Changing Moods- Ellwood Bluffs

14×18″ oil on canvas– Every day of the year is a sunny day…  if you can only get above the clouds.  I love days like this when just a few luminous spotlights find their way through the overcast… little patches of brilliant sunlight on an otherwise grey landscape.   Just like with moods, you can appreciate the sunny even more when you also know the melancholy.

Sign Post–Santa Cruz Island

16×20″  oil on canvas– I had a Georgia O’Keefe moment painting this cow and Channel Island Fox skull I found on a fence post on a damp and misty morning on Santa Cruz Island last spring.  I love this area– just a short boat ride from the mainland and it feels like you are transported back in time a hundred years.  I’m getting a couple of Channel Islands paintings together for an Oak Group benefit show for the Nature Conservancy next month.

Late Afternoon, Early Autumn

15×30″ oil on canvas panel–  The warm and cool color notes on the bluffs are beautiful in the afternoon this time of year.  Isn’t this a great season?  Things start to change really dramatically as the  nights are growing and the coolness, wetness and crispness of winter starts eclipse the warm, dry, hazy summer.

More Summer Backpacking Sketches

I love looking back at this sketchbook from backpacking this summer.  When you take the time to sit down and make a drawing or a painting of something, all your senses are absorbed.  The sketchbook becomes a time machine and can flash you right back to that vivid moment… even years later as I’ve found with my old college sketchbooks.

The Taste of a Place

20×48″ oil on canvas– I sketched this from a random dirt road up in the wine country near Los Olivos.  One nice thing about wine is people really stop and savor it at the end of a day and to really try to experience the flavor.  It could only taste better outdoors where it was grown and wine tasters are probably trying to bottle the location as much as the beverage… like this bottle which will surely have undertones of bitter oak, dry autumn grass, a rolling mellow smoothness  and some notes of bright golden sunlight.

Afternoon Meadow Glow

24×30″ oil on canvas– The landscape designers and gardeners at the Botanic Gardens are amazing artists… the palette of wildflowers and native plants changes colors so many times over the course of a year!  Next Saturday SCAPE is having a benefit show for the gardens.

Marmot Paradise and Painting Process

Oil on Canvas 25.5×34″  –This is the first backpacking sketch that I’ve turned into a finished oil painting.  Lauren named this place on the east side of Sawtooth Pass “Marmot Paradise” for all the happy groundhogs who call this place home who were whistling, running amok and eating the vibrant grasses in these high meadows. I took pictures of the original sketch and my backpacking painting kit so people can see the setup.  I used a lightweight sheet of corrugated plastic as a laptop desk with a clip-on water container.  Notice the wet paper towel that I squeeze my paints onto… it wicks water up into the paints to keep the dry mountain air from solidifying them.   No stand up easel this trip, but after hiking fifteen miles over a pass, who wants to stand?