Sometimes it flows low in the canyons, deftly weaving and gracefully twisting on the path of least resistance. Other times it drifts spaciously along like a vapor riding the breeze. And so do we, since it makes up the majority of our bodies.
I love views where I can see the water in the creek twisting and turning on the path back home to mother ocean. The sun was getting low this afternoon causing that play of light and shadow that I enjoy so much when I’m painting. The canvas almost blew away on this one as the winds whipped up the canyon, but my reflexes dropped my brush to grab the easel.
I had scoped out the site the day before hiking with my daughter. I’ve been forgetful lately and didn’t bring a panel, but she kindly tore a page out of her sketchbook for me to paint on…
If you’ve scrambled up the rocky ledge to the east of Mission Canyon you might recognize this sandstone tower that is getting ready to burst with chaparral flowers like sage and ceanothus… it is going to be a gorgeous spring!
Some of the distant rocks that make up the bones of our local mountains turn out to be striking monoliths when you encounter them close up, abstractly sculpted by wind and rain and roots and time. What is the hole? Is it a window, a keyhole, a peephole, an eye, a passage, a feature in a pirate’s map, an ancient observatory, a sundial, a blue circle, a sky pizza, a frame for a hawk, a lizard’s flytrap, a bird’s playground? This one had at least a dozen possible titles but I’m a sucker for alliteration.
It was fun to explore some local trails this weekend to see how the rains have changed the landscape. There are side creeks and waterfalls flowing where I haven’t seen them for many years. It is going to be a beautiful spring with the deep soak that we have gotten.
Can you believe how much rain we’ve already gotten this year. (And in a year they were predicting a mild La Niña no less!) I’m hoping you all stayed safe and dry through the storm. I’m so grateful that the reservoirs, springs and aquifers are filling up. It will be nice to turn on the tap in the coming year and enjoy a glass of these January rains!
Happy New Year everyone! This was my first painting of 2023 on a hike up into the foothills on a grey pensive day. That is the Santa Barbara Harbor in the distance framed by a rock formation above Rattlesnake Canyon.
I used bold, chunky blocks of color to try to capture all the hues I could see at Lake Los Carneros in the morning. It was tough to photograph this one as the paint is quite shiny and my brushstrokes go at so many different angles. I hope you all are enjoying the holiday season and finding some time to get outdoors!
This time of year the color green starts to dominate our usually golden Southern California landscape…
The cool winter air is so clear I could easily see all the way south to Point Mugu on the horizon of this painting. The next point coming forward is Rincon and then the city of Carp is before that. The middle ground is Parma Park, an under hiked open space in town. What beautiful green and blue days we’ve been having!
I’ve been working on a large canvas recently and painting from memory…
I wanted to create a view that exists over time on a hike in our local mountains, but you can never quite frame with a camera. Do you know moments like this when you are on canyon creek trail watching spotlights penetrating the oak and California Bay canopy and illuminating patches of creek water and leaf litter. In the distance you glimpse an occasional peak of the ocean and Channel Islands. The title describes the chosen journey the creek takes as the raindrops return home to the Pacific.