I love the ocean’s rock sculptures, carved by centuries of erosion, that are arranged on El Matador State Beach… I’m guessing the beach is named because this big one looks like an enormous bull charging out of the surf? The bull’s back is a big elevated garden on stilts for the gulls to look down on their beach from.
This second painting was painted from high up on the ridge above Corral Canyon looking out towards Point Dume. There’s nothing more fun than hiking on a trail I’ve never been on before or painting a beautiful view for the first time.
Poppies are popping up in the meadow at the SB Botanic Gardens and even through a mask you can smell spring in the air. Valentines day is coming and the birds and the bees are doing what the birds and the bees do. Hopefully we can squeeze a little more rain from some passing clouds before the calendar pages slip through our fingers.
Creek Sounds– 12×16″ oil on linen panel– Do you know what time of year it is? Duck season? Wabbit season? No… it’s creek painting season! (If you are under thirty you probably missed that reference… sorry). It is so nice to hear all the echoing watery sounds reverberating through the canyons– I love to paint creeks! It is also the season when I get to use more shades of the color green here in Santa Barbara where the summer and fall palette is more in shades of tan and gold. I hope you all are finding some time to play outdoors!
I was thinking about things that move in waves as I made this small painting. You know… light, ocean energy, sound, emotions, wind through a banner, fans in a stadium. The interesting thing about waves is they flow beneath the surface– a wave is energy moving through things that are otherwise staying still. It was just a passing wave of thought painting from the cliffs at Ellwood…
These are a few recent small 6×8″ paintings made while hiking on our local trails. ($250 each) It is fun to work on this scale… you learn how to simplify an image to its most essential parts. I’m looking forward to some rain this next week to get these creeks flowing well again and hydrate the landscape. Enjoy your weekend everyone!
I experienced this view the morning of the last day of 2020 while hiking along Hurricane Deck on one final backpacking trip for the year. I woke from my tent to light sprinkles of rain and hiked through a dramatic, grey cloudy landscape of sandstone and chaparral. The next two hours were glorious– I saw every stage of a drizzly grey world evaporating to let the light through. By lunch time it was sunny.
Maybe it was nature being metaphorical about the coming year? You never know. Sunlight is never so beautiful and precious as when it is surrounded by a storm. The best in people shines brightest in dark times. I feel like I can sense the clouds starting to part… can you?
Like many of you, I’m happy to see the fading away of the past year and have high hopes for 2021. But the pandemic and the past year did have its gifts. It has made almost all of us slow down. It has given us a pause to contemplate our priorities and has made us value more than ever genuine connection with each other and with the natural world. It was good to see, in the early days of the pandemic when roads had almost no cars and the sky was empty of planes, wild animals making appearances in urban areas. Were they there all along, but we were moving too fast to see them? Or, did they sense a safety in us not hurrying so mindlessly around? Change can happen so quickly… the world as we know it is not as solid as we thought. I’ve stopped taking for granite so many of the things we’ve taken for granted.
Rather than “getting back to normal” in 2021, here’s to starting a better way of being. When we are seeing the impact of so much dangerous misinformation and the political manipulation we are experiencing, this has definitely got to be a year for building relationships and opening up communication, especially with those we find difficult. I feel for all of those who have had their stability and livelihoods swept from under them, but also am hopeful that new opportunities are revealing themselves and as communities we can help support each other. What are you looking forward to most when we get past the masks? For me its handshakes and hugs. In the meantime, here’s a virtual one for all of you. Happy New Year!
I took my bike and my mini plein air setup loaded with two small panels out for an all day bike ride last week. I had fun exploring UCSB and paintings the winter waves at Campus Point and then pedalled out to Ellwood and recorded the colors of the iceplant on the cliffs as it gets its winter red shades. I could be perfectly content to do that every day— biking or hiking around with the only goal of looking for and responding to beauty with the my paints in my pack. If you are reading this Sunday evening, do a little rain dance to help coax some much needed water out of the sky.