Besides the thought of how nice it would be to sit in the shade of this oak and taste the wine grown from the grapes below, I was also thinking about the contrast between manmade and natural patterns. The geometric, efficient patterns of human developments often oppose the sinuous natural rhythms. Here the two blend: straight parallel lines of the vineyard roll over the organic contours of the hills in a beautiful way.
Other titles I considered for this one were “Rent Free”, “Rock Stack Studio” and “An Abundance of Windows.” I wanted to put the viewer in the shade and breezy shelter of one of the beach shacks at Ellwood… those wonderful communal forms of real estate that we all can inhabit for a while when we find our paths meandering up the coast. Hung on the wall, it looks like a window out to a beach shack porch.
Just one week until my big Open Studio Art Sale. On Labor Day Weekend, September 3-5 come by as my guest at 1128 Via Regina from 11-5 Saturday or Sunday!
I’ve been out painting on some of those misty mornings we’ve been having. It is fun to play with the subtlety of the greys and to try to catch that mysterious light.
Here are a couple of new ones recently off the easel. I painted a nice misty morning view from the cliffs above Hendry’s on the Douglas Preserve a couple days ago, watching the people on the beach play and walk around not unlike the ants that have been in our kitchen. : )
I also made another neighborhood painting with two small panels of a corner on Valerio Street and once again enjoyed chatting with the friendly neighbors and hearing a little bit of the story of place. It is interesting how this type of conversation is often about a tree… either one that’s there or one that used to be. Trees make a neighborhood, don’t they?
I love the variety of architecture, color and gardens in the downtown neighborhoods. A couple of the neighbors came out to say “hi.” One had lived in the house behind me for fifty years and said he remembered cutting the 50 foot tall palm tree with a six foot step ladder. I definitely saw many more houses with character that I want to paint portraits of…
This magnificent grove of sycamores drink from the mineral water that pours down from the Gaviota hot springs. Maybe that’s why they seem so vital. I love the calligraphy of their branches and the way they dance to follow the light…
Here are a couple of pleasant painting locals from the past week. The top one was made after a walk around Lake Los Carneros and a delicious sandwich with my family in Los Olives. (We brought a couple more small works to show at the Los Olivos General Store if you find yourself up that way.)
The second was made at El Refugio State Beach at the moment when the sun burns through the marine layer and it’s time to jump in the ocean. I hope you are all enjoying your summer days!
There is an unexpected point on any rock where it can find momentary balance. If you have ever done slack lining or hopped across rocks in a stream you know that the only kind of balance is momentary. In every instant we are making slight adjustments and becoming relaxed and comfortable with a shifting center.
In this painting, I was balancing shades of grey. It was fun to push them in different directions to find all of the color on an overcast day. It is fun to hang this one on the wall (it is almost life-size scale) and bring a beachside still life indoors.
I made this small painting while on a hike with my daughters last week. The water is still flowing, in some places anyway. I love the sound of it trickling through the canyons and will miss it as we move into the dry season.
I’ve also started working on a large painting of one of my favorite subjects… rocks! I love stacking and balancing them wherever I find them. Here are some images of the results of my play on the beach on a foggy morning a couple of days ago… a sneak peak of the subject of my next painting.
The challenge of painting water like this is you are looking at three superimposed surfaces.
- The leaves and rocks (and fish and newts) under the water.
- The floating leaves and surface ripples on the water.
- The reflections of the trees and sky upside down.
It is an endless challenge to communicate that depth on a flat surface… and can keep an artist busy for a lifetime as it did with Monet and his waterlilies. On a warm day like today, you’ll find me up a cool shady canyon like this one trying to figure it out… Here is a link to a very short video of this painting in progress that I posted to my Instagram page. Enjoy!