Inspiration from the blog

I am planning out the paintings that I will coach people through in my paint-and-wine classes for the rest of the year (I try to plan ahead so that when last minute stuff happens, I have time for it….).  As I didn’t want to always present skyscapes and waterscapes, I turned to my fellow bloggers for a little inspiration and soon found it.

Victor Rakmil is a photographer who, like me, is apparently a birdaholic.  I was utterly taken by the fifth photo on this blog entry and he gave me permission to use it as a basis for one of my class paintings.  Here’s ‘Merganser Parade’, planned for October at the Vanguard Gallery in Moreno Valley.


Merganser Parade.

August Skyscapes for the Soul newsletter

For those of you who aren’t on my mailing list – here’s my monthly newsletter. (I usually remember to post it here, but not always.)


A big class!

We were meant to be 16 but one student had babysitter problems at the last minute – so 15 ladies, 10 of them from Morongo Casino came to Vanguard Gallery last night to paint Cottonwood Creek.  I didn’t take many pictures during the later stages as with 15 that was a lot of time that I needed to give individual help to the members of the group.  A few snuck off at the end to grab a burrito next door so not all are holding their finished work, but you can see just about all the paintings that were completed.




Making Progress


Working on clouds


Some of the graduates

Next month on Aug 25th we’ll be painting a sunrise (see below).  If you’re in the area and would like to join the class, please contact Rick either through the Vanguard Gallery website or by calling him at (562) 556 5178.  Please call him by August 23rd, though as we may have shopping to do.  At the last minute we had to turn away four people because we didn’t have the supplies for additional students and it was too late to acquire them.

Cottonwood Creek

Last night I held a private paint-and-wine party at a home in Indio.  The host had chosen a photo that she took at Cottonwood Creek and the whole group did a great rendition, though we struggled a little with lighting towards the end.  [Note to self: take a couple lamps on private parties just in case – not all homes are lit like studios and galleries.]

Photo of Cottonwood Creek

Here’s the original photo I was working from

painting of Cottonwood Creek

Here’s my studio rendition from the photo

Three students with completed paintings

Here’s what the girls came up with. The hosts husband vegged out on the sofa on the other side of the room and commented they’d never been so quiet.

Cocktails for two.

Last night was one of the Paint Night Out nights at the Vanguard Gallery.  We had originally hoped to hold this in a local night club but this didn’t work out for various reasons.  However for the venue I had prepared something a little different – a couple of cocktail glasses to enjoy!  And I think everyone did enjoy the night.  One gal was a long time friend who surprised me by turning up – and said that one of the most encouraging parts of the class was when her painting wasn’t going as expected and I would say ‘it’s ok, we can fix that’.   It took a lot of the fear out of trying to paint.

painting class

I get so involved with the teaching, I forget to take photos at earlier stages……

painting class

Getting some details in on the glasses

painting class

All done. Drink up!

An usual class

As they say, experience is what you get when you don’t get what you expect.  And as I haven’t run an exceptional number of paint-n-wine type classes, I’m still getting surprises in them.  The surprise for this class was that not all the anticipated students turned up, and I only had one student – Lisa.

I had planned on guiding my students through ‘And Never Leave‘  but Lisa saw another of my paintings on the gallery wall – ‘Dawn at the end of an era‘ which she really loved, and wanted to paint a version of it.  So, off we set.

It wasn’t until I was part way through explaining a two-color gradient and could see the initial difficulty that Lisa was having, that I realized it was anything but straightforward.  Hmm, guess I’ve been doing this stuff for awhile! Nevertheless, after a few struggles with the transition on the underpainting, I was able to better guide her through the process – and later on how to make some adjustment to colors where she wanted to on the final scene.  As we progressed, she liked the abstract nature of what she was creating more and more (and so did I…) and ended up by not adding mountains and a sun, though there was quite a bit of consideration given to those possibilities, plus one of adding a foreground and the tree from ‘And Never Leave’.

We ended up with three very different paintings, yet all based on one scene.  It is always a wonder to see the vastly different ways artists interpret things, and this experience was a classic example of that.


Original small painting on the left, Lisa’s painting, and my version on the right.

Moreno Valley Paint and wine.

A road in Fillmore, CA

A road in Fillmore, CA

On Jan 29th,  6:30-9:30pm I will be hosting a “Wine and Paint” event at the Vanguard Gallery in Moreno Valley, CA.  With a couple sips of wine to take the edge off the day, and a few snacks, I will guide you through painting a rural scene in acrylics.   It will be will be a great opportunity to have fun with family and friends in creating your own painting.  The cost is $45 and the event is posted on  Seating is limited so sign up now – also because I need to know soon whether the the class has enough students for it to run.  Best to bring a full frontal apron or smock – or wear clothing that won’t cry if you get paint on them!