This is from a photo by Sarah Dolliver. I asked her for it because the theme for the Beverly Hills Art Show was extreme weather and they wanted me to do a demo but I joked with them that unless they could whip up a storm I’d be working from a photo. The funny thing was that the weather forecast started predicting thunderstorms for the show…but luckily, for all 240 artists, that did not happen. Someone at the show could tell from the painting that this was of the White Sands Desert in New Mexico. It’s a striking photo and image and I hope I did it justice. I’d have worked from my own photo but as they say “it never rains in Southern California”–except when you’re having an outdoor art show!
This was the last day of painting before we had to turn in our stuff–3 painting max–and since I was going downtown anyway, I thought I’d get one more painting in. Not sure if it was worth it. It was 100 degrees or so. The slight breeze was whipping up a dance of filthy papers and plastic bags around me. I ran into one of the other participants and he told me about some virus or other going on downtown that had left one volunteer for the homeless without a leg. I joked that he was just trying to scare me out of the competition and we laughed…but then he left…and I was alone…and I’d somehow forgotten my paper towels. I called B in a panic and he told me maybe I had extra in the car…which it turned out I did…but I had to break everything down and then set it all up again…my feet felt swollen and bruised by the heat…the air was almost suffocating. I managed to paint this but decided to go with the first 3 which were already framed and ready to turn in. The next night I saw that my work was in a dark corner of a large poorly lit room…definitely not showing to best advantage…oh well…It was still a ton of fun.
The Must is a restaurant with a distinctive logo of a blue head with a hole and a wired bottle in it. There was a purchase prize for painting this…but I don’t think they’ve decided on it yet. Anyway, at first I didn’t think I would do it, but the lighting late afternoon was good, so I set up. I was chatting with another participant when a panhandler came over and asked for money. I declined, and s/he? said “huumph, you can afford an assistant but you can’t pay me?!” I tried to explain that he was not my assistant but s/he wasn’t having any of it…and kept muttering, cursing, kind of circling the area and glancing at me without love….so I asked the other participant if he would hang around until things dissipated, which they eventually did. Meanwhile, I hadn’t set the easel up properly so it almost collapsed and that would have meant turps and paint flying everywhere, but because we were on the alert, we were able to catch it in time. I’ll say it again: plein air, not for the faint of heart!
This painting experience was a scene out of a movie. I had so many funny stories to tell B about what occurred as I was painting it…Mainly, a lot of folks, from Israeli student tourists, to drunken bums, to folks on jury duty break, to friends from the past coming over and telling me that they liked what I was doing. It was a hit on my Instagram feed too. The gods smiled on this one…(or at least a lot of strange folks down on the corner of 3rd and Broadway, lol).
This is from Wednesday. I participated in the second LA Plein Air Festival and we were allowed to go paint from the 27th floor of City Hall. There’s a terrace with bays that raps around the building…If you’d asked me if I was afraid of heights I would have told you “no” but being up there looking down for a long time was a tad unnerving. I was relieved to hear a big guy on his cell phone expressing his similar anxiety and we later both agreed that painting from there was both calming us down and exhilarating. I regretted having such a small surface to work on but then again, I had to haul my equipment up a long staircase (after dragging it several blocks from a parking lot) and that’s all I felt comfortable managing. This is Union Station from an unusual perspective…It looks so tiny from up there.