Saturday, May 23, 2015

Rusty Fence in Mandeville, LA

The city of Mandeville is located on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain, right on the foot of Causeway bridge that runs in the middle of the lake. Causeway is an extremely straight, two-lane highway with no shoulders.

After an agonizing 40 minute drive from New Orleans, you'll reach a quaint residential area overlooking the big lake. Lakeshore Drive runs alongside the shoreline, and a couple of nice restaurants cater to the residents. And their ground floors are 15 feet above ground. 40 steps of stairs will prepare you for a guilt-free meal.

When hurricanes hit New Orleans, except for the famous one that came in 2005, we typically experience street floods caused by pumps not pumping rain water fast enough out of the bowl in which we live. But if you live on Lakeshore Drive in Mandeville, you would see lake water gushing into your homes. When the flood insurance rate went up across the country, what most residents and restaurants on Lakeshore Drive did was elevate the existing structure. Some rebuilt from scratch with grand staircases leading up to the main entrance.

And others decided not to deal with any of it, and put the vacant lot for sale.

Rusty Fence
oil on canvas, 36"x24"

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Zorn Palette in New Orleans Urban Landscape

Only 4 tubes of paint, yellow ochre, red (vermillion), white and black, are used in what they call the Zorn Palette, named after Anders Zorn, suited for portrait painting. This palette is too limiting to be used in painting landscapes, especially because New Orleans' ridiculously blue sky can not be created with black and white, and foliage won't have its vibrancy with the greens created with black and ochre. But I tried it anyway.

Shadows on Lowerline
oil on canvas, 18"x24"

Circle Bar
oil on canvas, 16"x20"

Shadows on Lowerline (top) is supposed to be a sunny day painting, but because of the absence of blue sky peaking through the trees on upper left corner and the bright green leaves on the trees, it almost looks like a nocturne painting with the shadows cast by a streetlight, reminiscent of the "day for night" strangeness of old film noir or French New Wave films.

On the other hand, Circle Bar came out better because it was a cloudy day with warm milky sky. The local colors of the two buildings helped as well.

It is exciting to see what 4 tubes of paint can do!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Shades of Green

It's early summer in New Orleans and all the different shades of green are giving me a headache. Really. I'm allergic to oak trees and weeds and other things commonly seen in the outdoors. And I have trouble painting trees and grass... Man it's hard.

Bell Tower from Audubon Park, New Orleans
oil on panel, 12"x16"

Oak Tree in City Park, New Orleans
oil on canvas, 18"x14"

Shades of Green, Audubon Park, New Orleans
oil on canvas, 14"x18"