“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.
“Bishop Poplars, 2014”
14 x 18 oil on canvas
We try to visit the eastern Sierra every fall/winter … sometimes several times if we can. One of the highlights is seeing the cottonwoods and poplars turning gold in the area near Swall Meadow/ Round Valley, just to the north and west of Bishop. In this painting, the iconic triangular Mt. Tom can be seen in the distance.
“High Desert Color”
9 x 12 inches, oil painting on plein air panel
Antelope Valley High Desert area
After our welcome rains that came a few days ago, my husband and I saw the sky was still filled with beautiful cumulus clouds – the kind we see around here too infrequently. So we decided to take a drive up to the high desert to see the wide open spaces. It was a picture perfect day and we found ourselves in the small community of Valyermo. Although the wind and rain may have taken away some of the glory of the cottonwoods, there was still some color left, and the paint brush took care of the bare spots.
This is a view of one of those cottonwood groves. I liked the contrast of the yellow golds against the blue violet mountains in the background. Those happen to be the San Gabriels, the closest range to our home. So now I’ve painted them from ‘both sides, now’.
Bluebonnets and Oak Trees
9 x 12 inches
oil on linen plein air panel
Another springtime painting, from my plein air travels in past years. I think the blues and violets of the bluebonnets (lupine) go well with the yellows and greens of fresh spring leaves.
Here’s how it might look in a nice dark walnut stained frame:
Moonstone Beach, Cambria
6 x 8 inch miniature oil painting
Seasons come and go, but Moonstone Beach seems to look pretty much the same through the year (with the exception of some of the dune foliage, that is.) This is a place that I love to paint often. The first time I came here was during a paintout with the California Art Club, and I’ve returned many times through the years.
Vintage Oak – Vineyard oil painting
12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas
I never tire of painting oak trees, or vineyards, for that matter. So here’s a new painting that combines both in one composition. From a California hilltop, the vines stretch in all directions, resting after the “crush.” The late afternoon sun gives the vines and hillside a warm glow. Inspired by vineyards in Temecula and the California Central Coast.
Gold Rush Country Ranch
20 x 24 inches
oil on canvas
This new painting depicts a ranch on highway 49, not far from Murphys, California. There was something about the sculptural mass of the big oak tree that really spoke to me. Although I most commonly paint eucalyptus, I find live oak trees irresistible as well. I haven’t spent as much time painting Gold Rush country as I have the eastern Sierra and California’s Central Coast, but it’s really starting to grow on me. Maybe it’s all that gold?
Yosemite Falls in Summer
18 x 24 inches, vertical
Oil on canvas
At more than 2400 feet high, from the top of the upper falls to the base of the lower falls, Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in the continental United States. Peak water flow comes in late spring to early summer, the time that this was painted. The falls are fed by Yosemite Creek, and after the water leaves the falls, it joins the Merced River on its course out of the valley.
The challenge in painting a waterfall is to capture the soft edges of mist that perpetually rise from the thundering flow. Paint the edge too hard and the falls look like a cutout. Paint the edge too softly, and it looks like a big cottonball.