Redwood Creek Studies

These are two studies for a new painting I’m currently working on attempting to get that enchanted feeling of being on a creek through a redwood grove, one of the most beautiful experiences I know. It’s fun to see what gouache and charcoal have to say about a subject before I work larger and speak in oil paint.

Theres’s just a week and a half until my open studio event. It will be Saturday, June 18 from 11-4 at 1128 Via Regina. I’ll have all my work out to make things easy to see. I hope to see you there!

Visual Languages

Charcoal Sketch — about 6×6″

I’ve been playing around with charcoal lately… a media I haven’t really used since college. It makes me think about how if art is a form of communication, every media or material you use is like a different language. And like all languages, some are better for saying some things and others… others. Here is me sketching, speaking in two languages: Charcoal and Gouache and trying my best to say, “Don’t you love a mossy redwood canyon?”

Gouache– About 6×6″

Big Sur Paintings and Open Studio Date

Rocky Coast Big Sur– 12×16″ oil on linen panel

Save the date: I’ll be putting my paintings out at an open studio event on Saturday, June 18 (Father’s Day Weekend) from 11-4 pm. I’ll post details when it gets closer and also announce it on my quarterly newsletter which you can sign up for on my website.

Here are a couple of other paintings I made when up the coast at Big Sur. It is so fun to paint the steep cliffs and fractal coastline with rocks, inlands and inlets of every size imaginable. The second painting was made up a fern-lined creek where the sunlight moves through spotlights in the redwood canopy.

Light Crossing the Creek– 16×20″ oil on linen panel

Trees I’ve Met

Cliffside Grove– 12×16″ oil on linen panel– (Available)

Here are a couple recent paintings of trees. Above I painted where the sea breeze rustles the eucalyptus scented leaves, dogs rest in the dappled shade on a hot day.   The old folks climb the cliffside trees overlooking the beaches and young kids watch them and think about how it will be to be old again.  

For the image below, I was walking around the Santa Ynez mission looking for something to paint and was drawn to this natural arbor of oaks that makes a small tunnel of shade for the path that descends into a valley.  I simplified this one down to the most basic composition, shapes and design.   I have several works in the Oak Group exhibit at the Faulkner Gallery. The opening is this Thursday from 5:30-7:30. We’d love to see you there!

Oaken Archway– 8×10″ oil on linen panel– (Available)

Portrait of Santa Barbara

24×36″ oil on linen panel– $3200

What a cool little town! Here’s Santa Barbara resting at the base of its chaparral mountains that smell of bay and sage, with it’s red-tiled roofs and sunny gardens and the peaceful blue ocean protected by the Channel Islands. I tried to paint her portrait from an angle that accentuates her best features.

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)

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…”

Detail
Detail
Arlington Peak (Dragon’s Back) from below

San Simeon Coastline

Foglight– 6×8″ oil on panel

These paintings were made on the same day, but when the sea and sky had completely different moods. In the one above at San Simeon State Beach the sun was finding clever ways to sneak through the fog. Can you find the elephant seals in the distance on the one below? You think are tiny dots of paint, but I promise you they have flippers, whiskers and funny noses if you walk far enough into the painting.

What Elephant Seals Never Forget– 6×8″ oil on panel