36″x48″ oil on canvas– $4200– This is a painting from an upper fork of Cold Springs Canyon that you cross before you make the final switchbacks up to the power line road on the way to Montecito Peak. It looks almost unrecognizable to what it did five years ago before fire and flood ripped through the area, but it is still stunningly beautiful to me. I titled it Regeneration because I am struck by the natural resiliency of this area and how quickly it has healed itself. Nature and people have a remarkable ability to adapt and that gives me optimism as we face challenging years ahead in response to our changing climate.
I would love to see you this weekend at my Open Studio event which is part of the Santa Barbara Studio Artists tour. You can come to my studio for free and if any of you are interested in going on the whole tour, I will have maps and tickets available. I will be there from 11-5 Saturday and Sunday and 11-2 Monday. I am offering free 6×8″ oil paintings or gouache paintings for anyone who buys a painting of $600 or more. It is mostly outdoors and I have a small airy studio so it is a COVID friendly event. 1128 Via Regina… all welcome– see you there!
All paintings are 9×12″ oil on panel– Here are a few of the places I’ve been setting up the easel lately. Whether I’m on the fragrant path in the eucalyptus grove, on the cliffs looking at the precarious and fun hanging college apartments in Isla Vista or painting the gardens at San Ysidro Ranch, the light is always the main subject of a painting. I continue to grow more and more fascinated with the quality and colors of light and the visual and emotional effects they have on a scene.
These paintings are from the UC Reserve on the west end of Santa Cruz Island. Going to the islands is like going back in time 150 years and seeing what the California coastline looked like before development. The tide pools were full of diversity and life and we got to see the shenanigans of a few Channel Island Foxes and Scrub Jays.
The variety of colors and textures of the rock formations that make up the band of islands make me wish I’d taken geology classes when I was in school. Dry coriopsis flowers dot the hillsides— I’d love to see the blooms in early spring!
24×36″ oil on linen– I’ve heard people say that mountains breathe and what they mean was vividly clear to me camping below Banner Peak a couple of weeks ago. Sitting there painting it in gouache (you can see the sketch in my last post) there would be about five to ten minutes of stillness and warm sun. Then, from the direction of the peak I would hear the roar of cold air rushing down its sides… the bands of wind chop would spread across the lake and I’d grip my painting board as Banner’s roaring, icy exhale washed past me for a couple minutes. The rhythm repeated for most of the afternoon.
I was happy to see those glaciers, though shrinking dramatically every year, are still holding on and feeding the San Joaquin river below.
This was a beautiful hike, making paintings between hiking passes, swimming in lakes and eating cereal in epic breakfast locations. I’m working on a large oil painting based on this gouache backpacking painting of Garnet Lake and Banner Peak. There is so much richness and beauty out there…. does anybody know what bird has the most melodic song in the Sierras with a series of sad notes followed by metallic trills? It’s song enchanted me several times but I could never lay eyes on it.
I’ll be having an open studio show on Labor Day weekend if you’d like to see these and other recent paintings in person.
There is a place in Mammoth that is really special to my family and growing up in Tahoe, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to walk there. A couple weeks ago I finally connected those dots, leaving a 180 mile trail from my parents’ backyard to our favorite camping spot. I was hiking long days, but still managed to make a gouache painting each day. I had fun crossing paths with the main bubble of northbound PCT hikers floating on the trail on their way up to Canada… one of these days I want to hike and paint that whole journey!
I’m doing a painting demo at the Wilding Museum in Solvang this Sunday from 11-2. I’ll be showing how to develop a painting from a sketch using oils. Come on by and chat for a bit!
When Lauren and I were first dating I asked her what would be the ultimate painting that I could make for her. She said she’d love the view when you are laying on your back looking up into a tree watching the ways the light filters through the stained-glass leaves and the layers of depth. Wow, I thought, that’s a tough one… I’ve been trying ever since and I’m getting closer to the vision. Only in her mind it is a Sycamore Tree and this is an oak, so I’ll keep dancing around this theme.
I thought it would be fun to create a kaleidoscopic image from this painting… would make a good Grateful Dead album cover wouldn’t it?
The first morning sunbeams, filtered through the Coast Live Oak canopy, illuminate one of the many secret deeper pools up a local canyon. The salamanders and steelhead know these narrow, deep spots where they retreat amidst a shrinking world of water through the dry season. How grateful they must be when the rains bring new life, space and flow to the canyon.
This is the season when the dried straw on the bluffs has lost its green and instead has that golden glow when the sun gets low in the sky. I painted here at dawn a couple months ago and it was such a different palette, with mustard flowers and tall green grasses.