This is a small 6×8″ oil sketch I made on New Years eve hiking with my family. We went to a place that out of cultural respect and a sense of conservation I won’t name. I have several times painted or sketched at rock art sites and always feel a sense of awe and wonder admiring the art of these native Californians. I love seeing the mortars nearby where the artists ground their pigments and it is always a longing and stretch of the imagination to travel back in time and picture them being made and to try to understand their meanings.
16×20″ oil on canvas– This is one of my favorite spots on the John Muir Trail– which is saying something because there are so many gorgeous lakes strung like turquoise beads on the path from Whitney to Yosemite. But these lakes just below timber line at the base of several granite peaks and the play of light on them is dramatic. Have you hiked this section of trail? You might recognize Glen Pass in the top right corner.
I love looking back at this sketchbook from backpacking this summer. When you take the time to sit down and make a drawing or a painting of something, all your senses are absorbed. The sketchbook becomes a time machine and can flash you right back to that vivid moment… even years later as I’ve found with my old college sketchbooks.
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.
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.
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.
Oil on Canvas 20×24″ — This is the crossing by “Kevin’s Bench” where the east and west forks of Cold Springs Creek meet. The water is cold and clear and the entire canyon is green and full of life.
18×36″ oil on canvas (sold)– What a romantic seaside town for smitten, starry-eyed couples to be walking around in, enjoying a nice walk in the late afternoon light before dinner… Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!
16×20″ oil on canvas– I am so grateful to have water flowing in our local creeks again. This painting started with the small casein sketch below that I made hiking with my family last weekend.
A plein air sketch is much more useful for me when making a painting than a photograph which can be a lot harder to interpret. Photos aren’t as true to our experience as we think they are. Here is a photo of the scene.
And here is a sketch of the abstract concept… the bones under the image that help me simplify the concept and focus on the essential shapes that make it easy to read.
12×24″ oil on canvas– You can see a lot of the raw canvas toned with raw sienna at the bottom of this painting. I was painting Romero Creek yesterday when the rain began to fall and I had to abandon painting. Lauren, my best and most important art critic said “leave it unfinished, I like it that way.” Usually her advice is more along the lines of “why didn’t you paint all the way to the edges and could you add more flowers or butterflies or eyelashes on that bird?” I like how the few expressive strokes at the bottom help guide the eye to the focal point without demanding too much attention. What do you think? Is it done?