June WC #10

I was torn between pastel or watercolor plein air painting and the good old watercolor won out this time.

I wasn’t sure what time the light would hit this particular spot I was headed out to, I arrived about 8:30 am but I should have arrived a full hour earlier. I took the Canyon Creek Trail at Shenanigan Flat in Sierra Co. just before Indian Valley Outpost  Canyon Creek Trail  It seem to take forever because of having to hike back in at least 1 mile and a half, perhaps it was 2 miles, it sure felt like it. I got to see a bear, so exciting and I was trying to get my camera ready to take a photo but he decided to dash up the hill. So cool to have him there pausing, we both had a good look at each other, he decided he wasn’t up to introductions. I had this feeling that I would see a bear, I was right.

I didn’t like my photos today but here is a photo of this area back in the spring of this year. Look at all that green moss! I am hoping to plein air paint this fall and winter when I can have oodles of fun with that rich color.


I think in the future I need to scale down my supplies for longer hikes because I really felt the weight.

The photo at the top left was the area with this beautiful lighting, the tree was my first subject.

See the ladybugs on that rock? This is Cherokee Creek


Painting #1 Saunders #200 cp 11 x 14 inches

I overworked the base of this tree, I had some rich and beautifully mingled colors but I decided to go back in and make it even better! Wrong! leave it alone!

painting #2 Fabriano 300# cp 11 x 14 inches

These rocks were giving me a hard time trying to depict them correctly. I made the mistake of trying to work on two paintings at once and by the time I would go back to one of the other paintings, the light had changed. This system seems to work on smaller paintings but with a larger painting, not so well. I almost left this painting out of the group just because I am not happy with it, if you have some suggestions on what it needs or say “scrap it” that’s fine too.

Painting #3 Arches 300# rough 7 x 9 inches

I need more of a focal point, too busy with all the rocks. Yes, I know there are suppose to be a lot of rocks in a creek, but I need to point out my focal point. It needs something, that I do know.

Painting #4 Fabriano #300 cp 7 x 9 inches

This painting was so fun and yet I see some mishaps. Nothing is perfect when you plein air paint. So funny, as I sat there, I had hundreds if not thousands of ladybugs over all my stuff, the rocks and my paintings.

Sorry I would have cropped out the taped edges, I was in a rush to get it done and posted. Long day with painting, passing a motorcycle accident on the road on the way home, then having to wait for the helicopter to take off with the injured rider which was almost in front of my drive-way.

Painting #1 & 2 were the Yuba River, #3 and #4 were Cherokee Creek which runs right into the river. I do believe that I enjoyed painting the creek more.

Learning points:

  • The rocks in #2 were giving fits, as noted.
  • Careful with over working a painting, plein air paintings are suppose to be fresh and lively, get in and get out.
  • When I sense that I am picking at a painting, stop!
  • I hate Daniel Smith’s Lemon Yellow….HATE! Debi you were right….want some yellow?
  • Don’t accidently sit on my painting.

38 thoughts on “June WC #10

  1. LOL! You sat on a painting? Sorry to laugh, Margaret, but that sounds like something I’d do. Oh, my goodness. Such gorgeous scenery, and I enjoyed seeing all of your paintings, even the ones you weren’t happy with or thought needed tweaking. What an eventful day you had! I’m impressed not only by your paintings but by your stamina and determination to get out there and paint. Beautiful results.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yep…..I forgot to mention having to keep swiping ladybugs off from my drying paintings…..I wonder if you can spot little itsy bitsy feet on my paintings? lol it was a heck of a day…..a good one though but not for that motorcyclist. Yep, I can be a very determined person!

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  2. Those are Lady Bugs? Not just colors on rocks? Wow! They’ll soon take over the planet!

    I like the #3 a lot. The all-overness of it is a quality that I find very appealing. They’re a nice group of paintings. And they do look bold! Very loose and bold, all of them.

    Glad the bear was polite. That’s a nice quality in a bear. Who likes a pushy bear?

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    1. exactly! that was a rock with “some” ladybugs! they were everywhere, over me, my paintings, my paint, I was okay with it until they got on my neck, that was a no-no….lol I forgot to mention the bear was the prettiest cinnamon color. Who ever started this “Black Bear” thing was wrong. I have only seen a few real black colored bears. I have even seen a white blotchy bear! they are amazing animals, if I believed in “spirit animals” the bear would be mine. 🙂 Thank you for your comments, I always value them.


  3. sunlight dappling through and sparkling glittering water! just lovely M! always ready to go wading, hiking, and painting at the river with you 🙂
    ps for great mixing abilities go for either (winsor lemon, hansa yellow light, or aurelin) And, winsor lemon PY175 is….. my Pick for Reliability. hansa yellow LIGHT, in runner up. py3.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Winsor lemon PY175 is the one that you would choose if you had to between all of them? I want a good player…..that sucky (sorry for the strong language) DS lemon Yellow sucks! It is suppose to be transparent and it acts like a semi-trans. and it curdles! really, it curdles….hate it. I think I will give my complaints and see if DS will make it good! oh thank you Debi for your comments about the paintings….any tips on what I should work on after seeing quite a few of my plein airs (or studio)…..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. the only thing tip wise, coming to mind… is when paintings are done – to go back and soften the edges in the background, midground areas (as needed. ) and any ‘bottoms’ that need softened off too.
        but thats it.
        really, its what you already know, and do brilliantly esp in the pastels.

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  4. These watercolors are awesome, Margaret. I could not point out one favorite – they are all beautiful, painted with looseness and with beautiful color compositions. Very inspiring! That place with all that moss on the rocks looks absolutely amazing and magical. I can understand how it attracts you to paint it. Can´t wait your interpretations. 🙂

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  5. I just love your paintings, Margaret. Light and color and the dancing between for my eyes is what always draws me to your stuff. I can’t pick a favorite, and love the photos too. What a gorgeous area you live in. Oh and so exciting to see a bear! Love it. I hope the motorcyclist was ok. I usually don’t see any problem with your work until you point it out. Then I kinda see, but I still wanna say hey I liked the painting anyhow. Like the one with all of the rocks and no focal point? Didn’t bother me in the least. I am drawn from one rock to the next and admiring your colors and enjoying the view! I love your last note. Always enjoy your learning notes in your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes…..I think I lost a good focal point because I was too attentive in painting rock by rock. I forgot to mention that in my learning points. I think that I will be going back and paint it again in the next week or so. But I will not carry my water this time, it made the hike harder than it should have, what was I thinking? taking water to paint the river? With thousands upon thousands of gallons of water at my feet? lol!

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  6. I love how you felt you’d see a bear and went ahead anyway and SAW one face to face! Ah! Right at this moment – you are my hero! 😀 and about helping out at the accident scene as well – I hope they’ll make it alright.
    These paintings, Margaret, are delightfully beautiful! I love your use of colour and your style. Very inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. and can you believe this….I walk up to the spot that he went up the hill and I was hoping to catch a photo of him yet! I went” yoohoo! I want to take a picture of you!” yeah, right, like he will pop back down and pose for me….. silly me! thank you for your comments, it warms my heart. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can just imagine! You’re quite the character – very brave indeed! But if I think about it he would’ve made a great photo! I completely understand your logic 😀

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  7. It’s wonderful to see your plein air paintings Margaret there is such a free quality, a presence of time stopped. Paintings #1 and #2 are amazing pieces with the light and weight of the rocks. A bear, can’t imagine!

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      1. or stupidity! the first time was a mama and her babies out in a meadow standing on their rear legs peeking over the grasses at us, that made my day. The other time was on that local trail that I painted on the other day, I saw a mama bear and two cubs…the mama was scouring for food and her cubs were practicing their tree climbing skills. They were just little tykes….so charming….they didn’t know I was there (over 300 feet or so)…..courage a little, stupidity a lot! lol

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  8. These are beautiful images. I am in awe of the color harmony and depth in your grey and earth colors, it seems you are using a limited palette? I am also envious of how spontaneous and strong your brush strokes are. I think I will come back and look at these for instruction before my next painting session!

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    1. really? interesting because often I don’t think that I am bold enough! I have a limited palette and have my favorite go to colors. I am flattered by your comments because I have a tendency to castigate myself and often I just don’t see what others see in regards to my art. In a way it is good because it pushes me and yet at the same time I am stumbling over those big rocks that I throw down in front of my path! I practice on not how but the task of conveying what I see, that is the secret to my being spontaneous and bold. 🙂

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      1. Margaret, I really identify so much with what you say “I just don’t see what others see in regards to my art”. I know this feeling so well. But you have to believe – I think your watercolors are really good. That limited pallete is working well. If you take of the tape from the edges and view your paintings with a white frame around it, I am sure you will have to say, at the very least “these are quite good!”. You just have to build on that belief that this is a useful and worthy endeavour and keep on painting with increasing confidence. Year after year you will improve and see how it becomes easier to paint what you see in your minds eye. (I am preaching to myself also here, but I truly think it applies to you!).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. you are so correct, sometimes after I have set a painting aside out of view and when I take another look at it, I realize that it isn’t as bad as I thought….also I agree, taking the tape off and setting it against a mat and frame can really show off a painting and point it towards a “masterly” elegance….sometimes! thank you for your comments, I truly appreciate them. 🙂


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