Still Pool, Splash of Light

20×30″ oil on canvas

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.

Sisquoc Backpacking Sketches pt. 2

People shared that on some devices the photos from my last post looked really overexposed and dark. I think I’ve found the problem and am using a new file format, so hopefully this will work better. If you’d like to see the corrected images from the last post you can find it here.

We went hunting waterfalls this trip and found some beautiful ones in the backcountry canyons. Here are their portraits, painted between swims, as well as a couple of colored pencil drawings of sycamores and the skull of a young buck.

Sisquoc Backpacking Sketches Pt. 1

Acrylic on Paper– Sisquoc Geology Lesson

I went backpacking with some friends along the Sisquoc a week ago… the creek is still flowing and it is a ribbon oasis of birds, dragonflies and wildflowers in a relatively dry chaparral landscape. I painted these creek portraits with acrylics, using a bit of the sweet Sisquoc water to make them flow. I’ll include a shot below of my backpacking painting set-up… a light aluminum tripod anchored by a rock to keep the wind at bay, a cardboard pallette with plastic water jar, and brushes. (Maybe I should saw the handles shorter to be more lightweight next time.)

Lightweight Backpacking set-up

Warm Breeze–Ellwood Bluffs

18×38″ oil on canvas

I’m teaching landscape painting to my students this week and as I look around at what they are creating, I’m struck by the fact that arrangements of light and colors have emotional tones to them. I guess other senses do this too. For example, smell is said to be the sense that links most closely to memory and that’s why certain smells can transport you back to your childhood. I think that certain qualities of light and color are similarly evocative, connecting us back to past moods.

State Street Stroll (corrected post)

State Street Stroll– 16×20″ oil on linen– It turns out that streets are much nicer without cars on them. Since the pandemic pushed the restaurants and cafes out into the lanes feet and bikes are the only mode of transportation down State. We learned to slow down last year in so many ways. As the speed and busyness of life is ramping up, I hope we hold on to our inner and outer pedestrian mindset. 

State Street Stroll

16×20″ oil on linen

State Street Stroll– 16×20″ oil on linen– It turns out that streets are much nicer without cars on them. Since the pandemic pushed the restaurants and cafes out into the lanes feet and bikes are the only mode of transportation down State. We learned to slow down last year in so many ways. As the speed and busyness of life is ramping up, I hope we hold on to our inner and outer pedestrian mindset. 

Open Studio this Sunday!

Open Studio this Sunday


10am to 3pm

1128 Via Regina, Santa Barbara

Everyone welcome!

I would love to see you! Come by to say “hi” and explore oil landscape paintings of Santa Barbara and the Sierras. You are welcome just to look, but if you want a piece for your home, I have paintings in a variety of prices and sizes from $180 and up. I’m giving away free 6×8″ paintings this weekend for people who buy pieces 11×14 and larger. Follow the signs and the sound of chickens to the backyard studio… I hope to see you then!

Open Studio and Creek Light

Salamander Playground –16×20″ oil on linen

Hi Everyone! This Sunday is a casual Open Studio from 10am -3pm in my backyard studio at 1128 Via Regina. I’ll have my paintings out and arranged by size and would love to chat and share my work with anyone who wants to come by! If anyone is interested in a belated Mother’s Day gift, I’m throwing in a free 6×8″ painting with any purchase over $500.

I saw an auspicious friendly rattlesnake as I hiked Rattlesnake Canyon for this view a week ago. The summer is going to be dry, but the water is still flowing, at least in some parts of the creek. It is a challenge to catch the changing light in a dappled situation. Look at the two images below to see how quickly the light and shadow parts of a scene like this can swap places. It’s comparable to painting a portrait of people playing musical chairs. I made the small sketch you can see at the top of the easel to remember where I wanted the shadows to be.

Morning’s Edge

18×24″ oil on linen– This was painted as the edge of morning advanced last shadow edges of evening, from the edge of the cliffs on the edge of Spring. I was thinking of edges in my painting, both crisp and defined and soft and atmospheric as I made it. On edges there is excitement–a little danger perhaps– and the view is always better.