Sunday, September 30, 2012

Summer's End: Warming up for Sonoma

Starting tomorrow morning, I'll be spending a week in the Sonoma Valley as a participant in the Sonoma Plein Air event. I've been fortunate to have been able to paint in all but last year's event, and have enjoyed it every time. The hosts are amazing and generous people, there's plenty of good painting to be had, and I get to spend time with other artists whose work I admire, and whose company I enjoy. The auction dinner on Friday is sold out, but all the artists will be exhibiting in the plaza next Saturday, so I hope to see some familiar faces up there. The artwork below is work I've done over the summer and early fall from a variety of locales and will NOT be in the show next Saturday. The work you'll see there will have been painted in the next 5 days within the confines of the county. Its a real workout, and I've been literally warming up the past few weeks, by taking a class from work off campus to paint for a few hours 3 times a week, in addition to scouting locations for a 2 day workshop I'll be teaching in Pt. Reyes in a few weeks. Here's a few images with notes about their origin. 

I've been scouting, sketching, and painting up in Pt. Reyes on weekends to get a better handle on where to take a group to paint. We'll all be staying at the Clem Miller Educational Center near the Hostel at Limantour, so naturally we'll be painting that area first and foremost. Here's a study I did yesterday of the estero and the spit, looking west. I've tried higher views from near the parking lot, and there's also some good stuff to the east. I do like the compression of the meanders in the estuary, as there's good shapes there regardless of the light and weather.

This is from the class from work that I was teaching. We were able to get off campus in the afternoons.
On this warm day we chose a small lake in Tilden Park to paint at. I was struck by the 'exploding' tree in front of the larger mass.

Painted in Oregon, at Black Butte. There is a spring next to a bicycle path that I've only seen appear a few times over the last 20 years we've been vacationing there. It was back this year, and made an instant creek that drained into a pond.  With the exception of the flowers floating above the grass like butterflies, and the darker shadows in the foliage, the bulk of the image is very close in value, separated primarily by hue. That got me wondering if it would 'work' as a painting.

I also taught a workshop in July up at the Sierra Buttes for the third year in a row. I really enjoy teaching at this hidden gem of the Sierra, and I had a wonderful, energetic group of people to work with. We made the rounds of the lakes, valleys, and other spots. This one is a rock wall just downstream from Love's Falls, on the Yuba River as it tumbles down towards Sierra City.

Here's a view across the Sierra Valley in the afternoon. The class set up  behind a windbreak of huge poplar trees, which afforded us some useful shade on a hot day. Those brown spots are pastel semiotics for cattle...

That pretty much wraps up summer. I don't have any big outings planned for awhile, and will be working up some larger studio pieces for the next few months. Of course if the weather stays the way it currently is, I'll be painting outside instead. Come to Sonoma next Saturday to see the show. 


ddd said...

Awesome work as per usual Bill :)
I like the Oregon spring painting, it is subtle and quiet. It is embedded with great mark making, wow!!!

How do you capture your pastels digitally? Do you scan or photograph your work?

I would like to think that I have semi decent camera, but it always fails to capture certain hues and values... Do you find similar experience too?

Best of luck at the Sonoma and have a great time.

Bill Cone said...

Hi Dalibor, Thanks for the comment. I photograph my work digitally, hand held. I have an Olympus SLR, e-420. I stop it down, and use a flash to get better depth of field and exposure. Then I put the image into photoshop, straighten, crop, correct color and exposure. You are correct that the camera sees differently than our eyes, but you can get it close enough.

Tooninator said...

you make it look so easy. Easily one of my favourite artists out there.

Vincent Boyer said...

I love your work, discovered a few months ago ! and your use of colors is a feast for the eyes. I like the way you simplify complex landscapes with wide strokes of pastel, and especially love your use of blue hues in the shadow areas. Masterful ! Thank you for sharing your works !

( forgive me if there is mistakes in my english )

Cheers from France !

Bill Cone said...

Thanks Tooninator and Vincent for your comments.