Hangar One at Moffett Field is one of the world’s largest freestanding structures, covering 8 acres (3.2 ha)

Hangar One at Moffett Field, California

Mike works five blocks from Hangar One.  It was dark when I first saw it looming above me like a giant space station.  Today, I spent the entire afternoon drawing Hangar One.  Vieira da Silva would have loved this structure.

Hangar One, No. 1

Hangar One, No. 2

Hangar One abstractions

As the sun set, the structure began to glow.

Hangar One at sunset

I kept drawing ….

Hangar One, No. 3

To be continued …….

Sketchbook ink drawings: Drawn en plein air with sheaffer fountain pen using a Sheaffer cartridge filled with black ink on BFK Rives paper.

Fountain pens make me smile.  I like looking at them, I like holding them and I love drawing with them …. almost as much as a dip pen with a flexible nib.

Street view of building and signs

The beauty of a fountain pen is that it carries ink safely inside itself.  I can carry a fountain pen in my pocket.  It’s much harder and far messier to carry a dip pen and a bottle of ink in my pocket.  No matter where I am, or how short or long I am there for, I can pull out a sketchbook and pen and explore something of interest in my surroundings.

Studying architecture with a fountain pen is far more fun than with a pencil.  I don’t mind when lines go awry.

Sketchbook drawing:  Drawn while sitting on the sidewalk in Bethlehem during the Art Walk on Saturday evening.  Vintage Sheaffer fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Rome Burning Ink.

Another sketchbook painting from my recent road trip…

One corner of the kitchen on Pratt Road

I arrived at my brother’s around 6:15 pm. For dinner, Bronwen served the best lasagna I ever tasted.  A piece was packed for me the next morning for my ride to Portland, Maine along with a nice chunk of bread and a banana.  I saved the lasagna to share with Kathleen.  She agreed it was the best lasagna ever! If there’s a recipe, I’ll get it from Bronwen and post it.

My brother is a timber framer.  He built their home as well as the workshop where I sleep when I visit.  Both are open, airy, filled with light and good energy.  Savory aromas waft through the house and the wonderful smell of wood shavings sends me off to dreamland at night .

I was able to dash this drawing off after dinner, but was unable to finish painting it before tea was served and we began playing games.  Tea, games and the laughter that was shared was so much more important than filling the spaces with colors.

Kitchen on Pratt Road: first drawn with fountain pen, followed by watercolor.

After Baer fell asleep I curled up on the couch beside the wood stove with my sketchbook, fountain pen and watercolors.

Date Night at Spillane's, watercolor and ink

Maria and Brian need a night out together every now and then and I am the lucky lady who gets to spend the evening with Baer.  Our time together passes far too quickly and before I know it he is in the Land of Nod.

A few weeks ago I started experimenting with multiple images on the page to zero in on certain aspects of the scene I am sketching.  Though I have often been in the Spillane’s living room, I hadn’t noticed the collection of spatulas on the ledge of the wainscoting.  Apparently Maria’s father gave her the collection.  Hmmmm.  I need to ask about that again.

The paintings on the wall on the left are part of a triptych I painted shortly after Maria and Brian were married.  The colors in the painting were inspired by their wedding colors.  Baer’s art can be seen through the doorway hanging above the window in the kitchen.

Brian, being the fine carpenter that he is, noticed that I captured (without realizing it) the molding he had omitted from the doorway.

I can say so much more in ink and watercolor than I can with words.

Sketch: I first draw the scene with my Phaleus Waterman Fountain Pen and then paint the watercolor washes over the ink drawing.

The beginning of the Villeneuve painting:

Terra Rosa underpainting - 24" x 36" oil painting

This is the underpainting of the oil I am working on from a photograph taken in Villeneuve, France.  I have established the composition and the values.  I generally work on the entire canvas, refining as I go.  I will be trying a new approach with this painting.  Inspired by Richard Schmid, I plan to begin in one area and mix the correct value and color for that shape, moving on to adjacent shapes from there.  It is a pretty frightening idea to me.

It was Friday, April 24th, 2009:

Doorway Garden, Villeneuve, France

Over a year has passed since Jane swept me away to France where we explored the narrow streets of Villeneuve for two days before embarking on a journey aboard the Viking Burgundy that took us from Avignon south to Arles then north to Chalon sur Saone.  It has taken all these months to fulfill prior commitments of painting commissions, exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops.  Most importantly, it has taken this long to re-evaluate the direction of my painting and to come up with a plan that allows me to focus on my personal growth as an artist rather than the marketing of my work and my teaching.

The sketches above are the first of several for the large oil painting that will hang in Jane’s new home in South Carolina where she recently moved to enjoy a life immersed in the arts, surrounded by fascinating and inspiring people.  I will miss her company.

There is a wire, perhaps a phone wire or television cable, that runs from the upper right corner down into the climbing roses that cover the balcony.  For me, it was an important part of the composition when I took the photo.  I realize that it will be considered an unpleasant and unnecessary intrusion by some.  I thought, momentarily, of eliminating it.  For two reasons, I opted to include it.  Primarily, I need it to work with the other two vertical lines on either side of the bottom of the painting ( the edges of window and door frames ) to echo the grouping of three window shapes.  Second, it is a documentation of the times, the year 2009 when wires are part of the world we live in whether we are in a small village in France that was built in the 13th century or we are in New York City.

Thinking about design

Ceiling of Wine Cellar designed by Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain, Oil on canvas

During the past chaotic week I’ve become of a shift in my seeing the landscape and a greater freedom to sacrifice reality for strong design.  I am finally seeing overall patterns of value rather than textural patterns created by smaller shapes.  Perhaps reading the books by Claude Croney each night before falling asleep has helped.

As I sort through my older work, to make room for Betty’s paintings, I find that I have fresh eyes and a new perspective with which to evaluate the paintings I had carried as far as possible at the time.  It is a wonderful feeling to look at a painting that I thought was carried to resolution and to see that it can go much further.  When that happens I know that I have learned a great deal since the time I called the painting complete.

The painting of the brick wine cellar remains a favorite of mine.  I painted this as part of the series using underpaintings with multiple glazes of color.  The design is strong.  I think Croney is right when he says that it doesn’t really matter what you paint as long as the design and value patterns are strong.

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