I painted this over a couple of afternoons at the spot where the east and west forks of Cold Springs Canyon converged. I have been hiking here for well over twenty five years now. Some of you fellow lovers of this trail might have the same experience as me know where we hold two images of every bend in the creek in our heads… the ones before the fires and debris flow and the new ones we are experiencing as we scramble up new boulders and pools. It is really amazing how resilient our local wilderness is. I’m amazed at how quickly the landscape has healed. It will take many years for it to become the mature, rich riparian wonderland that it was, but in the meantime there is beauty in all of the stages of succession.
Imagine walking this path through Cold Springs Canyon and feeling the warmth of the sun, then the cool of the shade and then the radiance around the bend again… I love that feeling and its what this painting is about: passing through shadow areas and experiencing the coolness and dark and then stepping again into the sunlight.
For my last painting of 2019 I hiked a large canvas up San Ysidro Canyon. It makes me optimistic to see how well nature heals. This area has been hammered with drought, then fire, then flood and debris flows and yet here it is recovering beautifully. Trees and chapparal shrubs have sprouted from their roots and new pools and falls are being carved out in the new stream path. The insects, lizards, birds and deer are all tending the wilderness and stitching it together. The community of Montecito downstream is also recovering from the tragedy of those slides and like nature is showing love and resiliency.
I’m optimistic for healing, resiliency, connection and love in this new year… they are clearly characteristics found in nature and so, as living strands in the web of life on this planet, are characteristics of our selves.
6×8″ oil paintings– Tangerine Falls and the Santa Ynez River– It’s amazing how quickly Cold Springs Canyon is healing after the fires and mudslides. New pools are forming and the chaparral is sprouting from roots and seeds in a riot of canyon sunflowers, morning glories and monkey flowers. We made it up the west fork to below tangerine falls and saw salamanders and frogs in the pools.
12×24″ oil on panel– From this perch on Ortega Hill, you can see three points jutting out to the north. In the foreground Fernald Point encloses Shark Cove, which I’ve heard is named because in the mid 1800’s they used to butcher cattle nearby and then toss the remnants to the sea. Behind that is Hammond’s Point in the mid ground and way back there is Ledbetter Point at the far end of the Santa Barbara Harbor. For a painter, it’s a great lesson in atmospheric perspective, seeing the colors and contrast cool and fade as they fall into the distance.
8×10″ oil on canvas– The water is still flowing beautifully through our local canyons and the salamanders and frogs are going strong despite the wildfires and floods last year. When the weather gets warm most people head to the beach. There is always also a nice breeze and some cool pools up a canyon.