Painting Happiness

I have truly enjoying my painting sessions lately. I will be posting from my Kindle Fire and if you want to see the clearer version, drop by and visit me on Instagram. 

Painting #1

The painting above is of Bullard’s Bar Reservoir at evening. I went very dark with it perhaps a bit too dark but I like it anyway.

Painting #2

This one I almost abandoned because I thought I had jumped  little ahead with the layering but I stayed with it to the very end. The trees on the right are a bit static and I will vary the height of one of more trees, an easy fix. This is a view of the Sierra Buttes from the other side.

Painting #3

I wanted to redo the Bullards evening painting a second time. I went a bit abstract with the sky. I used a sprayer to simulate light on the water.

Painting #4

This is on blue tinted Bockingford paper. I went wild and carefree with it, wet on wet and pushed the paper to its limit and boy did I have fun! I love this paper!

Painting #5

Eh so so for me, I lost the dimension and feeling of my rocks but wanted to include it. Not enough value range in the rocks.

Painting #6

On Fabriano hotpress. A pure joy to let the paint flow. I didn’t want a lot of detail I am again going for feeling. I am painting for me.

Painting 7

Last but not least. I almost abandoned this one because of a defect in the paper at the top section. There were two long scrapes and the paint settled right into them. It was a letdown and I was going to flip it over to paint on the other side when I decided at the last minute to crop the painting. It was a good decision because I ended up with a better composition anyway. The trees actually are a deeper green than my photo shows.

There you go, I am alive and well and painting up a storm! Until next time, happy trails!

River Study and Sierra Buttes


Interesting that WP continues to mess with me. Sorry I am not able to size my photos correctly. All I see is the code for the photo and I have to trust they get uploaded once I post this.

This painting was more of a study of values and shapes. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on detail or rendering. I think that it gives an abstract feel to the painting.


I whacked this one out in a day and didn’t want to spend too much time on it. I rendered it more than I probably liked but I have found that it exercises my patience and observance of a subject. I think that I will take back a value on that section of the mountain on the right, the shadow is too dark.


This is a painting that I have been working on for over a month little by little and I haven’t taken the time to post the finished (I think) painting. I come back to this subject often because it is such a beautiful area of my world. I chose not to bring the trees to a more detailed finish because the Sierra Buttes is the subject of interest. They are simply applauding.

Hey, I did it! I wrote this whole thing within 10 minutes! I can’t do squat with my photos but at least I was able to type without WP freezing up.

Old River Haunts


painting #1 on Canson Heritage 140# quarter sheet  

On this painting I wanted to practice a little detail work rather than full blast “see what happens”. I enjoyed it though I would like to make that right bank of rocks not appear so mushy and yet I do have a desire to detail an entire painting. I might give it more definition where needed. My favorite area is perhaps the bold light and the distant rocks in the background, love that area! I am going to make notes on how I painted them and the colors that I used. Here are several posts about painting this same spot: Revisit to A Yuba River Scene and A Look Back .


painting #2 wip on Canson Heritage 140# on half sheet

Of course I just have to tackle the Sierra Buttes yet again, imagine that! Obviously I am not finished but wanted to show my progress. I am really loving this paper because it has such a wonderful texture in that it is scratchy which makes dry brush so fun. Also I have discovered that this paper is very forgiving and you can lift paint quite well, right back to white, always a plus!

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.



Sierra Buttes and Company


painting #1 on Saunders 200# 11 x 14 inches

I have been working on a painting that I started about three years ago that requires a more detailed approach. As I like to do while painting on one painting is to start another one. The Sierra Buttes is one of my favorite subjects, so I decided to paint it again, why not? Here is my last post Making Do During a Snowstorm

I used Burnt Sienna and Fr. Ultramarine Blue on the mountain, I feel that it gives just the correct warmth and coolness. I chose not to go into much detail with the trees because the Sierra Buttes is the star, don’t you think?

I started out loosely with lots of water and getting the feeling and gist of the mountain rather than accuracy. To me that is more important.


painting #2 on Saunders 200# 11 x 14 inches


painting #3 on Arches 140# 11 x 14 inches

Both of these paintings are from my visit to the Bear Valley here in Northern California.


painting #4 on Arches 300# 11 x 14 inches

I enjoyed painting this one but feel that I would like to paint this over and work more on bringing depth and doing a better job in the foreground.

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.





Busy Busy!

painting #1 on Arches 300# rough 11 x 14 inches

I couldn’t resist another valley painting. I am planning a special painting for a special person who encouraged me to use one of her gorgeous photos as a reference. She is curious how I will paint it and so am I!  check out Jodi’s photo here: Jodi’s beautiful photo!. I wanted to spend good quality time on this next project so I decided that I better move these paintings along before I tackle that project.

painting #2 on Winsor Newton 140# 11 x 14 inches

This is taken from a photo that I took while at the Mendocino Coast. I hope to come back to this particular scene and do a “re-do” I am not happy with my fumbled horizon in the center. I loved using Daniel Smiths’ Hematite Genuine for those blackish rocks far below, it mixes so beautifully with other colors and the granulating properties is like none other.


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painting #3 on Arches 140# 11 x 14 inches – reference photo was taken by Mary Lee Davey – granted permission to use her photo.

I enjoyed painting this but I am unhappy about the mountain sections, too close in value and I lost that special blue in the far peaks. I plan to give this another try at a later date. I would like to get looser with the trees and work on the drama of the Sierra Buttes.

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.


Making Do During a Snowstorm


wip of the Sierra Buttes
The top painting is one that I started a week ago and am taking a slow process completing it. I have yet decided to call it finished.
My reference photo for the painting above
on Fabriano 300# 7 x 9 inches


wip on Arches 140# rough 7 x 9 inches
wip on Fabriano 300# 7 x 9 inches
wip on Arches 140# rough
The above paintings were painted while I was stuck indoors without power during a big snowstorm.  I decided to haul my watercolor equipment down into the living room next to the north window and the woodstove. I used several plein air pastel paintings to use for my reference.
I would like to know if anyone else has trouble with their WP account. I have the most difficult time putting my post together. I can’t hardly change anything here or even copy and paste. I am so close to letting it go because it is so frustrating. Any ideas?


One of my pastel plein air that I used for a reference.

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.



Sierra Buttes #2 watercolor


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Painting #1 on Arches 300# rough 7 x 9 inches


Sierra Buttes-my scene

I wanted to go up and  paint the Sierra Buttes while fall is here and I am hoping that I’ll be able to paint this mountain till the road is shut down for the season. As you can see, there is a dusting of snow from our last storm. Isn’t that an amazing view? I have been up here to paint so many times that I have lost count and I have to say that this is the most beautiful that I have seen the Buttes to date. The last time I was here I spotted a Bald Eagle flying over those peaks and over Sand Pond. I took over 100 photos on this trip and I think that I captured the best photo of the Sierra Buttes in my mind.

It is a popular area for snowmobiles and skiing during the winter. I painted this spot before in pastel    Sierra Buttes 9/20/13  and here, a different view Look at those Buttes! and finally in watercolor Sierra Buttes-Yes! June WC #4 .


painting #2 on Arches 300# rough 7 x 9 inches


Painting #3 on Saunders 200# 11 x 14 inches

I had wanted to include Sand Pond and the whole nine yards but I have a tendency to want to paint close-up it is so difficult for me to do large scale.


Lucky me….I had a picnic table! Look at the view!



painting #4 on Saunders 200# 7 x 9 inches

I stopped on the way back to paint one last time and this was on the North Yuba, of course, imagine that!

My Learning Points:

  • Keep working it, watercolor is a long term relationship, it can only get better with experience and hard work.
  • Dress Warmly especially when you expect cold weather, I did but I had to start peeling off the clothes as it warmed up.

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.









Sierra Buttes-Yes! June WC #4

The Sierra Buttes-overcast

I thought I would venture up to the Sierra Buttes about an hour north of me. I arrived just before 6:30 am and it was overcast. This is sand pond and it was so peaceful and quiet. It was quite cold, about 45 degrees and I forgot to take an extra jacket, so I bundled up with what I could find in the truck.

My first painting 11 x 14 Arches #140 rough

Today I decided to paint as many paintings as I could because since it was quite cool out, my paint was taking forever to dry. I have many “learning mistakes” in this painting. No matter, it was my first painting and a warm-up. I had a hard time saving white for the snowy patches and yet I had this strong urge to go bold. Many times I lost my way navigating this huge mountain. I have some strange patches of color and yet it didn’t let it bother or deter me from my painting.

2nd painting 7 x 11 Arches #140 rough
3rd painting 7 x 9 140# rough

My third painting was started as more of a study of the trees at the shore-line, not really completed or serious, just a “see what happens” kind of painting.


4th painting 11 x 14 140# rough
I loved those dead white trees
Sand Pond


I had an exciting moment when I had finished my paintings and I spotted a bald eagle flying over the Buttes and coming over the pond! I was hoping to snap a few photos but I couldn’t find him in my viewer on my camera. Darn! Maybe next time.

mist over Sand Pond


No learning points this time around, I am plum tuckered out! Get out and see some scenery and if you can, paint plein air, exercise your artistic muscles.



Look at those Buttes!


Look at those Buttes! Hwy 49 has another name which is The Golden Chain Hwy and looking down that road you will find Sierra City just a short 3 miles and further on is Downieville and then onto Camptonville. A map for those who are interested:  I remembered travelling this road on our way back from Canada in 1969 and somewhere I have that photo. If only I had the patience I could locate it and include it in my post here but another day, another post. I am sure that I’ll be posting more about the Sierra Buttes and as I get more experienced and comfortable and yes, more interesting with blogging, I’ll find that photo!


Isn’t that pretty? The day that I painted here was on March 7th 2012  and just a bit up from the river for a nice overview. By the way this is the North Yuba and it rises or “starts” less than a mile from this spot. I would like to find exactly where this “rising” is and paint on that spot. What does it look like I wonder? Aha! maybe I need to go scout this out and do another snow scene! I am sure that they received over a foot of snow last week from that big storm that blew in and I do believe I need to make an excursion. In fact perhaps tomorrow which would tie in with this post.

Do you see those ice caps on the rocks? I see one in the photo on the right side at the rapids. I have always been a country girl even when I was growing up in LA. We raised a large garden and raised rabbits for meat in our small lot but I never felt at home in the city. Coming up to Northern California to visit with family or camping in the woods I always felt I came home. I am country! Plein air painting fits right in with my demeanor and with what I hold dear to my heart. When I am painting I often spot birds such as the Blue Heron or deer or river otter. I haven’t spotted a bear while painting though I have while hiking on the trails near my house. I just love wildlife and being out in Gods’ nature, there is nothing like it.


Enough talking! This was my painting and I have to admit that I was a bit down on this day and I wasn’t too sure if I would come away with anything to like much less brag about. Obviously the above painting isn’t one of my best or my favorite but it is a moment in time. When I look at that painting I think back to my experience and what made my day none too happy. I was very hard on myself that day in regards to my personal relationships and it carried over into my painting. I felt that it was a total thrashed experience until I took it home and re-evaluated it and hmm I realized that perhaps it wasn’t so bad after all.

There is such a vulnerability in life itself and with painting outdoors, you are even more vulnerable. Either the weather, attitude or mood you bring with you affects your painting experience. I would never give in all those bad or tough days for a perfect day. Within such angst art and creativity comes out, if not in your painting, in your character. Character building and learning is a personal theme of mine that I dwell on. I am learning to embrace all that I encounter and I hope that my being human and how I relate to my environment will be present in my paintings and ultimately turn into true art of the spirit.

Looking towards the Buttes at the river side. Ah, it was a tough day but I value what I felt and have accomplished since. I am working to let go my discouragement over imperfections in myself and difficulties with relationships. Every day is a learning experience and I apply that to plein air painting as well. It does get better and better and  is reliant on your determination and perception and a reminder to be willing to readjust your point of view.


Sierra Buttes 9/20/13

For my first post, I am excited! my first post on my first blog! I wanted to go back and document for you here my one of my memorable plein air trips or actually a day excursion. I live approximately 45 minutes to an hour from this location which is located in Sierra Co. On this particular morning I loaded up my supplies and headed north. I am including a link to the Sierra Buttes area for extra info. Sierra Buttes and Lakes Basin Recreation Area

The photo below shows the Sierra buttes with all that atmospheric blues that made painting those colors quite tricky. You never know how to proceed or what you are grappling with until you roll up your sleeves and get to it!


Now who can resist such a setting? My easel is a full size Julian. My pastels are mostly Rembrandts which are hard pastels that are used in the first stages. I carry a limited number of Unisons and Great American pastels which are softer and as you build your layers you’ll want to use the softer pastels. I always start out with Rembrants and proceed through to the very softest which is Sennelier. I have only one Sennelier and it is a pure white which I use when I need to paint rapids of the river.

548414_10201972473055529_1541307905_nTaking a look at that mountain you wonder how do you ever capture the colors and subtleties, I just know I do a lot of talking under my breath and praying! It takes just getting in there and trying to find your way in until something feels right. Sometimes the painting paints itself but that doesn’t happen too often, at least in my experience it doesn’t.

574614_10201972476215608_1966290881_n As you can see, there is a mountain on that painting, I accomplished an image that is recognizable which is all that I hope for! There is something magical in plein air painting. On this particular day I didn’t see or hear no one which is my kind of painting. Don’t get me wrong I like people but when I am hard at work especially in the midst of nature I like it quiet except for the wind and birds.

1240154_10201974301421237_418898763_n    A word about photos. I always use my own photos except now and then I’ll use a photo from the internet or someone else’s photo. I have either received permission or I give full credit to the photographer (if known). If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and please give me the credit for my own photo. I am free and easy but I appreciate the respect and consideration.  In the photo above, there was no copyright or name mentioned. With that out of the way, this is a photo of the Sierra Buttes clothed in white, isn’t it pretty? The road that goes up the Buttes is closed as soon as Caltrans decide that there is enough snow to warrant the decision to close off the road. It will usually stay closed through the winter until they plow through which can vary from late May to early June.