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!)
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.
16×20″ oil on linen– The rock formations at El Matador State Beach are so much fun to paint– the sea sculpts them into fantastic forms undercut with tunnels and topped with hanging gardens of cliff plants that only the gulls can access. The title comes from the way the relative value of the gulls appears to change whether they are silhouetted against the dark rock or the bright sunset.
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.
8×16″ oil on linen panel– Spent some time painting on the back patio last week painting succulents… I love their color, variety and design. Like all still lives, they hold still. They give me the opportunity to play with my paint handling and brushwork and to explore ways of simplifying and stylizing their complexity.
I’m was out in the garden painting in my sketchbook with gouache today. That is my go-to medium when I don’t have a lot of time and just feel like drawing and moving some colors around. It is portable, cheap, versatile and fun to use. Working on paper without the commitment of a canvas, I find myself taking more chances and trying out compositions or subjects that I would otherwise shy away from. Here are a couple of recent gouache studies…
All paintings are 9×12″ oil on panel– Here are a few of the places I’ve been setting up the easel lately. Whether I’m on the fragrant path in the eucalyptus grove, on the cliffs looking at the precarious and fun hanging college apartments in Isla Vista or painting the gardens at San Ysidro Ranch, the light is always the main subject of a painting. I continue to grow more and more fascinated with the quality and colors of light and the visual and emotional effects they have on a scene.
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!
24×36″ oil on linen– I’ve heard people say that mountains breathe and what they mean was vividly clear to me camping below Banner Peak a couple of weeks ago. Sitting there painting it in gouache (you can see the sketch in my last post) there would be about five to ten minutes of stillness and warm sun. Then, from the direction of the peak I would hear the roar of cold air rushing down its sides… the bands of wind chop would spread across the lake and I’d grip my painting board as Banner’s roaring, icy exhale washed past me for a couple minutes. The rhythm repeated for most of the afternoon.
I was happy to see those glaciers, though shrinking dramatically every year, are still holding on and feeding the San Joaquin river below.
This was a beautiful hike, making paintings between hiking passes, swimming in lakes and eating cereal in epic breakfast locations. I’m working on a large oil painting based on this gouache backpacking painting of Garnet Lake and Banner Peak. There is so much richness and beauty out there…. does anybody know what bird has the most melodic song in the Sierras with a series of sad notes followed by metallic trills? It’s song enchanted me several times but I could never lay eyes on it.
I’ll be having an open studio show on Labor Day weekend if you’d like to see these and other recent paintings in person.