Such a beautiful sight to see the Seven Falls fully flowing and spilling down the mountains again… what a gorgeous green Spring it will be! We are so fortunate to be getting all of these rains this year and to see them quenching the thirsty drought. It’s good to think aboveground about our full reservoirs but also to consider ways we can design watersheds to slow and sink the run-off and fill our aquifers.
Creek Light Studies
6×8″ oil on panel– Here are a couple of recent studies up local creeks…. I’m hoping to see some rain in the forecast to fill them up a little more this winter. Community rain dance, anyone?
Hiking to Seven Falls– Painting Process
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!
Santa Ynez River Flow
24×30″ oil on linen– I created this studio painting from the sketch I posted a couple of weeks ago of a view off Paradise Road. I love seeing the river which has been dry save for a few pools from the droughts over the past years flowing strong and steady. The road is under swift water and closed at first crossing, but I can’t wait to get back there and do some exploring of the canyons and pools this spring.
Ultralight Super Portable Oil Painting Kit
I’ve got just the thing for fellow hiker artists who like to wander with very little weight and then pull out their oils and make a quick little haiku oil sketch. At under five pounds for the whole set-up, it even offers protection for the wet painting on the hike down. I’m really happy with this portable thumb box I built out of an old wooden palette. It eliminates the need for an easel and can hold two wet paintings for a full day of exploring and artmaking. I haven’t ventured too far with it… yet… but here you can see some of the small 6×6″ paintings that I’ve made so far with it.
12×16″ oil on canvas– The wildlife was unusually still this week… it is rare that these marvelous creatures stay in one place long enough for me to approach and paint them. I am particularly fond of these wild animals and the lovely habitat they inhabit. Some of our favorite trails are in flames right now, but I’m comforted knowing how quickly the chaparral can spring back after a fire.
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)
Sisquoc Loop Part 2
Alcove– 10×20″ acrylicWhite Ledge– 10×20″ acrylic
These are a couple of 10×20″ backpacking paintings. I enjoy looking back at these– when you paint a spot, you are really present for an hour or two, completely absorbing the scene and letting it all in. For an artist, a painting is like a time machine that brings you vividly back to a place and time.
Backpacking the Sisquoc Part 1
Morning Glow at Cliff Camp– 10×20″ acrylicSisquoc River View– 10×20″ acrylic
On Memorial Day Weekend I went backpacking with some friends on the Sisquoc River loop. The river was flowing well and it was a fun adventure of creek crossing, rock scrambling and wading through fields of foxtails looking for the trail. I brought my ultralite painting kit and waited each day for a good view to sketch.
12×16″ oil on canvas board– My family and I hiked up San Ysidro Creek last weekend. I have missed flowing water in our local creeks deeply. When I first moved to this area, the creeks would flow year round… these days it seems we need to wait for winter. It is so nice to see, hear, smell and feel this one trickling through the canyon again.