Sunday, September 30, 2012


Mokoli'i, also known as Chinaman's Hat, is an iconic basalt island off Oahu that has been used in many popular films.  The Kualoa Ranch (aka The Jurasic Park tour) uses it on its logo.  While on vacation, we did the four different tours at Kualoa including the Secret Island tour.  I took my paints, but did not paint.  However, I did take several (okay, lots and lots of) photos that I hope/plan to paint.  This is the first I hope many of paintings from those reference photos I took.

                                                         Watercolor on paper 9x12

I am not completely satisfied with this one and almost feel it is a step back in terms of technique (not every picture is going to be a winner; still learning watercolors after all).  I think the trees and sky, and even Mokoli'i itself is not bad. The water, however is rather flat and lacking (I was going to try using salt as a way to make it more interesting but forgot).  Perhaps I should try and rework it but I think I would rather move on to another subject, especially doing another painting en plein air.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Aloha Oahu

Vacation.  What a wonderful thing. During my first ever trip to Hawai'i and the island of Oahu I was able to stick to my goal of completing a painting.  In fact, I was able to do two watercolor paintings.

                                                Watercolor on paper 10 x 7

This first painting, completed in about 40 minutes, is of the famous Diamond Head crater that overlooks Waikiki beach.  As I painted, I was amazed at how the ever changing cloud cover altered the look and feel of the mountain.  The clouds cast deep shadows on Diamond Head as they passed over and revealed deep craps when they floated by.

I sat balanced on these rocks, with my paints and pad on my lap.  At one point, I had two paint brushes chomped between my teeth.  It has to be one of the most precarious sitting positions that I have ever painted by.  As I was finishing, the tide was coming in and starting to splash me. If I had not finished when I did, I would have had to wade in the ocean to make it back to the beach.

                                      Watercolor on paper 10 x 7

This second painting is of the view from my hotel room.  I sat on the lanai, once again amazed at the wonderful clouds that appeared to be hooked to the mountains by gossamer strings.  Bob Ross would definitely love these happy little clouds.  This painting took about 45-50 minutes and shows, I think, my own personal evolution in painting with watercolor.  The colors are much less flat and much more dynamic than painting in Munich.  I choose to include the buildings, to one show scale and two because I am so horrible at painting buildings (this was a personal challenge).

Monday, September 03, 2012

Outside the Eurostar, Munich

There are many amazing old world buildings in Munich, displaying grand architecture and boasting rich histories, any of which are a source of artistic inspiration.  Alas, I only saw them during cab rides to and fro the convention center.  Therefore, in order to keep my goal of one painting/drawing per business trip, I had to go with what I had. . .the view outside the Eurostar Grand Hotel (I think this building, across the street from my hotel, was actually a prison).

I did the rough drawing while sitting in my hotel room, looking out the window, in between various business meetings, emails and recordings.  I briefly entertained the idea of venturing into the city proper, but it rained the only free day I had.  The painting was finished in the States, sitting outside of a lakehouse with its own majestic views (which, ironically, I neither drew nor painted. . .go figure).

The piece is rough, and the colors of uninked version rather flat yet at the same time satisfying and playful in their own way.  I am still learning and relearning how to paint in watercolor, and figuring out how to mix colors, something I do not really do in pastel.  The scribbled leaves were a great deal of fun.