adventures in the real world

Seattle Plein Air = artists who enjoy painting and sketching in the real world. Here we share the adventure!

Monday, May 30, 2011

nature vivant

Fading Light, w/c on Arches HP, 5 x 7 inches, copyright BVF Betker 2011

I meet with a few other painters on Friday afternoons in the Loyal Heights Community Center in Ballard just to paint watercolor together. It is an oasis, with warm light coming in the windows, calm, easy talk and periods of silent work. Last Friday Megan brought pears and a dish, and Christina brought grapes. We snuck the compost pail (originally a cat litter container) out of the facility's kitchen to get our still life up into the light. And voila, the dignity and grace of beautiful fruit!

And I've never really liked the term "nature morte."

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park - Kenwood, CA

Found a great spot off one of the trails and decided to set up in front of water running down rocks and into the creek. The bad part about this paintout was the MOSQUITOES!

(9" x 12" Gouache on Watercolor board)

Sugarloaf is on the list of 70 parks in California scheduled to close down this July.... that means no more pubic access for hikers and... plein air painters!!! For now there is an Assembly Bill No.42 that would grant access for non-profits to enter operating agreements with State Parks without having to go through the legislative process. Here's a link to more info on the park closures: [link]

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tillikum Village

We took the boat ride to Tillikum Village on  Blake Island aboard the Good Time II.  This is a quick sketch of the bar on the boat.  Bloody Marys.  Yes.  The weather even turned out very nice.

Then we had a very nice salmon lunch and watched the new Native show.  We enjoyed it very much and highly recommend it.  It's funny, we've lived here all of our lives and this is the first time we've been out to the island.  We are going to start doing more touristy things here in town.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Beatrix Potter Foxglove

This is a foxglove I had in my yard in Kirkland. I call it the Beatrix Potter foxglove because it looks like the ones pictured in Peter Rabbit. A robin hung around with me all afternoon while I painted it, and I wrote a story about that robin for my blog.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kubota Garden

If you haven't been to Kubota Garden lately (or ever - augh!!), it's in magnificent bloom for painting!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Painting Boats on Lake Washington

A gorgeous and fun day over at Lake Washington, painting with Beth.... here's one of my pieces - a small watercolor painting - I was trying to not be too fussy, and just getting in a hint of boats, general shapes.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Learning to glow again

The sun has returned to us! Lake Forest Park's meetup was a glorious day and we went over to Lyons Park (our secret dock)! I finally got to try something I've been thinking about, painting with oil on copper sheeting. I cut it up into little plein-air sizes to fit in my sketchbox. The smooth surface affords wonderful blending opportunities, and whether you can see it here or not, I think the copper actually glows through the paint.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

marina morning

Delorse and I got out sketching Tuesday morning and she showed me a wonderful little public marina in Kenmore. It was a bright sunny day after a rainy weekend. Couldn't stop fussing with this sketch, even as the light kept changing.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Down at the terminal

Yesterday was an amazing day for painting. The sun was out, the wind was soft and the sights were many.

I met up with the Seattle Plein Air group and we got settled onto the docks and started creating away. Some people were more prepared than I, with their easels and chairs, but I found myself sitting on the concrete, sprawled out in the sun. This was the perfect way to get a fresh perspective of the marina though. Instead of just seeing the masts and the decks of the tugs, trawlers and sailboats, I was able to sit and stare at their reflections and what lay beneath the water.

As I painted, sailors would walk by and comment "Now, that boat there: that's the one you want to paint" or "I just pulled my boat in if you're looking for a new subject..." I think that next time somebody suggests a topic to me, I'll jump on it. I can always finish something that I've started, but if there is something that needs to be painted so badly that a lonely sailor suggests it, well, it would be foolish to keep passing that up.

Long story short, I love beautiful days on the water and enjoying fresh air while painting. It's the perfect day.