Friday, April 30, 2010

A Nocturne

"Above Cachuma, Nocturne"
5" X 7" Oil on panel
I recently did a painting of a hillside meadow near Cachuma lake. An artist friend of mine suggested I do a nocturne version of it and this was the result of that effort. Nocturnes are always fun to do and painting flowers at night was a fun challenge. I had these flowers in the day scene so I kept them for the nocturne and thin they worked out well.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Trail Near Cachuma"
5"x7" Oil on Panel

Spent the good part of last Saturday at a camp near Cachuma Lake checking out a program sponsored by Hidden Wings. The Hidden Wings organization deals with children, and "after high school graduation" programs for children, with Autism. While there we went on a hike that had views of the lake and wandered around the border of the camp property. I'd guess it was about a mile long hike. It was overcast but later in the day the sun came out and I re-hiked it to take photos of thew wildflowers growing along the trail and in the meadows. It was a great hike...both times! hahaha.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring Morning

"Spring Morning"
6" X 6" Oil on Panel
Spring is here in the Santa Ynez valley and whatever can bloom is blooming! Had some time this weekend to get out and do a little hiking in the mountains. It was great to make a turn in the trail and see a small meadow blooming with poppies or lupine or other wildflowers. The air is cool and crisp in the mornings but warms in midday. What a great time to get out of the studio and enjoy the day.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sky Study

Sky Study
5"x 7" Oil on panel

This little painting was a study in clouds and sky. I'm trying out various colors and brush technique...the overall look and feel in that area. To ground the sky I added the trees down below. Several years ago I did a group of 5x7 studies in skies like this. It always helps to develop ones work. This one pushes the color of the clouds and lends to ideas being tried in a small format first.

Friday, April 23, 2010

California Spring

"California Spring"
5" X 7" Oil on Panel
From looking at this hear this painting seems to be much larger than it's 5"x7" size. I like squeezing in as much real estate on a small painting to see what the limits are...and I haven't found them yet! I sat down to paint this one using nothing but my imagination. I wanted to paint a scene of what I feel areas of the Central Coast would have looked like before they became settled. I miagine it would have looked much like this scene...wide open valleys splattered with massive eucalyptus trees and poppies lining the valley floors in springtime...a California Spring.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lupine and Poppies

"Lupine and Poppies"
5" x 7" Oil on panel
Spring along the Central coast of California brings an abundance of lupine and California poppies. These wildflowers grow along the hillsides and valleys giving color to the landscape and drive artists and photographers into a frenzy. The Santa Ynez valley gets it's share of these beautiful small plants which are always fun to capture on the canvas.

Monday, April 19, 2010

6" X 6" Oil on panel

I was driving in the Figueroa mountains a few weeks ago and couldn't help but enjoy all of the plants along the road in bloom. I'm not sure what this plant is called but it had these really nice looking purple flowers. The grasses around the plant were plattered with tiny yellowish gold flowers and there were billions of them. What a great day to be out on a mountain drive.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


6"x 6" Oil on panel
I really enjoy painting pampas grass. Their plumes always catch the light and give off great variations of light creamy ochres. I wait till the sun moves around behind the ones we have growing along our driveway to see the effects given to their plumes. It really helps to have a nice dark pine tree behind them to add that nice contrast in colors. It was very fun painting this scene. This painting was with Lukas paints and some Winsor & Newton oils.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Stream At Eaton

"Stream At Eaton"
6" x 6"
Eaton canyon is close to where I grew up in Pasadena. It's at the bottom of the San Gabriel mountains and was a favorite place to hang out as a kid. I go there now to hike around snapping reference photos and enjoying the colors of the sky when it's close to sunset. Many painters head to Eaton canyon because it is so accesible. This year we had some good rains so the stream down the canyon was going pretty good. I was there just after one of the rains and got some great shots of the stream and surroundings. This little study was painted from one of those shots.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Morning Fog

"Morning Fog"
6" x 6" Oil on panel
Another foggy morning on the hills above Adobe creek. I see this view from our backyard and seeing's how I love fog it is always a welcome way to start the day. We get fog a lot from the ocean rolling into the valley ovenight and it usually burns off around noon. Sometimes this oak tree on top of the ridge is not even visible due to the fog. In summer months the Hunters moon will rise right behind this tree looking almost unreal with it's large diameter. There is always a great view over these hills.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Valley Oak

"Valley Oak"
5" x 7" Oil on Panel
More of the ever present oak trees familiar to the California landscape. Oak trees are pretty fun to paint. They have a very common shape which is somewhat an oval with large clumps jutting layering snowballs on top of each other. Oaks have great shadows too especially in late afternoon. From the road along the ridge of Foxen Canyon you can see oaks sprawled across the hills at the base of the Figueroa's a great sight.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Caifornia Oak

"California Oak"
6" x 6" Oil on panel
A more greener version of the California oak tree. I like the paint them in a more olive drab color...even a reddish color but you have to think "variety". They say it's the spice of life. I think humor is the spice of life. I have grown up with oak trees as a prime part of the California landscape. We had them all over Pasadena and it would be hard to imagine growing up without having climbed around in an oak tree to pass the summertime. In California we now have a law against cutting oak trees down. Good law! We have several oak trees here at the house and have no inclination to cut into one. We wouldn't dare!

Friday, April 9, 2010

High Desert Sundown

"High Desert Sundown"
6" X 6" Oil on Panel
There is nothing quite like feeling the chilly air in late evening while enjoying a desert sunset. The smell of the desert sage and the great color shifts as the light gets lower. On the otherside of the mountains north of Los Angeles lies the high desert, the Mojave. I have been there many times and explored many of the small mining towns. This scene was near the town of Little Rock that sits right on Pearblossom Highway.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Eucalyptus and Poppies

"Eucalyptus and Poppies"
5"X 7" Oil on panel
More fun with eucalyptus trees and adding poppies along a nice diagonal...not quite as steep as the last one I did a few paintings back. I actually love the sloping hillside a diagonal gives to a painting. A nice bit of tension and a welcome break from the flatlands. This was painted alla prima this morning using Lukas 1862 Paints...for those of you not familiar with the term "alla prima" it means to basically complete a painting from start to finish in one sitting.

Poppy Fields

"Poppy Fields"
6"X 6" Oil on panel

Another painting inspired by the California poppys growing along roadsides, in fields, along's that time of year here in California. The poppy and lupine colors should be staggering due to all of the rain we had. Spring is a good time of year to look forward to the color that will dot the landscape.

Friday, April 2, 2010


"Mustard In The Valley"
5"X 7" Oil on panel
Spring along the Central Coast brings an abundant display of wild mustard. Any drive along the freeways in CA is most likely lined with mustard in bloom. I've painted the mustard many times now and have a great time varying the intensity of it's golden yellow color. In this scene I've toned it down some. This helps it to blend in more with the scene but in reality anywhere mustard grows it commands all of the attention.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mojave Shadows

"Mojave Shadows"
6"x 6" Oil on panel
Painted with a reference photo taken from a recent trip to the Mojave desert. This scene just above the town of Little Rock. As I waited for evening light to start it's glow I caught this great shadow off of a rise. The desert has such awesome light in the evening hours and it really comes alive at that time of day compared to the dull pale light of midday.