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.
Acrylic 10×20″– Acrylic on Archival Paper– $450– We were lucky to get a little afternoon rain after a hot day at Mesa Verde. It was so incredible to see the beautifully designed cliff dwellings here and to realize the size of the community that farmed corn, beans and squash on the mesas 700 years ago.
Acrylic 10×20″– $450– Down this canyon in Navajo National Monument is an amazing lush watershed with an enormous sandstone cave facing south featuring incredible stone and clay houses built by the ancestors of the Hopi hundreds of years ago… a brilliantly designed oasis in the desert.
I ran out of panels at the end of the trip and had to improvise… I think maybe beer box cardboard is the canvas of the future. I was honored to paint near the canvas of the past… stone walls where Chumash artists painted maps with dolphins and bears long ago.
Acrylic on Canvas– 16×20″– This is the path on the DPHS cross country course… they are lucky kids who get to get off the pavement each day and run on these shady trails. You can find fragments of seashells in the soil– remnants from the Chumash who called this place home.
Casein on Paper 10×8″
What a gorgeous spot to explore and paint! My wife and daughters found an old Chumash village site while playing around nearby. It was not hard to imagine people long ago flaking arrowheads and enjoying shellfish while looking out at the big turquoise waves here.
Seven Falls Time is a thin veil here, where the mountain plays catch with the creek tossing it into the air seven times and bringing it to rest in seven cold emerald pools. It is fun to imagine all of the others who have climbed this sandstone jungle gym and slid down these mossy water slides… Look at these shadows of Chumash kids laughing here hundreds of years ago as if it were yesterday. What do they call the “cannonball” in a world of stone tools, I wonder, as they leap from that ledge with a splash long before Fremont’s soldiers pushed cannons over muddy San Marcos Pass. Look at those Franciscan monks sneaking upstream from the Mission below through the oaks and sycamores to strip down and lighten up long before the city sprouted below and oil platforms invaded the horizon. And look now at the evolution of the swimsuit styles that the swimmers have donned here for the last hundred years, from striped long-underwear to bikinis on the families of ranchers, fishermen, oil workers and now suburbanites and college kids. They appear and disappear in strobe light flashes like an old grainy filmstrip before these lovely pools. Different swimmers on common ground… We’re all still here in one form or another, the natives and the pioneers. We’ve all come to bring out our inner amphibian— to dive beneath the cold living water with our much older ancestors the frogs and salamanders… Feels so good, doesn’t it? …to crawl out on our bellies and warm our blood on these radiant sandstone benches freckled here and there with fossils.