Marmot Paradise and Painting Process

Oil on Canvas 25.5×34″  –This is the first backpacking sketch that I’ve turned into a finished oil painting.  Lauren named this place on the east side of Sawtooth Pass “Marmot Paradise” for all the happy groundhogs who call this place home who were whistling, running amok and eating the vibrant grasses in these high meadows. I took pictures of the original sketch and my backpacking painting kit so people can see the setup.  I used a lightweight sheet of corrugated plastic as a laptop desk with a clip-on water container.  Notice the wet paper towel that I squeeze my paints onto… it wicks water up into the paints to keep the dry mountain air from solidifying them.   No stand up easel this trip, but after hiking fifteen miles over a pass, who wants to stand?  

Space to Breathe

20×48″ oil on canvas– This is what finally emerged from the sketches in my last post.  I love running along this path on the bluffs above More Mesa and then dropping down the Thousand Steps to get to the beach.  The light spilling out of the canyon up the coast line is the spot where the Hope Ranch creek meets the ocean.  I’ll add a couple detail images as well.  Enjoy the cooler weather everyone! 

Summer Beach Day-Campus Point

18×24″ oil on canvas panel– We’re so lucky during heat waves like this to have the ocean so near.  The water today at Campus Point was filled with people cooling off in the surf.  I hope you are all finding ways to stay cool today… Here is a watercolor sketch from the same site down below on the beach a couple of weeks ago.  

Summer Morning at Lake Los Carneros

 16×20″ oil on canvas– I was pleased with how the colors came out on this one– I actually painted over a painting that I never had time to finish and since the value structure and design were already in place, I could focus entirely on the temperature and subtle changes between all the different blues, yellows and greens in the scene.

Radiant Sunset– Big Pine Camp

16×36″ oil on canvas– This was a sunset to remember… layers of mountains dissolving in to the light and particularly speedy clouds racing and changing colors across the sky.  Thirty minutes earlier and the day was still afoot– a thirty minutes later and the stars were glowing behind the clouds.  This area burned eleven years ago in the Zaca Fire and it has beautifully risen from the ashes like a true phoenix.  Nice work, mother nature… : )

Suncatcher

24×36″ oil on canvas– I made this from a small backpacking sketch of an oak tree by the trail.  To my right there was an incredible cliff formation with all kinds of caves and crevices and hawks soaring above, but that will have to wait for another day…   What captured me was the beautiful way the light was reflected and filtered through the bonsai-like leaves and branches of this small, gnarly oak.

Sunday Morning at Hendry’s Beach

16×20″ oil on canvas– This painting began as a demo at my painting workshop a couple weekends ago.  I was showing the group how to quickly block in the essential shapes of light and dark in a composition to freeze a moment like this when the light is changing quickly.  I had a great time sharing my technique and ways of designing images with a really fun group of artists.  Drop me an email if you’d like to be on the mailing list for future workshops.