Sunday, April 5, 2009

Painting in Catalina

So, I'm going a bit backwards in time, but this was an exciting trip (at least for me). I had the opportunity to paint on Catalina island with fellow painters Jeff Horn, Michael Obermeyer and Jesse Powell back in February. We had access to most of the island and I was able to complete 10 plein air studies in three "paintable" days. This was all for the benefit of the Catalina Island Conservancy and each of us donated a painting to their annual Conservancy Ball to be held early this May. My 12x16 painting above "The Calm and the Jagged" will be up for auction to support the preservation of Catalina and the recent opening of the 27.5 mile Trans-Catalina Trail.

We started off our adventure out of Avalon and made our way back into the interior and found a nice eucalyptus grove. Then drove to Shark Harbor for an afternoon painting, and finished in Two Harbors for the night. The next day, after our pre-dawn painting above the Banning House, Michael and I made our way to Cherry Cove to do this scene looking north. Throughout the trip our weather was perfect, with calm seas and stunning clarity. All of the details on the mainland were visible from our vista overlooks, as was San Clemente island to the southwest.

After another painting down by the harbor we returned to Avalon for the evening. The next morning, before breakfast, we each captured the dawn's early light as it lit up the Casino and harbor boats. This little 7 x 11 plein air study (left) was used for the larger studio painting (below) a few weeks later. While working in the studio, I used the values from the study and the details from my reference photo to pull it all together in this 12 x 20 piece. You can compare the difference. The only thing I added to the final version was a reflection of the Casino in the foreground water. It wasn't there in the study or photo, but I though it added another dimension and enhanced the simplicity of the water. Also the foreground buoys would have been distracting if painted in full light like the others, so I knocked them back in shadow as to not draw your eye away from the more important elements. Enjoy!


  1. Hi Uncle Greg! We like your paintings. They have lots of color in them. They have a lot of depth. Love, T & B

  2. Thanks guys! I appreciate your astute observations! Uncle Greg

  3. Hey Greg~ so great to see what you're doing via your new blog!! Catalina must have been gorgeous in February. The paintings look boootiful (not that I'm surprised or anything) 'hope you keep posting regularly~

    Oh and you're going to ITALY?! I am so jealous. you'll have to tell me all about it when you get back!

  4. Hi Terry
    I'll try to keep posting, having fun so far (although I've only done two!) It's my intention to try to post stuff from Italy while I'm there, we'll see.
    Thanks for all your original support. Greg

  5. As an artist, I get so much information out of seeing the study you did of the casino on Catalina and then seeing the larger studio painting. Comparing the two it is clear why you chose to rearrange the boats and buoys a bit and defined the clouds more.

    The painting you are donating to the Catalina auction is beautiful! I like that it is a different point of view than what I usually see from Catalina.

    I hope you are able to blog from Italy, especially since I won't be there this year.

  6. Oh, and you might already know this but, at some point you'll want to moderate your comments (give approval for each one before they get posted) or you'll have every advertiser from India and China posting junk in your comments areas.

  7. Thanks Kim ... I appreciate the tip. I had it that way to start, thought it was a pain, but I sure don't need the junk, so I guess it's back to moderation ...

    The donation painting of Catalina is from the back side of the island. It was my first time seeing that area too, it's quite beautiful.

  8. Hi - Just found your new blog from Kim's kind comments on mine--your work is stunning! I've always wanted to see Catalina. I used to keep a Catalina sailboat south of Annapolis on the east coast. Now that I see your beautiful work, I'm more determined to make the trek. I'm a new fan. best regards, Liz