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:
Some of our best ideas come when we don’t overthink and just respond to what we are experiencing in the moment.
You don’t have to wash your brushes if you use them every day– they don’t have a chance to dry out.
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.
I’ve been fortunate to go backpacking almost every weekend this past month. These are all small (about 5×8″) gouache sketches made during hikes in the Sespe Wilderness. It has been so good to be experiencing all of the wildflowers and flowing creeks of spring.
12×24″ oil on panel– From this perch on Ortega Hill, you can see three points jutting out to the north. In the foreground Fernald Point encloses Shark Cove, which I’ve heard is named because in the mid 1800’s they used to butcher cattle nearby and then toss the remnants to the sea. Behind that is Hammond’s Point in the mid ground and way back there is Ledbetter Point at the far end of the Santa Barbara Harbor. For a painter, it’s a great lesson in atmospheric perspective, seeing the colors and contrast cool and fade as they fall into the distance.
8×10″ oil on canvas– The water is still flowing beautifully through our local canyons and the salamanders and frogs are going strong despite the wildfires and floods last year. When the weather gets warm most people head to the beach. There is always also a nice breeze and some cool pools up a canyon.
15×30″ oil on linen– So nice to watch the glimmer on the water as the sun rises over our fair seaside town on a morning between the fog cycles… The kids are out for summer and it won’t be long before the last of the June Gloom evaporates and these beaches are full of people playing in the surf.
The pencil is there for scale. The crack in the sidewalk reminded me of what they say– that when you find a fault, you shouldn’t dwell on it. But here we are dwelling in earthquake country and quite happy about it. I had fun backpacking Memorial Day weekend with a fun group, several of whom are geologists and point out really cool things about the shape of the land and the fossils hiding in plain sight. Here are a couple of watercolor and gouache sketches that I snuck in between the rains.
8×10″ oil on panel– This sweet confluence is up Limekiln creek. I had just enough time to get it blocked in before the rain was falling– an hour later it was sunny again. You can’t beat a redwood grove for mystery and beauty in any weather…
18×36″ oil on linen– Happy Mother’s Day weekend! Can you spot the mom and baby seal who were swimming around like real-life mermaids in China Cove last week? Point Lobos is such an ideal landscape I felt like I was plein air painting in Neverneverland– the windblown pines, the turquoise inlets, the colorful plants clinging to the rocky cliffs… I love it.
Garrapata Dawn– 8×16″ oil on panel– This was painted on a lovely Big Sur morning. This is by far one of the prettiest parts of the planet I’ve ever experienced. Late Afternoon Glimmer– 6×8″ oil on panel– This small study of light on the water was painted at Limekiln State Park where I slept in the overflow site, under the bridge at the edge of the sand listening to waves roll in all night and the rain falling at one point.