I saw several gems of lakes like this one backpacking this summer. There is no actual trail going here, but there are alpine creek drainages to follow or talus field passes that take you off of the most common routes and let you experience hiking in a different way. In some ways, there is more energy in way finding and more mindfulness of steps that aren’t graded and switchbacked for stock travel… and for this you get the reward of recognizing how many little secret meadows, glens, lakes, tarns, granite art forms and other surprises are tucked into the rocky arms of the Sierra Nevada. This little lake sits on the eastern flank of Seven Gables which you can see beginning to rise on the right side of the canvas.
Here are a couple of more moody paintings of lakes from my backpacking trip last week in the high eastern Sierras. It rained every day. It was also sunny every day. Often both were happening at the same time. Under the changing skies I saw wildflowers, bighorn sheep, lightning flashes and felt a flood of memories as the mountain smells were intensified by the rain.
Here are a couple of new ones recently off the easel. I painted a nice misty morning view from the cliffs above Hendry’s on the Douglas Preserve a couple days ago, watching the people on the beach play and walk around not unlike the ants that have been in our kitchen. : )
I also made another neighborhood painting with two small panels of a corner on Valerio Street and once again enjoyed chatting with the friendly neighbors and hearing a little bit of the story of place. It is interesting how this type of conversation is often about a tree… either one that’s there or one that used to be. Trees make a neighborhood, don’t they?
There is an unexpected point on any rock where it can find momentary balance. If you have ever done slack lining or hopped across rocks in a stream you know that the only kind of balance is momentary. In every instant we are making slight adjustments and becoming relaxed and comfortable with a shifting center.
In this painting, I was balancing shades of grey. It was fun to push them in different directions to find all of the color on an overcast day. It is fun to hang this one on the wall (it is almost life-size scale) and bring a beachside still life indoors.
I made this small painting while on a hike with my daughters last week. The water is still flowing, in some places anyway. I love the sound of it trickling through the canyons and will miss it as we move into the dry season.
I’ve also started working on a large painting of one of my favorite subjects… rocks! I love stacking and balancing them wherever I find them. Here are some images of the results of my play on the beach on a foggy morning a couple of days ago… a sneak peak of the subject of my next painting.
Save the date: I’ll be putting my paintings out at an open studio event on Saturday, June 18 (Father’s Day Weekend) from 11-4 pm. I’ll post details when it gets closer and also announce it on my quarterly newsletter which you can sign up for on my website.
Here are a couple of other paintings I made when up the coast at Big Sur. It is so fun to paint the steep cliffs and fractal coastline with rocks, inlands and inlets of every size imaginable. The second painting was made up a fern-lined creek where the sunlight moves through spotlights in the redwood canopy.
It feels like painting a mermaid cove in Neverland here at Point Lobos. The cypress trees, sculpted rocks and sea caves, turquoise water, circuitous shoreline and sandy beaches with lounging seal pups… if people haven’t been there they’d think you were making it up. So much fun to paint!
A small painting that I snuck into a busy week… I went to Goleta Beach and realized there were dozens of paintings to be made looking in all directions. I painted several of them in my mind, imagining compositions, colors and designs made of imaginary brushstrokes– I daydream like that a lot when I haven’t painted for a few days. If only my real paintings were as successful as the ones I imagine.
Here are a couple recent paintings of trees. Above I painted where the sea breeze rustles the eucalyptus scented leaves, dogs rest in the dappled shade on a hot day. The old folks climb the cliffside trees overlooking the beaches and young kids watch them and think about how it will be to be old again.
For the image below, I was walking around the Santa Ynez mission looking for something to paint and was drawn to this natural arbor of oaks that makes a small tunnel of shade for the path that descends into a valley. I simplified this one down to the most basic composition, shapes and design. I have several works in the Oak Group exhibit at the Faulkner Gallery. The opening is this Thursday from 5:30-7:30. We’d love to see you there!