What a cool little town! Here’s Santa Barbara resting at the base of its chaparral mountains that smell of bay and sage, with it’s red-tiled roofs and sunny gardens and the peaceful blue ocean protected by the Channel Islands. I tried to paint her portrait from an angle that accentuates her best features.
I cropped out the sky and mountains and some great oak trees on this one to focus on this small mossy green falls in Cold Springs Canyon… I didn’t crop close enough to show you all the little grey frogs blending in perfectly with the color of the stones.
In the painting below I drove to the valley to paint grapevines for the Vino De Suenos fundraiser for People Helping People in Santa Ynez. I forgot that grapes have no leaves this time of year and look more like twigs, but these horses obliged to let me paint their portrait instead.
I set up my easel downtown a couple of days ago to paint the light and shadows and activity on State Street. It was a painting sprint: an experience in painting fleeting moments as people breeze by and the shadows lengthen every minute. Just as you start to get focused and absorbed in detail a person walking by will strike up a conversation, which is good for the art… it keeps you painting only what is essential before it is gone. At one point a crowd marched by in support of the people of Ukraine and protesting the Russian invasion. It is good to see people raising their voices and walking together in solidarity against this madness and senseless violence.
8×10″ oil on canvas
These wooden beach stairways are fun to climb and almost feel like pathways to a different environment above. Cliffside beaches like this mid tide are also romantic to walk on, navigating the waves as you walk from sandbar to sandbar. Which direction to do you feel like walking today?
I’ve been running at Lake Los Carneros many mornings this year, watching how the rising sun makes our local mountains blush.
It has been a wonderful winter for clouds this year, hasn’t it? Hopefully we can coax some more water out of them before the dry season.
8×16″ oil on linen panel– I love the rain. In our dry, crispy, chaparral climate the rain changes the landscape almost as dramatically as snow in the sierras, but instead of turning the landscape white, everything grows lush. I hope you all are enjoying watching the world turn green and the reservoirs fill.
9×12″ oil on linen panel– Arlington Peak always offers artists a mountain anatomy lesson… It’s fascinating the way the sandstone bones reach up and offer structure while the sinuous muscles of earth overlap and fold, forming rippling hills and canyons. And on top of it all the color and texture of the living, sprouting, growing skin of the earth.
On Sunday, December 12, from 11 am-5 pm I’ll be hosting an open studio at 1128 Via Regina. In some ways paintings are like imaginary windows– we can hang them on our walls and fantasize that we are looking out into our favorite landscapes just beyond our walls. Of course our favorite places are always somewhere beyond our walls and are so rich in life and light and the ever-changing forces of nature that a painting could never capture the reality of these places. And yet, paintings are good reminders to us that these places exist and we should head out and see them as soon as possible. If you’d like to add some windows to your own walls, come by on the 12th and all artwork will be 10% off. (And of course you are welcome just to come hang out and look for fun!)
12×24″ oil on linen– Thanks to the rains yesterday, this will be the last painting of the bluffs with the late summer, early autumn color palette. We’ll be moving into the greens and yellows of wild mustard and grasses. I appreciate both seasons– they both have their own beauty, colored by the memories we tie to a place we know well.
I’ve been painting a couple of pictures of just slices of life around the house. Lauren sweeping the front porch (apparently while her lazy husband sits around and paints). My daughter sketching at the table… I wasn’t concerned with getting a likeness, but rather with being playful and expressive in the brushwork and catching all the colors of the light. I think I want to experiment more with having figures in paintings.