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.
36×48″– oil on canvas– This is the painting that emerged from the sketches I posted in my last post. When you paint a canvas this large or larger, it really feels like you can step right inside and inhabit the scene. I was trying to recreate the feeling of walking up our coastline in this beautiful season when the sun is starting to set over the water again and the tides are starting to pull the sand from the rocks underneath.
12×36″ oil on canvas– What the egret knows is that this is the place to be when the sun is sinking low in the west. Mountain views, beautiful reflections, interesting trees– what more could you ask for. The one in the distance posed for quite a while in the shallows as she waited to snag a frog or fish for dinner.
14×18″ oil on canvas– Every day of the year is a sunny day… if you can only get above the clouds. I love days like this when just a few luminous spotlights find their way through the overcast… little patches of brilliant sunlight on an otherwise grey landscape. Just like with moods, you can appreciate the sunny even more when you also know the melancholy.