Laguna Recap Day 3

Third day into the event and Monday morning rolled around, and I was not up to getting out of bed. Since I first arrived, I had not been sleeping well with my spinning, busy brain and icky tummy. With just about 2 hours total to paint with, I was really beginning to feel it. So, I took it really easy... for awhile. I set out to paint the familiar Huntington Beach lifeguard by the pier. I took my time, trying to understand how life is for the locals. You see, I am not a nosy person, but when I am quiet and painting, every one of my senses is alert and I can hear everything. I heard bits of conversations from people walking just below the railing where I was perched; conversations about the film industry, family issues, interesting surfer slang, and the sound of sunbathers washing off the sand at the showers.
All done on the easel.  This piece measured 12x24"

"Out for the Day" 12x24" Pastel ©Brenda Boylan

Once I had this Lifeguard piece under my belt, I returned to Pacific Coast Hwy to complete my urban piece.  The late afternoon light was what I was after in this scene, so the orange underpainting I had started with really played an important part of the mood.

"Intersection on 1"  16x16" Pastel  ©Brenda Boylan  (sold)

All done! What a relief to have this piece done as I begin to feel more comfortable with my production..so far. It seems like all is downhill from here. I packed it all up and headed back to my host's home to get a quick shower then over to the Forest and Ocean Gallery for a discussion panel of artists.

As planned, LPAPA organizes a fun evening of 5 artists in a discussion panel moderated by gallery owner Ludo Leideritz. Invitational artists Cindy Baron, Lori Putnam, Michael ObermeyerBill Davidson and myself were selected to share our experiences and thoughts on plein air painting. We all had a great time answering the questions with humor peppered with a little bit of seriousness. It was an informative evening for the collectors and curious admirers

After all that was said and done, a few of us headed out for a bite to eat and to enjoy some camaraderie over a glass of wine.

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Laguna Recap Day 2

(Sorry for the centered formatting, for some reason blogger won't let me fix it.)

Second day into the LPAPA event, me and Jennifer head out to the shoreline just below Heisler park in Laguna Beach. It was an overcast day with a hint of mist in the air. Unfortunately, I was not feeling very well and definitely not interested in painting an overcast day. I get enough of that in Portland. 

Looking south at Heisler Park in Laguna Beach.

So we decided to paint something on Balboa Island, an area just outside of Newport Bay where it appeared to be sunnier and more promising on the eye. I heard it was a very colorful, unique place and it sure did have plenty of subject matter for an artist to consume.  Even though there were a lot of beautiful boats and sparkly water, for some reason I wanted to paint an alley. I think just the sight of one took me back to when I lived in San Diego as a teen running up and down those long sunny alleys to pluck avocados and pomegranates from the neighbors trees.  Mostly, I was interested in the warm and cool temperature of the high key scene.  I chose a method of underpainting that I learned back in 2009 from Master pastelist Maggie Price. The technique requires 3 blue pastels and 3 yellow pastels, ranging in values from dark to light, and they should be intense hues.  

Here is my underpainting using  the 3 blues for everything cast in shadow, and 3 yellows for everything touched by light. It gave the piece a sence of bright light and cool shadow.  I haven't used this technique very much, but I think I just may.

The Backway, 14x11" Pastel ©Brenda Boylan

After I completed "The Backway", I picked up a lunch and then returned to Laguna Beach to continue work on my ambitious urban scene.

Still much to do...

I'm 2/3rds of the way through this piece on Pacific Coast Hwy 1, near a busy intersection. As I was painting this piece, my adventure gets a bit coincidental.  My aunt Linda drove by with her dear friend Mary. You see, she lives 85 miles from this spot, so it was truly a coincidence that she passed by that very spot, at that very moment I am painting. I hear and see a lot of things while painting on the streets, like people singing to the radio in their car, cigarette butts thrown by my side, homeless trying to survive, sometimes a loud roar of a Harley engine, but the joyful yell "BRENDA?"  "Hey that's Brenda!" was welcomed. I recognized those voices and so they stopped to visit.  Good times.

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Laguna Plein Air Invitational Day 1

(sorry for the centered format, I'm not sure why it's posting like this...)

I've been home now for nearly a month and a half from painting The Laguna Plein Air Invitational, and it has taken me some time to digest it all. It was a challenging event for me mentally, because of the lack of sleep from the rolling and rewinding conversations in my mind on the "what, where, and when" I was going to paint. I finally did get that sleep, long after my return home and still alive to tell you about it. There was so much that went on to share with you, too much for just one post, that I've decided to post each day as it was held. a few pics for each day I went out to paint. This post has three short days, but first, I'll begin with some history...

Laguna Beach and its' neighboring coastal towns is a beautiful area for a plein air artist to paint, offering a fast tempo of energy, clear sunshine and a varying scenic coastline. It is about 1 hour south of Los Angeles so it is definitely in the heart of Southern California, and perhaps, I'd say it has a culture all it's own. What also is attractive for artists is the plein air history dating back a century. Noted artists George Garnder Symens, Franz Bischoff, Marion Wachton, William Wendt, Edgar Payne, and many, many more artists were instrumental in bringing impressionism to California.  The Laguna Plein Air Invitational was formed about 17 years ago by the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association to continue the spirit of California's plein air movement. The Laguna Plein Air Invitational is one the foremost events in the plein air community today.

I flew out on Thursday and found my way around a bit with Jennifer Diehl. Here is Friday's short and sweet warm up at Huntington Beach by the famous Huntington Beach Pier.

"Daywatch" 8x10" Pastel  ©Brenda Boylan (sold)

The event began on Saturday morning where all 35 artists had to gather at the Festival of the Arts for canvas stamping, a quick orientation, and a nice breakfast buffet. 

LPAPA Invitational artists and Organizers.  Too many to mention.

Then all the artists took a private trolley ride to Heisler Park to create our 2-hour Quick Draw piece. Quick draws are really challenging because a location has to be decided without fuss and easel set up so that the painting can be completed in a certain time. We started at 11:00 and ended by 1:00 pm. 

"Laguna Overlook" 9x12" Pastel

Laguna Overview, 9x12" Pastel ©Brenda Boylan  (available)

Silent auction

After painting the quick draw piece, the artists had to quickly frame and hang their art at the Laguna Festival of the Arts for a silent auction and a small lunch.  Afterwards, we were off to paint whatever we wished for the bulk of the week. I began working on an urban scene that late afternoon which ended up being pretty ambitious. I first started out by drawing in a loose composition with a pastel pencil, and then blocking in the underpainting with a pastel stick and then washed it with Gamsol on a sponge brush. Here you can see I had an orange and blue underpainting, but I ended up changing the blue to a dark orange to make the underpainting all warm and consistent in hue.

This piece measures 16x16", sanded paper dry mounted on conservation board.

That night, if I remember correctly, I went to my generous host's home to shower up and plan my next day. I will post more on Sunday about the next few days of the event. Thanks for hanging with me!

~ Brenda

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