My family and I recently visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery. I went looking for the best art that I could find and for inspiration to turn in a new direction with my work. The impressionists excited me with their colorful light effects as usual and Joaquin Sorolla and John Singer Sargent dazzled me with their expressive brushwork, but the paintings that knocked my socks off this time were those of the Frederic Edwin Church. In particular, the painting “Dream of the Andes,” has me staring for… well, I don’t know how long but, thank you Lauren, Ellie and Quinn for being so patient with me in art museums. What blew me away was the incredible detail. He beautifully designed every fern in the forest, every termite in the trees, and the painting goes back into space at least ten miles. Now I’m trying to paint a painting with exquisite detail. I’m not at his level yet, but I’m happy with how it is progressing. Here are the sketches for now… one from memory in the sketchbook and then a plein air color study.
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.
15×30″ Oil on Canvas Panel– The weather has been perfect for heading to the beach lately once the morning marine layer evaporates off… When the grey clears today I bet it will find hundreds of people off work for the Fourth of July playing in the waves.
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.
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.
20×20″ oil on canvas– The meadows in the Botanic Gardens are aflame with poppies right now. Bees are swarming, the air is warming and the short sweet season of spring is in full swing. Sorry about the accidental post earlier in the week– I was working on my website and pushed the wrong button. : )
15×30″ Oil on Canvas Panel– Nothing has more beauty and mystery than a deep, fern-filled redwood grove with a playful stream meandering through. Places like this are medicine for the spirit– my breathing slows, my shoulders drop a few notches lower and I feel completely grounded and at peace here. My hope for the trees in these woods is that they all grow to be giants and that after they fall they are slowly and gently returned to rich soil by banana slugs and other beautiful decomposers.