The monarchs are passing through Goleta on their 3000 mile migration from Canada to Mexico. It has been a rough few years for them and the eucalyptus trees they roost in because of the recent drought, but hopefully they’ll be making a comeback after last year’s rains. I learned that they fly 50-100 miles in a single day and one was recorded flying over 250 miles in a single day… amazing, no?
I loved the way this wave of sandstone breaks towards the ocean and was reflected in the wet sand… it’s like walking on a mirror as you stroll up the beach on a day like this as the tide is retreating.
6×8″ oil on panel– This was the first painting of the New Year, painted on the first day of the year while scrambling with my family over rocks off Camino Cielo. So fun to explore the maze of paths winding between the boulders and to climb atop them to get a bird’s-eye view.
For my last painting of 2019 I hiked a large canvas up San Ysidro Canyon. It makes me optimistic to see how well nature heals. This area has been hammered with drought, then fire, then flood and debris flows and yet here it is recovering beautifully. Trees and chapparal shrubs have sprouted from their roots and new pools and falls are being carved out in the new stream path. The insects, lizards, birds and deer are all tending the wilderness and stitching it together. The community of Montecito downstream is also recovering from the tragedy of those slides and like nature is showing love and resiliency.
I’m optimistic for healing, resiliency, connection and love in this new year… they are clearly characteristics found in nature and so, as living strands in the web of life on this planet, are characteristics of our selves.
Wet Sand Walk—12×24″ oil on panel— The winter solstice has passed, which is when we really should mark the start of a new year– that time when the giant clock of our solar system swings passed it’s furthest, darkest point. It’s a time of ups and downs. Leaves are falling, temperatures are falling, but now that rain is falling, the grass is growing, the days are growing and things are looking up.
12×24″ oil on panel– The city was washed clean and sparkling after the last storm. Out on the wharf was a great place to take it all in. A magnificent rainbow appeared and I was tempted to paint it in, but usually paintings of rainbows look about as convincing as paintings of unicorns. I went with the unicorn instead– can you see him hiding behind the palm tree?
The deep bell chimes were ringing in my chest and counting 8 on the morning when I made the sketch and took the photo that led to this painting. I love the perspective from the clock tower… since 1929 people have climbed the steps to see the horizon and watch present moments tick away one by one.
Julia and Murphy— 6×6” oil on panel— Pets are family too. Julia on the left was awesome. She’s been gone several years now but was always up for a run on the beach. She was a great first kid for Lauren and I and older sister to our girls. Murphy on the right is a newer family member for us… no beach runs… he scoffs at even jogging across the yard, but he is very affectionate when he feels like it. Give your own furry family members a scratch behind the ears for me…
I’m thankful to have so much to be thankful for! One of the many things is the fires being under control and the first gentle rains of the season saturating our landscape. Enjoy your Thanksgiving! (This small painting was made while hiking a week ago…)
36×48” oil on linen— I was thinking about hiking and painting and the delicate art of knowing when to continue and knowing when to stop. Just like a mindful hiker enjoying each bend in the creek, I tried to be very intentional on this painting, minding each stroke and color that I mixed. The trick is finding the time to stop while there is still some freshness and sketchiness, before overworking the painting into something that looks labored and tired.
It is a new thing for me to have people, in this case my daughters, in the canvas. I realized how much they give the painting scale and help the viewer understand the size of the boulders and falls.