Such sweet June Gloom weather this morning on the coast. To top it off, last night’s Strawberry Supermoon pulled the tides way out. (Moons have so many more flavors and varieties now than they did when we were kids.) I set up with my feet in the sand to paint the colors of the cliffs and the light starting to burn off the clouds…
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.
These paintings are from the UC Reserve on the west end of Santa Cruz Island. Going to the islands is like going back in time 150 years and seeing what the California coastline looked like before development. The tide pools were full of diversity and life and we got to see the shenanigans of a few Channel Island Foxes and Scrub Jays.
The variety of colors and textures of the rock formations that make up the band of islands make me wish I’d taken geology classes when I was in school. Dry coriopsis flowers dot the hillsides— I’d love to see the blooms in early spring!
6×6″ Oil on Panel– Ever notice how colors seem more saturated on an overcast day? The softer cool light allows the local colors to glow… Not that I’m complaining when the fog burns off and the sun comes out.
Garrapata Dawn– 8×16″ oil on panel– This was painted on a lovely Big Sur morning. This is by far one of the prettiest parts of the planet I’ve ever experienced. Late Afternoon Glimmer– 6×8″ oil on panel– This small study of light on the water was painted at Limekiln State Park where I slept in the overflow site, under the bridge at the edge of the sand listening to waves roll in all night and the rain falling at one point.
24×36″ oil on linen– It’s raining right now as I post this giving the promise of even more days this spring for rock hopping up our local creeks to find boulder falls and pools like this lit by sunlight filtered through the oak and bay laurel canopy… I threw some poison oak into this one. I’ve had it quite a bit this winter from mushroom hunting this winter. Although it would be nice to just walk cross country without having to always be mindful of what twigs you are touching, I’d never wish this plant not to be there. I think of it as kind of a protector in the forest, making us watch where we step and being sure there are places always for wildlife to hide and for people to not be. And besides– it adds to the fun challenge of a rock scramble obstacle course to have some poison oak “hot lava” spots…
That would be horrible– I try never to get stuck up a creek without my art supplies. It makes me so happy to be exploring our local watersheds and seeing the waterfalls flowing like the good old days. I’ve been making lots of plein air sketches and working on a large studio painting of one of my favorite sweet boulder falls. What I love about our little canyons in the oaks is how small patches of sunlight illuminate transparent pools here and there. It is not an easy effect to get and I’m playing around with different ways of doing it. These small paintings are both 6×8″.
18×36″ oil on canvas– This is possibly my favorite spot in the Los Padres National Forest. It lies on an exposed spine of sandstone that travels for miles over the landscape. For those who explore off the trail, there are all types of natural history mysteries waiting to be discovered, from amazing geology, plants, bears, cougars, birds and signs of the people who called this place home.
30×42″ oil on canvas– This was a commission for a friendly, adventurous family who wanted to take home a piece of Goleta. I was excited when they chose this spot– it is really special to our family as well. I wanted to capture the magic hour, that short sweet time of shifting colors that happens in the few moments before the sun drops over the horizon. This was a big studio painting that I made from a small plein air painting that you can see below. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I’m grateful to all of you for sharing my art adventures with me.