More Backpacking Paintings

Before the HailStorm– gouache on paper

Here are a couple of more moody paintings of lakes from my backpacking trip last week in the high eastern Sierras. It rained every day. It was also sunny every day. Often both were happening at the same time. Under the changing skies I saw wildflowers, bighorn sheep, lightning flashes and felt a flood of memories as the mountain smells were intensified by the rain.

Purple Mountains, Rumbling Clouds– gouache on paper
Racing the clouds…

Life After Death–Hoh Rainforest

16×20″ oil on linen panel

This fallen spruce tree has become a landscape in itself as the forest reclaims it and it’s decomposition feeds ferns and mosses, beetles and butterflies and even young trees seeding in its layers of life. If you want to experience life after death, check out the rainforest. Here plants grow out of plants and embrace trees and rotting wood like sprouting verdant carpet. Since almost all the organic material is in the canopy rather than in the soil in a rainforest, a dead tree fall means the start of a new fountain of living greenery. It rained the day before we got here, but we got to see the rainforest in sunlight!

Pedregosa Street

Pedregrosa Street Diptych– 5×14″

I love the variety of architecture, color and gardens in the downtown neighborhoods. A couple of the neighbors came out to say “hi.” One had lived in the house behind me for fifty years and said he remembered cutting the 50 foot tall palm tree with a six foot step ladder. I definitely saw many more houses with character that I want to paint portraits of…

left panel
right panel

Minus Tide Plus Light Fog Equals…

16×20″ oil on linen panel

Such sweet June Gloom weather this morning on the coast. To top it off, last night’s Strawberry Supermoon pulled the tides way out. (Moons have so many more flavors and varieties now than they did when we were kids.) I set up with my feet in the sand to paint the colors of the cliffs and the light starting to burn off the clouds…

Redwood Creek Studies

These are two studies for a new painting I’m currently working on attempting to get that enchanted feeling of being on a creek through a redwood grove, one of the most beautiful experiences I know. It’s fun to see what gouache and charcoal have to say about a subject before I work larger and speak in oil paint.

Theres’s just a week and a half until my open studio event. It will be Saturday, June 18 from 11-4 at 1128 Via Regina. I’ll have all my work out to make things easy to see. I hope to see you there!

Portrait of Santa Barbara

24×36″ oil on linen panel– $3200

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.

Morning Glow

36×48″ oil on canvas

I’ve been running at Lake Los Carneros many mornings this year, watching how the rising sun makes our local mountains blush.

It has been a wonderful winter for clouds this year, hasn’t it? Hopefully we can coax some more water out of them before the dry season.

Looking on the Bright Side

12×24″ –oil on canvas

So this is from healthy pots of succulents and imagination… no ceramics were injured in the making of this painting. I have had an idea to paint a crushed terra cotta pot, but with its inhabitants finding a way to thrive in the new situation. I find that sometimes titles are hard to pin on a painting, but for this one the metaphors were waiting in line in my imagination as I laid down the paint. “Catastrophe and Opportunity,” “Fragile Planet,” “Microclimate,” “Heroic Voyage,” “Hatched,” “Branching Out.” You get the idea… I let “Looking on the Bright Side” rise to the top.

Winter Skies at the Beach

Hendry’s Cloudcover– 12×24″ oil on stretched linen

This is that special kind of overcast where the ceiling of clouds is full of tatters and holes that light keeps leaking through. You get the grey reflective mood of a cloudy day with occasional dazzling spotlights of sunny day sneaking in. The top painting was a nice morning at Hendry’s beach last week and the one below was made that same afternoon out walking at low tide at Ellwood. It’s a beautiful world out there…

Sea, Sky and a Soon-to-be Obsolete Energy Source– 6×8″ oil on panel

Ellwood Seasons

12×24″ oil on linen– Thanks to the rains yesterday, this will be the last painting of the bluffs with the late summer, early autumn color palette. We’ll be moving into the greens and yellows of wild mustard and grasses. I appreciate both seasons– they both have their own beauty, colored by the memories we tie to a place we know well.