Flavors of Light

All paintings are 9×12″ oil on panel– Here are a few of the places I’ve been setting up the easel lately. Whether I’m on the fragrant path in the eucalyptus grove, on the cliffs looking at the precarious and fun hanging college apartments in Isla Vista or painting the gardens at San Ysidro Ranch, the light is always the main subject of a painting. I continue to grow more and more fascinated with the quality and colors of light and the visual and emotional effects they have on a scene.

Sierra Backpacking Paintings: part 2

This was a beautiful hike, making paintings between hiking passes, swimming in lakes and eating cereal in epic breakfast locations. I’m working on a large oil painting based on this gouache backpacking painting of Garnet Lake and Banner Peak. There is so much richness and beauty out there…. does anybody know what bird has the most melodic song in the Sierras with a series of sad notes followed by metallic trills? It’s song enchanted me several times but I could never lay eyes on it.

I’ll be having an open studio show on Labor Day weekend if you’d like to see these and other recent paintings in person.

Sierra Backpacking Paintings: Part 1

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!

Warm Breeze–Ellwood Bluffs

18×38″ oil on canvas

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.

Open Studio and Creek Light

Salamander Playground –16×20″ oil on linen

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.

Painting Seasons

Portrait of Santa Barbara– 8×16″ oil on linen panel– $500

Creek Sounds– 12×16″ oil on linen panel– Do you know what time of year it is? Duck season? Wabbit season? No… it’s creek painting season! (If you are under thirty you probably missed that reference… sorry). It is so nice to hear all the echoing watery sounds reverberating through the canyons– I love to paint creeks! It is also the season when I get to use more shades of the color green here in Santa Barbara where the summer and fall palette is more in shades of tan and gold. I hope you all are finding some time to play outdoors!

Creek Sounds– 12×16″ oil on linen panel– $750
Creek Light in Progress…

Daytime Moon–Ellwood

Daytime Moon– 18×36″ oil on linen–$1800

Whatever your hobby or love is, I encourage you to try a month of doing it every day. These are things I’ve learned making a painting a day this month of September:

  1. Some of our best ideas come when we don’t overthink and just respond to what we are experiencing in the moment.
  2. You don’t have to wash your brushes if you use them every day– they don’t have a chance to dry out.
  3. There is something worth painting no matter where you are.

Painting is a little more like running than it is like riding a bike… You know how people say “its like riding a bike” which means you never forget how to do it. This is somewhat true with painting, but if you do it more regularly, it is kind of like you get into art shape and it is much easier.

in progress…

Campus Point– 12×24″ oil on panel– $750
Lizard’s Mouth and the Sea of Clouds– 16×20″– $750

Fishing Boats, a Dragon’s Back and one Cooperative Gull

These are the subjects of some of my recent paintings. I have been enjoying the challenge of creating a paintings every day for the month of September. If you want to see all of them, they can be found here on Instagram. I’ll share brief stories about each one below.

Fishing since 1929– 12×16″ oil on panel

When I asked the Captain of the Sal-C if his boat was going to be parked for a while so I could paint it, he joked, “I painted it last week!” It is an awesome fishing boat that I learned has been out fishing in the Santa Barbara Channel for 91 years.

The Dragon’s Back– 8×16″ oil on linen panel– $500

My favorite feature of our local mountains is Arlington and Cathedral Peaks, the rocks on which can be interpreted as an immense sleeping dragon.

Goleta Beach Gull– 6×8″ oil on panel– $180

Part of painting every day is sometimes having to squeeze in a quick session into a busy life. Often I don’t have time to be picky about a scene, but just pull out the easel and take what nature throws at this me. If I’m lucky, the wildlife cooperate.

Beach Days

Ledbetter Surf–12×16″ –$750

I committed myself to the challenge of making a painting a day for the month of September. Each day I’ve been heading out and working on a variety of sizes depending upon the amount of time and energy I have left in me. (I’m not posting them all here because I don’t want to overwhelm people’s inboxes, but if you’d like to see them all they are on my Instagram and Facebook Artist pages.).

I’m hoping that the experience will take my technique to a new level. Already I’m seeing things a little differently and addressing canvases with a looser, more cavalier style. I always tell my students that there aren’t many things like painting that you can do your entire life and continue to improve. And just when you think you’ve figured it all out, the next day you are thrown for a loop and feel like a beginner again. Painting is a constant challenge and joy.

Ain’t no Place Better– 12×24″ oil on panel–$800
Mesa Lane Atmosphere– 12×16″ oil on linen panel– $750

A Living Microclimate

18×36″ oil on panel– $2200

This is the view looking out towards Santa Cruz Island from near the San Marcos open space. It is striking on a hot day how much cooler it is beneath an oak tree, with its thick dappled shade and its leaves transpiring. I had fun stylizing the leaves, trying to get the variety of warm and cool greens they contain.

Detail