Sunday, February 9, 2014

Rainy Day Notes (and some workshop info)

I've been more busy at work this past year, than I have been in awhile, so my personal work gets set aside, or at least takes a back seat to other issues. We've finally got some rain, and it was a good weekend to stay home, watch some of the Olympics, and do some cooking. This rainy morning provided the view of the hill beyond our back fence with a lovely, subdued value range, as well as palette of interesting colors...minty greens, warm browns, violets, and blue greys, everything harmonized by a steady, misting rainfall. I decided to put off cooking more comfort food, while watching young athletes tear up the slopes in Sochi,  in favor of painting a view from our back bedroom door. 

I see this view every morning when I wake up and look out the sliding glass door to see what the weather is up to. As we've been exceedingly dry this winter, the young grasses only turned that minty green about 2 weeks ago. Behind our house, there is a slight rise, and then it somewhat levels off for a few hundred feet before a small but steep slope rises up like a wall, covered with small oaks, and one old buckeye tree that shows its lichen covered bony branches every winter. At the base of the hill are a blend of ferns, blackberry vines, poison oak, and a few fennel plants. That's a scotch broom shrub in the mid-ground. All this is habitat for deer, coyotes, turkeys, bunnies, quail, and what have you. Tics are abundant.

Rain on the Back Hill, 14 x 14, Pastel on Paper

 Since I last posted, I taught a workshop out at Pt. Reyes at the lifeboat station, way out on the southern west corner of the park. This is a pretty stark and  dramatic landscape that is also subject to rapid changes in the weather. You can go from fog to sunshine in short order, and vice versa. The Lifeboat Station is a sturdy historic building with a kitchen, and bunks. A perfect retreat and place to stay snug at night. I'll be teaching another workshop out there in April. More information to be found here:
Pt. Reyes Workshop

Sitting in the rain, and thinking about summer, the workshop I teach up at the Sierra Nevada Field Campus every summer is now open for registration as well. Hope to see some folks this spring or this summer. Plenty of info on the Sierra workshop in previous year's posts, as well as on the website.


Tegan Clancy said...

beautiful paintings, I love the rainy atmosphere you've captured

rroseman said...

I am trying to decide on a new plein air setup...turning 60 and my good old Julian is starting to be too cumbersome . I notice you are using heilman box and easel ( I think), and I wondered if you noticed any problems w this set re: light on your work and pastels being difficult to keep the same. Do you use an umbrella? I was looking at "allinone" easel ,but concerned with the limited ability to have varying height for work and pastels. (I work in pastel), thanks for any thoughts

Bill Cone said...

@Tegan: Thanks for your comment. Painting in the rain isn't bad when you can do it from inside the house. ;-)

@rroseman: The Heilman 'backpacker' box and easel works really well for me. Sometimes I block sunlight on the pastels with the lid covers leaning against the back of the easel. I do use an umbrella, made by Bestbrella. I've had the same one for 4 years, and highly recommend it. For the tripod, I'm currently using the one sold by Artwork Essentials. It is probably not the strongest, but very lightweight, and is a good match with the small Heilman box I use. Also, the quick release plate is large, with it's own tightening screw that keeps wiggling to a minimum. The whole rig is very portable, adjustable, and works well for me. It will probably not be as solid as a Julian, but you may be shaving quite a few lbs. off what you're hauling around.

rroseman said...

Thanks for your thoughts. Now I need to find someone who wants to get me a very nice 60th birthday present!