Patterns

24×36″ oil on canvas (available)

Besides the thought of how nice it would be to sit in the shade of this oak and taste the wine grown from the grapes below, I was also thinking about the contrast between manmade and natural patterns. The geometric, efficient patterns of human developments often oppose the sinuous natural rhythms. Here the two blend: straight parallel lines of the vineyard roll over the organic contours of the hills in a beautiful way.

Misty Morning Paintouts

Fog Burnoff– Goleta Slough 14×18″

Just one week until my big Open Studio Art Sale. On Labor Day Weekend, September 3-5 come by as my guest at 1128 Via Regina from 11-5 Saturday or Sunday!

I’ve been out painting on some of those misty mornings we’ve been having. It is fun to play with the subtlety of the greys and to try to catch that mysterious light.

Misty Beach Walk– 9×12– oil on linen

Alpine Symmetry

24×36″ oil on canvas– (available)

I saw several gems of lakes like this one backpacking this summer. There is no actual trail going here, but there are alpine creek drainages to follow or talus field passes that take you off of the most common routes and let you experience hiking in a different way. In some ways, there is more energy in way finding and more mindfulness of steps that aren’t graded and switchbacked for stock travel… and for this you get the reward of recognizing how many little secret meadows, glens, lakes, tarns, granite art forms and other surprises are tucked into the rocky arms of the Sierra Nevada. This little lake sits on the eastern flank of Seven Gables which you can see beginning to rise on the right side of the canvas.

More Backpacking Paintings

Before the HailStorm– gouache on paper

Here are a couple of more moody paintings of lakes from my backpacking trip last week in the high eastern Sierras. It rained every day. It was also sunny every day. Often both were happening at the same time. Under the changing skies I saw wildflowers, bighorn sheep, lightning flashes and felt a flood of memories as the mountain smells were intensified by the rain.

Purple Mountains, Rumbling Clouds– gouache on paper
Racing the clouds…

Painting at Extreme Altitudes

Beauty and Fear–From Seven Gables at 13,000 feet– gouache on paper

I was dizzy and wobbly with vertigo as I painted this one. I wished I could have stayed a couple hours on the peak to decipher the distant peaks that stretched for what looked like hundreds of miles before me, but cumulonimbus clouds were materializing by the minute and I wanted lower ground before the lightning started. I had a healthy amount of fear… can you sense the urgency in the sketch?

I was able to get down to this lake at the northern base of the peak and make this sketch before the raindrops fell. Dramatic holes of sunlight in a mostly clouded sky created spotlights on a dazzling stage. Every now and then they would find me and I’d be in the sun for a few short moments as rain fell in the distance.

Before the Rain–Below Seven Gables– gouache on paper

Life After Death–Hoh Rainforest

16×20″ oil on linen panel

This fallen spruce tree has become a landscape in itself as the forest reclaims it and it’s decomposition feeds ferns and mosses, beetles and butterflies and even young trees seeding in its layers of life. If you want to experience life after death, check out the rainforest. Here plants grow out of plants and embrace trees and rotting wood like sprouting verdant carpet. Since almost all the organic material is in the canopy rather than in the soil in a rainforest, a dead tree fall means the start of a new fountain of living greenery. It rained the day before we got here, but we got to see the rainforest in sunlight!

Fresh paint…

9×12 oil on linen panel

Here are a couple of new ones recently off the easel. I painted a nice misty morning view from the cliffs above Hendry’s on the Douglas Preserve a couple days ago, watching the people on the beach play and walk around not unlike the ants that have been in our kitchen. : )

I also made another neighborhood painting with two small panels of a corner on Valerio Street and once again enjoyed chatting with the friendly neighbors and hearing a little bit of the story of place. It is interesting how this type of conversation is often about a tree… either one that’s there or one that used to be. Trees make a neighborhood, don’t they?

Valerie Street Diptych– 6×16″ oil on two panels

Pleasant places to paint…

Los Olives Summer Day– 8×10″ oil on linen panel

Here are a couple of pleasant painting locals from the past week. The top one was made after a walk around Lake Los Carneros and a delicious sandwich with my family in Los Olives. (We brought a couple more small works to show at the Los Olivos General Store if you find yourself up that way.)

The second was made at El Refugio State Beach at the moment when the sun burns through the marine layer and it’s time to jump in the ocean. I hope you are all enjoying your summer days!

El Refugio Beach Day– 9×12″ oil on linen panel

Momentary Balance

24×36″ oil on canvas (available)

There is an unexpected point on any rock where it can find momentary balance. If you have ever done slack lining or hopped across rocks in a stream you know that the only kind of balance is momentary. In every instant we are making slight adjustments and becoming relaxed and comfortable with a shifting center.

In this painting, I was balancing shades of grey. It was fun to push them in different directions to find all of the color on an overcast day. It is fun to hang this one on the wall (it is almost life-size scale) and bring a beachside still life indoors.