Watercolor: Capistrano (& a show at Flower Pepper Gallery)

San Juan Capistrano Mission painted in watercolor
Capistrano 19×24 Watercolor (available here) (sold)

Today, I’m sprinkling your eyes with images, because writing time is limited. There’s framing to do, and promotions to distribute, and labels to make, and art festival preparations to assemble & load. I’ll be in two shows this weekend: Beverly Hills Art Show, and the opening of I Wish I Had Friends Like That! at Flower Pepper Gallery (see the details below). Are you showing your work anywhere this weekend? Please share location and times in the comments.

Laying in the first shapes as washes

This is a larger (for me) landscape watercolor for the Beverly Hills Art Show. The first year I left my job to paint full time, I strolled through a paint-out at the San Juan Capistrano Mission. Artists were everywhere, painting in public, at ease, chatting and laying down gorgeous pigments like it was all so easy. I remember thinking “Someday, I’ll paint and chat and exhibit to strangers like this, and I won’t be knock-kneed-nervous about it either.” I snapped the reference photo for this watercolor that day. Painting this now, many years & lessons about the art world later, felt like an acknowledgement that if you want something bad enough, and you work towards it in manageable check-boxes, you can make it happen. 🙂

The next morning: Scout finds and claims a spot of sunshine on the painting



Building palm trees in watercolor


Capistrano, framed (28×33) and ready for a wall. This watercolor will be at the Beverly Hills Art Show this weekend: October 15 & 16th. (Booth #108)


This is not a cat bed; that’s my watercolor palette, covered with a towel, because I’ve been trained well

On Saturday night, after I close up my booth for the next day in Beverly Hills, I’ll be scooting to Pasadena for the opening of I Wish I Had Friends Like That! at Flower Pepper Gallery. Here are some excerpts from the press release:

  • The Flower Pepper Gallery is pleased to present I Wish I Had Friends Like That!, an exhibition curated by Emmy award-nominated Pasadena artist Amy Van Gilder. A Peabody Award-winning veteran of The Muppet Show and Walt Disney Imagineering, Van Gilder has spent four decades creating and building iconic characters, including work for The Labyrinth, The Great Muppet Caper, Fraggle Rock and The Dark Crystal. (more below…)
Opening this Saturday, October 15th ~ 7-10pm at Flower Pepper Gallery
  • This unique exhibition brings together work by 25 artists Van Gilder has collaborated with throughout her career, from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design to The Jim Henson Company to The Walt Disney Company. “It is a grand grouping of work by artists I’ve known over a lifetime. Some are quite acknowledged, others not, but they all make great art,” says Van Gilder.
  • The group includes Michael K. Frith, former creative director for Jim Henson Productions, friend and editor for Dr. Seuss, and founder of children’s education company Sirius, creator of award-winning PBS puppet show Between the Lions; John Stevenson, British animation filmmaker, puppeteer and director of Kung Fu Panda; virtuoso paper sculptor Leo Monahan whose work is held in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection; Mari Kaestle, an Emmy Award-winning designer who helped create Miss Piggy; Sibyl Rubottom, a California-based book artist and founder of the Bay Park Press in San Diego; calligrapher and type designer Louis Lemoine, a former Walt Disney Imagineer who created Mickey’s handwriting for Disneyland parks worldwide; celebrated Washington-based designer Leslie LePere, known for his illustrations of books by Tom Robbins; and renowned Salem, Massachusetts-based maritime watercolorist Racket Shreve. (more below….)
I’ll be in mighty fine company in this show! Have a look at the list of artists!
  • The exhibition will include never-before exhibited sketches by Jim Henson for Muppet Show characters, alongside photographs of the puppets built by Van Gilder based on the sketches. The show will also feature whooping crane puppets newly built by Van Gilder and inspired by the puppetry work of Heather Henson, Jim Henson’s daughter, for the International Crane Foundation.
  • A significant number of contributing artists have roots in the Los Angeles and Pasadena area. Bruce Vaughn, the former head of Walt Disney Imagineering, is a member of the executive board of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Shelley Short, a creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, and Pasadena-based multidisciplinary visual artist Luciano Martinez were both trained at the Art Center College of Design, as was Bartholomew Cooke, an up-and-coming young photographer whose work has appeared on the cover of Variety, The Atlantic, WIRED and TIME magazine.

So, if you’re local to Los Angeles, and you’re in the mood to look at art, talk about art, and meet some artists from a variety of disciplines, come to the Beverly Hills Art Show, and Flower Pepper Gallery. I’ll see you there, and there. 🙂

And I’ll see you in the next post –


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Art Quote

To paint is to love again, live again, see again. To get up at the crack of dawn in order to take a peek at the watercolors one did the day before, or even a few hours before, is like stealing a look at the beloved while she sleeps. The thrill is even greater if one has first to draw back the curtains. How they glow in the cold light of early dawn!
~Henry Miller


12 thoughts on “Watercolor: Capistrano (& a show at Flower Pepper Gallery)”

    1. Hola Cristiane – Thanks for the compliments, and I’ll pass your kind words on to Scout who always acts handsome when people notice him lounging in the studio. Happy painting to you!
      All the best – B.

  1. How cool that you took that reference photo way back when and now you’ve “arrived”! Congratulations! I wish I lived closer so I could come see you living your dream this weekend. The photos of your studio cat are wonderful, and as usual, your art quote is spot on.

    P.S. I’m loving the Akua inks! 🙂

    1. Hi Gabrielle! Thanks for the visit, and the compliments. And I’m *so* glad you like the Akua Inks! Clean up is so easy, and the pigmentation is excellent! Happy art-making to you!

  2. Belinda – sharing your work and tips is a gift for us all. It takes time – like all the framing, labeling, etc. that goes with showing work. I just finished framing 4 monotypes for a designer tour of homes here in NC. It’s amazing how much time it takes to get the work presentation-ready! Ughh!!! The monotypes are meant to represent the 4 seasons: each a different plant pressed into ink. Now I’ve got to get my artist statement printed and price tags made. THANKS for taking time out of your day to keep us all inspired! (By the way – my WInterTerm Printmaking class back in January was a hit so I’m doing it again. Wish you could be a visiting artist!)

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Carey! Yes, it takes time, which seems overwhelming at the start, but goes by quickly when you’re head-down/sleeves-up working at it. 🙂

  3. All the best in your busy weekend ahead! I can so relate with suddenly realizing that one is in the midst of what once was a distant wish…dream. Took me a lot longer though – I just turned 69! Going on a long walk on the nearby beach the other day, it’s as though I’m seeing everything through the eyes of a painter – Then it came to me that I don’t need to travel anywhere else – could just paint that beach forever and never run out of inspiration. How freeing is that? Love that Henry Miller quote – I’d just recently read his little book “to paint is to love again”.

    1. Hi Gayle, Thanks for the nice note – and belated Happy Birthday! Here-here! and Yayy! on your easy access to a magical beach with inspiring light and curved lines to inspire you for weeks and weeks! I look forward to seeing your work from those walks! Have a great week!

  4. Fantastic – congratulations on participating in these shows! Best wishes, and thanks as always for sharing your inspiring words and gorgeous art!

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