Ellwood Bluffs– Work in Progress

20×48 oil on canvas–  Happy New Year’s Eve eve!  I have been out for two mornings now trying to catch the beautiful winter light at Ellwood. The low angle of the sun makes it “magic hour” all day long.    It’s a work in progress and when the paint dries a little bit I look forward to adding the final accents and sharing the results next year.

Savoring the Ephemeral

15×30″ oil on linen– I was thinking of what it would be like to be a plant on the canyon floor as I made this one.  How much would you look forward to that one hour when the skylights in the trees finally line up with the sun and you get your fleeting daily shower of sunlight?  How grateful you would be for the rare California storm that gets your creek flowing again.  The sweetest things are the ephemeral ones… they arrive in a moment, then go.

Ultralight Super Portable Oil Painting Kit

I’ve got just the thing for fellow hiker artists who like to wander with very little weight and then pull out their oils and make a quick little haiku oil sketch.  At under five pounds for the whole set-up, it even offers protection for the wet painting on the hike down.  I’m really happy with this portable thumb box I built out of an old wooden palette.  It eliminates the need for an easel and can hold two wet paintings for a full day of exploring and artmaking.  I haven’t ventured too far with it… yet…  but here you can see some of the small 6×6″ paintings that I’ve made so far with it.  

The Alcove

18×36″ oil on canvas– This is possibly my favorite spot in the Los Padres National Forest.  It lies on an exposed spine of sandstone that travels for miles over the landscape.  For those who explore off the trail, there are all types of natural history mysteries waiting to be discovered, from amazing geology, plants, bears, cougars, birds and signs of the people who called this place home.

Oil Sketches

I’ve been painting a couple of small (5×7″) oil sketches lately.  They are fun to make when I don’t have a lot of time or just want to try out a visual idea to see if I want to pursue a more detailed painting of it.   It’s a great exercise in design– the small scale makes you really think about making each brush stroke have a purpose.  They are kind of like poems– trying to say something big with limited means.  Can you recognize the locations?  Hint:  the later one has some authentic Summerland dirt on it from when it took a face plant as I was carrying it.