12×24″ oil on panel– The city was washed clean and sparkling after the last storm. Out on the wharf was a great place to take it all in. A magnificent rainbow appeared and I was tempted to paint it in, but usually paintings of rainbows look about as convincing as paintings of unicorns. I went with the unicorn instead– can you see him hiding behind the palm tree?
The deep bell chimes were ringing in my chest and counting 8 on the morning when I made the sketch and took the photo that led to this painting. I love the perspective from the clock tower… since 1929 people have climbed the steps to see the horizon and watch present moments tick away one by one.
I’ve been painting a couple of pictures of just slices of life around the house. Lauren sweeping the front porch (apparently while her lazy husband sits around and paints). My daughter sketching at the table… I wasn’t concerned with getting a likeness, but rather with being playful and expressive in the brushwork and catching all the colors of the light. I think I want to experiment more with having figures in paintings.
I was running around Lake Los Carneros a couple of weeks ago and enjoying how the red light climbed across the mountains. The time of the sunrise is subjective, depending upon where you are on the mountain or in a canyon. I saw two sunrises that morning on different sides of the lake.
The days are growing crisper, the mornings cooler, the dry air clearer, the angle of light more slanted and the mind more reflective. The calendar pages have autumn pictures and pumpkin soup sounds good again.
When Lauren and I were first married we used to spend most of a day walking from the distant eucalyptus groves, out over the bluffs, around the slough, through IV and UCSB, down the bike trail, out on More Mesa, through the horse trails in Hope Ranch, through westside and finally downtown. There we’d sit our tired legs down at a cafe, eat a big meal and take the bus all the way back home. It was our favorite date… so simple but so full of interesting people watching, nature exploration and places to appreciate the many sides of our town.
As I made this small painting, good memories from college of running out from Isla Vista, around the slough and up the path to the Ellwood bluffs came back to me. It was a new exotic landscape for me back in 1993 when I started at UCSB, but now I know these trails like the back of my hand. Funny how a place becomes a part of you as you become a part of a place.
It is fascinating when you paint a white object to notice all of the different colors that reflect into the shadows. You can see here where the colored light from the red rooftops, the blue sky and green grass influence the shadows.
This portrait of our local mountains was painted while my daughter was chasing the ball around the field with her team. I love how the contours start to pop out on our south-facing hills as the sun dips to the west.
I finished a larger studio painting from the backpacking sketches on my hike this summer I wanted to catch a moment that stood out when the sun was just setting at Disappointment Lake and trying to decide what the opposite of disappointment is. (The made-up story in my head is that the lake was named by a bitter miner who either found gold and didn’t want others to look or didn’t find gold and was genuinely bummed. Either way– its a lovely lake that I hope will continue to disappoint those who like to profit off of exploiting wilderness areas.)
Want to see it and the other paintings I’ve created this year in person? My open studio is coming up the first weekend in September and I’d love to see you!