For my last painting of 2019 I hiked a large canvas up San Ysidro Canyon. It makes me optimistic to see how well nature heals. This area has been hammered with drought, then fire, then flood and debris flows and yet here it is recovering beautifully. Trees and chapparal shrubs have sprouted from their roots and new pools and falls are being carved out in the new stream path. The insects, lizards, birds and deer are all tending the wilderness and stitching it together. The community of Montecito downstream is also recovering from the tragedy of those slides and like nature is showing love and resiliency.
I’m optimistic for healing, resiliency, connection and love in this new year… they are clearly characteristics found in nature and so, as living strands in the web of life on this planet, are characteristics of our selves.
12×24″ oil on panel– The city was washed clean and sparkling after the last storm. Out on the wharf was a great place to take it all in. A magnificent rainbow appeared and I was tempted to paint it in, but usually paintings of rainbows look about as convincing as paintings of unicorns. I went with the unicorn instead– can you see him hiding behind the palm tree?
The deep bell chimes were ringing in my chest and counting 8 on the morning when I made the sketch and took the photo that led to this painting. I love the perspective from the clock tower… since 1929 people have climbed the steps to see the horizon and watch present moments tick away one by one.
Sandstone outcroppings and Coast Live Oaks… I’ve been spending several afternoons painting in oak forests the last couple of weeks. The acorns are ripening and the squirrels, scrubjays and a deer were all inspecting their progress as I was painting.
I was running around Lake Los Carneros a couple of weeks ago and enjoying how the red light climbed across the mountains. The time of the sunrise is subjective, depending upon where you are on the mountain or in a canyon. I saw two sunrises that morning on different sides of the lake.
This palms in this iconic line arcing elegantly around to Refugio Point have been falling one by one the past few years as more extreme tidal events eat at the soil holding their roots. I’m grateful for the young people who are marching and standing up worldwide to try to wake our policy makers and business leaders up to the truth that we live in relationship with the natural world and that we need to honor and tend to the delicately balanced ecosystems that we are an inseparable part of.
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.
Enjoy three days of exploring design concepts for outdoor painters. This class will focus on taking the complexity and infinite detail we find when we approach a subject outdoors and simplifying what we see into a cohesive design. We will learn strategies for dealing with changing light and conditions. We will explore the balance between unity and variety in our paintings and will develop skills in creating a focal point. We will focus on techniques of layering oil paint in a single setting without things getting overworked. Other concepts will include value schemes, color mixing, brushwork and finding your own individualized style and working methods.
On the Friday afternoon we will begin at the artist’s home studying art and asking questions. We will explore three ways of organizing values in a painting and will be drawing several sketches. On Saturday and Sunday we will be out at different outdoor painting locations and will find a balance between demonstrations and one-on-one assistance and suggestions as we create several paintings, from small 6×8” studies to larger more resolved pieces. All levels of artists are welcome.
Dates: August 9 from 1 to 4 pm, August 10 and 11 from 9am -12pm and 1pm-3pm.
Locations: Santa Barbara, CA (to be announced)
Materials list and details will be provided upon registration.
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.
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.