24×36″ oil on linen– I’ve heard people say that mountains breathe and what they mean was vividly clear to me camping below Banner Peak a couple of weeks ago. Sitting there painting it in gouache (you can see the sketch in my last post) there would be about five to ten minutes of stillness and warm sun. Then, from the direction of the peak I would hear the roar of cold air rushing down its sides… the bands of wind chop would spread across the lake and I’d grip my painting board as Banner’s roaring, icy exhale washed past me for a couple minutes. The rhythm repeated for most of the afternoon.
I was happy to see those glaciers, though shrinking dramatically every year, are still holding on and feeding the San Joaquin river below.
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.
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.
18×24″ oil on linen– What I love about the Big Sur coast is how much edge there is. The fractal canyons and bays and multitude of islands make for an enchanted scene. There are so many folds for the ocean to peak into, for light to cling to and to hide secret shady coves. We got here just in time to catch those transparent cliff shadows still extending into the sea.
This is painting paradise for me. It is actually so beautiful it is dangerous… big cliffs and unbelievable views combined. My knee is all skinned up from walking around on wet rocks with my eyes up on the view. The design possibilities are endless here… every few feet I want to start a new canvas.
I love the ocean’s rock sculptures, carved by centuries of erosion, that are arranged on El Matador State Beach… I’m guessing the beach is named because this big one looks like an enormous bull charging out of the surf? The bull’s back is a big elevated garden on stilts for the gulls to look down on their beach from.
This second painting was painted from high up on the ridge above Corral Canyon looking out towards Point Dume. There’s nothing more fun than hiking on a trail I’ve never been on before or painting a beautiful view for the first time.
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.
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!