North Yuba river and Humbug Creek Confluence

Arches 300# rough 11 x 14 inches

A few days ago I plein air painted along the North Yuba river (imagine that!) at the confluence of Humbug Creek. The North Yuba trail runs along for about 8 miles along the river and I hiked in about 3/4- 1 mile to get here. I actually painted this painting to about 80% and then completed it at home.

My scene

I am realizing that more and more when I go plein air painting is that I can’t expect to totally finish a painting on site, especially if I want to build layers and the weather is not cooperating. It wasn’t cold but it certainly was cool and my layers weren’t drying fast enough.


my favorite of the three



these paintings were warmups and unfinished because of the slow drying problem. I think that I will complete them to a simplicity and with an abstract flavor. I think that my favorite is the top left one.

Ah the river!
Clear, clear water

Learning points:

  • keep painting, it can only get easier
  • get out and paint en plein air, finishing up a painting in the studio would be more difficult if I didn’t have a knowledge of the area or scene that I painted.

Shenanigan Flat-North Yuba River

painting #1  on Arches 140# 7 x 9 inches

This scene was a difficult one because of the steep trail leading down to the river and the fact that I didn’t have sun on the river for the first 90 minutes, I painted basically in the shade.

what my first scene looked like with sun
painting #2 on Fabriano 300# 11 x 14 inches

I struggled with this painting because of having such a complex scene with no focal point (hoping for a light source) I was all over the place and couldn’t focus. In other words, I didn’t have a clear path to follow.

my scene was beautiful but without sun, it was a bit dreary
painting #3 on Saunders 200# 11 x 14 inches

I then spotted the sun shining further on down the river, all I had to do was scoot my butt a 3/4 turn and I had a new scene! The sun was glowing down the river! YAY!

This scene was a bit darker in the trees in the canyon….beautiful lighting!

I used my spray bottle and did an interesting underpainting but I think that I got too carried away and should have planned out my painting a little more. All in all, I am pleased with this painting, always something to improve though plein air is not suppose to be perfect or tight.

painting #4 on Arches 140# 7 x 9 inches
my scene…..the lighting on these rocks were amazing

I wished I had done a better job on these rocks but I think that I was getting tired. I know that I probably push to paint more paintings than I am up for but I figure if I am going to venture out and hike, I might as well do as many paintings as I can.

I was thinking of not posting these paintings but decided why not? I have been a little picky and hard on myself lately. I did paint a few days ago and I have yet to upload those. I might do it as I know when I am picky, it is good for me to proceed as usual.

Learning Points:

  • Not all painting sessions are meant to be perfect and easy.
  • Keep my plan of action clear, stop and re-focus.
  • Continue to work on my values and saving my whites, I continue to struggle with this.
  • My color selections felt off today, don’t let this interfere with my enjoyment.

Inspired and no Creative place to go!

portrait from a past figure drawing session

Thank you Laura createarteveryday for encouraging me to draw my grandson, even though I didn’t come away with a successful drawing, I am encouraged to draw more. Being that my grandson is 7 years old, it is a given that he can not sit still for less than a minute. I have enjoyed figure drawing over the years and I do have a local group that I can attend but having spent so many of my Saturdays away from home, I became burned out.

I have decided that I need to get back to drawing howbeit, being a landscape, still life or figures, I know that it will improve my painting. After all, isn’t drawing the backbone to painting?  Thank you Laura! Oh and I have to include Rebecca’s blog rebeccaevanscreate because she inspired me so much today with her post thanking Charlie for July’s watercolor challenge. Even though she doesn’t mention drawing, her watercolor paintings of horses helped to remind me that it is important to have a good foundation of drawing skills.

Time out for Relaxation and Play

reflection of leaf in the North Yuba

I’ll be picking up my grandson, Rollin, tomorrow to spend some time with my husband and I until Saturday. I did go out to plein air paint this morning but didn’t care for the results of my paintings. I had a feeling I should had given myself a rest day but I ignored it and chased the light. My paintings aren’t really all that bad but I am tired, so I decided since I am going to have my grandson over till Saturday, I would take a week off from art and rejuvenate my artistic self. I have been failing to take my mornings out on the patio to read my Bible and to meditate.

How did I ever allow myself to get on this “go get ’em” routine? I plan on paying better attention to my spiritual and physical self in the future.

Ah, gold in that river!