Trail into Springtime
Tejon Ranch plein air oil painting
9 x 12 inches, oil on linen panel
One of California’s unspoiled treasures is the Tejon Ranch, north of Los Angeles and south of Bakersfield, up in the Los Padres Forest.
I had the pleasure to do some plein air painting there, and this is one of the pieces that came from the trip. Free range cattle roam through the hillsides, and you’re as likely to meet a steer as a rattlesnake or a cottontail rabbit. It’s Old California in the very best way. I’d love to get back there again sometime to paint.
The Light in the Forest (California redwoods)
16 x 20 inch oil painting
These magnificent Sequoia redwoods are growing in the Armstrong Grove in Northern California, not far from Guerneville, which is on the Russian River. It is an old growth forest, protected, and will never be cut down. I love being in the redwoods and I love painting them, too. They impart a certain feeling of peace, grandeur and spirituality that is almost overwhelming. I try to capture the feeling of being there in every redwood painting that I do.
Let me know if you are interested in a redwood theme in perhaps a larger size. I do a lot of painting on commission, and the redwoods are one of my favorite subjects.
Descanso Rose Garden, Summer Pathway
11 x 14 inches, oil on plein air panel
Painted at Descanso Gardens, La Canada, California
Descanso Gardens is the closest botanical garden to our home, and it’s my go-to place whenever I want to do some plein air painting in an expansive and beautiful setting. This pathway is one that I have painted through the seasons and from different viewpoints. The San Gabriel Mountains can be seen in the distance, which also tower over our own home. The international rosarium is not only a rose garden but also contains many other perennials and flowering shrubs. It’s just a peaceful place to visit, and in which to picnic on selected summer evenings.
“Colorado Cloudy Day”
8 x 10 inches, oil on plein air panel
I painted this as we were on the way from Monte Vista, Colorado to Gunnison. It was just a turn off the highway into a campground, but when I saw it I knew I had to stop. The sky was clear when I started blocking in the scene, but before long large clouds starting rolling in and completely filled the horizon. I had just finished when raindrops started to fall, so we scrambled to get everything under cover and into our car. Not long after, the storm blew through and the sky was sunny again. Then more clouds and raindrops, more sun. It was like that for our whole trip. I guess that’s what they mean by Monsoon Season!
14 x 18 inches, oil on canvas
Anza Borrego State Park, California
Down a dusty desert road and up a canyon in Anza Borrego State Park, we came upon a beautiful scene tucked out of the way. The desert was blooming with color. Although the rain had not been plentiful it was enough to germinate the seeds that brought these flowers. And they were fun to paint …
“California Flower Fields” (Heritage Valley)
8 x 10 inches, oil on linen plein air panel
It’s a glorious springtime in Southern California. Last weekend we were wandering in an agricultural area near Ventura and happened upon a field where the farmer was growing flowers. He invited me in to take a closer look – it was only partly visible from the road. This was the result …
“Mariposa Meadow – Trabucco Gardens with wildflowers”
9 x 12 inches, oil on plein air panel
When spring comes to the Western Sierra foothills, the meadows light up with color. Goldfields, a small yellow flower, mixes it up with lupine and white popcorn flowers. Valley oaks, now garbed in green, provide a backdrop for the tapestry. This scene was from an area along the Golden Chain Highway, otherwise known as state highway 49, I believe. A nearby sign said “Trabucco Gardens,” so I believe they may be the owner of this spectacular property. This time of year you can set up an easel just about anywhere in California and find beauty to capture.
“One Brilliant Moment”
9 x 12 inch oil painting
California poppies, Lancaster Poppy Reserve
This past week was peak bloom time for the poppies of the Lancaster Poppy Reserve, just north of Los Angeles. Painting there is an annual pleasure for me and in spite of the drought, the poppies didn’t disappoint. This is one of the paintings that came out of that trip. Another will be posted here soon.
Asilomar Waves (Near Pacific Grove, Monterey Peninsula, California)
8 x 10 inches, plein air oil painting
In the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to travel up and down California’s west coast, enjoying the spring wildflowers and the clear skies over the oceans. One of my favorite painting spots is Asilomar, near Pacific Grove, on the Monterey Peninsula. My little Strada mini easel set up so quickly I was painting in no time. Whenever I paint ocean scenes, it takes more time to get into the rhythm of the scene. With other landscapes there’s little movement except for perhaps cloud shadows. The ocean is a whole different challenge and its dynamic nature takes more concentration.
For the last several years, we’ve headed up to Lake Tahoe between December and February to take in the beautiful sights. This year we spent Christmas there with our family, and although there was a fair amount of overcast and snowy skies, the blue peeked through now and then. I am always a pushover for strong complements in landscapes and this riverside scene provided some of the colors I love best.