Home again after an inspiring and adventurous ten days in California.  Great people, great landscapes, great food and great weather.

San Francisco Streets

One of my goals was to play with the perspective of the streets during the two days I spent in the city of San Francisco.

Slanted streets and houses

The one day in San Franciso that I planned to sketch rather than walk and snap photos, it began to rain as soon as I put ink to paper.

Slanted landscapes everywhere

Most of my time was spent drawing and painting on Moffett Field in Mountain View and exploring the hills in the surrounding area.  Though I love the beauty of the flat landscape in New Jersey where I live, I feel more connected with the slanted and rolling landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Pacific Ocean Reflections

In addition to slanted landscapes, reflections and shadows turned out to be threads that wove the fabric of my trip.

Pacific Ocean Seaweed Shadows

Already, I  look forward to returning, perhaps in January, to teach another Color Scheme Game Workshop not only in Santa Rosa., but in Mountain View and San Francisco as well.  In addition to the Color Scheme Game Workshop I’ll be teaching a Color Value Workshop in Santa Rosa. (Thanks again, Joanie Springer, for helping to make this such a successful trip!  Thank you Kristen and Zak at Village Art Supply for hosting a last minute workshop in the middle of your amazing art store! )

Photos taken in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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I am reading Ramachandran’s Phantoms In The Brain.

Reflections, Pen and Ink study

How often do we ( I am assuming I am not the only one ) perceive an object in the road ahead to be something that it isn’t?  How often have we puzzled over an object’s use when we have not encountered anything like it before?  Why, when a room full of artists are asked to draw a still life of a tea set as realistically as possible, is there such variation in the shape of the teapot? Some are short and fat, some are tall and thin.

Picasso Guitars is currently at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.  Why, no matter how Picasso deconstructed the image of a guitar, do we recognize it as a guitar?

“If you look straight ahead, the entire world on your left is mapped onto your right visual cortex and the world to the right of your center of gaze is mapped onto your left visual cortex.

But the mere existence of this map does not explain seeing, for as I noted earlier, there is no little man inside watching what is displayed on the primary visual cortex.  Instead, this first map serves as a sorting and editorial office where redundant or useless information is discarded wholesale and certain defining attributes of the visual image — such as edges — are strongly emphasized.  (This is why a cartoonist can convey such a vivid picture with just a few pen strokes depicting the outlines or edges alone; he’s mimicking what your visual system is specialized to do.)” quoted from Chapter Four of Phantoms In The Brain.

Most likely, if someone has not ever seen a guitar or a stringed instrument similar to a guitar, that person will not recognize the subject of Picasso’s exhibit as a guitar.  The objects I drew in the above study will be recognized by some, but not all.  My children might recognize all of the objects because they saw them almost daily before they went to college.  My simplification of the objects combined with the brain’s simplification of the information I have drawn will be understood by some, but not all.

No wonder there is such a struggle for some viewers to accept abstract art.

As artists we must simplify shapes, colors and values.  Our eyes perceive far more than our pigments are capable of expressing.

Perhaps this doesn’t qualify…. but then again, maybe it does.

Reflections on the trunk of an Imperial

I’ve enjoyed and been inspired by Carol Marine’s Daily painting blog for a long time.  She has recently posted a weekly challenge that involves posting the paintings of other artists who are working from the same weekly reference photo.  Though I don’t like working from photos, I love the idea of seeing a variety of interpretations.  Granted, so far, all of the posted paintings show most of the Imperial auto as seen in the reference image.  Though I love old cars, I was only inspired by the reflection of the building as the curve of enameled metal bent the rigid lines of the buildings into beautiful, irregular, curving shapes.

The other contributions, so far, have been oil or perhaps acrylic paintings.  With my time restrictions, I will contribute ink contour drawings with watercolor washes from my sketchbook.

Take a peak at the submissions of the Daily Paintworks DPW Challenge.

I am having trouble submitting my painting, so you won’t see it posted yet.  I’ll let you know what the snag is as soon as I hear back from Carol.