After cruising around the Southwest (taking lots of pictures of vintage motel signs for future paintings!), we've landed in Southern California. When I collected my waiting mail, I had a surprise waiting--my watercolor and ink painting, Parque Mexico, won an honorable mention in the national juried AZ Aqueous Show! What an awesome welcome back to California.
It's been a big few months for me. I'm moving back to Cali, with a two month pit stop in Colorado Springs. I've been sketching up a storm and practicing some painting exercises to improve my work. Specifically I've been working on value sketches and translating that to my paintings. It's a huge challenge to translate my sketches to paintings and capture the same essense, but each painting is something learned.
There's a lot to be inspired by here. I especially love Garden of the Gods with its surreal red rock formations. The colors fade and gain vibrancy as the sun travels the sky. There are a ton of hiking trails, so I can take my sketchbook and gain new perspectives.
I'm excited to announce that one of my Mexico City paintings was chosen for BWAC's juried show Color, opening Saturday, July 22 and running through August 14. I also have a painting in the affordable art auction. Spend a summer day in Red Hook and check out this colorful show, which hangs in one of Red Hook's iconic Civil War era warehouses. It's a cool place to spend a hot summer day. And if you don't find yourself in this unique neighborhood very often, make it a day and grab some lunch and a beer. Some of my favorites are:
Fort Defiance 365 Van Brunt St.
Sunny's Bar 253 Conover St.
Baked 359 Van Brunt St.
The famous Red Hook food vendors at the Red Hook Recreation Fields, 160 Bay St.
Every summer at the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor's Island, I leave in awe of the beautiful 1920s costumes and snazzy dance moves of fellow New Yorkers. It is such a colorful event to take part in and to doodle afterwards. Every year I see this particular couple on the dance floor and they are marvelous. Watching them, I feel momentarily transported into the supper club scene of a movie where complicated dance steps are second nature and get even better the more bath tub gin one guzzles.
Drawing them was a little bit of a breakthrough for me. Some of my jazz age drawings have been looking a little tight and overly cartoony, but after a day of frustrated drawing last weekend, where nothing was quite working, I did a rough, loose sketch of them and it just began to come together naturally. With painting, I think I need a fair amount of warm up time to finally loosen up enough to create a piece I really like.
Here is the evolution of the painting. I started with a wet pink wash to play off of her red costume. Whether or not I have the patience to let it dry thoroughly before moving onto the next layer depends on my mood.
I've been playing a bit with time lapses while working and captured a bit of the layering process.
And the finished product. I often outline in black with a brush pen and India ink, but I liked the effect of using black watercolor and seeing it bleed a bit into shadows. I'm really liking this effect and I think I'll use it for my next round of Mermaid Parade paintings.
This piece is for sale in the shop and will be part of a short Illustrated Guide to the Jazz Age Lawn party I'm working up for August's to do.
A few Fitzgerald-y pages from my sketchbook from last weekend's Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor's Island. In case you missed the straw boater hats, champagne cocktails and old timey jazz from Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra, the lawn party's second act this summer is August 13 and 14.
San Juan Capistrano was one of my favorite weekend trips when I was a kid in Orange County. My aunt was a docent at the Mission and my sister and I spent many Saturday mornings fattening up the pigeons with bird seed, watching volunteers demonstrate tortilla making or wandering in and out of cool dark adobe buildings. It wasn't until I began visiting my sister when she moved to South County that I discovered the Los Rios Historic District tucked behind the Capistrano train depot, and it happens to be OC's oldest neighborhood!
The old cottages house cafes and garden shops which create a steady stream of tourist foot traffic, but there is also a sense of sleepy, orange blossom Old California crouching just behind the clockwork arrivals and departures of the Pacific Surfliner.
Some favorite San Juan Capistrano spots:
Seriously good scones and coffee at Hidden House Coffee, 31791 Los Rios Street
Hanging out with the day drinkers at Swallows Inn, 31786 Camino Capistrano
Las Catrinas for Mexican crafts and aspirational garden decor, 31742 Los Rios St
Shrimp tacos and a beer at the Mission Grill, 31721 Camino Capistrano
The gardens at Mission San Juan Capistrano, cant' miss it.