La Mirada talk and demo

Last week I went to the monthly meeting of the La Mirada Art Club to talk about my work and demonstrate part of my process for them.  I was fortunate that one of the members agreed to take some pics of me working while I was assembling the refractured watercolor.


Here’s the empty room, just when I’d set up.


After having watched me brutally hack up my painting, I start by assembling the horizon. 


I usually am looking at the sky the ‘right way up’…..


…and I usually start with the top of the sky….


Now it’ starting to come together.


Sliding some deeper blue under other pieces.


Well folks, that’s all we have time for tonight.


This is the layout that I created at the demo, but I just picked up the pieces without marking their places.


This is the final product

The poem in it reads:

Dawn leaves me speechless

These gold and turquoise jewels

precious beyond words.


The Puppy project

Riverside Art Museum is holding a fundraiser called Art Bark in the Park to which I applied and was assigned a pup. I decided to paint the pup in oil – a skyscape with lawns on the bottom of each paw with dogs on, and my sonnet about dogs painted into the clouds.  So far I’ve done the sky and the lawns.  I will need to wait a week or so until that is dry enough to add the dogs and poems.  I didn’t know until I picked up the dog that I was getting a beagle.

metal dog ready to paint

The blank canvas. I’d had to fix the undercoat in a few places. The difference in undercoat color won’t affect the painting.

Jeni Bate painting metal dog

My fellow artist Mary Foote came over to see this as a demo so took some photos of me in action

Jeni Bate painting metal dog

I was showing Mary how to blend clouds in oil

Metal dog with oil skyscape painting

Photographed this one at an angle to get the entire dog in.

And it’s possible to paint on the back, so I have another canvas to dream up!

Monthly newsletter

This month is shaping up to be really interesting – as you can read in my Newsletter.

One of the things that I didn’t mention is that I’m also involved in curating another solo show at the Vanguard Gallery, this time for long-time associate Nick Foschi.   I’ll get to hang two shows in two days.  About 50 linear feet for Nick and about 7 for me!  Just hoping that my flu symptoms wane enough to give a demo/talk on Wednesday evening in Redondo Beach.


Abstract Painting by Nick Foschi.


A smaller class this month.

Paint and wine class students

In this class, the paintings all ended up really similar, despite the fact I gave free rein with placement of clouds, mountains, hills and sheep.

Sometimes it’s a big class, sometimes a small one.  This month I goofed and brought the painting I’d intended to work with next* month – which is easy to understand when I’d been planning three classes next month and had the planner turned to September.  Nevertheless, all the students, one of whom is a returning student, had fun painting ‘The Old Red Overalls’.  Hmm, I really need to start picking some simpler subjects.  One thing that teaching has taught me is how difficult it actually is for beginners or someone with just a little experience!  The student on the left is an accomplished gardener and decided my ‘rows of crop’ were closest to red lettuce.  Her crop looked a lot more like red lettuce.  Good work all of you!

Beginners’ class

Serendipity struck earlier in the week when a couple of ladies who were rv camping at nearby Johnson’s Landing discovered on the internet that I hold art classes and called up to see what the options might be.  Well, they were interested in the “Beginning painting” class that I had planned on running in Borrego Springs that day, but hadn’t had any students.  But, seeing as there is enough space in my living room to hold a small class, and there were only two of them, they came on Thursday to spend the day learning a lot of basics, and to do a little practice in between some of the theories.  It’s the first time I’ve taught this class and I was working from my crib sheet a little, but the timing of the class worked out just as I’d planned for a one-day intensive class.  I’ll also be offering this class as a series of four 2-2.5 hour classes in La Quinta next month so I was able to see where I need to make a couple of adjustments to divide the class up more evenly into four.

students in class

Putting together almost everything we’ve learned in one painting.

Of course I got so involved in enjoying teaching the class I didn’t think to take a photo until they were on the last exercise.  But after a long afternoon and evening in Yuma, it was really nice to be able to work in my slippers!

Newer Work #3

Going Places

#1133 “Going Places” – 11×14″ refractured watercolor matted to 16×20″ frame. $175

Another from my demonstration at the art fair in Yuma.  Many of the local snowbirds had migrated already and missed this fair, so I was inspired to put Canada Geese in the picture.

A morning in Sky Valley

Dillon Road arcs to the north of a stretch of I10 that I zoom up and down, and runs through Sky Valley.  For a skyaholic it is odd that I should never have taken Dillon Road – it’s been on the bucket list for awhile.  Well I was invited to speak about my work in front of the Spa City Palletteers and they meet in… Sky Valley.  No more excuses!  This posting is mostly pics – I spent a little while talking about my work then did a really brief demo.  Thanks to Caren Godwin for taking the photos.  It seems that I must zoom around very fast when I work as my hands were usually blurred.  And thank you to the Paletteers for putting on such a wonderful welcome!

Talking about my work with the slideshow.

Talking about my work with the slideshow.

Last Stop

Using ‘Last Stop’ as an example.

Paper wetting stage of my demo.

Paper wetting stage of my demo.

Partially completed watercolor.

Partially completed watercolor.

Dropping in some darker clouds.

Dropping in some darker clouds.

Arranging a refractured watercolor.

Arranging a refractured watercolor.

Marking up so they're in just the right place at the gluing stage.

Marking up so they’re in just the right place at the gluing stage.

Even made a few people laugh.

Even made a few people laugh.

Brown Stormy day, part 2.

Removing and marking

Removing and marking

I’ve been blogging about other things for awhile, so the painting that started out as the Brown Stormy Day has been completed and already been to its first show – and had a lot of admiration.  Not quite enough that I didn’t bring it home again with me though, but that can happen.  🙂

Working with the edges

Working with the edges

The deep panel wasn’t really easy to work with as I wasn’t able to decide which pieces to put on the sides while I still had the front set out, so there was quite a bit of back and forth with finding what would work on the edges.  The top and bottom edges were fortunately fairly uniformly burnt umber, so they required less matching work.  The sides required more.  Such is art.

Gluing in two dimensions

Gluing in two dimensions


One thing that I realized is that most of my online pics don’t let the viewer see the texture.  So there’s a really good texture shot later on.


Gluing in two dimension is one of those interesting four-handed moments.


Adding bare branches

Onto the easel to add foreground. Adding bare branches.







Filled in the leaves

Filled in the leaves. I usually paint foreground when the painting is lying on the work surface, but this larger painting needed to be vertical.








Now you can see the texture

Back on the work surface for layers of glaze. Now you can see the texture







Creosote and Sand

“Creosote and Sand” – over the sofa. 30x40x3″ $2100.


Following up from Fontana

Just getting started.  It looks like I'm holding the brush that way because the stack of balloons is holding my arm up!

Just getting started. It looks like I’m holding the brush that way because the stack of balloons is holding my arm up!

In case you missed it – I demonstrated an acrylic cloud painting during a show in Fontana last month.  It was a bit of a challenge – and the back drop of drums on the nearby stage led me to name it thunder.  I am happy that it quickly sold to an existing collector, and now my good friend Gemma has sent me a couple of photos that she took that evening when I was painting up a storm – literally.

Ok, I'm making some good progress now that I have the balloons tucked behind me! :-)

Ok, I’m making some good progress now that I have the balloons tucked behind me! 🙂

Another aspect of painting in a hurry is that the sun was going down – just like in the painting – but that meant I was running out of light.  I finished in time though.