The Botanic Garden meadow is glowing with flowers and humming with bees right now from all of the rains this past year. I’ve had a very large 4-foot-square canvas that I’ve been waiting to paint at some point and the excuse to cover it with saturated oranges and greens was irresistable. This one will fill the wall with a sunlit garden. I took some process photos for fellow artists out there who, like me, enjoy seeing the steps behind the scenes of how the painting was created. Basically I start with big shapes of color and break them up into smaller and smaller shapes.
14×45″– Oil on Repurposed Cabinet Door– It has been a long time since I’ve painted on a repurposed cabinet door like this… I love the natural frame you get and the extreme vertical panorama that let’s you emphasize the scale of things, like this view of how our local sandstone peaks teeming with fragrant chaparral scrub catch moisture from the clouds and filter it down to our shady, sycamore and oak-filled canyons. You can see in the detail below I added a couple of travelers to enhance the sense of scale. These paintings look good on one of those skinny walls that you wouldn’t expect could hold a large painting.
Painting in the Oaks
Sandstone outcroppings and Coast Live Oaks… I’ve been spending several afternoons painting in oak forests the last couple of weeks. The acorns are ripening and the squirrels, scrubjays and a deer were all inspecting their progress as I was painting.
Hiking to Seven Falls– Painting Process
I’m excited to share this large oil painting (36×48″) that I created from memory, plein air sketches and photos of the hike up the creek to Seven Falls. I really wanted to try to show the feeling of coming out of the golden dappled-light of the oak canyon to the sun-drenched opening where the rocks and falls rise up. I had to invent the view a bit since the trees and geography get in the way as you are hiking up… it’s a truthful lie. I’m including some process images for the painters out there who would like to see how a painting like this develops. It starts with a sketch… I was thinking of the composition on this one as being kind of like a tunnel where the focal point of the cliffs and falls is circled by a ring of trees. My first block-in is really general with simple shapes that describe big features in the landscape. I was thinking of having the color palette on this one be triadic, with warm versions of green, violet and orange. The progress of the painting is starting to bring things out of the “fog” and describe them in smaller and smaller shapes. I’ll attach a couple of details below. Enjoy your day!
Riparian Boulder Hop
24×36″ oil on linen– It’s raining right now as I post this giving the promise of even more days this spring for rock hopping up our local creeks to find boulder falls and pools like this lit by sunlight filtered through the oak and bay laurel canopy… I threw some poison oak into this one. I’ve had it quite a bit this winter from mushroom hunting this winter. Although it would be nice to just walk cross country without having to always be mindful of what twigs you are touching, I’d never wish this plant not to be there. I think of it as kind of a protector in the forest, making us watch where we step and being sure there are places always for wildlife to hide and for people to not be. And besides– it adds to the fun challenge of a rock scramble obstacle course to have some poison oak “hot lava” spots…
Rolling Green Hills— Sedgwick Preserve
12×24” oil on canvas— The nice gentle rains so far have been so good for saturating the landscape, sprouting the fire scars and letting the outdoor painters open the tubes of their most vibrant greens. You can tell by this old oak that lichens are likin’ it too.
20×20″ oil on canvas– The meadows in the Botanic Gardens are aflame with poppies right now. Bees are swarming, the air is warming and the short sweet season of spring is in full swing. Sorry about the accidental post earlier in the week– I was working on my website and pushed the wrong button. : )
A Glimpse of the Sea through the Oaks
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.
The Foothills in Casein
I saw my box of casein paints lying around and realized I haven’t used them for a while. It is a quick and easy way for me to get outdoors and paint… my casein set-up weighs about ten pounds (lightweight cardboard and aluminum easel and all) while my oil painting gear is much heavier.
Grey Day on the San Marcos Preserve– 10×20″Bee Hives and Human Hives– 10×20″
Rattlesnake Canyon Creekflow
22×28″ oil on canvas– I’m savoring the sound of raindrops on the roof right now and smiling knowing we have more boulder hopping and creek painting days ahead of us this spring!