Monday, September 23, 2013

Latest Paintings {Pears and Pilgrimage}

I usually produce a couple of paintings a week, hoping the old adage, "practice makes perfect" (or better?), will produce some evidence in my work. In the last few days I've done two paintings, this group of pears and the landscape below.

I painted the pears in watercolor, outside. Outdoor painting is particularly challenging because the light is constantly changing. I'm working on blocking in the shadows quickly so that I'm not chasing the sun as I paint.

The landscape below is based on a photo I took years ago while hiking in France. It's a view of the little mountain village, Saint Savior, from the GR5 hiking trail in the Alps.  In this one I'm working on creating an interesting design that repeatedly leads the eye back into the painting.

I've toned the canvas with a wash of cadmium yellow deep and rose madder. The design is sketched in with raw umber.  You can see my pencil drawing on the left where I worked out some of the composition problems and value structures.

Here's the painting half finished. On the right is the old washed out photo (before digital!). I prefer to work from mediocre, washed out, or overcast photos for painting. I think it keeps me from trying to copy and forces me to use what I know about light and color rather than relying on the inadequate information provided by the photo.

And here's the finished painting. It's big!--30x34, painted in oil.


  1. Hi Laura,
    I love these paintings. Is this Ojai? I grew up there, and my mom still lives there. Carrie said you are commissioning paintings there as well. I would have bought through the trees but it's already spoken for.
    Is this one? We just bought a house in Simi, a good compromise between David's word and Ojai, the place I feel most at home. I needed something bigger.
    Let me know. Thanks thezagnolis at



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