Christmas Tape

Tape is one of those unsung heroes of the Christmas season. How would you wrap presents without them? In fact, I was wrapping a few things when I noticed the really interesting shape of this tape dispenser; which then prompted me to paint it.


Christmas Tape
(sold)
 
I'm writing this on the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, so I'm feeling a bit pensive, and reflective. 2014 has been a good year, it was filled with accomplishments and failures; acceptance and rejection; laughter and... well not too many tears, really. Art wise, I've gotten a couple of minor awards, got accepted to a couple of shows, and rejected from some as well. But both at work and in my personal life there were triumphs and setbacks, joys and sorrows. All of which have helped me grow; I feel I've grown in my art, which I hope is visible in these paintings. I feel like I've grown in my personal life as well, in my relationships with the people around me. As for my career, well... not so much growth this year, but I'm working on it!
 
Through all of 2014, I continue to be blessed, and much more than ever. I don't typically like to write about religious things, but I feel that God has been so generous to me. When my Evangelical friends tell me that there is nothing you can do to deserve God's salvation, I think I have a better understanding of what that means now. On the other hand, I feel we must try.
 
So merry Christmas, everyone. I'm sure God continues to shine His blessings on us.
 
 


Rattlesnake Lake

Rattlesnake Lake in the North Bend area is a really popular recreational park, and at the bottom of the Rattlesnake Ledge hiking trail. When I went to paint this, the sun was starting to set, which lit up the clouds with a really bright yellow color.

rattlesnake lake
 
My painting has slowed down a bit, The days get colder and darker, and I'm sort of a fair weather outdoor painter :). I'm trying to do at least a little bit of art-related activities, such as participating in yesterday's Gage Academy Drawing Jam. That was quite fun; I'm sometimes envious of the Atelier students at the Gage, who are required to draw and paint all day most days of the week. I can't do that myself of course, but I do think I have to have structured "art time." To keep my drawing and painting muscles in shape for next summer!

Bagley Lake, plus a "Thank you" this Thanksgiving weekend

Bagley Lake is a really scenic lake in the Mt. Baker area. There is a nice and easy loop trail around the lake, and everywhere you walked around the lake seemed to be a really pretty painting spot. In fact, the Canadian art group I met were there, spread out painting along the trail. In the end I painted this on the bridge at one end of the lake.

Bagley Lake
 
It is the end of Thanksgiving weekend in the United States. They say that having a thankful attitude is the key to happiness; and in fact there is growing scientific evidence that this is so. Certainly, my life is filled with abundant blessings, and I am quite thankful for each and every one of them. I'm thankful in particular to the people in my life: my family, my friends, and my colleagues.
 
This year, I have met so many wonderful people through various art activities. I got to paint in a giant floating city in that unforgettable Alaskan plein air cruise. And I got to paint in every nook and cranny, it seems, of Washington State through Plein Air Washington. Each and every person I've met have helped me move forward in this art journey. Yes, including the guy in Skagway who, while I was painting, went on a rant about how the federal government is taking over private businesses :). So this Thanksgiving, I just want to say thanks to everyone, from a heart filled with gratitude.


Mt. Baker

This is a view of Mt Baker from the parking lot of the park aptly named "Artists Point." If it isn't evident yet, I enjoyed painting around the Mt Baker area immensely. Mt. Baker had a lot more snow than Mt. Shuksan, and it was quite a challenge to paint the mountain where it was completely covered in white snow.

Mt Baker
 
This was my second entry into the "Nature's gift of water" art show, and sadly, it was also rejected. Below is the accompanying large painting, which like the one from the previous post is 20x30. Despite the rejection, I do think that my landscape paintings have improved quite a bit over the summer. I believe mastery over anything takes time and practice, so I will continue to draw and paint and get hopefully get better and better.
 

Because it's there

Sammamish River Bend

I've talked about this spot before, it's close to my home, by Marymoor Park. I love this place, I feel really calm and meditative when I am there. They say that every brush stroke reflects every emotion that the artist feels at the moment it is painted. There must be some truth to it, because I feel this is one of my best plein air paintings thus far.

Sammamish River Bend
 
And since I believe this to be my best painting, I submitted it to the painting this year's Plein Air Washington art show, "Nature's Gift of Water". Unfortunately, it was not accepted into the show. It's not easy to be rejected for what you feel is your best work, but life is full of rejection, isn't it. We can only try again.
 
For this show, a small plein air piece was to be accompanied by a bigger work. Below was what I submitted; at 20x30, it's the largest painting I've done so far.
 
But did you catch any fish (original)

Mt. Shuksan

My parents came to visit me the last few weeks, so my painting posts have stopped. This means that while the rain is back here in the Seattle area, I have a few plein air paintings on my backlog from sunnier days that seems quite distant now.

mt shuksan
(click to bid)

This is a painting of Mt. Shuksan, from my trip to Mt. Baker. I found so much inspiration in that area, with its mountains and lakes and trees, I feel like I've grown as an artist just by being there.

Purple Mountain

This is one of the paintings I did during our Mount Baker trip. I'm always tempted to paint shadows in bright purple. Most of the time it really does not work; this time is different, I think.

purple mountain

Gold Creek Pond

Gold Creek Pond is in a park on Snoqualmie Pass.It is a really pretty area, with an ADA accessible trail around the pond. Because the trail is accessible to wheelchair bound people, it also makes it a convenient spot to paint for an artist with a lot of gear. Just like cutouts in curbs, making things accessible to the disabled helps many other people as well.

Gold Creek Pond

Late Summer at Discovery Park

Discovery Park is the largest park in Seattle. It is also quite far from where I live so this was the first time I've been there. Spending a nice warm Saturday with the PAWA guys in this peaceful park was just what I needed. Paintings are difficult to photograph, but this one is really difficult for me to tell if it is close or not. My computer screen isn't very good at displaying yellow, and in my painting the ground has a pretty saturated yellow on it.

(update: I've replaced the photo with a better one)

Late Summer At Discovery Park

I'm really happy with this painting's composition. It really resonates with me somehow.

Night Photography at Mt. Baker

We had a very dark, cloudless, moonless night at Mt. Baker last weekend. That, coupled with being so remote from the city lights, made for ideal conditions for taking pictures of the stars.

Camping by the Milky Way
Campers and the Milky Way

I'm relatively inexperienced with taking nighttime photos, but I got some tips from Stanley, one of the guys in the Canadian hiking contingent. Though I'm still not very good at it, I managed to take a blurry picture of the Big Dipper.

big dipper
Big Dipper

And below is a picture Mt. Shuksan at night. The two bright spots on the mountain are from hikers' headlamps.

Hikers on Mt. Shuksan
Hikers on Mt Shuksan at night
 
I think one of the big errors I made was not taking raw format pictures, and do the post-processing myself (instead of the camera). Imperfect pictures regardless, it was a treat to be able to see the night sky in such darkness. The last time I remember a sky so dark and clear is way back when I was a kid and we had regular blackouts in my home town of Cotabato. I remember sitting on the rooftop marveling at all the stars.
 


Postcards from Mt. Baker

Wow, it was a perfect weekend to visit the Mt. Baker area, with the sun out, and not a cloud in the sky both on Saturday and Sunday. With Mt. Baker on one side, Mt. Shuksan on the other side, and lakes all around, it's a painting paradise. The mountains and the lakes there are so stunning, there were more pretty spots than I had time or energy to paint for. I did 5 plein air paintings though, plus these two postcards. So it was a productive weekend!

Mt Baker Postcard
Mt. Baker
 
I stayed at the Mountaineers' Baker Lodge, which is a volunteer-hostel type thing. It's a great super affordable place to stay, snoring people in neighboring bunks notwithstanding. We had to help with the chores (I did a bit of food prep), and you get to meet some really interesting people. There were two Canadian groups staying at the lodge when I was there, a hiking group, and a different artist group. I really enjoyed looking at the artist group's sketches and paintings; and did some night photography with a few on the hiking group. As many of you know, I'm not a very social person, so staying at the lodge was a good forcing function for me to get to meet new people.

 


Mt Shuksan Postcard
Mt. Shuksan
 
During the day, of course, I painted with the PAWA guys. It's days like this that I feel so lucky and grateful to be able to paint with such excellent artists. It was such a fantastic weekend. I have to thank Plein Air Washington in general for organizing this trip, and Mami Shimomura for accompanying me and feeding me :). And thanks especially to Janice Webb Kirstein, who encouraged me to go to the paint out and suggesting that I stay at Baker Lodge.

River Bend

This bend on the Sammamish River has become my favorite painting spot this summer. It is close by my home on a side entrance to Marymoor Park. I painted this on a little shaded dock where people launch their kayaks. Inevitably there will be a couple of people fishing on the dock as well. I don't think I've ever felt more calm than when painting here.


River Bend
 
I am doing a large studio painting of this scene, and will try to enter that into a show. Wish me luck! Oh, and apologies for delayed painting posts. I *have* been painting, just haven't had much time to properly photograph them.
 

Seasonings and Spice

People have asked me what the bottle on the right is. It is a bottle of Maggi Seasoning Sauce. It's a very common seasoning ingredient in Filipino households, so I didn't realize how unfamiliar it is to my American friends.

Seasonings and Spice
 
As you can see, I'm raiding my pantry instead of laundry room for still life props this time.
 

All

I was drawn to paint this bottle of detergent because of its interesting shape. You know, I think that most of the time you need to work with your natural inclinations rather than fight against them. This time I used my natural inclination to procrastinate on house work by painting instead of doing laundry.
 
All

Methodist Church

This is the Methodist Church at Snoqualmie. I entered this at the Snoqualmie Plein Air Paint Out, which was held as part of the local "Railroad Days" festival. I saw the church at a distance, and I really felt like I had to paint it.


I'm glad I did... I'm proud to say that this painting won 3rd place.  Amanda Kindregan won first place, and Mami Shimomura won second:

(picture from the Snoqualmie Valley Record)
 
In a bit of sad news though, I think I misplaced my painting hat in this outing. I don't feel like a plein air painter without a hat!

Glass and Cup

They say that artists are either landscape painters, or still life painters. So which am I? I don't know, I just like to paint!
 
Glass and cup


Sunday Afternoon

Another try at the silicon blade "brush". This was painted by the river trail as well, on a perfect sunny Sunday afternoon. It's starting to get soggy here in Seattle, hopefully there's a couple of sunny weekends like this left.

Sammamish River Trail

This is a more recent painting, done on the Sammamish River trail, close to where I live. This was painted from a bridge over the river; the Sammamish river provides some natural scenery to a town that's rapidly building up density. The various hikers, runners, and cyclists were moving too fast for me to paint them!

If this painting looks somewhat different, it's because I'm experimenting with this Princeton Catalyst Blade. It's kind of a silicone "brush," though really it's more like a soft palette knife attached to a brush handle. The tool makes really interesting marks, and creates some nice texture on the painting surface.  I like it.

Sammamish River Trail
(sold)
 
I'm happy to say that this painting is sold to Khushboo, my good friend and colleague.

Rainy Day at Alderbrook.

This is another rainy day painting from early this year. I saw on facebook that Alderbrook Resort had invited artists to come over and paint, so I did! It was raining on and off, but the guys at the resort provided tents for shelter. I happened to be painting this scene during the rainy part of the day.

Rainy Day at Alderbrook
(sold)

Also at the event were Robin Weiss and Jan Jewell. I feel like my paintings improve just because these guys are also painting in the vicinity! We ended the day having a beer with another artist Rob Kamin, courtesy of Alderbrook. A day of painting and free beer, what could be better.

Skagit River Barn

This was painted earlier this year, before summer was truly summer, on a Plein Air Washington paint out. I would notice this barn actually when I travel north on the I-405 highway, and was glad to be able to paint a distant view of it. I think there is a trail to get to it from the park where I was stationed. But it was threatening to rain, so I stayed near a shelter.
 
Skagit River Barn
 
This painting is making me think about how our glorious Pacific Northwest summer will start to wind down soon, and how the rains will be back. Let's take advantage of the sunshine while we can!

Two Roses (oil)

I revisited the two roses, this time painted them in another medium that I don't usually do -- oils. I confess, I'm not really a flower person, so I did these rose paintings as a challenge to myself to explore this difficult subject.

Two Roses (oil)
(sold)
 
Whenever I do oils, I get surprised at how easy it is to achieve soft edges, but also how it is way too easy to blend things together into a pile of mush. Oil paints have a certain classic look that isn't easily replicable in other media -- that is a good lesson to learn. I will try to remind myself when doing acrylics that I should play to the strengths of that medium, and not try to imitate oil paintings.  

Two Roses (watercolor)

Considering I don't do watercolors very often, and flowers are the most difficult still life subjects for me, I'm pretty happy with how these came out.
 
Two Roses - watercolor
 
I really should paint with watercolors more often. I find with watercolor you really need to tighten control and increase planning, but at the same time be willing to let go when things don't come out as planned.

The hills of Walla Walla

This is a painting from earlier this summer in Walla Walla, it was still wet and rainy in the Seattle area, but it was already getting hot in the eastern part of Washington. Walla Walla, a place so nice they named it twice. It is in Washington wine country - their downtown area is filled with wine tasting rooms from the various winemakers in the area. Alas, between the painting and the long drive between home and the area, I never got to sample the wines. Maybe next time!

The hills of Walla Walla
(click to bid)
 
One nice thing about going to a paintout on the eastern side of the state, is that I get to meet my Plein Air Washington cohorts on that side. This time I got to meet up with Melanie Thompson, Laura Gable, and Jim McNamara, among others. They shared some nice painting spots, and it was great seeing artists paint a landscape so familiar to them, but quite alien to me!
 

From around the house

Why would I want to paint an apple, a tennis ball, and a light bulb? Well, they happened to be around the house!

From around the house
 
I've been spending a lot of time painting; trying to get better at it. I don't think I have any natural aptitude for painting, really. Just ask people who have seen my high school doodles. So to get any better, I need to practice much more than people who have talent for this.
 
As a side effect of painting a lot, I have quite a stack of paintings and a bit of a backlog to post here. So I'll continue to post some work every few days til I run out of paintings to show. I'm not really shy about sharing my paintings, so you will see here some good but also many (in my mind) not so good paintings. Good or bad, I'm proud of them because every painting is a step in my journey.

Glass things

The orange bottle makes another appearance here, but I had the most fun trying to paint that light bulb. I've been pushing my colors every which way, recently. Not sure where I will end up; I'm enjoying the journey anyway.

glass things
 
 
 

Transparent and Opaque

Expanding out of a single object here a little bit, and expanding the colors in my painting. That orange bottle is fast becoming a favorite painting subject! I played a little bit fast and loose with the drawing, trying to get the painting to breathe by not worrying too much about getting everything right.

transparent and opaque
 

Bowl and saucer

Continuing in the same vein as the last two paintings, I painted these simple objects to try to figure out light and shadow, and painting white objects. This one looks pretty simple, but I actually spent a few hours on this 6x6 painting.

Bowl
 (sold)
 
I like the outcome, but I'm not sure I like the path that this painting is taking me. That is, towards tighter and tighter rendering. I really want to paint loosely instead. I think though that the secret to loose paintings, ironically, is drawing accuracy. If you want to leave a brush stroke where it is, and not noodle it to death, you must be able to place it where it's supposed to be in one try. And it seems there is only one way to get better at drawing accuracy: practice.
 
So let's continue painting.

Teapot

I continue here on my attempt to depict single objects. I received this teapot from a care package that my mom sent a few months after I came to the US. This is almost 14 years ago! I probably have attempted drawing and painting this teapot more than any other object. I purposefully ignored the blue markings on the teapot to concentrate on how the shadows fall on its various curves.


Speaking of the passage of time, I write this on the eve of my 39th birthday. I must admit, I'm in a bit of a somber mood, as I consider the march of time, what I've accomplished, and what I hope to yet accomplish. At this point in my life, there are perhaps doors that have closed for me, but God willing, many are yet open, and more still will open up.

So as I scroll through the birthday greetings on Facebook, I am reminded that I am blessed. Blessed with family and friends from all around the world. I'm reminded of the yummy birthday dinner I just had with some cherished friends; the awesome trip to Alaska just concluded; and that feeling that I had when I saw this teapot as I opened that box from my mom those many years ago. Gratefulness. I'm thankful for all the blessings in my life.

Garlic

My great Alaskan cruise has ended, but the painting journey continues. This was actually painted a bit before the cruise; I was trying to go back to basics: drawing and values by painting white things.  I bought the organic garlic for 3x the regular garlic price because I thought it would look better on a painting!

Postscript -- Postcards from Alaska

About a month ago, I've started painting these postcards on location to send to people. They are sent as is, without packaging or anything through regular mail, as a regular postcard. So far, my postcards have gone to the Philippines, Germany, and parts of the US. But most of them go to my parents. As far as I know, they've all arrived intact (though a few have not reached their destinations yet). I find it a lot of fun to be able to share my experiences to through such and old fashioned mechanism.

alaskan landscape

This postcard below reads in part:

buildings in ketchikan

Dear Papa and Mama,
Hello from Ketchikan! My painting/cruise has been going well so far. I'm learning a lot of things as well as enjoying the cruise experience. The building on this postcard is on a street called Creek Street. It is actually on stilts and the "road" is actually a boardwalk above the creek. 
[...] 
Tomorrow we are going to go to port in Juneau! This is quite the incredible trip. 
The small space allotted on the postcard doesn't encourage great prose, but I hope people enjoy these little paintings, regardless of what I write on the back.

building top

I guess this closes out my series of posts about the Great Alaskan Plein Air Retreat Cruise! I should thank again the Painted Ladies, who have been fabulous at organizing this. And thanks also to Jonny Luczycki who tolerated my socially awkward self as a cabin mate. And of course all the artist friends who have gone on this amazing journey together with me. Thanks guys, I'm sure we'll cross paths again!

Til Next Time, Alaska

We just finished taking pictures at the top deck of the ship, and just before that, the award ceremony (I won an award! Still can't get over that). But the glaciers were all around us, and the ship was only 30 minutes or so from leaving... time for one last painting! So Jonny and I hurried to our cabin to grab our painting gear. My stuff was in disarray, so I grabbed random things and put them in my bag, and proceeded to the front of the ship.

Til Next Time, Alaska
(sold
 
When I got there, Jonathan Luczycki was already there  and it seems halfway done with his painting! Karen Whitworth was there, looking happy, and no doubt quite relieved that the whole trip was successful. I can't thank the Painted Ladies enough for organizing this trip, it was a unique and wonderful experience. Bunch of other guys were there too taking pictures and generally celebrating what was a grand trip.
 
But there was the one last painting to do! So I took out my gear, and to my dismay, my acrylic paints were not in my bag. It was too late to go back to my cabin and get them, so I did this painting using my little watercolor tin that I have for my sketchbook. I'm not an experienced watercolorist, but I enjoyed doing this painting, and I think I'm gonna start doing more watercolors. By the time I was able to do this though, the ship had turned around; the captain having waited just long enough for Jonny to finish his painting. And the ship was making the journey to out last stop, Whittier. So no painting of the glaciers from me sadly.
 
Well maybe I can paint the glaciers next time. I hope there will be many more trips to Alaska, this wild beautiful land. I was there last year and was struck by its grandness, and I'm glad I got to go back this year and paint some of it. Hopefully there will be many more opportunities to come back and paint, and enjoy it. Rockwell Kent stayed in Alaska over a winter, and loved his time there...

Portrait of Daniel Keys

When I signed up for the painting workshop, was really only familiar with Daniel Keyes, the guy who wrote "Flowers for Algernon." I quickly realized that Daniel Keys the artist was a different person. The more I learned about the Daniel Keys who was going demo during the trip, the more impressed I was with his work. Aside from doing the demo, though, Daniel also took some time to pose for us:

Portrait of Daniel Keys
 
I'm not sure I captured a good likeness here, but I didn't paint him with a full white beard, so that's something at least. Daniel's demo itself was fraught with difficulties, especially with the garish and inconsistent lighting in the demo room. But in the end the painting and the demo turned out great:
 
daniel keys demo
 
 
Daniel Keys had some good practical advice, and I learned a lot just from watching him paint. In the end though, I'm not sure I have the temperament to paint like Daniel, or (I presume) Richard Schmid. They have a method of painting where every brush stroke is as close to perfect as it can be, with meticulously clean brushes, and carefully planned composition. My way of painting is to happily slap some paint onto canvas and proceed to make a series of corrections by randomly adding more paint :).
 
Perhaps care and deliberation when it comes to painting is a product of experience; or maybe some people are more naturally suited for one style of painting. In any case, I felt inspired to do more still life paintings with this demo, and I already like doing them!
 

Deck 7

Of all my paintings during the Alaska cruise, this is probably my favorite. I really like the abstract quality of it; that it's not apparent what the painting is about. As the title suggests, this is a painting done on Deck 7 of the ship. It is the deck where you can walk all the way around the ship on the outside, with some covered areas. The circle on the top right is actually a clock.


When I did this, I tried to keep in mind some of Larry Seiler's advice. So I tried to make a painting with a non-centered composition, asymmetric balance, and a wide range of values. But more than the rules, when I saw this scene while walking on the ship, the pattern of light and dark really resonated with me. The strongly geometric design practically screamed "paint me!" And so despite its abstract quality, this illustrates to me how a painting can capture what I saw and *felt* at the time better than any photograph.

Portrait of Mitch Monnett

Mitch Monnett is the husband of Elsbeth Monnett, one of the fabulous artists who participated in the Great Alaskan Painting Retreat. Mitch is also somewhat of a celebrity, being in the reality TV show Wild West Alaska.

Portrait of Mitch Monnett
 
Now, I have to admit, I don't watch that much TV anymore, so I've only vaguely known that there was a show called Wild West Alaska. TV, sadly, has lost out to obsessively checking Facebook as my entertainment of choice. Mitch had many interesting stories about being on TV, about being recognized, and about some of the episodes of that show. I'm not sure which of them I can repeat!
 
I didn't expect to learn that much about painting portraits on a plein air trip. But between Michelle Dunaway's demo, Daniel Keys's mention of the five essential shadows (shadows around the eyes, under the nose, the upper lip, under the lower lip, and under the chin, iirc), and the four model sessions that we had, I think I have a better understanding of how to paint people than ever before.
 
One error I made with this painting was that I chose to leave out Mitch's glasses. As someone who wears glasses himself, I should know that it can be almost as wedded to a persons identity and recognizability as his actual face is. In the end, everyone did really well in the model session. Elsbeth did especially well, her painting of her husband captured him really well, and won an award.
 

A break from the rain: a view of the mountains from Juneau

The weather was not very cooperative during the Alaskan cruise, as it rained much of the time. But that is part of the fun and challenge of plein air painting! Living in the Seattle area, working around the rain is an important skill to learn; but I did have to give up a painting or two during the cruise because of it.

Mountains from Juneau

We had a bit of sunshine in Juneau though, which allowed me to paint these mountains from the deck of the ship. My new found friend and cabin-mate Jonathan Luczycki did a painting from a similar vantage point, and won 2nd place in the competition that was part of the trip. My painting is not quite as strong, perhaps, but I am happy with the rendering of the mountains and how they recede.

I feel fortunate to have been Jonny's cabin-mate for the trip, I really admire his dedication and skill at painting, not to mention his ability to wolf down all that free cruise food! :) Jonathan, and others like Larry Seiler, Jennifer Bowman, and Catherine Gill freely gave advice as I was painting (and after the paintings were done). I believe my work is stronger for it, and I am grateful.

Santa Cruise

I'm proud to say that this little portrait of Santa, painted from life (!!!), won an award on the cruise. The award was called Carl and Sarah's pick. Carl and Sarah Judson, of course of the guerrilla painter, and Judsons Art Outfitter fame.

Santa Cruise
How did I end up doing a portrait of Father Christmas on a plein air event? Well, there was actually a Santa convention on the cruise ship! It was somewhat surreal to see a bunch of Santa Clauses walking around the ship in full costume, along with Mrs. Clauses. They were on the ship to learn to be better Santas, including learning how to twirl their moustaches, and what the proper posture should be to avoid injury when holding kids on their lap. I didn't realize that being a Santa was a serious serious business!
 
Anyway, the painted ladies (the trip's fabulous organizers) somehow managed to convince one of the Santas to pose for us in a life drawing session. And thus a truly unique opportunity to paint a real-life Santa Claus.
 
In other good news, the painting below "Towards the Blue  Mountains" was accepted into the Northwest Landscapes Grand & Intimate exhibit this July. Now to figure out how to frame it properly!
 
Towards the Blue Mountains

Alaskan Painting Cruise

Just got back from the Great Alaskan Plein Air Retreat/Cruise. It was a great adventure, and so much fun to meet so many wonderful and nice artists. The weather didn't cooperate as well as I would like, but that is a minor thing. The instructors were great, the organizers were on top of everything, and of course, all the other artists were lovely.

painting cruise
 
The trip started in Vancouver BC, and sailed for 7 days with stops at various ports til we reached Whittier, Alaska. Along the way, we painted, ate a lot of food, drank a lot of drinks, and shared a lot of stories and knowledge.
 
I am quite fascinated by the massive scale of these cruise ships. They are floating cities, almost. They carry more passengers than the year-round population of some the towns that we visited. Sometimes they threaten to overwhelm even the Alaskan landscape. But eventually the land wins out; Alaska has some of the most breathtaking views.

Lemon coke bottle

Lemons are difficult to paint for me, I think because darkening yellows with paint is pretty tricky. On the other hand, I really enjoy painting glass things. The key, I think, is to focus on the shapes and colors and paint those, and the bottle will just emerge. It's no different from painting anything else, really, but glass forces me to be more observant and careful.

lemon coke bottle
 
Tomorrow, I head off to Vancouver BC, to go on a painting cruise! It's a combination 1 week cruise and painting workshop. I will be taking a workshop with Larry Seiler, whose work I always liked seeing on wetcanvas. I'm quite excited, and as usual, not quite packed!