods.  Of course, you can never really do justice to such a majestic sight...cameras do even less, as I looked through my photos today and saw with much disappointment how the charged atmosphere that throbbed with life there was reduced to flat, almost mosaic-like tiles.  Frustrating, but the real deal is captured in my mind forever, so that's what counts.  A painting can make an attempt to bridge the gap between the real and the impressed...how it left an impression.  And it certainly did.  I do wish I had my oils, as watercolors are so, well, watery!  I find them frustrating mostly, and end up looking like a kid in preschool with paint all over my hands after swiping at them in an attempt to somehow make them more versatile like oils.  Laying in washes, lifting out color, dry brush work consisting of lots of stabbing, scribbing and angst....that's my watercoloring haha.  But, in all, it wasn't bad for a quick study, if I do say so myself.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

San Fran

As much as I wanted to dislike San Francisco, I must say, I really enjoyed it.  I thought it would be a Lefty paradise, but I was pleasantly surprised, both by the very beautiful area, and the laid back people.  The city itself is at a pleasant pace, and minus some aggressive homeless people, it really is a very enjoyable city.  

Dale and I crammed in as much joie de vivre as we could in our small amount of time here, and as much as I loved the cultural activities such as visits to the local gallery scene, taking in some of the historical sites, etc., the crowning part of this trip was to Muir Woods, right outside of Sausalito, over the Golden Gate.  The redwood forest was so breathtaking, it stirred my soul so deeply, I never wanted to leave there.  It was as if one of those great, old, noble trees, with the nooks and crags and corridors, all of their mystery and magnitude, had a little doorway you could duck into, and be in the realm of elves and fairies, or cross over to some world like Narnia.  It was sublime.

All said, San Francisco seems a breezy town, large enough to rival Manhattan Island in it's sprawl, but minus the frenzy that seems to accompany NYC.  The city has a somewhat empty feel to it, and there is also an decent amount of empty storefronts throughout, along with the large homeless population that is not restricted to the mission, which gives it a somewhat forlorn feeling at times, of a city on the precipice of death, rather than one that is growing.  This city, seems to us, just at face value, a city that is surviving on tourism.  No one we met was a native.

Looking at the stats here, it's no wonder.  The city dwellers, by and large, can't afford to live here, and that puts many businesses under, due to out of control rents, and wage workers that can't afford to live in the city, or even near it, to fill the lower paying jobs.  Socialist policies versus capitalist corruption, and a magic elixir of disaster.  Very sad.

So, I was happy to have visited this very lovely city, and enjoyed the best of what it has to offer, the beautiful views, the easy pace, the yummy restaurants, and then, leave.  That's the best of all worlds!

Stormy Times

“Stormy day in the fields - Tennessee” oil on wooden panel, 18” x 18” by Hilary J. England I painted an original study when I was in Tenness...