What a cool little town! Here’s Santa Barbara resting at the base of its chaparral mountains that smell of bay and sage, with it’s red-tiled roofs and sunny gardens and the peaceful blue ocean protected by the Channel Islands. I tried to paint her portrait from an angle that accentuates her best features.
The acorn that sprouted and started to grow into this Coast Live Oak many, many mornings ago sure picked a good spot to sink its roots. I wonder if it knew how many people would visit it for picnics and to share its grand view of Cathedral and Arlington Peaks, the rolling green hills and the Santa Barbara harbor on the horizon. I spent a pleasant morning before the easel trying to catch the atmospheric golden light we get on green winter mornings here.
9×12″ oil on linen panel– Arlington Peak always offers artists a mountain anatomy lesson… It’s fascinating the way the sandstone bones reach up and offer structure while the sinuous muscles of earth overlap and fold, forming rippling hills and canyons. And on top of it all the color and texture of the living, sprouting, growing skin of the earth.
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.