Monday, October 25, 2010

Dia de Los Muertos, Los Angeles

I visited a community celebration for Dia de Los Muertos in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles last week and thoroughly enjoyed the event. There was so much to see and do I actually forgot to take pictures. But I did manage to snap this beauty, my favorite. These dancers wore magnificent costumes! Click on the picture to see it bigger.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sitton's Never Looked So Good

Sitton's Diner, now known as Andrew's North Hollywood Diner, 11329 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood near Tujunga Ave. never looked this good except when I was there and took this picture. The clientele is always eclectic, the food is hardcore diner food and the waitresses are tough, quick-witted, efficient and a kick, especially at night. This is definitely not some frou-frou gourmet restaurant, it's a diner. And it's a fine diner. After the bars close or after a show, this is a pretty good place to go.

A Rainy Day in The Valley

I love rainy days. If it's raining and I have nothing urgent to do, I'll hop into the car and go find a place to take pictures. Last week we had a few days like that so I zipped over to Forest Lawn Memorial Park and Mt. Sinai Memorial Park near Burbank, CA.
I don't know what kind of trees these are but isn't their color really great?

If you're wondering where all the gray skies come from on a day like this, we have a gray and cloudy sky plant in Burbank that generates all the gray clouds and gloomy skies we need.

Actually, it's a power plant that's throwing off some steam that happens to be the same color as the clouds, but it sure looks like a cloud plant, doesn't it?

See that cougar sitting quietly at the top of the hill, just to the left of the path? I stood there for about ten minutes hoping he'd go away. As I moved closer I realized it was a baboon that probably escaped from the nearby Los Angeles Zoo. By the time I got close enough for him to pounce and eat me I realized it was a tree stump.

On one of those meandering roads in Mt. Sinai Memorial Park I found this dramatic beauty shot. Reminds me of Monterey. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Paint Out on Sauvie Island

I can't believe it's been close to a year since I last posted here! Funny how work gets in the way of blogging. I just finished up storyboarding on the first season of Jake's Never Land Pirates coming soon to a television set near you from Disney TV Animation.

Back in June and July I took some vacation time and went up to Washington and Oregon to participate in some Plein Air painting workshops with Mitch Baird ( The one in June was conducted at Beacon Rock on the Washington side of the Columbia River. The one in July was held on Sauvie Island near Portland. I'll post some photos from the Beacon Rock workshop as soon as I find them. Meanwhile, here's some pics from the Sauvie Island workshop.

July 17, 2010. After a two-hour demonstration by Mitch Baird we all spread out on this farm to set up and get to work. Mitch talked primarily about composition, shapes and values in painting. Those are a few of the important things I'd completely forgotten about. This is why I took the workshop - to re-learn what I'd forgotten. This is where I set up. I liked the sense of scale, the size of that tree next to the huge barn, the foreground elements in contrast to the distant background elements, the isolation.

Behind me was this great open farmland. Don't know what the crop was. We were all grateful to the owner for allowing us to go out onto his land and paint. We were careful not to spill anything.

July 18, 2010. Mitch leads the other five painters in our group of six to a new location on a different farm. Another two hour demonstration and then we each moved to a spot we liked.

A nice panoramic shot of the general location we were at. Great muted color, thanks to the overcast day.

This is where I set up, down the road a little and in the shade of a big tree. I liked the colors, the shadows, the path leading into the picture.

Sauvie Island is accessible by a single road over a single bridge. There's a burger joint close to that bridge, with a convenience store inside. The only other store of any kind on the island is next to that barn in the first picture. They sell farm-fresh vegetables, fruit and honey, all very locally produced. Essentially, the entire island in one big collection of farms owned by families who've been there for generations.

We didn't do any finished paintings in these workshops. We only had about 4 or 5 hours to work. Our focus was on applying the principles Mitch demonstrated to our own preliminary paintings. He wanted us to focus on composition, shapes and values. I could see some definite improvement in my work right away but I've yet to find the time to get down to working on a finished painting. Funny how a job always gets in the way of doing what you'd rather be doing. But it sure felt great to be outdoors, on a farm, painting again. Nothing like my gray cubicle at work.

Hey, look! I just found the painting I did from the above spot. This represents about an hour of work. It's on a 9" x 12" canvas panel and my scanner trimmed off about 1/2" on all sides, but it's enough to give you the idea.