Sunday, November 8, 2009

Giant fork in the Road in Pasadena - I am offical blogmeister for the fork

Those of you that know where I teach my watercolor classes (The Coffee Gallery in Altadena) might realize that the phenomenon of the "Giant Fork in the Road at the Fork in the Road" in Pasadena was a stunt cooked up by a quirky group of people that hang out and work at The Coffee Gallery.  Since I was not an actual builder of the sculpture of the fork, and have some computer skills, I have been asked to build and maintain the "official blog" of the Giant Fork in the Road.  So if you have a hankering to know what is going on with the Fork, just go to the Fork in the Road Blog.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Giant Fork in the Road in Pasadena

I have a varied life that includes more than just making art, and after you read this post, you will realize that I also have friends that are marginal wackos.  Just my kind of people.

You see, as a birthday prank for a friend, a group of artists and other locals with too much time on their hands worked hard to provide a fitting tribute for a 75th birthday party.  And since the birthday boy had wanted to see a fork in the road at the fork in the road where Pasadena Ave. divides into St. John and Pasadena Ave., that is exactly what they built (be careful, the split streets are one way, but Pasadena Ave. south of the split is 2-way).

All of 18 feet tall and set in over 400 pounds of concrete, we will find out if the city can live with it or will feel compelled to tear it down.

I will be talking a little bit about the fork this coming Saturday, November 7th 2009 on the Off Ramp Radio Show on KPCC.

John Rabe of the Off Ramp radio show has blogged about this, and will be including posts of new info as it occurs - there is supposed to be a video, but I haven't seen it yet. 

John Rabe's blog is at:

And Now for Something Completely Different:

Tonight is the last class of the last series of Watercolor Classes - next week I will be starting a new class and there is still room available, so you can still sign up.  We meet at the Coffee Gallery in Altadena.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Short Class before Christmas begins week of November 2nd

I will be having a short Class in November and December, starting the week of November 2nd. Since everyone is going crazy this time of the year, I decided to have the classes during this time be 5 weeks over a 6 week period. Both the Monday Evening Class and Wednesday Afternoon Class will be available on this schedule. We skip the week of Thanksgiving, and finish before Christmas. Since you are only signing up for 5 classes, the cost is lower than usual, just $105 for the series, and if by some miracle you don't miss any classes, I might charge you for the 6th class, or it might just be your Christmas present from me.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Get ready for new Watercolor Classes beginning September 26th, Saturday Afternoons

If you want to learn how to paint in watercolors in an intimate setting in Altadena, sign up for my new Saturday Afternoon class. We meet at 2:30-4PM in the conference room at the Coffee Gallery, located at 2029 N. Lake Ave., Altadena. Contact me at 626-791-0851 for info - or - or my website

One of my students got in Watercolor West!

Congratulations, Terry Swanson who will be part of the Watercolor West show at the Riverside Art Museum. She is one of my Monday evening watercolor students.

Friday, July 3, 2009

"Sketching in the Garden for Beginners" at Smith and Hawken Pasadena

On July 11th at 11AM, I have been asked to lead a short workshop entitled "Sketching in the Garden for Beginners" at the Smith and Hawken store on South Lake in Pasadena.

We will be doing sketches with pen/ink, pencil and a variety of color media, to encourage people to really look at what is in their garden. And we will do it on postcards that you can send to your friends or even acquaintances. No pressure - just fun.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Saturday Watercolor Classes begin July 18th?

"Clam Bake" Original Watercolor by Jody Berges Painting Completed in Class with Donna Barnes-Roberts
Yep, yet again it is time to sign up for watercolor classes taught by me at the Coffee Gallery in Altadena. And you can see some of my student's work this month in the conference room.

Here is the scoop: I teach small (no more than 6 students per class) watercolor classes that teach you the nuts and bolts of watercolor and how to get it to behave for you. Plus other artistic issues like composition, exhibition issues, all the good stuff.

You don't have to know anything to start, and I can even provide materials for a small additional fee. That is one of the great advantages of a small class.

Each class meets for 8 weeks and costs $175 for the session. The Saturday afternoon class goes from 1:30-4PM and begins July 18th, or possibly later when I have enough people actually sign up to start. YOU can make this happen!

If you have any questions, please email me with your phone number and I will call you to discuss additional issues, how to sign up, etc. You can even pay using a credit card through PayPal.

Monday, May 25, 2009

New painting just completed of Koi in LA

In the heart of the Los Feliz district of Los Angeles is a charming restaurant called Home Cafe. In the patio they have a fountain with Koi - most of whom have been provided by patrons who no longer had a place for them. This idylic spot under the canopy of a collection of red umbrellas and Ficus trees is a wonderful oasis in Los Angeles.

That is the focus of this new painting. Details are available at my website.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday Watercolor Classes

Okay, okay - the Saturday classes are being rescheduled to begin June 13th - hopefully during the real summer months. This class will be at the Coffee Gallery in Altadena and runs for 8 weeks. They will meet from 1:30-4PM each Saturday and cost $175 for the series. For an additional $20 per series I will include all materials you need. Contact me for any additional questions, but sign up early - I only take 6 students max.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

OKay - Here is a NEW painting

This is a Plein Air painting done in watercolor. It is called "Autumn by the Bridge" and is painted on Aquabord - which is a wood-based board that has a textured clay surface, and gives a really different look to watercolor paintings.

New Watercolor Classes begin in March

A quick note that I will be starting up new watercolor classes in March. Let me know if you might want to sign up - email me with your telephone number and we can talk.

California Art Club Gold Medal Show coming up - plus art commentary

Time marches on, and it is getting closer to the opening of THIS year's California Art Club Gold Medal Show. This will take place at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, opening Saturday Evening, April 25th. Of course I am excited because I have a plein air painting in the show, and I am not even much known for plein air schtick. Click here to see the California Art Club Website information about this show - Pictures of the show should be posted at their site before the show opens.

Just for your information, last year I was privileged to write and deliver an art commentary about realism in art focused on the California Art Club and their show for KPCC. This station, found at 89.3FM is an Public Radio station located in Pasadena. I delivered my commentary on the show "Off Ramp" hosted by John Rabe, which focuses on arts and culture in Southern California. Click here to go to the Off-Ramp archive of this show.


COMMENTARY – REALISM IN ART (edited and checked against the broadcast)

When I started painting seriously about 20 years ago, unless you were "out there," you were nowhere. And realism was REALLY nowhere. But now the art world is starting to grow up and finally realizing that just being "out there" is not all there is.

HOST(John Rabe): Commentator and water colorist Donna Barnes-Roberts.

Art is joining music and dance, which grew up decades ago. We all understand now that there's jazz and classical and rap, and ballet and tap and square dancing, and there's an audience for quality of all kinds.

But ever since the invention of photography, realism in art seems to have lost its focus. It's as if, before the camera, everyone believed that the value of art was in making pictures of reality, and once you could take a picture yourself, who needed realistic art?!

It's taken more than a hundred years to realize that the difference between the snapshot and art is the eye and hand of the artist. But in the intervening years, a lot of knowledge and lore about realism has been mislaid. As a watercolor painter, I was luckier than some. I didn't go to art school, where teaching realism has been absent for decades ... although a few illustration departments kept us closet realists alive. One of my cousins refused to paint after her graduation, telling me, "All I ever learned from my degree was how to pick apart someone else's painting. I am not going to leave myself open to such humiliation." And I've had art school Graduates take classes from me because their college art teachers told them to "express themselves" without teaching them the mechanics of how to paint.

But things are changing. Many people are starting to realize that "traditional" art can be serious art. The California Art Club runs education programs for artists and collectors, and puts on exhibits of really fabulous works by contemporary realistic artists. There is one at the Pasadena Museum of California Art that starts this weekend, in which I have a couple of paintings. One is of the lotus and a heron at Echo Park, and the other a view of the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena. You'll know them when you see them because all the paintings in the show are realistic!

Realists are standing up and saying that they like paintings that are recognizable and sculptures that are enlightening ... but we just need to remember that the art world also needs the work that is "out there" too. Otherwise realists have not learned the lessons that the decades of humiliation should have taught us. Art is about passion. And passion is beyond reason.

For Off-Ramp, I'm Donna Barnes-Roberts.

HOST: Watercolorist Donna Barnes-Roberts teaches and paints in Altadena. The California Art Club Gold Medal show opens at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, Sunday, April 27th, and runs through May 18th.