Yolo Art & Ag Paintings

I was able to produce three paintings from my visits to the ranches and farms that were part of the Art & Ag Projects. The virtual Art Farm Gala is scheduled on Saturday, October 12 from 6:30 to 8 pm. One of these or maybe two will be up for bid during this time. There will be a video event with music and presentations.

View from the Harrison Farm, 8 x 6 inches, oil on canvas panel by Marlene Lee
Pink Barn at Best Ranch, 8 x 10 x 3/4 inches, oil on stretched canvas
English Stable at Best Ranch, 8 x 10 x 3/4 inches, oil on stretched canvas

“Sketching Around Davis” Book

I had been sketching with a sketching group that meets in Davis since 2013. The group organized by Pete Scully met every month at various locations throughout Davis. Sometimes on campus, sometimes in downtown, sometimes out in the park, sometimes at the farmers market on Saturdays. I was inspired to carry a sketchbook everywhere and to sketch on my own – at restaurants, parks and Nugget where I would stop and have a smoothie after my exercise class. (Such pleasant memories before the pandemic).

Most of these sketches are done in pen and ink with watercolor. I use a TWSBI fountain pen filled with Noodlers Ink. Typically I would sketch in a bound sketchbook mostly like a Moleskine and occasionally in a Stillman and Birn. I started out in a pocket size sketchbook, 3 1/2 x 5 inches and moved up to 5 1/2 x 8.

After many months of putting this book together, it is now available for purchase on Blurb.

I want to thank my husband, Alan, for proofreading, who caught every little detail to make this a better book.


Muffet, watercolor on art board, 8 x 10 inches by Marlene Lee

I had started to volunteer my service as an artist to the Pets Lifeline of Sonoma. Pet owners submit a favorite photo of their pets and a donation of $20 to have their pet portrait done by a random artist. I thought this would be a great way to improve my watercolor painting.

UCD Arboretum Gazebo

Since the pandemic began and the warm weather picked up, I started to join Philippe Gandiol‘s Plein Aire Class on Thursday mornings. With our masks on and practicing social distancing most of the time, we met at the UCD Arboretum. So Philippe demo this area; he used brushes but also palette knives to create his texture. I’ve tried that in my painting and found it more expressive.

Painting Pears

I’m back to painting still life, fruits to be exact. Fruits were my first subject matter when I wanted to tackle oils. But getting back into them is like visiting an old friend. Besides I was requested via Etsy to paint more fruit paintings.

“Brown and Green Pears” was worked on with oils and cold wax. I was able to applied a bit of collage in the background. I hope to paint more paintings with oils and cold wax to create the translucent look.

Brown and Green Pears, 8 x 8 inches oil on canvas panel by Marlene Lee

“Chinese Whiskey Jar and Asian Pear” was painted strictly with oils but I used a palette knife towards the end. There is something expressive that happens when I use the palette knife for accents.

Chinese Whiskey Jar with Asian Pear, 8 x 8 inches oil on canvas panel

Portrait Artist of the Week

The series Portrait Artist of the Year, a portrait artist competition held in Britain, decided to do a virtual competition on Facebook. The annual competition is a delight to watch where artists paints celebrity models in rounds to eventually win a commission to paint a prominent celebrity. For the virtual competition there was a model a week. Past winners of the competition are invited to paint the prominent model. Facebook viewers are invited to paint along to work from a screen shot and Then submit their portraits to be pick for first, second or third place winner for that week.

I was delighted to participate. I definitely got my practice in. So below are 8 of the 9 people painted. I used a limited palette of titanium white, yellow ochre, cadmium red and ivory black. Though sometime I would used burnt umber and ultramarine blue to make black. I discovered that when mixing the black this way I can make it as cool or warm when I needed it. It was a good time to experiment with different palette arrangements.

Ginger Jar Commission

A commission for a Ginger Jar. This was a bit of a challenge because of the detailed design on the jar. But I found a brush, Silver Bristlon Round 0 that worked perfectly with fine details. My main objective in this painting was to created feeling of roundness, protruding out of the canvas.

Ginger Jar 2020
Ginger Jar, 6 x 4 inches oil on stretched canvas by Marlene Lee