Saturday, December 26, 2009

Portrait of an Artist

Portrait of an Artist • 12" x 12" • oil on canvas

It was an amazing and fun challenge to receive a photo of an artist without being told his name or anything about him except that he looked content. He would be facing the same challenge with my photo.

Excited to get to work, I started with a pencil sketch in my sketchbook the night the photo was emailed to me. I layered on paint for two weeks, painting shadows and light with great texture, than blending it and layering it again. It was tough for me to blend all of the brushstrokes which I loved but felt it would read more as a portrait if I smoothed it. I do believe I found the happy medium. Because I don't know anything about the subject I used the cool green on the left against the warm red on the right. I also used this color concept in the colors of his skin and I used quite a bit of orange in the flesh tone to pop out his blue eyes.

I love the way this oil portrait turned out and I hope this gentleman does too!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Portrait of my Brazilian Brother

Brazilian Brother • 24" x 24" • oil on canvas

I painted this portrait and then stepped back and looked at it. I painted my Brazilian brother Ron. He lived with my family for quite a few years and coincidentally shares my birthday. I love the shadow and colors I used in this painting and the way the right side is out of focus. It has a very beautiful glowing and mysterious quiality.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fun Persian Cat

Perri • 9" x 12" • acrylic on canvas

I love this kitty! Bright fun colorful and full of persian personality. The big, bright eyes and cute expression make me feel happy.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ben's Birthday Boy!

Trooper • 9" x 12" • oil on canvas

Ben has been begging for a puppy. Well what better birthday and holiday gift could a kid get than an adorable, fun little yellow lab puppy? You lucky boy, Ben! I have been working on this painting for over a month. I started it out as one of my fun, colorful portraits and couldn't stop trying to make it look exactly like the photo. The back leg is hidden by the fabric of the dog bed in the photo and it was hard to make that seem correct. There are many, many layers on this painting. The red dog bed is the color of Ben's bedroom wall and the background is the color of his bed. I love his ears, eyes and nose. Happy Birthday Ben!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Over the Golden Gate and Through San Francisco - HOME

Bay Area Bliss • 48" x 48" • Acrylic on Canvas

Many of my paintings just flow from my feelings. I realized this large abstract is my Bay Area life. I started out in the Silicon Valley, moved to San Francisco, to Mt. View, back to the city, and am now living on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge in the most beautiful place in the world. The path is in the middle because I would be equally happy in any of these gorgeous and unique Bay Area locations. My real home is still down in the South Bay for me to visit on wonderful weeks like Thanksgiving. My family makes it loving, fun, and oh so amazing. At the end I always wind my way back down the peninsula, through the city, over the bridge, along the bay and home again.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Travel, Travel, Travel

Travel, Travel, Travel • 8" x 8" x 2" • oil on canvas

It seems a lot of people I know were traveling all over the world last week. My baby nephew was in Hawaii for the first time. The kids were off school for Veterans Day so we traveled home to my family for a visit with my sister, her kids, and my parents (her husband was traveling). It was the perfect time to finish this challenge. I added a red shoe on the woman with the concept of "There's No Place Like Home".

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Red Sky at Night

Red Sky at Night • 8" x 8" x 2" • oil on board

They say there is a calm before the storm. And then the rain came in. Softly, slowly, drifting in and out throughout the day. Somehow it wasn't raining in the headlands and I was able to go for a ride. I started up the hill and came back down to the arena to practice dressage, surrounded by the soft hazy hills we drew perfect lines and circles in the arena sand. Lucky me, lucky Smokey.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Calm Blue Sea and Sky

Calm • oil on board • 6" x 6" x 2"

The blue skies, perfect cool crisp air, and smooth water brought a beautiful calm over me today. The little birds were happy feeding in the marsh. The pelicans and geese are gone for the winter, there were white egrets sitting calmly in the still blue water. On my hike this morning there were puddles reflecting the blue sky. There were a lot of dogs and people running by. In the evening there was a little orange shining through adding a drop of warmth to the cool, cool blue.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November News and Red Trees Golden Sky

I have paintings in two stores this month:
Mill Valley Art and Paper and The Equestrian's Concierge

Red Trees Golden Sky • oil on canvas

I love the rich red color of the fall trees. I love to watch them twinkle in the sunlight when the soft breezes blow. I love to watch them twirl to the ground. I love the padding of the leaves below my feet as I run.

This painting is layered over a very colorful abstract underpainting which gives it texture and interest.

Red Trees Golden Sky is one the paintings in the Small Works exhibit at the Mill Valley Art and Paper.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Black Cat on Halloween Night - Happy Trick or Treating

Black Cat in the Night • 6" x 6" • oil on canvas

Tonight the streets will be filled with trick or treaters in their fun costumes. Having a great time and eating too much candy. I love Halloween.

My family has black cats, so when I took the challenge of painting this street scene for Halloween, I wanted to add a symbolic cat.

Adopt a Cat
Sunny was adopted by my parents when he batted his paw for my dad to play with him while walking through the cat area of the local humane society. He was there to get a trap to rescue the black and tuxedo kittens born under his deck. Now my parents have the perfect most spoiled cat and another black cat that was born under their deck.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Union Square Macy's San Francisco

Union Square Macy's • oil on canvas • 20" x 24"

I love the way this rooftop view of Macy's Union Square came out. I used the influence of Richard Diebenkorn to create it and it will influence the way I see things forever. It was quite a layering process although it looks quite simple. I started it much more realistic, painted over many of the details, then came back with glazes and lines.

The biggest challenge of this painting was finding time to get to my studio and when I got there not talking to the other artists in the building. I brought it home to finish it because believe it or not the swine flu has hit my children.

It was great to finish it in a new environment and when I hung it to dry I realized it had found the perfect place to hang.

I am posting a sequence of the creation of this painting at if you'd like to see its' progression.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

September Trail Ride; Just Me & Renegade

September Trail with Renegade

Before the rain the trails are dry. The little lizards scurry across; the horses don't even notice. They stop and perk up at the wild turkeys and the deer. We love to canter this uphill path until we are under the oaks.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Full Moon Lights Up The Night

I had to stop my bike on a night ride with my dog when I saw the perfect reflection of the full moon on the water. Pulled my phone out of my pocket and got some beautiful photos.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Warm Grey Horse Oil Painting

Warm Grey Horse • 18" x 24" • oil on canvas

After many layers of perfecting this warm beauty I have finished and do love the result. I can't wait to post it side by side with the cool colored Grey Dapple I posted on September 16, 2009.

Today I went to an old riding club to meet yet another grey horse. A quarter horse named Smokey who I will hopefully be leasing and riding through the hills and on the beach soon!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Windy October Sea - Change - Favorite Month

Windy October Sea • 6" x 6" x 3/4" • Oil on Canvas

October brought the wind to California. I was out biking my dog along the bay and I was literally blowing sideways on my bike. The sea was choppy. The clouds were little and floating. I was studying the choppy waves trying to find a pattern. I couldn't see with the wind and ended up painting this from a beautiful memory. I love the color of the sky and the light on the rocks. The fresh air blowing on my face whipping my hair in my eyes and freezing my hands. October is my favorite month. The air is clean, the lighting is clear and vibrant and the smell of the air changes from crisp to warm to fire. One day it is 100 degress the next 68, or raining. From summer to fireplaces burning, the leaves changing and blowing. Life, movement, color, light texture... October! My favorite month.

Spike • 4" x 4" x 2" • oil on canvas

Everyone loves a black and white kitty. I have one now, her name is Tasha. This portrait reminds me of a long hair cat we had named Spike. He bit through the computer wire of one of the very first apple computers. His tongue got fried and it hung out of his mouth from that day forward. He couldn't put his tongue in which really made him adorable. He also drooled all over and we had to have a second comforter and pillow on the bed he liked to lay in so we didn't have to lay in his drool at night.

I ran into my friend yesterday and she told me her 18 year old black and white cat passed away this week. It was a coincidence that I had just finished this painting.

Artist tip: I used no black in this painting only alizaren, red, yellow, blue and white. I put a lot of thought into using complimentary colors.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Evening Ocean and Cliffs Oil Painting

Evening Ocean and Cliffs • 6" x 6" x 2" • oil on board

I love to study the ocean sunset with the sunlight turning into a moonlit sea. The sound of the waves crashing, trapped between the cliffs, soothingly rolling over the sand toward my feet. The kids climbing on the cliffs lit by the moonlight. Laughter in the night air. The smell of the ocean and bonfires. People scurrying across the sand, others laying in the sand and watching the sky, listening to the sounds of the sea. The California sea, an amazing place to be.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dapple Grey Horse Painting - cool colors

Grey Dapple • 18" x 24" • oil on canvas

I painted this stunning grey simultaneously with another canvas in warmer colors. I finished this one quite a few months ago and put the warmer version aside. Everyone has been enjoying this painting and complementing it. Yesterday I went to my studio and put another layer on the warm version, today another. I am not looking at this painting or the photo, yet, they are similar. It will be interesting to compare the two paintings side by side. Tonight I pulled this one up and it was interesting to see the areas I've been struggling with without a reference photo.

Tomorrow I will be riding a 17 hand grey warmblood so he has been on my mind. My daughter looks great jumping on him. It will be my first lesson in about 7 years. I have been lifting weights, running and doing yoga to get ready. It will be quite a different feeling than galloping through the beautiful California hills bareback.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cupcakes Challenge, Wills Birthday

Wills Birthday Cupcakes / 09-09-09 • 8" x 10" • oil on board

I always say I am my nephews square root. My birthday is 3-3 and his is 9-9. I decided to paint 3 cupcakes for him on his birthday; little did I know, it would take me 6 days. I started the painting on a very smooth surface with a layer of purple and blue outlines and shadows. Next I started working in the colors; I only used red, yellow, blue and white on this painting. The frosting is painted extremely thick using layers with a lot of shadow build up on the board. I saved the confetti for last and had a hard time applying the yellow and green without the white frosting and background mixing into my fun, bright colors. Of course, I dotted the i in Lori with a confetti candy. On the chocolate cupcake in the top right I left the white board showing along the paper wrapper so the viewer could see the original surface and the build up of paint elsewhere. What a challenge! I couldn't stop painting this and to make it nine I may have to paint it two more times. Happy Birthday Will! I love you.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Texture, Color, Light and Technique - Horseback Riding

Wild Horses • 48" x 48" • Mixed Media on Canvas • Available as Giclee Print

As I was painting my cupcakes, which I will post tomorrow, I was thinking of my Wild Horse painting with swirls of color and light. The bright colored sprinkles I added to the cupcakes are similar to these colors. My strokes of color around the image are also a technique that I have always used but is not in my abstacts and plein aire paintings. Wild Horses has a lot of texture as does the fronsting on the cupcakes. When creating this painting I also added sparkling clear fiber strands and drew with oil sticks. I started this painting by outlining the horses in black on a white canvas. It also brings to light my work as a designer, as it is very graphic.

I will be taking my first riding lesson in about 7 years at my daughters hunter/jumper barn this week. I haven't ridden in a few months and it is going to be quite different than the way I've been riding, which is mostly on trails and some dressage work in the arena. I will be riding the sweetest 17 hand warmblood and I have been riding horses under 16 hands. Quite exciting!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Misty Morning Row, Sausalito Art Festival

Misty Morning Row • 18" x 24" • oil on canvas

My husband and I went to the Sausalito Art Festival near my studio yesterday. We saw some wonderful jewelry, sculptures, paintings, etc.... People were out having a great time enjoying art and music. Afterward people were out in full force walking, biking, rowing, boating, eating and drinking. It was a fun energy as our beach and harbor are normally very quiet. The booths are set up on the lawn where my dogs run when we take quick breaks at the studio.

After the festival we went to the new wine bar where we watched the kayakers come in as the fog rolled in behind them. We shared a flight of fabulous wines. We also met the owners of a new Culinary Academy in the same building and tasted a delicious dish they were preparing. A few boaters tied up at the dock to dine. Others were coming off their boats to enjoy the evening.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Plein Aire Dock with Sea Lions and Buoy with Gulls

Painting from life is such a learning experience. I arrived at this Sausalito harbor ready to paint boats on a cold, foggy and windy morning. I was bundled up in my sweatshirt with my hood on. I had to find a place to sit where the wind would be blocked so I walked down a pier and set up on a dock behind some rocks. As I painted the gull flew away, the sun came out and the sea lions lifted their heads. I originally thought they were rocks. The fog rolled away and it was so hot that I had to peel off my jacket and ended up burning in my tank top. Kids hopped on the rocks looking for crabs, dogs played, people strolled by. Some tourists from Hong Kong came to talk to me and take photos. Then I had to pack up my things and head home. It was a great way to spend the day.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Full Moon, Planet and Clouds

Moon nests and Planet rests on cloud pillows as the forms float by in the California sky.

The coming of the full moon has been incredible in this heat. It is accompanied by amazing clouds and the planet to the right. My son grabbed the camera last night and started taking gorgeous photos through our window. I went outside and took a whole sequence of the clouds covering and uncovering the moon and planet. I wanted to lay down in the grass and sleep underneath the moon and stars.

Saturn is in the Southeast in the evening sky, but I think this Planet is Mars which is in the East. If anyone knows the answer to this please comment.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Beautiful Reflections and Hot Weather on my run today

Ballet - Yoga without music - Boy Runs to Ocean

Boy Running to the Water • 18" x 24" • oil on canvas

Boy Running to the Water • 18" x 24" • oil on canvas

While I was finishing this painting of a boy running on the beach to the ocean, my dogs disappeared and I couldn't stop painting!

These photographs were both taken in my studio on different walls. The top image is on the wall where I painted it with a light on. The bottom image is on the opposite wall with only the skylight.

After Yoga Monday I took my first ballet class. It is much harder than I thought. Listening for the beat of the music, keeping your legs straight, lunges, balancing, movement, grace etc... Ballet really was more difficult than yoga in many ways.

Tuesday morning I took the dogs running on a mountain that I avoided all summer due to ticks. They had a blast. After that I went to a figure drawing group with some fabulous local artists. It was wonderful and I really immersed myself back into it. We did a lot of quick sketches.

This morning my yoga teacher forgot the music and I had a much more intense workout. I think it really had us all focused. Ran with the dogs in Sausalito this afternoon where I pulled out my iphone to take more heron photos in the water along the houseboats. Quite colorful with some amazingly clear reflections, then brought the dogs to my studio and tied the big one to a chair he dragged the chair into the hallway and all the way to the front door of the building while I was emersed in a painting. I of course took photos.

Circling the Rabbit

click on photos to view larger

Gorgeous White Heron - Click on Photo for incredible detail

Black Vulture

Roadkill Rabbit

These beautiful birds were circling in the sky. They would land in a pine tree and then circle again. There were 3 black ones and they were clearly waiting for me to leave so they could eat the rabbit.

Drive and Jog by Photos

Click on Photo for amazing detail of this vultures wings

I have officially become a Taxi service and Dog Walker again with the beginning of school and kids activities. I have been keeping my camera with me while driving and my iphone for hiking and running. I have been capturing amazing photos of all of the birds of Northern California. The hardest is the red wing blackbird because you can only see the red under their wings when they fly in certain light and positions. I have many gorgeous photos from this week of the white pelicans but am going to put up a photo of a white heron circling along a creek while large black crows were circling a roadkill rabbit. I have zoomed in so you can see the amazing detail.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beautiful Red Pomegranate - San Francisco Golden Gate - Sausalito

August Pomegranate • 5" x 7" • oil on board (photo taken outside in daylight)

August Pomegranate • 5" x 7" • oil on board (photo taken inside night)

I am trying to find the best way to photograph my images myself.

Golden Gate Bride covered in fog - San Francisco Marina Blue

I saw this beautiful pomegranate in the market and wanted to paint it immediately. It seemed to have a little crown on top. I am getting used to sitting down and doing a daily, one session painting but need to find a the happy medium for quicker drying time. I paint with oil paints and walnut oil and think I need to add a touch more alkyd. These paintings are taking a lot of time but I think they will get faster as I do them daily.

Tuesday after walking our dogs in Larkspur my friend and I went to the MOMA art gallery in San Francisco and to a wonderful lunch on the water. Our table had a view of the foggy Golden Gate Bridge and the marina. I realized that although the fog was surrounding the bridge the sky was blue over the marina.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Last Day of Summer Vacation... So Blue

So Blue Sunset • 16" x 20" • oil on canvas

It is Sunday and school starts tomorrow. So blue to see the sun going down on this beautuful Sunday. Time to pack up the blue beach chair and striped umbrella for the next sunny trip to the shore.

Today is also my sisters birthday and all she wanted was to spend it in this chair, relaxing at the beach and watching the kids play. She still loves to romp in the cold California ocean too.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Four Figs

Four Figs • 5" x 7" • oil on board

I really worked this painting. There are many wet on wet layers here. This started out fun, got traditional and then back to fun. I really love the bright color details and the creamy paint. It was almost impossible to sign through the thick white paint. It reminds of a Wayne Thiebaud.

Sparrow on Barbed Wire

Sparrow on Barbed Wire • 6" x 6" • oil on board

This little sparrow perching on barbed wire signifies the dangers facing these little birds.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Daily Painting Sparrows Nest

Sparrows Nest • 6" x 6" • oil on board

Here it is – my first daily painting! I actually painted it yesterday. This took me almost 6 hours. I painted this nest after finding an injured sparrow and its nest on the ground. I put four eggs in the nest which represents my family. Today I painted the sparrow; I will post it tomorrow.

I need to call Wildcare and see if the sparrow I tried to save made it. It really looked like it had a broken neck. There is a goat at a barn I used to ride at and it has a broken crooked neck. It lives with it twisted and doesn't know anything is wrong because it was born that way.

I didn't use black paint in either of these paintings and I like to let the primary colors show a little to give a sense of the fact that it is a painting and I mixed the colors.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Little Wounded Sparrow

Bird Offering Woman a Flower • 5" x 7" • Pastel on Paper

I have been having a week of birds. I was preparing to put up my owl painting after a fun conversation with my family about our owl experiences, when I had a sparrow experience.

This morning while at the barn I found a baby sparrow on the ground between the arena and a well traveled horse path. It's wings could open, yet it couldn't fly. It was in conversation, chirping away with an older healthy bird on the edge of the barn. I picked it up and found its nest on the ground a few feet away under a tree. I decided to take it to our Wildcare where they save birds. I made new friends as we worked together to collect hay and a bucket to transport it. I decided to post my oil of a sparrow, but, found this pastel sketch I did for a large street painting I created at a festival.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Santa Cruz Fire and Fiery Sunset

Sunset Through Grass • 8" x 8" • oil on board

I woke up yesterday to hear Santa Cruz was on fire and being evacuated. Many of our California sunsets are a rainbow with a vivid orange. I painted the oil above after an ocean hike.

My daughter and I packed up our dog and headed to Rio Del Mar beach where I took the following photos of the clouds reflecting the fire.

Many homes burned and families and animals were evacuated, but the beach was happy, gorgeous and full of life. The birds were going crazy feeding around 5 pm. The smell of fire was in the air. There were helicopters carrying big buckets of water to the fire. On our way back home we passed at least 20 fire trucks making their way over the hill to the fire. Very scary. Then something wonderful happened; my cousins had a healthy baby girl. Her grandma in Santa Cruz had some exciting news to balance out the stress of the fire. Coincidentally the baby was born a few minutes after her grandpas August 13 birthday.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wine Country - Where everyone is happy...

24" x 30" • oil on canvas • Sonoma Trees and Fall Vinyard

Went wine tasting and to art galleries in the Wine Country over the weekend. The vineyards are quite lush and full of grapes now, yet, the road and trees on this painting remind me of the road and tree lined street in my earlier post, San Francisco Street 1.

I painted a much brighter, springtime version of this painting once and it was purchased from my studio while I was out. I never had the chance to meet the buyer or photograph it. I'll have to paint it again.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

San Francisco Street 1 • 18" x 24" • oil on canvas

Lori California Margulies

It was meant to be that my name in every imaginable creative form was taken on gmail; yet I managed to get the email address loricalifornia. Quite the perfect name considering my favorite thing to do is explore California, by foot, boat, horseback, photography and painting.

Here is my latest painting of a San Francisco street. The building on the left looks like my old flat on the corner of – you guessed it – California Street!file:///Users/Lori/Desktop/photo.jpg