A Dozen Sunrises an Hour— J-Tree pt. 2

When I laid out all my paintings after our trip, Lauren said with a smile, “I think you like the rocks.” Sure I could have painted the Joshua Trees themselves or closeups of the flowers or the cool Cholla skeletons like the one I use for scale in the photos– but yeah, I love rocks. When you camp in a boulder jumble like White Tank, you can watch the sunrise several times a morning by starting on the highest boulders then working your way down to the canyons…

Joshua Tree Adventures pt. 1

There is something incredibly healing about the desert… My daughter and I both had colds when we arrived a few days ago and they dried up in the desert sun and clear air by the next morning. We spent the week hiking and enjoying the reptiles, superblooming wildflowers, stars and the massive boulder playgrounds. I painted two little 6×8″ paintings a day when we needed a rest from the elements in the shade of a palm oasis or boulder canyon. I’ll post the results over the next couple days…

Hiking to Seven Falls– Painting Process

I’m excited to share this large oil painting (36×48″) that I created from memory, plein air sketches and photos of the hike up the creek to Seven Falls.  I really wanted to try to show the feeling of coming out of the golden dappled-light of the oak canyon to the sun-drenched opening where the rocks and falls rise up.  I had to invent the view a bit since the trees and geography get in the way as you are hiking up… it’s a truthful lie.   I’m including some process images for the painters out there who would like to see how a painting like this develops. It starts with a sketch… I was thinking of the composition on this one as being kind of like a tunnel where the focal point of the cliffs and falls is circled by a ring of trees.   My first block-in is really general with simple shapes that describe big features in the landscape.  I was thinking of having the color palette on this one be triadic, with warm versions of green, violet and orange.  The progress of the painting is starting to bring things out of the “fog” and describe them in smaller and smaller shapes.  I’ll attach a couple of details below.  Enjoy your day!

After the Rain– Devereux Slough

9×12″ oil on canvas panel–  The first mustard seeds are sprouting yellow on the green hills beyond the slough.  It is a party for the frogs and birds out in the many vernal pools that have formed on the bluffs after the rains.  The equinox is next week– welcome spring!

Paint the Town Thursday Evening

  Tomorrow night from 5-8, myself and several other local artists will be at Santa Barbara Fine Art doing a live demo and painting the view from the gallery of the Arlington Theater.  It is in conjunction with a new exhibit called “Painting the Town.”  Come say “hi” and enjoy some local wines and live music and ask painting questions.    (These are small recent 6×8″ paintings that are available…)

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Riparian Boulder Hop

24×36″ oil on linen–  It’s raining right now as I post this giving the promise of even more days this spring for rock hopping up our local creeks to find boulder falls and pools like this lit by sunlight filtered through the oak and bay laurel canopy… I threw some poison oak into this one.  I’ve had it quite a bit this winter from mushroom hunting this winter.   Although it would be nice to just walk cross country without having to always be mindful of what twigs you are touching, I’d never wish this plant not to be there.  I think of it as kind of a protector in the forest,  making us watch where we step and being sure there are places always for wildlife to hide and for people to not be.   And besides– it adds to the fun challenge of a rock scramble obstacle course to have some poison oak “hot lava” spots…