Remembering the Light
California Central Coast eucalyptus sunset oil painting
16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas
There’s a place I like to go traveling up highway 101, where the eucalyptus trees grow so gracefully, sculpted by ocean breezes. No matter the time of day, the light seems to do amazing things with these trees. This one, in particular, catches my imagination with every visit.
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.
“Oaks Guarding Oranges”
9 x 12 oil painting
California Central Coast, near Cayucos
Through the years, some of our most enjoyable travels have been along the many backroads that criss cross California. This small road goes inland from Cayucos, just a little north of Morro Bay. Closer to the water, the marine layer softens all the edges. The fog is soft and gray. As we drive inland, the fog burns off and takes on other colors. There are many orange and avocado groves along these country roads, which proves that the area does not often get frost. But it is hot as blazes in the summer. We will commonly see eucalyptus trees used as windbreaks to protect orange groves, but along this road the California live oak trees were doing the job.
9 x 12 inches
California impressionist plein air oil painting
In the springtime, the warmer weather invites me to do more plein air painting, and to visit areas where the trees and flowers are bursting with life. And nowhere is that more apparent than in California’s Central Coast, in San Luis Obispo County. These sycamores were growing in a little clump on the side of a hill, with last year’s sage at their feet. It was late in the day, and within a half an hour the trees were starting to be covered with shadows.
Oak Tree Meadow
12 x 16 inches
Oil on canvas
The area around Paso Robles is one of my favorite California locations – from the vineyards to the ranches to the oak covered hills. This new painting is from the area near Lake Nacimiento/Jolon. I think scenes like this look best in the late afternoon or in the early morning, when colors are their richest.
Cloud Shadows, Edna Valley
16 x 20 oil painting on canvas
In the early fall, the vineyards of the Edna Valley, in San Luis Obispo County, are heavy with fruit. Days are filled with blue skies and white puffy clouds racing across the sky.
Vineyard Country Road
8 x 10 oil painting
Fresh from last week’s trip to California’s Central Coast, this oil painting features one of California’s indigenous live oak trees towering over rolling vineyard hills. The vines are all leafed out, now, and look beautiful in the late afternoon light.
Big Sur Vista
8 x 8 inches
oil on canvas plein air panel
This is a scene I’ve enjoyed painting before, and will no doubt return to again. The location captures the majesty of the Big Sur coastline, along with the serenity of the water at a quiet moment. This is a little south of the Monterey Peninsula.
Paso Robles Vineyard Sunset
12 x 16 oil painting on canvas
Off highway 46, near Paso Robles, California in wine country
This is a painting I’ve been meaning to paint for a long time – the beautiful colors of sunset drenching a warm California landscape. The vines had just been harvested and a mid autumn chill was in the air. How I love the central coast – it’s such an inspiring place to paint.
San Luis Obispo Creek
9 x 12 inch oil painting
(this view features a bridge over the creek. I chose an angle that did not show the cement walkways, as I prefer the natural look.)
Interested in this painting? See more of my California Central Coast paintings here
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San Luis Obispo Creek winds through the Central California city of San Luis Obispo, before emptying into the Pacific Ocean near Avila Beach. Numerous restaurants line the banks of the creek, and if you eat on one of their patios during the summer, you’ll be treated to the sounds of a chorus of frogs. Occasionally steelhead trout can be seen in the waters. An annual cleanup day keeps the creek in good condition, a source of pride for the community.