Bear Lakes Loop- World Watercolor Month #2


My plein air adventure was a hike back to Little Bear Lake in Sierra County Bear Lakes Loop Trail where my grandson, Rollin and I took a hike and picnic a couple of weeks ago.

P1090982It is so green, amazing! is this the California in summer? Yes, indeed! in the high country it is very green, I didn’t see a dry blade of grass, all green.P1100060

Flowers everywhere, so amazing!

The Lighting was Perfect!

What an inspiring place to paint. I ended up here about 7 am and in fact I wished that I arrived more like 6 am but I didn’t get the rest that I needed so I slept in a bit.

painting #1 on 300# Fabriano 7 x 9 inches
A serene setting to paint in
Painting #2 on 140# Somerset 7 x 9 inches

I wasn’t very happy with my rock. I had such a difficult time with my rock and I am good with rocks! I still liked the rest of the painting, the lighting on the water was beautiful and I was able to depict it quite nicely.


Painting #3 on 140# Arches 7 x 9 inches

Guess what? Those rocks were giving me trouble….again. I HATE those two rocks but at least it was fun trying to paint the rest of the scene.



Painting #4 on 140# Arches 7 x 9 inches

I truly enjoyed painting this one though  the smoky skies were hard to paint. I found that I wished I had more complexity with the trees. I had an artist angst of sorts yesterday and I hated this painting. Today I am warming up to it.


Painting #5 on #140 Arches 7 x 9 inches

For such a complex painting, I decided to paint it without a line of drawing but now I wished I had! It was like trying to put a puzzle together. That tree (hate that tree) was a hard one to paint because of that angle but here it is, flaws and all! It was an experiment of sorts.

Painting #6 on 140# Arches 7 x 9 inches

I was getting tired by now but determined to soldier through. I figured why drive up here and hike out this far and paint only a few paintings.

Painting #7 on 140# Arches 7 x 9 inches

I decided to go loose and crazy. I painted this one in a mere 2 minutes. It doesn’t look like much but when I put it under a mat, it popped with color and vibrancy. What I initially hated turned out to be something that I like very much.

On the way back, what a beautiful view
Snow still lingering at this elevation-over 6,000 ft.
A horse packing group with mule and rider in the rear

At the end of the trail for this post. I plan on going back before the end of the season before the snow flies and they close off the road. I want to come back and get a better  painting experience in this wonderful part of the country.

I have a continuing problem that crops up occasionally in which I castigate myself and my art and it reared its’ ugly head the last few days. I know that eventually I will get to the bottom of this and throw it out for good! I can only hope.

My Learning Points:

  • Rendering complex scenes doesn’t necessarily make a painting better, simplicity can be golden.
  • Paring down my equipment is a must, this hike wasn’t necessarily long but the elevation made it more strenuous.
  • By golly, it is just art! Lighten up!
  • Good for me, I took only a pint of water (just in case the lakes were dry!) in the past, I would take a quart or more when hiking to paint the river, go figure.

July -World Watercolor Month #1

My contribution for #WorldWatercolorMonth will be two abstracts. I wanted to keep the Yuba River in mind while painting them. I always seem to love the color until it dries but that is the way of watercolor…sigh.

Yuba Gold Flow 10.5 x 14.5 Arches #140 rough

Keep in mind that blue is darker and richer, think Ultramarine Blue. I had a problem with globs of paint not mixing. All kinds of interesting problems but all in all, not bad. I decided to have another go at it:

Blood Mingling 10.5 x 14.5 Arches #140 rough

I think that I am drawn to that red, I decided to go bold and grabbed my red and had a go at it. There is a sad history in California regarding the Native people and the influx of gold miners and land hungry pioneers brought much misery and bloodshed. I didn’t paint this in mind of that history, it came to me after taking a good look at what I created.

I would include learning points but I am behind on my housework…plus I was also busy submitting 6 entries for a art show that will be up for two months. Wish me luck! Happy Watercolor Painting Folks! Go get ’em!