Space to Ramble

18×36” oil on linen

When Lauren and I were first married we used to spend most of a day walking from the distant eucalyptus groves, out over the bluffs, around the slough, through IV and UCSB, down the bike trail, out on More Mesa, through the horse trails in Hope Ranch, through westside and finally downtown. There we’d sit our tired legs down at a cafe, eat a big meal and take the bus all the way back home. It was our favorite date… so simple but so full of interesting people watching, nature exploration and places to appreciate the many sides of our town.

Fernald Point from Ortega Hill

12×24″ oil on panel– From this perch on Ortega Hill, you can see three points jutting out to the north. In the foreground Fernald Point encloses Shark Cove, which I’ve heard is named because in the mid 1800’s they used to butcher cattle nearby and then toss the remnants to the sea.  Behind that is Hammond’s Point in the mid ground and way back there is Ledbetter Point at the far end of the Santa Barbara Harbor.  For a painter, it’s a great lesson in atmospheric perspective, seeing the colors and contrast cool and fade as they fall into the distance.

Sunrise over Santa Barbara

15×30″  oil on linen– So nice to watch the glimmer on the water as the sun rises over our fair seaside town on a morning between the fog cycles…  The kids are out for summer and it won’t be long before the last of the June Gloom evaporates and these beaches are full of people playing in the surf.

An Ocean in the Backyard

20×24″ oil on canvas– Imagine living in one of these homes on Miramar.  For all practical purposes your shiny blue backyard extends to China.   Just think how aware you’d be of the moon and tides and moods of the ocean.  Imagine sleeping at night with the windows open listening to the breathing waves of your own backyard ocean.

Magic Hour at Devereux Point

30×42″ oil on canvas– This was a commission for a friendly, adventurous family who wanted to take home a piece of Goleta.  I was excited when they chose this spot– it is really special to our family as well.  I wanted to capture the magic hour, that short sweet time of shifting colors that happens in the few moments before the sun drops over the horizon.  This was a big studio painting that I made from a small plein air painting that you can see below.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I’m grateful to all of you for sharing my art adventures with me.  

Wet Sand and Salt Air– El Refugio Point

 36×48″– oil on canvas–  This is the painting that emerged from the sketches I posted in my last post.   When you paint a canvas this large or larger, it really feels like you can step right inside and inhabit the scene.  I was trying to recreate the feeling of walking up our coastline in this beautiful season when the sun is starting to set over the water again and the tides are starting to pull the sand from the rocks underneath.  

Value Sketches and Color Studies

I thought I’d share a few glimpses of my process for making a large studio painting.  I’m working on a big 3’x4′ image of the coast looking northwest towards El Refugio State beach.  Sometimes I fight things out on the canvas, but for large images I’ve found that investing a little time in some loose, quick sketches like these helps make the painting go smoother.  I’m focused at this stage on getting a strong design that reads well an abstract level and a color key that feels like the mood I’m trying to convey.  Isn’t it fascinating how different the feel is when you try to visually step into each little thumbnail below?  Color is magical that way.

This spring I’ll be offering another workshop for people who would like to learn the process of making paintings from start to finish.  

Between the Mountains and the Sea

36×48″–oil on canvas- At twelve square feet, this is the biggest painting that I’ve made in a while.  I made the sketch for this one from the breakwater looking back towards Stearn’s Wharf.  I really wanted to emphasize the scale of the mountains that rise behind our city and the atmosphere of the ocean air.  We’re so lucky to live in a place that you can easily hike up a wooded canyon to a peak and then play in the surf in the same day.