Recent Paintings Blog

Looking on the Bright Side

12×24″ –oil on canvas

So this is from healthy pots of succulents and imagination… no ceramics were injured in the making of this painting. I have had an idea to paint a crushed terra cotta pot, but with its inhabitants finding a way to thrive in the new situation. I find that sometimes titles are hard to pin on a painting, but for this one the metaphors were waiting in line in my imagination as I laid down the paint. “Catastrophe and Opportunity,” “Fragile Planet,” “Microclimate,” “Heroic Voyage,” “Hatched,” “Branching Out.” You get the idea… I let “Looking on the Bright Side” rise to the top.

Winter Skies at the Beach

Hendry’s Cloudcover– 12×24″ oil on stretched linen

This is that special kind of overcast where the ceiling of clouds is full of tatters and holes that light keeps leaking through. You get the grey reflective mood of a cloudy day with occasional dazzling spotlights of sunny day sneaking in. The top painting was a nice morning at Hendry’s beach last week and the one below was made that same afternoon out walking at low tide at Ellwood. It’s a beautiful world out there…

Sea, Sky and a Soon-to-be Obsolete Energy Source– 6×8″ oil on panel

The Lookout

The acorn that sprouted and started to grow into this Coast Live Oak many, many mornings ago sure picked a good spot to sink its roots. I wonder if it knew how many people would visit it for picnics and to share its grand view of Cathedral and Arlington Peaks, the rolling green hills and the Santa Barbara harbor on the horizon. I spent a pleasant morning before the easel trying to catch the atmospheric golden light we get on green winter mornings here.

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!

Moody Skies and Minus Tides

Here are a couple of recent 9×12″ paintings of the Santa Barbara Coastline. The top one was painted under some dramatic skies from out on Stearn’s Wharf. The second was painted up the coast from Haskel’s Beach during a minus tide as the underwater eel grass meadows are revealed and the egrets are hunting for fish and crabs in the tide pools.

There is always something beautiful to paint, wherever I find myself. The tough part is deciding how to narrow it down…

Last Painting of 2021

Winter Rainswell–16×20″ oil on linen

I had my hopes down for much rainfall this year, with the meteorologists predicting a dry cold La Nina winter. It was an unexpected gift to get these last storms and when I took my easel out on the last day of the year I wanted to catch a local creek with the water spilling through the boulders and the sycamores starting to drop their orange leaves. It is the promise of another year of happy steelhead and salamanders, fresh water in Cachuma and beautiful hiking.

Work in Progress…

Sunrise Before a Storm

8×16″ oil on linen panel– I love the rain. In our dry, crispy, chaparral climate the rain changes the landscape almost as dramatically as snow in the sierras, but instead of turning the landscape white, everything grows lush. I hope you all are enjoying watching the world turn green and the reservoirs fill.

Sunrise Before a Storm– 8×16″ oil on linen

Mist off the Water– Lake Los Carneros

18×24″ oil on canvas– When the morning sun hits the surface of the cold lake little whispy clouds evaporate over the water. It is a little micro version of fog and clouds forming on the ocean. At this point I’m completely making this up, but imagine how these little lake weather systems pile up at the base of the tules and have micro rain storms that only the smallest bugs are short enough to experience, with really tiny lightening not much bigger than the spark when you rub your feet on the carpet and touch a doorknob.

Channel Cat–Glassy Seas

9×12″ oil on linen panel– I know this is a local boat, but whenever I see people out sailing around I daydream about what it would be like to be sailing around the globe and pulling into our sweet harbor to shake off the old sea legs, hike up to the crest of the mountains and then get a burrito, of course. Next stop, Big Sur on route to Alaska….

Open Studio this Sunday

On Sunday from 11-5 at 1128 Via Regina I’ll be hosting my seasonal Open Studio event. Would you like to have a small piece of the outdoors to hang on your walls? They’d look much better on your walls than in my studio. All paintings will be 10% off. Feel free to come by just to look for fun… all are welcome. I hope to see you there!

Golden Haze– Eling’s Park– 20×30″ oil on linen