These paintings are from the UC Reserve on the west end of Santa Cruz Island. Going to the islands is like going back in time 150 years and seeing what the California coastline looked like before development. The tide pools were full of diversity and life and we got to see the shenanigans of a few Channel Island Foxes and Scrub Jays.
The variety of colors and textures of the rock formations that make up the band of islands make me wish I’d taken geology classes when I was in school. Dry coriopsis flowers dot the hillsides— I’d love to see the blooms in early spring!
There is a place in Mammoth that is really special to my family and growing up in Tahoe, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to walk there. A couple weeks ago I finally connected those dots, leaving a 180 mile trail from my parents’ backyard to our favorite camping spot. I was hiking long days, but still managed to make a gouache painting each day. I had fun crossing paths with the main bubble of northbound PCT hikers floating on the trail on their way up to Canada… one of these days I want to hike and paint that whole journey!
I’m doing a painting demo at the Wilding Museum in Solvang this Sunday from 11-2. I’ll be showing how to develop a painting from a sketch using oils. Come on by and chat for a bit!
When Lauren and I were first dating I asked her what would be the ultimate painting that I could make for her. She said she’d love the view when you are laying on your back looking up into a tree watching the ways the light filters through the stained-glass leaves and the layers of depth. Wow, I thought, that’s a tough one… I’ve been trying ever since and I’m getting closer to the vision. Only in her mind it is a Sycamore Tree and this is an oak, so I’ll keep dancing around this theme.
I thought it would be fun to create a kaleidoscopic image from this painting… would make a good Grateful Dead album cover wouldn’t it?
This is the season when the dried straw on the bluffs has lost its green and instead has that golden glow when the sun gets low in the sky. I painted here at dawn a couple months ago and it was such a different palette, with mustard flowers and tall green grasses.
I’m teaching landscape painting to my students this week and as I look around at what they are creating, I’m struck by the fact that arrangements of light and colors have emotional tones to them. I guess other senses do this too. For example, smell is said to be the sense that links most closely to memory and that’s why certain smells can transport you back to your childhood. I think that certain qualities of light and color are similarly evocative, connecting us back to past moods.
State Street Stroll– 16×20″ oil on linen– It turns out that streets are much nicer without cars on them. Since the pandemic pushed the restaurants and cafes out into the lanes feet and bikes are the only mode of transportation down State. We learned to slow down last year in so many ways. As the speed and busyness of life is ramping up, I hope we hold on to our inner and outer pedestrian mindset.
Hi Everyone! This Sunday is a casual Open Studio from 10am -3pm in my backyard studio at 1128 Via Regina. I’ll have my paintings out and arranged by size and would love to chat and share my work with anyone who wants to come by! If anyone is interested in a belated Mother’s Day gift, I’m throwing in a free 6×8″ painting with any purchase over $500.
I saw an auspicious friendly rattlesnake as I hiked Rattlesnake Canyon for this view a week ago. The summer is going to be dry, but the water is still flowing, at least in some parts of the creek. It is a challenge to catch the changing light in a dappled situation. Look at the two images below to see how quickly the light and shadow parts of a scene like this can swap places. It’s comparable to painting a portrait of people playing musical chairs. I made the small sketch you can see at the top of the easel to remember where I wanted the shadows to be.
18×24″ oil on linen– This was painted as the edge of morning advanced last shadow edges of evening, from the edge of the cliffs on the edge of Spring. I was thinking of edges in my painting, both crisp and defined and soft and atmospheric as I made it. On edges there is excitement–a little danger perhaps– and the view is always better.
In the Sierras and other alpine regions this type of light is called alpenglow, when the last rays of sun warm the granite peaks a shade of pink. Does anyone know if there is a synonym for it if you are at sea level? “Twilight” was all the Thesaurus had to offer. And “aurora,” but I think that means dawn rather than sunset. I had fun playing with impressionistic effects on this one, putting a variety of colors side by side to try to get the feeling of that warm glowing light.
Below is a small 6×8″ plein air study I made one evening to try to catch the colors, which only last about ten minutes.
Poppies are popping up in the meadow at the SB Botanic Gardens and even through a mask you can smell spring in the air. Valentines day is coming and the birds and the bees are doing what the birds and the bees do. Hopefully we can squeeze a little more rain from some passing clouds before the calendar pages slip through our fingers.