I was running around Lake Los Carneros a couple of weeks ago and enjoying how the red light climbed across the mountains. The time of the sunrise is subjective, depending upon where you are on the mountain or in a canyon. I saw two sunrises that morning on different sides of the lake.
The days are growing crisper, the mornings cooler, the dry air clearer, the angle of light more slanted and the mind more reflective. The calendar pages have autumn pictures and pumpkin soup sounds good again.
This palms in this iconic line arcing elegantly around to Refugio Point have been falling one by one the past few years as more extreme tidal events eat at the soil holding their roots. I’m grateful for the young people who are marching and standing up worldwide to try to wake our policy makers and business leaders up to the truth that we live in relationship with the natural world and that we need to honor and tend to the delicately balanced ecosystems that we are an inseparable part of.
When Lauren and I were first married we used to spend most of a day walking from the distant eucalyptus groves, out over the bluffs, around the slough, through IV and UCSB, down the bike trail, out on More Mesa, through the horse trails in Hope Ranch, through westside and finally downtown. There we’d sit our tired legs down at a cafe, eat a big meal and take the bus all the way back home. It was our favorite date… so simple but so full of interesting people watching, nature exploration and places to appreciate the many sides of our town.
As I made this small painting, good memories from college of running out from Isla Vista, around the slough and up the path to the Ellwood bluffs came back to me. It was a new exotic landscape for me back in 1993 when I started at UCSB, but now I know these trails like the back of my hand. Funny how a place becomes a part of you as you become a part of a place.
It is fascinating when you paint a white object to notice all of the different colors that reflect into the shadows. You can see here where the colored light from the red rooftops, the blue sky and green grass influence the shadows.
Just a typical summer afternoon on the Ellwood Bluffs… I love the filtered light that comes through the windblown eucalyptus trees in their sweet groves at the edge of the cliffs. Hope you can us at the Open Studio Event this weekend!
This portrait of our local mountains was painted while my daughter was chasing the ball around the field with her team. I love how the contours start to pop out on our south-facing hills as the sun dips to the west.
I finished a larger studio painting from the backpacking sketches on my hike this summer I wanted to catch a moment that stood out when the sun was just setting at Disappointment Lake and trying to decide what the opposite of disappointment is. (The made-up story in my head is that the lake was named by a bitter miner who either found gold and didn’t want others to look or didn’t find gold and was genuinely bummed. Either way– its a lovely lake that I hope will continue to disappoint those who like to profit off of exploiting wilderness areas.)
Want to see it and the other paintings I’ve created this year in person? My open studio is coming up the first weekend in September and I’d love to see you!
Half Moon Lake– Sierra National Forest– gouache backpacking sketch– I’m guessing this lake got its name for the unusual crescent shaped mountain behind it which would hold a half-moon shaped snowfield in the spring. The trail barely trodden and hard to find getting up here… most days of the year you’d probably have the lake to yourself.