16×36″ oil on canvas– This was a sunset to remember… layers of mountains dissolving in to the light and particularly speedy clouds racing and changing colors across the sky. Thirty minutes earlier and the day was still afoot– a thirty minutes later and the stars were glowing behind the clouds. This area burned eleven years ago in the Zaca Fire and it has beautifully risen from the ashes like a true phoenix. Nice work, mother nature… : )
Thought I’d have a Bob Ross moment and make my first painting video. This was a painting session up Tunnel Trail last week with lots of “happy little trees” to try my hand at. I’m calling the finished painting “All Downhill from Here.”
15×30″ Oil on Canvas Panel– Nothing has more beauty and mystery than a deep, fern-filled redwood grove with a playful stream meandering through. Places like this are medicine for the spirit– my breathing slows, my shoulders drop a few notches lower and I feel completely grounded and at peace here. My hope for the trees in these woods is that they all grow to be giants and that after they fall they are slowly and gently returned to rich soil by banana slugs and other beautiful decomposers.
18×24″ oil on canvas– Tomorrow is the equinox… happy first day of spring! I know the season is here because I get to use electric greens to color the grass instead of the usual Southern California gold.
15×30″ oil on canvas panel– The water birds are celebrating the return of their swimming holes here at Devereux Slough.
15×30″ oil on canvas– I’ve painted this view before, and each time the painting is so different depending upon what the light and water and seasons are doing. I think I could paint here every day and never get bored. I’ve had the Counting Crows line in my head, “It’s been a warm December and there’s reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last.” This is a good time of year for horizon gazing and planning for brighter futures.
I have been playing with watercolors recently. I can make a study of a painting in a fraction of the time it takes to make an oil painting, so it gives me a great way to explore compositions and experiment with design ideas. It has been a great way to get out my creative energy when I don’t want to commit to a whole canvas.
Fellow artists might enjoy this way of making an inexpensive watercolor sketchbook. I cut a bunch of paper types that I like working on and took them to the copy shop to have them spiral bound. I mask the frame with painters tape so it leaves clean edges when I pull it away.
You can see on these first two that I often make a pencil sketch before I start painting to figure out the design and value patterns before I begin splashing color. I used to paint with watercolor a lot when I was in high school, but haven’t used it much since. It is fun to rediscover and I think that doing these is going to help me discover new ideas for my oils.