I've lived in some beautiful and unique places—from Boston and Washington, D.C., to Montana, Colorado and, most recently, California, the state of my birth.
Only in San Bruno have I found the skies so expressive.
From an artist's eye, the color variations from sunrise to sunset challenge my color mixing abilities to find the matching hues. Beyond the color choices are the varieties of cloud formations that move in and out of our city.
Cloud shapes and colors together create a unique storyline with a theme, mood, tempo and energy that challenges my brushstrokes and my artistic abilities.
The geographical location of San Bruno welcomes winds from soft moist tropical breezes to wildly turbulent storms continually bringing in fresh air from the ocean to the west and the deep blue sky beyond.
Skies are a part of most of my plein air paintings and it is the sky that inspires my work as I breathe in the fresh air.
Another slice of life in San Bruno is the ever present airport and the familiar sounds of the different aircraft that bring visitors and employment to our area.
From any vantage point in San Bruno, an airplane is visible or audible.
The subject in my painting captures a beautiful tree sharing the sky with an airplane. The vista from the shows natural foliage with and San Francisco International Airport in the distance. The sky is separated by a slim view of the San Francisco Bay.
The progression of this painting was from top to bottom. The day started with a clear blue sky, but by the time my colors were mixed, the clouds blew in from the northwest as an airplane accelerated and disappeared into the clouds.
From the hilltop view I worked with colors and values to create the illusion of the vast distance depicted. I placed the airplane going into the clouds. Then with energy and delight I painted the clusters of rustling palm leaves exploding into the sky like fireworks.
I connected the leaves in the sky to the ground below by painting wiggly lines as branches converging into the tree trunk.
Sunshine highlighted the sides of the tree and separated it from the view beyond, so my final brushstrokes reflected that light.
To see a video of what inspired this week's painting and how it was created, click here.
Janet Arline Barker is a San Bruno artist who specializes in plein-art painting. Her website is janetarlinebarker.com. Her column appears biweekly on Sundays.