Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Along the Creek by Julie Trail

Ruth and I almost froze our patooties this morning when we met in Amador City to paint. But the sun came up, the warm rays thawed us out and made for a beautiful painting morning! The shadows are long and dark these winter solstice days, but the warm colors of fading autumn make beautiful brights! I love the contrast between darks and lights!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Changing Season by Julie Trail

The change of season in Northern California Foothills is an artist's dream. I love nothing more than the bright hues of November. The air is crisp. The birds are migrating. This stand of brush in the Shenandoah Valley inspired me!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Path to the Barn

Ruth Andre and I met for a painting day just as the fog was clearing. We had a view of the foothills that went on forever, and this barn captured my interest. I'm thinking I need cows in the painting, as these cows entertained us with their bells ringing a tune during the hours we were there! Should I take a chance and plop a couple or three brownish blobs to approximate the cows? Or be safe and leave the grassy hillside alone?

Monday, November 14, 2011


These cottonwoods grow along Sutter Creek and always attract my attention for their tangled branches and wonderful colors. Ruth Andre and I painted this morning under mixed sun and fog. It was a beautiful morning! Spent the afternoon recreating the scene with a watercolor....a photo coming soon!

Out in the Country

After painting a small oil study of this little country road, I couldn't resist doing a watercolor in the studio. I'm not sure I like using masking fluid to keep the lights on the tree and windblown leaves. I may do it again without masking fluid! I'm exploring textures these days, lots of spattering and flicking of color!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Gnarly Oak was painted last week with my painting buddy, Ruth Andre.

Today, Ruth and I painted on Stringbean Alley in front of the Sutter Creek Gold Mine. You can turn any which way on these old country roads and find a painting! Thus: "String Bean Alley" was a self-evident name for this painting.

I turned around, and this little meadow with wispy brush just being touched by the sun called out to me. The coopers hawks were shrieking overhead, the 43 degree air was freezing my fingers, but this meadow looked so warm and inviting! "Sunny Meadow" seems a fitting title.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fall Colors, Hope Valley

Today I used oil paint to capture the colors of Hope Valley. Fussier, messier, gloppy slippery paint! Love the feel of oil paint! Not nearly as subtle as watercolor! How much fun to spend a Sunday afternoon painting!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Young Aspens before the Snow

The colors in Hope Valley every October delight travelers crossing the Sierra. A painter must stop and take a thousand photos, and if time allows, pull out the paintbox to capture the sunlight on quaking aspens. This tiny grove, hidden behind some firs, was a world of its own, fifty yards from the highway, in another universe! Beautiful!

A Landscape Painter's Bliss

Seeing the Landscape with a paintbrush deepens my experience in the wild places that surround my home in the foothills of Northern California. From the corner near my house, where thistles strangle a cattle rancher's fence line, to the granite expanses of the Sierra Nevada, an hour's drive east, I discover over and over again the joy of recreating what I see on paper or canvas.

It's the painting of a landscape that I love, either watercolor or oil! But I also teach watercolor techniques twice a week to a changing group of painters, beginners to more accomplished artists. By teaching the skills I use, I reaffirm my discoveries in this amazing world called Art.

Nothing surpasses the immediacy of painting en plein air, on location, the sun at my back, the wind in my hair. I get lost in the experience and feel transported, somehow, to a heavenly place where nothing matters but trying to capture the beauty before me. What joy it is!

Then, returning to my studio, I recapture the essence of my days outdoors by referring to the sketches I made and the photos I took , as I create a new, larger painting with more time allowed for accomplishing the goal I've set for myself. In the studio I can tweak and play, no bugs biting, no wind blowing, no sun blinding!

Join me in this rapture, the joy of seeing the landscape through my eyes. I share with you examples of my work to tempt you into this star-blessed life I've discovered. Enjoy the journey!