Sandstone outcroppings and Coast Live Oaks… I’ve been spending several afternoons painting in oak forests the last couple of weeks. The acorns are ripening and the squirrels, scrubjays and a deer were all inspecting their progress as I was painting.
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.
12×24″ oil on panel– From this perch on Ortega Hill, you can see three points jutting out to the north. In the foreground Fernald Point encloses Shark Cove, which I’ve heard is named because in the mid 1800’s they used to butcher cattle nearby and then toss the remnants to the sea. Behind that is Hammond’s Point in the mid ground and way back there is Ledbetter Point at the far end of the Santa Barbara Harbor. For a painter, it’s a great lesson in atmospheric perspective, seeing the colors and contrast cool and fade as they fall into the distance.
8×10″ oil on canvas– The water is still flowing beautifully through our local canyons and the salamanders and frogs are going strong despite the wildfires and floods last year. When the weather gets warm most people head to the beach. There is always also a nice breeze and some cool pools up a canyon.
15×30″ oil on linen– So nice to watch the glimmer on the water as the sun rises over our fair seaside town on a morning between the fog cycles… The kids are out for summer and it won’t be long before the last of the June Gloom evaporates and these beaches are full of people playing in the surf.
The pencil is there for scale. The crack in the sidewalk reminded me of what they say– that when you find a fault, you shouldn’t dwell on it. But here we are dwelling in earthquake country and quite happy about it. I had fun backpacking Memorial Day weekend with a fun group, several of whom are geologists and point out really cool things about the shape of the land and the fossils hiding in plain sight. Here are a couple of watercolor and gouache sketches that I snuck in between the rains.
8×16″ oil on panel– A sweet morning view from the top of Elings Park watching the sun burn off the morning mist…
18×24″ oil on canvas– Thanks to all the people who brought beach umbrellas that nice afternoon at Butterfly Beach. They were just the right colors and in just the right spots to create a strong design… The orange frisbee was a nice touch as well. And you all wore the perfect swimsuit colors to add accents– nice work everybody. Now, if you would just hold still for a couple hours and not move around so much… : )
I’m excited to share this large oil painting (36×48″) that I created from memory, plein air sketches and photos of the hike up the creek to Seven Falls. I really wanted to try to show the feeling of coming out of the golden dappled-light of the oak canyon to the sun-drenched opening where the rocks and falls rise up. I had to invent the view a bit since the trees and geography get in the way as you are hiking up… it’s a truthful lie. I’m including some process images for the painters out there who would like to see how a painting like this develops. It starts with a sketch… I was thinking of the composition on this one as being kind of like a tunnel where the focal point of the cliffs and falls is circled by a ring of trees. My first block-in is really general with simple shapes that describe big features in the landscape. I was thinking of having the color palette on this one be triadic, with warm versions of green, violet and orange. The progress of the painting is starting to bring things out of the “fog” and describe them in smaller and smaller shapes. I’ll attach a couple of details below. Enjoy your day!
Tomorrow night from 5-8, myself and several other local artists will be at Santa Barbara Fine Art doing a live demo and painting the view from the gallery of the Arlington Theater. It is in conjunction with a new exhibit called “Painting the Town.” Come say “hi” and enjoy some local wines and live music and ask painting questions. (These are small recent 6×8″ paintings that are available…)