The say you can’t cross the same river twice and I think it would also be true to say you can’t watch the same sunset twice from this trail on the edge of the Ellwood Bluffs. This particular afternoon, the water was shimmering and I was squinting… letting in just enough of the brilliance to not see spots before my eyes.
It is so healing to be under a big sky in an expansive place. I’m thinking of people in cities with shelter in place orders and hoping the residents are getting outside for their share of fresh air and sunlight. It’s a big sky and a big planet– there’s plenty of space for all of us to stretch a bit if we’re smart about it. I’m hoping for health, peace and the opportunity to connect with nature for all of you.
Ahhhh…. you are beautiful Ellwood an hour before sundown. You make me use every color in the paintbox– the cadmium yellow mustardseeds, the reds in the ice plant, the golden light in the sky and on the water, the phthalo blue ocean, the deep rich greens of spring, and most important– the lovely grey in-between colors that support the others and allow them to shine.
I was running around Lake Los Carneros a couple of weeks ago and enjoying how the red light climbed across the mountains. The time of the sunrise is subjective, depending upon where you are on the mountain or in a canyon. I saw two sunrises that morning on different sides of the lake.
The days are growing crisper, the mornings cooler, the dry air clearer, the angle of light more slanted and the mind more reflective. The calendar pages have autumn pictures and pumpkin soup sounds good again.
As I made this small painting, good memories from college of running out from Isla Vista, around the slough and up the path to the Ellwood bluffs came back to me. It was a new exotic landscape for me back in 1993 when I started at UCSB, but now I know these trails like the back of my hand. Funny how a place becomes a part of you as you become a part of a place.
This portrait of our local mountains was painted while my daughter was chasing the ball around the field with her team. I love how the contours start to pop out on our south-facing hills as the sun dips to the west.
15×30″ oil on linen– I hiked my easel out to the cliffs for a particularly beautiful afternoon last weekend… The backlit mustard glowed an electric yellow and the softest marine layer was rolling in from offshore playing lovely tricks with the light. Come out to the Bacara this Friday from 2-8pm for and Saturday 10-5pm for SCAPE’s “Visions of the Gaviota Coast” show which benefits the Gaviota Coastal Conservancy! Opening Receptions is Friday from 5-8 pm.
9×12″ oil on canvas panel– The first mustard seeds are sprouting yellow on the green hills beyond the slough. It is a party for the frogs and birds out in the many vernal pools that have formed on the bluffs after the rains. The equinox is next week– welcome spring!
Here are two small recent oil sketches. One was made in out backyard when the chard in the garden was looking like stained glass, the other is from the upper path at the Botanic Gardens and the third photo is just to give a sense of scale…