It didn’t take much imagination to see a pony in the clouds!
A double rainbow in between squalls
I think this was the third storm of the week. Maybe the fourth, if you count the two hours of sunshine this afternoon as a break between storms. We in southern California have been delightfully drenched this week, and there is, thankfully, finally, snow on the mountain tops. The sky has been incredible, dramatic, fanciful…. so here are my favorite two photos from this afternoon.
Compared to the rest of the country (Boston, are you still there?!?) our winter has been nothing to complain about. But it’s been a long drought, and if we in the southwest could take some of the east coast’s moisture off its hands, I don’t think many people would mind.
At sunrise, I awoke to sight of March coming in like a lion, with billowing clouds and a rare morning rainbow. Of course the scene made me interrupt my yoga to grab a camera and dash outside! A half hour after I took these shots, the skies opened up, thunder ensued, and some folks got golf ball sized hail.
Coronado Beach Red Flag, oil on panel 11×14
Recently I painted on Coronado Beach with members of the California Art Club. It had rained the night before, and the tide was astronomically high that morning, spilling onto parts of the wide beach that are normally dry. But the air was clearing when I walked across the sand that morning, and there were some amazing cloud formations
Axel and I lived on Coronado for several years. It’s a beautiful, unique place, with a town that feels like something out of the 1950s, and a beach that is consistently ranked as one of the top ten in the country – smooth, fine sand that is easy to walk on, with relatively sheltered waters, overlooked by stately beach houses and the iconic Hotel Del Coronado. But I know how rare those dramatic clouds are: most of the time Coronado, being a barrier beach between San Diego Bay and the chilly Pacific, is either brilliantly sunlit or covered by marine layer, that stubborn overcast that hovers over the coastline. So I knew I had to quickly get to work painting those clouds before they melted away.
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Puddles on my Palette, oil on masonite, 11"x14"
On what would normally have been just a foggy October morning, I headed over to one of my favorite local gems, Discovery Lake, for a session with my “Monday group”, the Plein Air Painters of San Diego (PAPASAN). There was definitely a fallish chill in the air, but we certainly didn’t expect lightning, thunder and an ensuing downpour!
We are all either stalwart or dumb as rocks, because none of us scurried for cover, except to sidle under the sycamore trees. Or maybe we were just enjoying the incredibly soft light under those wet clouds. We hoisted our painting parasols to try to keep the water off our paintings in progress. Painting parasols, by the way, are not designed to be waterproof, they are designed to keep the sun off the canvas and palette so one might better see the true colors one is applying.
Painting parasols, apparently, leak.
And when enough rain gets on a canvas, wet paint will start sliding off.
But everyone in our little group was in high spirits, and I can’t remember laughing so much during a morning’s painting session. Even if some of us did have to tip our easels over to let the rainwater run out of the palette!
February Clouds To the West 6x8
Although it’s nothing like winter in other parts of the country, San Diego has been getting its version of winter storms this week.
I’m not into the ice thing. After living in New York for 38 years, I know how to shovel snow and drive on slippery roads…. I just choose not to anymore.
But I do love it when weather arrives in southern California. Aside from the fact that we really, really need the rain right now, I enjoy the aesthetics of storm light and the billowing clouds that we only see this time of year.
The past few days, I’ve been working on very small canvasses, 5×7, 6×6 and 6×8. Working this small, I can sketch with paint as fast as the light changes. Exchanging brushes for palette knives allows me to apply paint with swift strokes, so I’ve been playing with the textures and stroke shapes that different knives produce. This adds visual interest as the paint takes on a dimensional, sculptural quality.
Oh, and in case you were wondering how I manage to paint in the rain without the paints sliding off the canvas, fear not: all the paintings you see here were done from the comfort of my studio balcony.
And these little paintings have teensy price tags, too: $100.00 each!
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February Sunset, San Marcos 6x8