Painting in Redwood Country

These paintings are around 10×20″ acrylic sketches I made on a road trip on the Northern California Coast.  I love redwood forests… the way the light filters through the leaves and illuminates fluorescent moss, yellow banana slugs, fractal ferns and the soft red earth.   It is so awesome how these old giants gather rain and make an environment where plants are growing on plants who are growing on other plants…  long after they die their sweetly rotting wood is still pushing up gardens of huckleberries, ferns, mushrooms and mosses.

 

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China Cove Harbor Seals

16×20 Oil on Canvas– The seals on this beach were caring for their pups. It reminded me of walking with my dog Julia on a beach once and coming around the corner upon a seal. She couldn’t believe her eyes… it was like she’d found a dog-mermaid. You can think of this as a cove of real-life merdogs if you’d like…

Mustard Fields

12×24″ oil on canvas– I painted this in the San Marcos preserve… The black mustard is over six feet deep in places this year and can be found draped over the hills in brilliant yellow fields.  You can gather the seeds and grind them with vinegar to make your own wild mustard.

Poppy Explosion

14×18″ oil on canvas– The California Poppies are taking over the garden in an orange carpet.  As far as herbal medicine goes, they are clearly good for the eyes–  it makes you happy just looking at them.  After finishing the painting we ate that ripe artichoke in the background… yum.

Joshua Tree Paintings

12×16″ oil on canvas– Boulder Maze

9×12″ oil– Split Rock Frame

Here are a couple small paintings I made as we camped amongst the boulders at Jumbo Rocks last week.  I love how the desert plays with your sense of scale, with rocks shaped like pebbles but four stories high in a vast flat expanse miles wide under an enormous sky.  Huddled close to the ground you find wildflowers, horned lizards and a myriad of resourceful life forms–  so much small detail and so much space.  The Joshua Trees in these paintings give them their scale– without them, these might just be sand castles.

Santa Ynez River Flow

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20×24″ oil on linen– It is so good to see the Santa Ynez River flowing again and knowing the thousands of gallons of sweet water that flowed past me as I painted this are on their way to Lake Cachuma.  I really hope people use the drought as a learning experience and keep conserving water even though the storms have been good to us.   This was made just before the first crossing on Paradise Road, which is completely washed out at the moment..

Devereux Slough

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16×20″ oil on canvas– Nice moody clouds kept washing over the mountains looking north from Coal Oil Point.  I need to go back with a bigger canvas because I really wanted to squeeze in the full 360 degrees.  I could paint here every day and it would always be new…