Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sonoma Plein Air 2012

It was a great week in Sonoma with beautiful fall light and harvest gold colors in the vinyards. I managed to do 12 paintings in 5 days, though one was not worthy of hanging, and another didn't feel quite finished. I tackled this Studebaker on the first day when it reached 103° by 3:00. I was happy to have my huge patio umbrella to shade my easel and me from the direct sun. "Studebaker Morning" 9x12" sold

Half way through this painting, I realized I had painted the scene before, several years earlier, on a different size and proportion canvas. I think this one turned out better. Of all the paintings I had on display Saturday, this one may have gotten the most comments, which surprised me. "Deferred Maintenance" 7x14" sold

The Sonoma event included a "quick draw" Tuesday afternoon, where the artists set up around the square and had an hour and a half to complete a painting, while being distracted by onlookers and a deadline. "Sonoma Hotel" 8x10" sold

This is a road with very little traffic which allowed me to set up my easel and my patio umbrella in the street. I carry orange traffic cones in my truck for just such an occasion. "Down the Road" 11x14"

I had seen this view the day before, and decided to challenge myself, painting into the setting sun across a vineyard. It was amazing to see how fast the colors and values changed in the last 30 minutes before the sun dropped behind the hill. "Harvest Haze" 8x16" sold

I liked the simplicity and clarity of this scene -- house, tree, ground, distant hill, and sky. This house was on a very busy road with traffic roaring past, between me and my subject, and I put earplugs in while I painted. To your list of plein air painting supplies, I recommend adding earplugs and a patio umbrella. This was I felt my best painting of the week, and is the one I took to the gala on Friday night.  "Home Sweet Home" 11x14" sold

I was so pleased with the composition of the painting above, that I decided to come back and try a dusk scene, waiting till just after the sun set before starting to paint. I had very low confidence in my ability to pull it off, and so chose a small 6x8" canvas. I learned that you really only have just over half an hour before the light is so low that you can no longer see color -- just values. And 15 minutes later you can't see anything at all. (add 'flashlight' to the list of supplies) "Sing Me To Sleep" 6x8" sold

I had painted this barn before, but never the red tractor. My umbrella saved me once again in the extreme heat. Dappled light is always a challenge and it seems to work best when I just invent a simplified shadow shape. "One Hundred and Three in The Shade" 12x12"

This was my last painting of the week. I spotted this old car from the street, parked my truck and walked down the driveway toward it. I took a few photos before 2 pit bulls (or similar) charged out from behind the house and pinned me against the back of this car. The owner then came out, and after hearing my explanation called off the dogs. It was a very tense 20 seconds to put it mildly. In the end, the owner was very nice and allowed me to stay and paint the car -- a 1951 Plymouth. Not only did I not lose any blood, but I was pretty happy with the painting when I finished. With all that adrenaline running through my system, there was no need for coffee this particular morning.  "Beware of Dog"  8x10"


  1. What a delight catching up with your latest work. Love seeing so many marked "sold". Seriously glad you were not harmed by the dogs. Yikes! You almost gave all for your art. Your work is so inspirational!

  2. Beautiful work Tim.....and wow about the dog...glad that turned out happily...