Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Trying Lukas Paints

"Hillside Trail"
5" X 7" Oil on panel
The nice thing about being a painter is being able to try out the various brands of professional oil paints. I tend to paint normally with Winsor & Newton artist paints because I love their color and am very familiar with their mixing combinations. This painting however was painted using Lukas 1862 oil paints. Lukas has such a buttery feel and great color. The Lukas company has been around for ages and are a pretty trusted name. In a letter to Theo, Van Gogh mentioned how he should have used Lukas paint on a particular painting so I'm very happy with the company of artists who have used Lukas paint. If you get the chance to try them out go for it.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Morning Trail

"Morning Trail"
6" X 6" Oil on panel
An early morning scene that was inspired by recently viewing the works of the early California Impressionist painters in a book I have. I was fortunate to see some paintings at the Wildling Museum in Los Olivos that were on loan from the Irvine Museum. I'm sure inspiration came from that visit too. One big difference in my work compared to many of those early painters is their use of very thick paint. Seeing the works in person and getting a close up of the brush work and paint thickness was eye opening. You've really got to know exactly what you are doing and where you are going to do it with each brushstroke when painting that thick. This painting isn't in any of their styles but to me has an essence of what they were going for in their work. It's about the color, light and the mood. I think most of their work was really trying to capture the mood in California scenes more than anything. I suppose you would have to live here to look at one of their paintings and "feel" that scene coming to life as you look at it. Like they've just caught something that you have been very familiar with all of your life.

Monday, March 22, 2010


"Spring Oak"
6"x6" Oil on panel
Spring has arrived here in the valley. In a drive the other day down to Santa Barbara I spotted the California poppies and lupine along the road and beginning to grow up the slopes. With all of the rains we had this winter this should be a great spring. Around her you have to enjoy it while it lasts because soon the summer will turn the hills nice and brown. Warm ochres are the norm here in summer and I love it!

Santa Ynez

"Near Santa Ynez"
5"x7" Oil on panel
"Artist License"...I love taking liberty of that rule in art. Artist License allows an artist to change, adjust,edit, omit, add...you get the idea, any part of a painting as they choose in order to make a painting work better. I took it here omitting many of the ranch fences and buildings you see in our valley. I like that wide open space feel in a valley scene so you do what works.
The Santa Ynez valley is really a beautiful place located just above Santa Barbara. Originally the Chumash Indians inhabvited the valley and mountains surounding it....then came the missionaries and the rest of the world after that. Today it is mostly horse ranches, vineyards, farming and a few small towns so it's pretty laid back still.

Hillside Eucalyptus

"Hillside Eucalyptus"
5"x7" Oil on panel

A little closer view of a "Euc". I like placing a nice tall vertical subject on a diagonal foreground such as this hillside. Honestly I think it comes from going camping with my family when I was a kid. My brother and I would go hiking away from the campsite wandering through large pinetrees in the San Gabriel mountains above Pasadena. Charlton Flats, Barton Flats, Chilao Campground...upper and lower...all very cool and familiar places of many moons ago.


A Moment

"A Moment"
5"x7" Oil on panel

This is a great little painting to start off this collection of small paintings. It has the elements in it that I really enjoy painting since moving to the central coast of California. Large dominating eucalytpus trees fading into the distance and large expanses of land not built over like you see down in southern California where I grew up. They had this type of view down there many, many years ago and it's a shame most of it has been lost due to growth and expansion in southern California. Just look at the paintings of the early California impressionsist painters and you can see how they enjoyed painting scenes like this right in the San Gabriel valley where I grew up. You'd be hard pressed to find such an idyllic scene there now. I enjoy seeing views like this a lot where I live now. Whew!