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…  

Up a Creek without a Paintbrush

That would be horrible– I try never to get stuck up a creek without my art supplies.    It makes me so happy to be exploring our local watersheds and seeing the waterfalls flowing like the good old days.   I’ve been making lots of plein air sketches and working on a large studio painting of one of my favorite sweet boulder falls.  What I love about our little canyons in the oaks is how small patches of sunlight illuminate transparent pools here and there.  It is not an easy effect to get and I’m playing around with different ways of doing it.   These small paintings are both 6×8″.  

Chard in the Garden and a Mountain Path

Here are two small recent oil sketches.  One was made in out backyard when the chard in the garden was looking like stained glass, the other is from the upper path at the Botanic Gardens and the third photo is just to give a sense of scale…

Santa Ynez River Flow

24×30″ oil on linen–  I created this studio painting from the sketch I posted a couple of weeks ago of a view off Paradise Road.  I love seeing the river which has been dry save for a few pools from the droughts over the past years flowing strong and steady.  The road is under swift water and closed at first crossing, but I can’t wait to get back there and do some exploring of the canyons and pools this spring.

The Lagoon at Dusk

 15×30″ oil on linen– This is from the island trail on the lagoon at UCSB looking southwest towards Santa Cruz Island.  Were you one of the lucky students like me who spent your time wandering these trails or exploring the beach between classes?  No wonder those years fly by so quickly…  

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.

Santa Ynez River Flow

 6×8″ oil on panel– It is a sweet sight to see the Santa Ynez River flowing through its the sinuous canyons.  When the water pours out of our tap in Goleta and Santa Barbara it’s fun to think how it traveled down this serpentine path to Lake Cachuma and to see if you can detect the taste of sage, yerba santa, coast live oak and ancient sandstone in your glass.  I caught this view yesterday off Paradise Road with my ultra-light painting kit and think I will make a big studio painting based on this composition.  

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.

Painting at it’s Purest

This is a small 6×8″ oil sketch I made on New Years eve hiking with my family.  We went to a place that out of cultural respect and a sense of conservation I won’t name.  I have several times painted or sketched at rock art sites and always feel a sense of awe and wonder admiring the art of these native Californians.  I love seeing the mortars nearby where the artists ground their pigments and it is always a longing and stretch of the imagination to travel back in time and picture them being made and to try to understand their meanings.