Painting in the Shade

9×12″ oil on linen panel– Haskell’s Beach Eucalyptus Hill (Available)

These are both paintings that I’ve made recently, when I have the luxury of a couple of free hours to head outdoors, relax, and study the way light falls on something beautiful. The top one was from the path that goes up the hill on the west side of Haskell’s Beach. The image below was painted in Tucker’s Grove, trying to capture the wonderful quality of filtered forest light while appreciating the oxygen it produces.

Filtered Forest Light–9×12″ oil on linen panel –(Available)

Radiant Sunset–Devereux Point

18×36″ oil on linen

We know that last moment of light that brings everybody outside while simultaneously bringing them inside themselves. We grow silent like at a performance and contemplate the day behind and the one to come as the sky, illuminated by the light of our favorite star, fades through a spectrum of colors from green to yellow to orange to pink. I particularly like this brilliant tangerine shade and the warm light it casts on the surrounding landscape.

Spring Creek and Friendly Horses

Spring Creek– 12×16″ oil on linen panel

I cropped out the sky and mountains and some great oak trees on this one to focus on this small mossy green falls in Cold Springs Canyon… I didn’t crop close enough to show you all the little grey frogs blending in perfectly with the color of the stones.

In the painting below I drove to the valley to paint grapevines for the Vino De Suenos fundraiser for People Helping People in Santa Ynez. I forgot that grapes have no leaves this time of year and look more like twigs, but these horses obliged to let me paint their portrait instead.

Death Valley–Small Paintings

Prospecting–Mosaic Canyon– 6×8″

We spent a couple of days exploring slot canyons and dry washes in Death Valley over break. And we spent a couple of evenings in a collapsed tent with constant thirty-mile-an-hour winds flapping across our backs. The desolate beauty in the day made the sleep-deprived nights worth it. It is a geologists dream here, to see a multi-colored barren landscape stripped almost to the bones (or to the stones) of life. And yet life is there. We found hidden treasures: wildflowers, a jackrabbit, ravens, lizards and colorful moths hiding in the sheltered spaces.

Sidewinder Canyon– 6×8″

Moonlit Garden

20×24″ oil on linen

This is of the view from West Camino Cielo in the light of the full moon. These flowers have many names and are shrouded in mystery. It was a sacred medicinal plant for the Chumash who lived here, but is deadly poisonous when used without traditional knowledge. It is pollenated in the moonlight by the huge Hawk Moth, a mysterious insect nearly as big across as the large Datura flowers with a four-inch long coiled tongue for drinking their starlit nectar.

The painting above was created from imagination using this daytime view of the same location I painted on site last weekend as a reference…

West Camino Cielo– 9×12″ oil on Canvas

The Bee, the Sage and the Dragon’s Back

Oil on linen– 18×36″

Once upon a time… a couple weeks ago, actually, I hiked up the ridge line that connects Arlington Peak, Cathedral Peak and La Cumbre Peak. Some call this sandstone formation the Dragon’s Back. Just use your imagination when looking at these mountains from town and you’ll catch of glimpse of him breathing fire and challenging knights. (I’ll include a past painting below of Arlington Peak from town.) The bee in the sage garden on the top of the peak encouraged me to include her in the painting and suggested this title. The title, I think, would fit just as well on an old-fashioned fable that begins “Once upon a time…”

Arlington Peak (Dragon’s Back) from below

Spring on More Mesa

9×12″ oil on linen panel

I’ve been enjoying painting out at More Mesa lately. It is an exercise in mixing greens at this time of the year. The area is still not protected the way that Ellwood Preserve is. May it never be developed– I hope the community will be able to secure it in the future as a perpetual open space. The painting below is from the grove of trees on the horizon in the painting above.

16×20″ oil on linen

Morning in the Monarch Grove

18×24″ oil on canvas– There are encouraging signs that the Monarch Butterfly population is making a comeback. Last year I hardly saw a single butterfly. They are always suffering from habitat loss, but I heard that there was also a wildfire at one of their roosting sites in Mexico while they were there last year. This year they can be seen fluttering and forming clumps around Ellwood again!