Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Crane's Captive

I have a new sketch that I'm about to start painting:

I had a dream wherein I saw dozens of pink flowers drifting lazily along a stream and then an overhead view of a boat. So, that's where the idea for this started. For a while I had only the girl in the boat, but it seemed like something was missing. I thought about adding a raven to the prow of the boat, but that still didn't seem quite right. I've been reading a book of Japanese fairy tales and one of them made mention of a crane and I thought, that's it! A crane is exactly what this picture needs! I did consider other tall water birds like herons and storks also and for a while it was kind of a toss-up between a crane and a heron, but the crane won out in the end since they are a bit more delicate and seemed more fitting for the illustration. Looking at all those pictures of herons makes me want to paint one though. They look a bit mean and rather unkempt - definitely a bird not to be messed with...

The weather's been so nice lately, so of course, we took advantage of it this past weekend and got in our weekly-when-possible hike over at St. Edwards Hill. This was one of those parks where there are dozens of little trails not shown on the map and therefore very easy to get lost. We managed not to get lost, but sometimes it felt like we weren't so sure where we were going. The most interesting feature of the park was a low dam where the water cascades over in a couple spots. It's such an odd sensation to stand on top of the dam and look out over the creek - almost like walking on water!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Amongst the Mangroves

At long last I have a new finished piece of art to post:

I suppose I'm reasonably satisfied with this piece. It seemed like it went a little smoother than usual and I managed to keep the paint fairly thin on the background which helps to cut down on time spent on the piece. What bothers me a bit is this isolated pool of red-orange that is the squirrel/boat. The warm yellow of the dragonflies was intended to balance out the orange of the squirrel, but I think they are too small to be as effective as I'd like. I did push some orange-ish color around in the background, but maybe not enough... All the same I think it came out okay.
Prints are in my Shop.

Not only have I finally gotten back to painting, but we've also gotten back to our frequent weekend hiking. We had a good long walk at nearby Bull Creek this past weekend. This trail was about three miles one way meandering back and forth across the wide creek. Where in LA we could clearly see the extremely parched condition of the land in the form of dry creek-beds and trickling waterfalls, here we could see the opposite - an abundance of water. We've heard the reason for this is that the soil's quite thin and underneath lies a layer of rock, so the water can't really soak into the ground and therefore channels into the many waterways that wind around the hills here. You can see how rocky the land is around the water in these pictures:

The trail came to an end in a small dog park. I have never seen so many happy dogs together in one place at the same time. It was fun to watch them splashing around in the water so exuberantly. I think they had the right idea too - it was surprisingly warm that day and the water looked so inviting!