The days are growing crisper, the mornings cooler, the dry air clearer, the angle of light more slanted and the mind more reflective. The calendar pages have autumn pictures and pumpkin soup sounds good again.
When Lauren and I were first married we used to spend most of a day walking from the distant eucalyptus groves, out over the bluffs, around the slough, through IV and UCSB, down the bike trail, out on More Mesa, through the horse trails in Hope Ranch, through westside and finally downtown. There we’d sit our tired legs down at a cafe, eat a big meal and take the bus all the way back home. It was our favorite date… so simple but so full of interesting people watching, nature exploration and places to appreciate the many sides of our town.
As I made this small painting, good memories from college of running out from Isla Vista, around the slough and up the path to the Ellwood bluffs came back to me. It was a new exotic landscape for me back in 1993 when I started at UCSB, but now I know these trails like the back of my hand. Funny how a place becomes a part of you as you become a part of a place.
It is fascinating when you paint a white object to notice all of the different colors that reflect into the shadows. You can see here where the colored light from the red rooftops, the blue sky and green grass influence the shadows.
This portrait of our local mountains was painted while my daughter was chasing the ball around the field with her team. I love how the contours start to pop out on our south-facing hills as the sun dips to the west.
I finished a larger studio painting from the backpacking sketches on my hike this summer I wanted to catch a moment that stood out when the sun was just setting at Disappointment Lake and trying to decide what the opposite of disappointment is. (The made-up story in my head is that the lake was named by a bitter miner who either found gold and didn’t want others to look or didn’t find gold and was genuinely bummed. Either way– its a lovely lake that I hope will continue to disappoint those who like to profit off of exploiting wilderness areas.)
Want to see it and the other paintings I’ve created this year in person? My open studio is coming up the first weekend in September and I’d love to see you!
I went backpacking for a few days last week up in a new pocket of the Sierras for me. I was intrigued by some of the lake names: Disappointment, Hell-for-Sure, Mosquito. Sometimes the less inviting the lake name, the more spectacular the lake… someone, in naming it, wanted to keep it from becoming the overcrowded Yosemite Valley. I couldn’t have been any less disappointed with Disappointment Lake and if that’s what Hell-for-Sure looks like, I know where I’m going. They were right about one thing, though. The mosquitos were hungry everywhere this season, as are all the late season wildflowers from the heavy snows this year.
6×8″ oil paintings– Tangerine Falls and the Santa Ynez River– It’s amazing how quickly Cold Springs Canyon is healing after the fires and mudslides. New pools are forming and the chaparral is sprouting from roots and seeds in a riot of canyon sunflowers, morning glories and monkey flowers. We made it up the west fork to below tangerine falls and saw salamanders and frogs in the pools.
8×10″ oil on canvas– The water is still flowing beautifully through our local canyons and the salamanders and frogs are going strong despite the wildfires and floods last year. When the weather gets warm most people head to the beach. There is always also a nice breeze and some cool pools up a canyon.
15×30″ oil on linen– So nice to watch the glimmer on the water as the sun rises over our fair seaside town on a morning between the fog cycles… The kids are out for summer and it won’t be long before the last of the June Gloom evaporates and these beaches are full of people playing in the surf.