Chaparral Watershed

14×45″– Oil on Repurposed Cabinet Door– It has been a long time since I’ve painted on a repurposed cabinet door like this… I love the natural frame you get and the extreme vertical panorama that let’s you emphasize the scale of things, like this view of how our local sandstone peaks teeming with fragrant chaparral scrub catch moisture from the clouds and filter it down to our shady, sycamore and oak-filled canyons. You can see in the detail below I added a couple of travelers to enhance the sense of scale. These paintings look good on one of those skinny walls that you wouldn’t expect could hold a large painting.

Yin Yang Gulls–Malibu

16×20″ oil on linen– The rock formations at El Matador State Beach are so much fun to paint– the sea sculpts them into fantastic forms undercut with tunnels and topped with hanging gardens of cliff plants that only the gulls can access. The title comes from the way the relative value of the gulls appears to change whether they are silhouetted against the dark rock or the bright sunset.

Banner Breathing, Garnet’s Grandeur

24×36″ oil on linen– I’ve heard people say that mountains breathe and what they mean was vividly clear to me camping below Banner Peak a couple of weeks ago. Sitting there painting it in gouache (you can see the sketch in my last post) there would be about five to ten minutes of stillness and warm sun. Then, from the direction of the peak I would hear the roar of cold air rushing down its sides… the bands of wind chop would spread across the lake and I’d grip my painting board as Banner’s roaring, icy exhale washed past me for a couple minutes. The rhythm repeated for most of the afternoon.

I was happy to see those glaciers, though shrinking dramatically every year, are still holding on and feeding the San Joaquin river below.

View from a Hammock

24×36″ oil on linen

I’m doing a painting demo at the Wilding Museum in Solvang this Sunday from 11-2. I’ll be showing how to develop a painting from a sketch using oils. Come on by and chat for a bit!

When Lauren and I were first dating I asked her what would be the ultimate painting that I could make for her. She said she’d love the view when you are laying on your back looking up into a tree watching the ways the light filters through the stained-glass leaves and the layers of depth. Wow, I thought, that’s a tough one… I’ve been trying ever since and I’m getting closer to the vision. Only in her mind it is a Sycamore Tree and this is an oak, so I’ll keep dancing around this theme.

I thought it would be fun to create a kaleidoscopic image from this painting… would make a good Grateful Dead album cover wouldn’t it?

The Malibu Coast

The Sea’s Sculpture–El Matador State Beach– 12×24 oil on linen panel

I love the ocean’s rock sculptures, carved by centuries of erosion, that are arranged on El Matador State Beach… I’m guessing the beach is named because this big one looks like an enormous bull charging out of the surf? The bull’s back is a big elevated garden on stilts for the gulls to look down on their beach from.

This second painting was painted from high up on the ridge above Corral Canyon looking out towards Point Dume. There’s nothing more fun than hiking on a trail I’ve never been on before or painting a beautiful view for the first time.

Corral Canyon to Point Dume– 12×16″ oil on linen panel

Fishing Boats, a Dragon’s Back and one Cooperative Gull

These are the subjects of some of my recent paintings. I have been enjoying the challenge of creating a paintings every day for the month of September. If you want to see all of them, they can be found here on Instagram. I’ll share brief stories about each one below.

Fishing since 1929– 12×16″ oil on panel

When I asked the Captain of the Sal-C if his boat was going to be parked for a while so I could paint it, he joked, “I painted it last week!” It is an awesome fishing boat that I learned has been out fishing in the Santa Barbara Channel for 91 years.

The Dragon’s Back– 8×16″ oil on linen panel– $500

My favorite feature of our local mountains is Arlington and Cathedral Peaks, the rocks on which can be interpreted as an immense sleeping dragon.

Goleta Beach Gull– 6×8″ oil on panel– $180

Part of painting every day is sometimes having to squeeze in a quick session into a busy life. Often I don’t have time to be picky about a scene, but just pull out the easel and take what nature throws at this me. If I’m lucky, the wildlife cooperate.

Wind on the Water

24×36″ oil on linen

This is probably the hardest earned outdoor painting I have made yet… It started with carrying all of my backpacking gear, oil painting gear, easel and two large canvasses a couple thousand feet up to Lamarck Lake. It wasn’t the most practical venture, but I had romantic visions of standing before this breathtaking view with a two foot by three foot canvas over two afternoons of painting. The first day, the wind nearly blew this sail of a canvas and my entire easel into the dirt. I lashed the easel to a heavy rock below and a pine tree windward and held onto it with my left hand (to keep myself from blowing away.) It wasn’t the peaceful experience I was imagining to say the least and the painting made a very effective mosquito trap, with hundreds of the little guys finding themselves impaled in shades of blue and turquoise. In the future, if they ever need to clone a foolish artist, they can extract my DNA Jurassic-Park-Style from this painting.

Day two I spent exploring the tributaries to this lake and anticipating painting like a storm tossed sailer again. Rather, there was a pleasant breeze all afternoon… the experience I was hoping for. To top it off, I made it back to the trailhead without tripping and face planting on my wet painting once.

Day 1 Mosquito Trap (Detail)
Lovely Afternoon Number Two
Gouache Preliminary Sketch

Sun and Fog

Light Crossing the Stream– 8×10″ oil on panel– $400
Fog Filled Canyon– 8×10″ oil on panel– $400

These are all small recent paintings. They say you can’t cross the same creek twice and you certainly can’t paint it. Every time I go out the light and colors are different. Not only do I love the fog for cooling everything down and making things mysterious in the mornings– it also makes for some fun subtle grey colors to try to paint.

Dissolving Clouds– Lizards Mouth– 6×6″ oil on panel– $200
Cold Springs Tavern Bar– 8×10″ oil on panel– $400