Gateway to the Coast

16×20″ oil on canvas– I hiked to up above the Gaviota Tunnel to paint this one.  It is always welcoming to drive through this pass and see the ocean again when approaching Santa Barbara from the north.  The marine layer was hiding the background until the last half hour of the painting session when it folded back like a cloud blanket to reveal the sea.

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Three Views of Third Lake

So, the lakes out of Big Pine don’t have the most creative names.  (First Lake, Second Lake, Third… through Seventh.)  This has nothing to do with their beauty, though.  Don’t judge a lake by its title.  My daughters took the liberty of renaming them all and swimming in most on a recent backpack adventure.  I snuck away three times to paint Third Lake, our base camp.   (all are 10×20″ acrylics)  

 

 

Trout Creek at Sundown

16×20″ Oil on Canvas– This bend in the creek was down the hill in my backyard growing up.  I have known it for  thirty-three years now.  This winter the meadow flooded and I got to see first hand how oxbows form and a creek finds a new path.  It could be seen as distress to the landscape or it could just be seen as change.  I think of many of my favorite places over the years that have been subject to avalanches, forest fires and other setbacks and have realized that in most cases this is a way of setting the clock back and allowing those areas to spring back and regenerate.  Nature is patient and distress simply provides a blank canvas.

Hamilton Lake

10×20″ acrylic–  So nice to watch the sun rise over the large snowmelt mirror of Hamilton Lake.  I wished that I could freeze time as the light and shadows creeped far too quickly across the granite faces.   Thanks to photographer Cameron Wolfe who I met backpacking up there for the pictures he took! 

Silliman Pass

10×20″ acrylic– This is the first pass you come to heading east from Sequoia.  The meadows, creeks and rivers down the back side are well worth the trek.  To the west, smog and haze from the many wildfires in California right now have settled in the central valley…  the visibility is only a mile or two.  On the flip side, it makes for some incredible sunsets.

Kaweah River Colors

10×20″ acrylic–  I was drawn to paint here by the colors of the underwater rocks in sunlight.  The melting snow on the mountain crests is leaving the creeks and rivers downstream gushing this year.  It is still early spring as far as the wildflowers and mosquitoes are concerned.

Painting in Redwood Country

These paintings are around 10×20″ acrylic sketches I made on a road trip on the Northern California Coast.  I love redwood forests… the way the light filters through the leaves and illuminates fluorescent moss, yellow banana slugs, fractal ferns and the soft red earth.   It is so awesome how these old giants gather rain and make an environment where plants are growing on plants who are growing on other plants…  long after they die their sweetly rotting wood is still pushing up gardens of huckleberries, ferns, mushrooms and mosses.