Painting at it’s Purest

This is a small 6×8″ oil sketch I made on New Years eve hiking with my family.  We went to a place that out of cultural respect and a sense of conservation I won’t name.  I have several times painted or sketched at rock art sites and always feel a sense of awe and wonder admiring the art of these native Californians.  I love seeing the mortars nearby where the artists ground their pigments and it is always a longing and stretch of the imagination to travel back in time and picture them being made and to try to understand their meanings.

Sprouting Fields–Ellwood

20×48″ oil on canvas– I added the final touches to this painting made over two mornings at Ellwood.   Here in Goleta, winter is really our spring when the seeds that have been drying in the clay soil for months finally get saturated with sweet rain.  Here’s hoping for some more of it this weekend!

Ultralight Super Portable Oil Painting Kit

I’ve got just the thing for fellow hiker artists who like to wander with very little weight and then pull out their oils and make a quick little haiku oil sketch.  At under five pounds for the whole set-up, it even offers protection for the wet painting on the hike down.  I’m really happy with this portable thumb box I built out of an old wooden palette.  It eliminates the need for an easel and can hold two wet paintings for a full day of exploring and artmaking.  I haven’t ventured too far with it… yet…  but here you can see some of the small 6×6″ paintings that I’ve made so far with it.  

The Alcove

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.

Magic Hour at Devereux Point

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.  

Wet Sand and Salt Air– El Refugio Point

 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.  

What the Egret Knows

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.