Spring in Summerland

12×36″ oil on canvas–  I enjoyed painting the echoing serpentine lines flowing through Summerland from up on Ortega hill.  It was a relatively clear day and you could see for miles.  That’s Carpinteria in the mid ground followed by Rincon Peak and then Ventura sticking out behind.

Skylights in the Redwoods

15×30″ Oil on Canvas Panel– Nothing has more beauty and mystery than a deep, fern-filled redwood grove with a playful stream meandering through.  Places like this are medicine for the spirit– my breathing slows, my shoulders drop a few notches lower and I feel completely grounded and at peace here.  My hope for the trees in these woods is that they all grow to be giants and that after they fall they are slowly and gently returned to rich soil by banana slugs and other beautiful decomposers.  

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.  

From the Courthouse Clocktower

 12×36″ oil on canvas–  Usually when I paint, I lose all track of time…  I couldn’t tell you if I’ve been spreading colors for 30 minutes or a couple hours.  I kept the pace with this one because every fifteen minutes the immense bells below me would chime, counting off portions of the day.   Not many chimes left in 2017– Happy New Year everybody! Detail

Warm December at Ellwood

15×30″ oil on canvas–  I’ve painted this view before, and each time the painting is so different depending upon what the light and water and seasons are doing.  I think I could paint here every day and never get bored.  I’ve had the Counting Crows line in my head, “It’s been a warm December and there’s reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last.”  This is a good time of year for horizon gazing and planning for brighter futures.

Watercolor Sketchbook

I have been playing with watercolors recently.  I can make a study of a painting in a fraction of the time it takes to make an oil painting, so it gives me a great way to explore compositions and experiment with design ideas.  It has been a great way to get out my creative energy when I don’t want to commit to a whole canvas.  

Fellow artists might enjoy this way of making an inexpensive watercolor sketchbook.  I cut a bunch of paper types that I like working on and took them to the copy shop to have them spiral bound.  I mask the frame with painters tape so it leaves clean edges when I pull it away.  

You can see on these first two that I often make a pencil sketch before I start painting to figure out the design and value patterns before I begin splashing color.  I used to paint with watercolor a lot when I was in high school, but haven’t used it much since.  It is fun to rediscover and I think that doing these is going to help me discover new ideas for my oils.