12×24” oil on canvas— The nice gentle rains so far have been so good for saturating the landscape, sprouting the fire scars and letting the outdoor painters open the tubes of their most vibrant greens. You can tell by this old oak that lichens are likin’ it too.
This is a small 6×8″ oil sketch I made on New Years eve hiking with my family. We went to a place that out of cultural respect and a sense of conservation I won’t name. I have several times painted or sketched at rock art sites and always feel a sense of awe and wonder admiring the art of these native Californians. I love seeing the mortars nearby where the artists ground their pigments and it is always a longing and stretch of the imagination to travel back in time and picture them being made and to try to understand their meanings.
20×48″ oil on canvas– I added the final touches to this painting made over two mornings at Ellwood. Here in Goleta, winter is really our spring when the seeds that have been drying in the clay soil for months finally get saturated with sweet rain. Here’s hoping for some more of it this weekend!
15×30″ oil on linen– I was thinking of what it would be like to be a plant on the canyon floor as I made this one. How much would you look forward to that one hour when the skylights in the trees finally line up with the sun and you get your fleeting daily shower of sunlight? How grateful you would be for the rare California storm that gets your creek flowing again. The sweetest things are the ephemeral ones… they arrive in a moment, then go.
I’ve got just the thing for fellow hiker artists who like to wander with very little weight and then pull out their oils and make a quick little haiku oil sketch. At under five pounds for the whole set-up, it even offers protection for the wet painting on the hike down. I’m really happy with this portable thumb box I built out of an old wooden palette. It eliminates the need for an easel and can hold two wet paintings for a full day of exploring and artmaking. I haven’t ventured too far with it… yet… but here you can see some of the small 6×6″ paintings that I’ve made so far with it.
18×36″ oil on canvas– This is possibly my favorite spot in the Los Padres National Forest. It lies on an exposed spine of sandstone that travels for miles over the landscape. For those who explore off the trail, there are all types of natural history mysteries waiting to be discovered, from amazing geology, plants, bears, cougars, birds and signs of the people who called this place home.
16×20″ oil on canvas– This is one of my favorite spots on the John Muir Trail– which is saying something because there are so many gorgeous lakes strung like turquoise beads on the path from Whitney to Yosemite. But these lakes just below timber line at the base of several granite peaks and the play of light on them is dramatic. Have you hiked this section of trail? You might recognize Glen Pass in the top right corner.