Backpacking Sketches

Cliff Gardens– acrylic on paper sketch

It had been way too long since I was able to tramp through the backcountry. This weekend I did a quick loop out to the Sisquoc and also got to spend a couple of nights with friends up Manzana Creek. The rains had a definite impact on the landscape— the smallest creeks were still flowing, the wild flowers still colored the trail and the trail itself ceased to exist in many places where trees fell, land slid and bushes bushed out. It is beautiful and alive out there with many tracks and signs of healthy wildlife.

Go With the Flow–Tangerine Falls

18×24″ oil on canvas (Available)

It is quite a rock scramble with a couple of sketchy sections these days to reach Tangerine Falls these days, but the view is as spectacular as ever. This was always my favorite hike in town before the fires and subsequent landslides. I still love it. Watching the creek over these past years has been a lesson in the resiliency of nature and the ability of water to carve new pools and find an ever-evolving, effortless and beautiful path to the sea.

Waist-deep in Wildflowers

16×20″ oil on linen

The Canyon Sunflowers are in full bloom on the edge of the bluffs along More Mesa. The Mustardseeds and Wild Radish flowers are over head-high in places. My daughter’s middle name is Spring. The word has so many great meanings. Nothing beats an early spring morning– the time of beginnings and potential when everything is sprouting and vital and so full of energy and fresh life.

Painting in Boston

North Church– gouache on paper

I’m so proud of my wife Lauren for her training and run of the Boston Marathon on Monday. What an inspiring event with so many thousands of people coming together for the love of running. I had some paper and gouache in my backpack and made a couple of quick paintings while we were there. The top one is of North Church where Paul Revere hung the lantern in the middle of the night to signal the night riders that the British armies were approaching. It starts to feel as you are walking around like most of early American History happened in a couple square miles. The next is of South Church… the architecture was amazing with beautifully colored stones. The final one was made in the Beacon Hill neighborhood where an iron fence was perfectly designed to double as a standing easel.

South Church– gouache on paper
Beacon Hill– gouache on paper

Pockets of Sunlight–Coronado Butterfly Preserve

Pockets of Sunlight– 16×20″ oil on linen panel (Available)

I have so many fond memories from college of laying on my back on the fallen Eucalyptus trees and looking up at the orange spectacle of Monarch Butterflies riding wind currents in and out of the sunlight and shadows. Before the storms came, it was great to see that their numbers were once again on the rise in our area after a couple of really low years. Hopefully they escaped the wet winter in warmer southern climates.

Focus– Coal Oil Point

18×36″ oil on canvas (Available)

I have been loving painting all of the spring greens, but for this studio painting I wanted to crack open the tubes of warmer hues to paint that warm colored light that can wash over our landscape at sunset. The title has multiple meanings, but one was that I was thinking of photography as I designed the composition and how I made the lines of clouds and the pathway of the water and shadows all lead the attention to the brightest yellow light seen through the aperture of the dark trees.

Plein Air Indoors and Island View

12×16″ oil on canvas panel

Plein Air painting means painting outdoors… but on this particular rainy day I set up my French easel indoors. It was warm and dry and I got to see the landscape outside soak up the cool water. Fascinating to realize the unexpected colors you find yourself painting the top of the oak table when the reflected light comes into play.

The painting below was painted from the interior of Santa Cruz Island and reminds me of an earlier California before development.

Island Valley View–8×16″ oil on canvas panel