Riparian Boulder Hop

24×36″ oil on linen–  It’s raining right now as I post this giving the promise of even more days this spring for rock hopping up our local creeks to find boulder falls and pools like this lit by sunlight filtered through the oak and bay laurel canopy… I threw some poison oak into this one.  I’ve had it quite a bit this winter from mushroom hunting this winter.   Although it would be nice to just walk cross country without having to always be mindful of what twigs you are touching, I’d never wish this plant not to be there.  I think of it as kind of a protector in the forest,  making us watch where we step and being sure there are places always for wildlife to hide and for people to not be.   And besides– it adds to the fun challenge of a rock scramble obstacle course to have some poison oak “hot lava” spots…  

Up a Creek without a Paintbrush

That would be horrible– I try never to get stuck up a creek without my art supplies.    It makes me so happy to be exploring our local watersheds and seeing the waterfalls flowing like the good old days.   I’ve been making lots of plein air sketches and working on a large studio painting of one of my favorite sweet boulder falls.  What I love about our little canyons in the oaks is how small patches of sunlight illuminate transparent pools here and there.  It is not an easy effect to get and I’m playing around with different ways of doing it.   These small paintings are both 6×8″.  

Hamilton Lake Sunrise

20×48″ Oil on Canvas– This is a big studio painting I have been working on based on a sketch of Hamilton Lake in Sequoia National Forest this summer.  My tent was in a flat spot near the pines on the right and I woke up and watched the warm light crawl across this wonderland.  There is another lake at the top of the cascade in the center of the painting that was still snowbound… and miles and miles of mountains and lakes for us still to explore to the north and south beyond.     (Detail)(Detail)

Cold Springs Confluence

Oil on Canvas 20×24″  — This is the crossing by “Kevin’s Bench” where the east and west forks of Cold Springs Creek meet.  The water is cold and clear and the entire canyon is green and full of life.

Rained out in Romero Canyon

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12×24″ oil on canvas– You can see a lot of the raw canvas toned with raw sienna at the bottom of this painting.  I was painting Romero Creek yesterday when the rain began to fall and I had to abandon painting.  Lauren, my best and most important art critic said “leave it unfinished, I like it that way.”  Usually her advice is more along the lines of “why didn’t you paint all the way to the edges and could you add more flowers or butterflies or eyelashes on that bird?”  I like how the few expressive strokes at the bottom help guide the eye to the focal point without demanding too much attention.  What do you think?  Is it done?

Flowing Water

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12×16″ oil on canvas board– My family and I hiked up San Ysidro Creek last weekend.  I have missed flowing water in our local creeks deeply.  When I first moved to this area, the creeks would flow year round… these days it seems we need to wait for winter.  It is so nice to see, hear, smell and feel this one trickling through the canyon again.