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!
16×20″ oil on canvas– I had a Georgia O’Keefe moment painting this cow and Channel Island Fox skull I found on a fence post on a damp and misty morning on Santa Cruz Island last spring. I love this area– just a short boat ride from the mainland and it feels like you are transported back in time a hundred years. I’m getting a couple of Channel Islands paintings together for an Oak Group benefit show for the Nature Conservancy next month.
15×30″ oil on canvas panel– This is the far western end of Santa Cruz Island. The several food deep middens of abalone shell and other sea life show evidence of the thousands of years the Chumash called this home. It’s crazy to look at the stretch of sea out there and learn that following the last ice age Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Island were connected as one big island called Santa Rosae. Mammoths swam out to Santa Rosae and like the foxes that live there now, shrunk in size and evolved into Pygmy Mammoths. Time, time, time– it is a beautiful ever-changing world out there…
Timeless Stanton Ranch– 15×30″ oil on canvas–This part of Santa Cruz Island was ranch land for sheep at one time to fill the need for wool during the Civil War. Later, cattle and wine grapes were cultivated. I painted the Stanton Ranch bunkhouse and the old chapel that sit on the site. As an aside, I was fascinated to learn that when sheep escape and breed, they return to their wild form and start to grow horns. As part of the ecological restoration, hunting tags were sold at one time for Island Big Horn Sheep. Morning Light–Stanton Ranch Chapel–14×18″– oil on canvas
Evaporating Clouds– Forney’s Point — 18×24″ oil on canvas
I was incredibly fortunate to be invited as a member of the Oak Group to paint the Nature Conservancy Preserve on Santa Cruz Island. The scenery is breathtaking out there and makes me feel like I’ve time-traveled and gone back to a simpler coastal California before trains, freeways and development. It is so peaceful to experience and I find it comforting knowing this organization is protecting pieces of wilderness like this from development. Fifty percent of the proceeds from my Santa Cruz Islands paintings goes to the Nature Conservancy and their efforts. Light Beneath the Clouds– Blue Banks Anchorage– 18×24″ oil on canvas