Saturday, December 18, 2010

Summer Above Los Olivos

"Summer Above Los Olivos"
8" X 10" Oil on panel

Sitting here with gallons of Winter rain from a Pacific storm pouring outside. I started this one while waiting for the much predicted storm to arrive. I finished it this morning after spending the earlier part of morning clearing a clogged drain that had created a lake up near the higher parts of our property. Happens everytime...I need a bigger pipe up there.'s nice to see a bit of summer on the easel to remind me why I should appreciate the much needed water here in California.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Midsummer Trail

"Midsummer Trail"
8" X 10" Oil on panel
Getting back into the groove after this years studio tour and a foray with a very large painting. Actually, after the tour there were a lot of things to take care of so between that and the larger work things had gotten delayed in painting small works. I'm hoping to get back to work on those paintings. Maybe I'll post the large one in here tomorrow. because I've got another large canvas waiting to go....busy busy busy...not to mention the holidays, hahaha.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Originally this was a 5" X 7" painting. I liked it and decided to paint a larger version that you see here in 16" X 20" size. This is a nice looking 3" wide Larsen Juhl fframe that I'm trying out with this painting.

I haven't painted anything for about a week now due to having to get ready for the Studio Tour this weekend (Nov 20 & 21). This last week was spent deciding which paintings to show and what frames to put them in. Some are fine framed the way they are but others are being switched around. There is a lot of deciding what paintings work well on certain walls and next to certain paintings. Tomorrow I need to varnish but I'm low on varnish so that means a 30 mile trip one way to pick some up. Then it's back here to varnish. The rest of the week will be framing and hanging, getting the studio cleaned up for company and helping Linda get nametags and other items ready....I'm telling you, by the time the studio tour happens we are nice and worn out, hahaha. I was recently down in Ventura harbor and managed to take a zillion reference shots. I uploaded them late last night when we got back and there are some really nice prospects in I just need to window to get started painting.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Skark's Parlour

"Shark's Parlour"
16" X 20" Oil on Canvas
Just finished up on this sportfisherman berthed down at Santa Barbara harbor. I loved the glow of the white, yes, white cabin walls in the early afternoon sun. I tried to capture that color along the back wall of the cabin and transom while showing the bright day's light left on the sunlit sides of the boat. I am pretty happy with the job of capturing that glow so I feel this painting has me on the right course in my paintings. I'm a happy camper!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Autumn Trail

"Autumn Trail"
6" X 8" Oil on Panel
We've had rains, chilly weather and leaves blowing everywhere so summer has passed and we're headed for the winter holidays. Southern California, not being noted for snow, will have this look in many places...brown grasses slowly turning green as winter passes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Hazard

"New Hazard"
12" X 16" Oil on Canvas
This is one of the fishing boats down at Santa Barbara harbor that I see a lot on my visits there. A great looking older boat with lots of character. Here she is seen tied close to the fuel dock across from the Coast Guard cutter USCGC Blackfin.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Farming Corn Off 99

"Farming Corn Off 99"
12" X 16" Oil on Canvas
This is a painting I recently decided to touch up. I wasn't satisfied with my foreground so I decided to add more detail there. I also did some additional work to the trees and the barn so I'm pretty happy with it at this point.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Portuguese Bend

"Portuguese Bend"
6" X 8" Oil on Panel
I was painting the wild mustard down in Portuguese Bend a few years ago. Portuguese Bend is located near Long Beach and has some great painting spots. I painted just off of this road which was lined with lots of wild mustard...a fun day.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Summer Eve

"Summer Eve"
6" X 8" Oil on Panel
Fall is here and the warm summer grasses will soon be replaced by green grasses. I'll miss the warm tones of summer which I love to paint. Weather-wise I look forward to cooler temps and the smells of winter. Fireplaces will be burning and the night air has it's chill...I love it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Morning Near Santa Ynez

"Morning Near Santa Ynez"
5" X 7" Oil on Panel
This is a typical scene of a hiking trail you can find near Santa Ynez in spring. I've hiked above Lake Cachuma and seen the wildflowers in bloom and it can be quite a sight. I always love seeing the California poppies in spring and summer. We have them sprout up here in our yard and they will line both highways heading down to Santa Barbara.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Lupine Afternoon"
18" X 36" Oil on Canvas
Worked on this large one over the weekend. Good idea too since it rained this weekend and not much was going to get done in the way of yardwork. The Fall leaves are everywhere and I need to mulch! I kept the lighting low trying to promote the highlights at the tops of the trees as they caught the late afternoon sun. This was a very nice painting to work on.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


"Evening Serenity Thumbnail Sketch"

pencil on scratch paper about 2, 1/2 inches high.

This painting, like a lot of my paintings, started out with this small thumbnail sketch in pencil on a piece of scratch paper. I took a look at it a second ago and the drawing is about a little less than 3 inches high. Nothing fancy, no values or detail...just the "map" of what I wanted in my painting. Most of the details are in my head. Some of the details are left vague on purpose so I can make changes and fit in what works for the painting as I go along....sometimes it is nice to be surprised at what the painting creates for the artist. Too much planning can take out a lot of the enjoyment of painting and make it more of a chore so I let some things come as the paintings feel or mood dictate.
Here is the finished painting. I'm pretty happy with it and even though it isn't a small painting it is more what I work on in my normal painting day. Some of the idea for this painting came from the small studies, sketches and works that are on this blog. The small paintings are very important in trying things out, working out ideas and then commiting to larger works.

"Evening Serenity" 24" X 36" Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas

Monday, October 11, 2010

On The Easel 10.11.20

"Evening Serenity"
24" X 36" Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas
To date this has to be my largest painting with eucalyptus trees. This was so fun to paint it isn't funny. I went with a different sky color approach using a mix of Cerulean Blue, Titanium White and just a bit of Cadmium Yellow Light. This combination gives the sky a greenish/blue color. Too much cad yellow and you get a green sky so when I say "a bit" of cad yellow it is a bit. While letting this one sit for a day or two I did a couple of small ones on my pochade easel. Came back to this one and did a few touch ups and I'll let it sit for another day before calling it finished.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In The Fall

"In The Fall"
5" X 7" Oil on panel
Fall is here and the leaves are falling like crazy now. The mulching begins, hahaha. Decided to just go with the season here and show some color. Painted alla prima this evening.

Friday, October 8, 2010

California Poppies

"Spring Poppies"
5" X 7" Oil on Panel
There is a field just outside of town that at one time was owned by Ray Kroc of McDonalds fame I believe. I pass by this field a lot. It has been used to grow flowers, alfalfa and other farm crops. They used to have a small barn type building that was used as a store to sell locally grown produce but it was torn down a couple off years ago. In between crops wildflowers will pop up and I've seen poppies growing in there. I painted this scene looking west in that field and added more poppies than are most likely there but it looks good to me.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Tall Eucalyptus Tree

16" X 20" Oil on Canvas

Painted this one up to show at my upcoming Studio Tour. I like the vertical format with the eucalyptus tree running off the canvas. I also like the nice contrast between foreground tree and eucalyptus trees back in the distant haze...I like that effect. I also painted this one to gear up for a very large one I want to do that I was talking to my friend and talented artist Christine Brallier about....I've still tinkering with that idea in the back of my mind.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rocks Study

Rocks Study
6" X 8" Oil on Panel
I worked on this little study early this morning to gain more confidence painting larger rock formations. To me, rocks are really hard to paint. Not the small boulder type rocks but large formations such as this to me seem daunting to paint. I've decided to work out how to paint them on the smaller panels before moving to a larger canvas. Initially I blocked in the darker shadow value and then added the highlight. After that I began painting in the craks and crevices with a liner brush. What was interesting is that the rocks looked horrible once I was in the process of adding the details with the liner brush. I was so frustrated at one point that I decided it was going to get wiped off. Once I made that decision I felt more relaxed to continue on adding detail until it was too painful to waste time putting off dragging my rag over the whole mess. Then a strange thing started to fall resemble sunlit rocks with strong morning shadows. Whew!
This is on textured masonite which accounts for all of the texture lines but that was ok since this is only a study for a larger painting with some large rock mass in it. The rocks aren't the best here nor were they meant to be. This is only a study on a very small panel. Still, to me they resemble rocks the way I'd like them to look. What I got out of this painting is the confidence to attempt a larger painting with rocks. That was more important than a finished painting here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Summer Moonrise

"Summer Moonrise"
5" X 7" Oil on Panel
Using the same mixed palette from the previous painting below I did a quick painting of the same theme. This time adding the trail and altering other elements of the scene. I like the variation between the two paintings and I like the higher background on the panel. I also like the addition of the rocks placed randomly on the foreground. The mountains around Santa Ynez seem to grow rocks so this is actually a more fitting view of the Santa Ynez Valley floor along the foothills.

Evening Moonrise

"Evening Moonrise"
5" X 7" Oil on Panel
This painting was done last night as a 1 hour sketch. It stretched a bit longer than that because I was creating the scene fro my head composing along the way. I see changes I'll make on another piece today. Our summer is practically over soon so the warm ochre tones will give way to grey skies and eventually green grasses. California will get that Ireland look here in the valley come spring. I'll miss the ochres.


Thursday, September 30, 2010


6" X 8" Oil on Panel
Trying to cram the mighty tall eucalyptus trees onto a 6x8 panel, haha. Sometimes painting is too fun and the things you come up with in your mind just have to be painted. The only regret here is that the size of the panel can somewhat limit just how majestic these trees can look...I'd like to one day but put together a 3 foot by 6 foot stretched canvas to go really large for these guys....that would look cool.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Truck Trail

"Truck Trail"
6" X 8" Oil on Panel
Decided to paint an early morning scene of a truck trail similar to the ones above a camp near Cachuma Lake. These trails reminded me of truck trails near a summer camp I went to in the San Bernardino mountains with the Boys Club years ago, Camp Norris. They headed off to Jenks Lake or the riding stables. We would hike along them or ride in the trucks sometimes. Good times back then.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Skiff Sketch

A Skiff
6" X 8" Oil on panel
Out my norm again....painted this little skiff to learn to get better at them. At heart I'm a boatnik and have been for years. Lately I've been looking up skiffs and drooling. This one is based on the Tri-werx skiffs built by George Williams of Falmouth, MA. Classic looking workboats. This is not a good representation of a Tri-Werx skiff in that the bow is too rounded looking here...almost like a fiberglass boat or even a Mexican Panga.. A TriWerx has a much sharper looking bow...great looking boats....I'm not sweating it because this is only cause to do another painting.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Eucalytpus Study #2

Eucalyptus Study #2
6"X8" Oil on panel
#2 is actually a stretch since I've painted eucalyptus trees many times. I like their shape and their colors. They are stately trees and they have such a dominate size over the landscape...just a lot of fun to paint these big guys. This study is probably more for the more tonal feel of the paintings background. I like tonal works but I don't paint many of them. This was a way of enjoying that process.


Color Study
6" X 8" Oil on Panel
I had some ideas about color that I wanted to try out so this is the result of last nights color study. I like trying things out on small panels like this to see what works and what needs work. I've been using Utrecht oil paints lately and am pushing some of the color mixes with it to see how it handles. Utrechts Cadmium Yellow Light has turned out to be a really great yellow to work with. The Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson have worked out perfect too.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gaviota Seascape

"Gaviota Bluffs Vista"
6" X 8" Oil on Panel
A scene on the bluffs at Gaviota looking west out to the Pacific ocean. The skies were hazy, almost storm like that morning and barely cleared in the afternoon. Still, it was an enjoyable day spent exploring the bluffs and working my way down to the water. A recent storm had washed lots of interesting things up on shore.
This painting is on masonite panel prepared with an acrylic gel that gives it the extra texture. I like the look of it but it is heck to photograph. The lights pick up the texture way too much for showing online but the painting looks great in a frame.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Yellow Moon

"Yellow Moon"
12" X 16" Oil on canvas
Was wanting to try out a very pale background so I came up with this one. A simple landscape with a moonrise going on. Contrast is a bit off so the moon stands out a bit more on the actual painting. Fun little painting to do.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Farm Off 99

"Farming Corn Off 99"
12" X 16" Oil on Canvas
Saw this sight on my recent trip up north. We took Interstate 5 and at various parts of it route 99 runs parallel to it. This farm was just below Willows and pretty close to the freeway. The clouds have a lot more subtle variations of color but aren't showing up well in this pc. I think if I did a larger painting using this one as a reference I'd push the atmosphere more in the mid and foreground. My reference photo had much stronger contrast to it and I back that down some but I'd like to see it backed off even further. I also tried for a simpler version of foreground grasses too...not my usual type so I'm going to let it sit a few days and see how that looks to me then.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Grey Morning Near Lompoc

"Grey Morning Near Lompoc"
12" x 16" Oil on Canvas

I've driven many times to Lompoc which is about 30 miles from here and the closest Home Depot! I live in the center of a funny triangle...Lompoc to the West, Santa Maria to the North and Santa Barbara to the South...or, Home Depot to the West, In N Out Burger to the North and art supplies to the South. Here in Solvang we have Ace Hardware, Rite Aid and a Subway Sandwich place and that's it. the Winter months I see scenes like this along the highway headed for Lompoc. Very grey days and great fading-in-the-mist eucalyptus trees. Only painters like that kind of weather. This one was done alla prima in about 3 hours tonight. A very fun painting!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Quiet Time of Day

"Quiet Time of Day"
5" X 7" Oil on Panel
This one reminds me of the light along the hills north of Santa Barbara in the early evening hours. I didn't set out to paint this one like that. I painted the sky and hillsides but got busy running errands before I could finish it. I started another larger painting but stopped on that one too for the same reason. I came back to work on the larger piece but decided to finish them up in order and came back to this little one. My original vision was gone for the painting and I ended up painting in the rest of the scene as you see here.
The reddish tint in the foreground grasses came from a walk I had with my daughter yesterday in Eaton Canyon. There was a lot of smaller plants that had this great red color to them lining a lot of the valley floor and I loved the contrast of those plant colors against the dark oak trees behind them.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rancho San Carlos De Jonata

"Oaks at Rancho San Carlos de Jonata"
15" X 30" Oil on Canvas
Worked on this one over the weekend. I saw this scene while being given a tour of this Ranch just north of Solvang and Buelton, CA. Luckly I have become friends with the owners of the Rancho, a wonderful couple, and they have offered to let me come to visit and paint or take pictures. I was driven through the various areas of the ranch and told of it's history which is super interesting if you like history like I do. I need to go there again for some evening shots.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Evening Light Study

"Evening Study"
5" X 7" Oil on Panel
This is a study on varying light and will serve the purpose of being my reference study for a larger painting later. I painted this last night in the prospect of adding more dramatic light to the trees. This is a small 5x7 and although I could have worked more detail into it or spent more time refining the overall look it is just a study and what I was looking for was answered already here. What I will change in the larger piece will be to include more dark shadows in the upper tree areas hit by the last light. Adding the shadows will add more volume to the tree and promote the brighter lit foliage there. The study works well and supports the idea that it is always better to work out something in your head on a smaller canvas then go larger.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Afternoon Moment

"Afternoon Moment"
5"x7" Oil on Panel
I suppose to the eye this painting is about the foreground eucalyptus tree or the trail but it isn't. I painted this one to work on that distant mountainside. I wanted a late afternoon glow on it and I wanted it to be very distant looking...playing with the atmosphere of that part of the painting. I like the soft and very faint transition up to the sky colors.
What made the mountainside appear very distant was keeping the darker shadow colors in a lighter value. The mountain is basically a pink mix of titanium white and alizarin crimson. The shadows are the same mix with a bit of ultramarine blue added which makes it a light violet if you don't go too heavy with the blue. Looks cool.
The fun part of the tree is the last thing done to it...adding the trunk. I'm getting better at keeping the edges of the trunk loose which has taken me a while to get better at. It's working, hahaha.


Night Colors

"Night Colors"
5" X 7" Oil on Panel
Venturing once again into painting the colors and light of the night. Night scenes are always fun to get creative...adjusting colors and letting them play off of each other. The light is probably the most fun of painting a nocturne. I like to keep certain parts very dark and then pick a spot to let the light shine through...a luminous area of the canvas to allow the viewer to "see" through the darkness. Charles Rollo Peters did just this at times on the adobe walls in his nocturnes. The rest of the painting would be shrouded in mysterious darks and pale color. We have a mission in town, Mission Santa Ynez, and Peters painted a nocturne of it. Very cool!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Meadow Trail

"Meadow Trail"
5" X 7" Oil on panel
Just a quick study I did when working on the last painting to work out the foreground grasses and plants. This was a very helpful sketch for that painting.