Coches is a harbor on the west end of Santa Cruz Island that could awaken the inner pirate in anybody. The tide was low when I visited so I walked out to the point and caught this view looking back towards the sheltered beach. No sailboats were out that day but I had to throw one in thinking about what a timeless place this would be to sail into, pretending you were a lost explorer on an uncharted coast.
Category: Santa Barbara
This was painted up Jesusita Trail catching the glowing pockets of light peeking through the canopy into the cool flowing creek. Today the creek must be gushing after all that rain last night!
If you’ve scrambled up the rocky ledge to the east of Mission Canyon you might recognize this sandstone tower that is getting ready to burst with chaparral flowers like sage and ceanothus… it is going to be a gorgeous spring!
Some of the distant rocks that make up the bones of our local mountains turn out to be striking monoliths when you encounter them close up, abstractly sculpted by wind and rain and roots and time. What is the hole? Is it a window, a keyhole, a peephole, an eye, a passage, a feature in a pirate’s map, an ancient observatory, a sundial, a blue circle, a sky pizza, a frame for a hawk, a lizard’s flytrap, a bird’s playground? This one had at least a dozen possible titles but I’m a sucker for alliteration.
Light and Airy
Other titles I considered for this one were “Rent Free”, “Rock Stack Studio” and “An Abundance of Windows.” I wanted to put the viewer in the shade and breezy shelter of one of the beach shacks at Ellwood… those wonderful communal forms of real estate that we all can inhabit for a while when we find our paths meandering up the coast. Hung on the wall, it looks like a window out to a beach shack porch.
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…
Creek Sketch and Sneak Peak
I made this small painting while on a hike with my daughters last week. The water is still flowing, in some places anyway. I love the sound of it trickling through the canyons and will miss it as we move into the dry season.
I’ve also started working on a large painting of one of my favorite subjects… rocks! I love stacking and balancing them wherever I find them. Here are some images of the results of my play on the beach on a foggy morning a couple of days ago… a sneak peak of the subject of my next painting.
This was a recent studio commission that I made by reinterpreting the color, light and composition in a smaller plein air painting I had posted earlier this year. It is fun to elaborate on smaller ones and bring in more detail and space with the extra canvas. If any of you want larger paintings out there to go above your fireplace or somewhere, that is a good way to approach it by looking for a smaller piece that calls you that you’d like me to expand upon. : )
Portrait of Santa Barbara
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.
The Sunny Side of State Street
I set up my easel downtown a couple of days ago to paint the light and shadows and activity on State Street. It was a painting sprint: an experience in painting fleeting moments as people breeze by and the shadows lengthen every minute. Just as you start to get focused and absorbed in detail a person walking by will strike up a conversation, which is good for the art… it keeps you painting only what is essential before it is gone. At one point a crowd marched by in support of the people of Ukraine and protesting the Russian invasion. It is good to see people raising their voices and walking together in solidarity against this madness and senseless violence.