Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sonoma Plein Air-Day 1

After hearing that rain was forecast for Wednesday, I registered first thing on Monday to get going early. I started with a painting of the Sonoma Plaza fountain, which has been my first painting each of the last two years. With everything backlit, it makes a nice composition, and the water from the fountain sparkles. This has made a nice series, seeing the slight landscape changes from each year.

After a quick lunch with a sandwich from the Boulangerie, I once again surveyed the Plaza and found the Bear Flag sculpture to be in the sun. I have wanted to do this painting before, but the statue is surrounded by trees and is rarely sunlit. Once again choosing a backlit vantage point, I went to work. I rearranged some of the trees to strengthen the composition. Everything went quite smoothly, and I was pleased with the result.

I decided this year not to drive around a lot, so I stayed in the Plaza and went over to see if I could find a way to do the Sebastiani Theatre. I had painted it in silhouette many times, but avoided painting it as the subject. Generally I try to avoid specific building "portraits". They rarely make strong paintings. I usually catch a piece or make them secondary to the overall composition. But this time I succumbed. I tried to direct the eye to the sign and the opening. The tower though is so strong an element it is hard for it not to be a major element. I'll have to try a different approach next year.


  1. Very beautiful paintings. I am a Sonoma county native and you capture the mood of the county very well. As a side note, my mother's maiden name is Reardon.

  2. Thanks Finnian. Yes, Sonoma County is really one of the most beautiful places anywhere. There are a few Reardons everywhere. She even spells it the same way.