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Carlsbad Flower Fields Painting

As promised, I’m posting the completed painting started in the Carlsbad Flower Fields on Saturday. I haven’t signed it yet because there might be a few minor touches here and there. I like to sign a painting as the last finishing touch as much as possible. Choosing the color to sign with is always fun. You want it to stand out but also be compatible with the overall color scheme of the painting. What color would you choose to sign with?

Carlsbad Flower Fields

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Lindo Lake Update

Many times, while painting a canvas outdoors, for any of a limitless number of reasons there are parts of the scene that are either too complex, distasteful, or simply don’t mesh and balance the composition. It is the artist’s prerogative to include or exclude these items as necessary to meet the end goal of a harmonious and balanced painting. Known as “Artistic License,” this is the artists ability and authority to change the subject to fit the overall goals of the particular presentation according to their own aesthetic whim. That explains how one departs, creatively speaking, from the scene before him which has dreadful apartment dwelling architecture from the early seventies…


to a simplified and idyllic scene as shown in progress here on the easel…

On the Easel

to a place such as the one depicted here…

Lindo Lake

Thank goodness I don’t feel like I need to paint what I see!

Here is a video demonstration of the actual painting of this piece, on site at Lindo Lake…that’s my wife’s playing the piano in the music background–she also composed the music and arranged the recording.

P.S. Don’t be afraid to use the “like” buttons on the page. They help with getting the word out about the great painter you know 🙂

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D.T. Fleming Beach, Kapalua Plein Air Outing

North to Honolua

In my earlier post, Hawaii Whirlwind Tour, I neglected to post the image of the painting I did on the first morning. It was really windy on the beach at that time and I caught the easel three times as it was about to fall over.  After that, I just kept my left hand on it as I painted. It was early and very cloudy, up in the West Maui Mountains off to my right but every once in a while there would be a gap in the clouds and the sunrise light would shine through and light up the face of the waves. It was a sudden color explosion that was absolutely amazing. A big black carpenter bee came down and investigated my canvas thoroughly a couple of times but didn’t bother me after that.  I guess he approved. I hope you do too.

Plein air painting of D.T. Fleming beach in Kapalua, Maui


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Presidio Park Plein Air Paintout

Got out to Presidio Park, near Old Town San Diego, on Saturday with the painters group. Took me a while to find a spot with the right view. I had completely set up in a spot on a knoll that I liked but it forced me to sit on a bed of pine needles to get the right perspective. It took about two minutes to remember I don’t like sitting while painting, so I left everything there and hiked around for fifteen minutes until I found an alternate vista. Here are some shots of the 11 X 14, oil on Ampersand gessobord panel.

"Presidio" in progress
“Presidio” in progress

…and here is the finished painting…


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The Watering Hole, Plein Air Outing in Ramona, California

I returned to Ramona Grasslands Reserve this morning. I liked the outing so much last time and there is so much to see and paint there. It was a great, sunny and warm February morning in Southern California–no need for a jacket but cool enough that the insects were inactive. When the painter is comfortable and relaxed and the light is good, good things can happen. I was able to test my new lightweight pochade box and tripod, which worked great and was much easier to hike in than the full french easel with a five gallon bucket. It holds two wet 11 X 14 panels as well, so it is a great improvement. Today’s work is an 11 X 14 oil on gessoed panel. Here it is:


I also made a time-lapse video demo of the making of this painting, which you can watch here:

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I’ve always liked painting and drawing botanicals. There’s something about the perfect beauty of a flower or piece of fruit on the limb or vine that is so appealing to all the senses. I have two pomegranate trees in the yard and I love eating the kernels as a snack and juicing them to make natures’ Grenadine, which can’t be beat in a tequila cocktail, when in season. Here is a rendition I just completed of a young pomegranate fruit on the limb. This is a small painting, only 4 X 12 inches, but it makes up for the size by its eye-catching appeal.


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Strelitzia nicolai — Finished

I finally got around to finishing the painting of the Giant Bird of Paradise plant (Latin name Strelitzia nicolai). This one is 12″ X 16″ on a deep (1.5″) gallery wrapped canvas. As all of my finished works, you can see this in one of the portfolios at

I’m also pleased to announce that one of my most recent paintings, Hacienda Carrillo, was juried into the show which is now displayed at the San Diego Art Institute in the museum of the living artist in Balboa Park.


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Hacienda Carrillo, Plein Air Paintout in Carlsbad, California

Yesterday started with another bright and beautiful, Southern California, morning. A little chilly (34 degrees) at dawn but nothing compared to temperatures some other parts of the country are experiencing in Mid-January. Got to paint in a new locale (for me) up in the Carlsbad area of San Diego’s North County. The Leo Carrillo Ranch is a 27 acre historical park that preserves the early California adobe architecture and landscaping. It has very nice walking trails and colorful botanical gardens, as well as preserved and restored buildings from the long working history of the Rancho. It was last privately owned by Hollywood actor, Leo Carrillo, who was friends with many of the A-list stars of Hollywood’s golden era. For example, Clark Gable was a friend who often vacationed with Leo at the Ranch. Here is the brand logo and motto of the Rancho: carillo_logo …and here is what part of one of the trails looks like… carillo_pillar …and a little farther down the trail… carrillo_trail …and these guys are roaming all over the place, I must have seen thirty or forty of them… peacock IMG_0078 …I found a view that made a nice composition for the canvas (in this case a 12 X 12 cradled gessobord panel)… cropview …so I set up my easel and painted it, which came out like this… hacienda_carrillo I received many complements on this one by passers by and fellow artists at the park. For now, I’m calling it “Hacienda Carrillo,” but if you can come up with a more compelling name, let me know and I’ll consider it. Here is a link to this one at my online gallery:

All in all, a great day for painting outdoors.

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Winter Swell, Cabrillo

I got out for a plein air session last week-end. Had been sick for some time with a nasty flu that left me with a persistent nasal drip and cough. It was good to get out and the day was absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been meeting up with a painters group that uses online social media to designate places to have painting sessions. This morning, I was the first to show up (as usual), and I arrived early at the Entrance to Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma in San Diego. It was a crystal clear and chilly December morning. As I drove into the park and headed down the hill to the lower parking lots where there is access to the tide pools, a magical thing happened…

…a Peregrine falcon swooped down not more than five or ten yards in front and to the left side of my slow moving truck–and without flapping soared down the hill about three feet off the blacktop pavement…it was almost skimming the tops of the buckwheat and sage bushes at the side of the road, leading me into the park. It was so magical, I was laughing as I drove behind my escort. I followed it all the way to the bottom of the hill–nearly half a mile. What a great way to start the day.

When I parked, I got out with my easel and bucket and took some photos as I went…I’ll share them with you…

First I got out and took a photo of the view from the parking lot…

Then, I walked down the trail a ways and saw this…

and this…

and I painted this…

which came out like this…
(apologies for the phone photo)

And then I packed up, hiked back to my truck and drove out of the park but had to stop and take some shots because it was just too beautiful to resist…

looking West…

…and looking East…

A very quiet and emotional place.

What a great day it was.

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Ramona Grasslands Meadow, Winter Plein Air in SoCal

Yesterday morning, early, I made a trip to the Ramona Grasslands Reserve, near Ramona just outside of San Diego. The grasslands are a wide open space with rolling hills, meadows, rock formations and California Live Oaks. It was early and the light was good as the fog had just cleared and the grass was dew-laden. I parked my easel in a quiet and shady spot and painted this scene on a 12 X 12 cradled birch panel.

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Beach House, La Playa, Point Loma

Beach House, La Playa

I finished another painting, which is waiting on a frame before it is posted in my website gallery. Here is a photo of it, unframed. This painting began as a plein air work, started on location at Kellog’s beach–also known as La Playa in Point Loma, San Diego, California, USA. I brought it home and made substantial changes in the studio. As you can tell, my back was to the water of San Diego Harbor. Eventually the tide rolled in, and I had to move my easel further inland several times before there was no more dry real estate and I had to pack up.

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September Morning Fog, Point Loma Plein Air

When I first brought this painting home, I wasn’t very happy with it…but it grew on me. After some studio work, I like it very much. It looks great in a nice gold leaf plein air frame. You can see photos of it unfinished, on location at Sunset Cliffs in San Diego, California, USA–over in the Uncategorized Posts section of the blog.

September Morning Fog, Point Loma 16 X 20 Plein Air
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Dawn at San Elijo, California Plein Air Painting

I got out early this morning to try to find some good light. San Elijo Lagoon Nature Reserve was the destination. I got there before sunrise and set up my easel in a spot that had a nice composition for the canvas.  I finished before 9:00am, when I took this shot.

San Elijo Lagoon, 9:00am, September 15, 2012

Here is the signed and finished painting, Available for purchase at my online gallery, here.

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Torrey Pines Plein Air

Here is a shot of my easel as it stood after completing, “Highway 1, Torrey Pines,” which is available for purchase in the gallery. Following is shot of the completed painting.  This was a fun outing and I had to hike in quite a distance to set up here with a full french easel and a five gallon bucket with supplies.