18 x 24
oil on canvas
I’ll be taking this new painting to a Malibu art show this Sunday at Headwaters corner at Topanga and Mulholland (11-5 pm) for the spring show of the Allied Artists. The craggy rocks of the shoreline glisten in the light of the setting sun as the incoming tide surges through the nooks and crannies. I love how the colors intensify as the sun nears the horizon. Once again nature presents us with the perfect complementary color scheme of warms against cools, red-yellow-orange against blues and violets.
These days I’m trying to balance my time between getting handout materials ready for my solo exhibition at the Bowers Museum, keeping up with commissions and sales (shipped three yesterday) and thinking ahead about the California Art Club paint-out in San Luis Obispo for the week of April 17. Life (and art) are good, and all-absorbing!
Cormorant Rock, Malibu,
Leo Carrillo State Park Beach
5 x 7 oil painting
At Leo Carrillo Beach, I came across a rock that had a flock of cormorants roosting briefly before their next fishing mission. Their silhouettes against the fading sun intrigued me, and I thought they made a nice composition. A wedding was underway just the other side of a big rock structure, a beautiful sunset setting. I thought at first they were pelicans, but I was mistakden.
This limited palette painting was fun to do. The rocks take on different colors depending upon the lighting conditions and time of day, which presents a lot of creative possibilities.
California’s Brown Pelicans have been in the news recently as sick and dying birds have been found a distance from usual home. Their feathers are often discolored with some unknown substance. Whether is the result of red tide (algae bloom) or some other pollutant is unknown. A similar die-off happened around February of 2009. One supposition is that weather and oceanographic influences may disrupt the pelicans usual feeding patterns, causing them to starve and weaken. El Nino conditions may be a contributory factor. These birds were on home turf and looked well-feathered and plump. I love to watch them flying just over the waves, single file.
Malibu Surf Sunset
6 x 8 oil
This little study of the surf at Malibu gives you some idea of the subtle range of colors that emerge on even a somewhat hazy day. The water can appear silvery and opalescent under the right conditions. And those conditions change from moment to moment. California impressionist and Laguna painter Frank Cuprien was especially adept at capturing those fleeting tones in his oil paintings. There’s a lot to be learned from studying the masters, first-hand. I’ve enjoyed seeing his works at both the Laguna Museum of Art as well as the Irvine Museum.
See more of my marine paintings here
For more information about this painting, please write.
Creekside in Malibu
(Malibu Creek State Park)
11 x 14
oil on linen panel
Malibu Creek, in the Santa Monica Mountains, is swelling with winter rains, and the water is nourishing the surrounding lands. This painting celebrates the return of spring in one of our most beautiful local areas, Malibu Creek State Park.
This is an area that I love to visit and paint over and over again. The creek has many different moods depending upon the season and the weather. To see more of my malibu creek paintings, visit this link.
We’ve had a few days of sunshine here, but the rain is headed back again tomorrow. I don’t mind it too much because I know it means a fantastic springtime full of wildflowers. But I do thrive on the beautiful clear skies the way the weather was yesterday. Studio work is fun but plein air painting is the best.
This weekend I’m looking forward to welcoming some visitors to my studio who are interested in seeing some prints of my work. I think it’s time to put aside the brushes for a moment and rediscover the vacuum cleaner.
12 x 9 oil on canvas panel
Plein air oil painting
I’ve been so busy this past month with a flurry of shows and then two consecutive weeks painting and stomping around the Eastern Sierra, that I haven’t been posting as regularly as usual. That will change now that things sort of settle back to “normal.” (Whatever that is.)
Of course, I grab every opportunity to paint that I can, and sometimes those opportunities come at unusual times. This pine tree was painted during the Malibu Allied Artists show a week ago. I set my easel up by my display area and looked around for something paintable. Although the day was mostly gray, the sun came out a few times and illuminated a hillside behind this tree. There wasn’t much of a vista, so we’ll just call it a tree portrait. I was told by a man who does landscaping that it is an Aleppo Pine. Upon doing a little research about it I came upon a wikipedia article that claims that an Aleppo pine was the inspiration for one of Cezanne’s paintings. Their sculptural forms are certainly appealing.
Because the sky was an interesting combination of warm and cool lavender that day, I opted to borrow an impressionist technique of using complements of the same value in the sky area. Enlarge the image by clicking and you’ll see what I mean. When I’ve visited the Irvine Museum, I’ve seen this approach used to great effect by a number of the California impressionists. I like how it added a bit of a glow to the atmosphere.
I’ll be posting more new work soon. If you’ve been thinking of a commissioned painting for a holiday gift, now’s a good time to get in touch. I currently have three works in the queue, but there is plenty of time to create a portrait, house portrait, landscape or seascape for that special someone.
Some ideas for commissioned paintings … the place where he proposed and you got engaged … a still life representative of your spouse’s favorite hobby (fly fishing lures, a softball and glove, cut flowers for arranging) … a house portrait of your first home … a portrait of a beloved pet, from the present or past … your honeymoon spot … the place you and your spouse first met … a favorite camping or hiking spot … a favorite flower …
The ideas are just endless if you think about special moments, places, people and things.
11 x 14
oil on canvas
This is one of the paintings I’ll be bringing to the Allied Artists Art Show and Sale this Sunday, October 18 at the Malibu Nature Preserve, 33905 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu.
It will probably be one of the last big outdoor shows of the season, so I hope that you’ll have a chance to come out and enjoy the weather at the coast. I was up in the Sierra last week, but we got rained out, so I hope to return again in a week or two, as we did last year.
8 x 10 oil on canvas on hardboard
(Click image to enlarge)
I painted this in the spring, when the meadows of the Santa Monica Mtns were still green, but never got around to finishing it up. Now that the summer/fall show season is starting to wind down, I have time to revisit some of my field studies and bring them to completion, like this one. This is a meadow near one of the grassland trail entrances to Malibu Creek State Park
Mark your calendars for the annual Pasadena Art Walk, Saturday, October 10.
“Malibu Creek Afternoon Hike”
12 x 16 oil on canvas
This painting will be exhibited at the Allied Artists show at Headwaters Corner, Malibu on Sunday, March 29 – unless someone wants to purchase it before then!
After I painted at Solstice Canyon last week, we took a hike at one of our favorite and restful state parks, Malibu Creek. This is the view after you leave the parking lot and head west into the park. I think it’s especially beautiful in the spring, when the wildflowers are starting to bloom.
I had a lot of fun using the palette knife in painting this one. Most of the time I paint with brushes. Occasionally, I’ll do a painting with only knife. On very rare occasions I’ll use both – each for what it does best. This was one of those times.
Here’s a detail of just a part of the cliff. I think it makes a nice abstract all on its own. Click to enlarge.
Click image to see a larger, higher quality picture
Saturday I had the pleasure of going with a group of painting friends to Solstice Canyon, a park in Malibu in the Santa Monica Mountains. When we woke up in the morning (early) it was very dark outside and I came to realize that it wasn’t just our daylight saving time change – the sky was heavily overcast. I debated going or not going, because I generally prefer to paint spring scenes under beautiful clear skies. But I decided to go paint anyway, thinking that maybe it would be a 2-panel day. One before the burnoff and one later.
As it turned out, the overcast skies never really cleared, but there was something about the silvery look and cool blue light that really appealed to me. And it’s a look that I might not have gotten on a typical sunny Malibu day.
In the earliest spring, only a few of the trees had put on their new foliage so a great deal of light came through to illuminate the ground. I can imagine that with a full summer canopy only patches of warm, brilliant light would appear. This is what I love about plein air painting. Even when you have painted a scene before, it’s never the same twice. The weather is different, or the time of day, or the season, and each of those factors interact to create different looks and moods.
Here’s a work in progress shot
El Matador View
11 x 14
This is a painting that I worked on while gallery sitting, enjoying the company of passers-by. With the heat we experienced this past month, there were many days that I would have preferred to have been on that shoreline. Soon enough, I’ll be there.
Today I’m getting ready for a two day invitational fine art show at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, Saturday and Sunday September 20-21. I’ll be near the entrance to the museum in a grassy area. Today my task is to figure out which paintings I’ll be bringing and making name tags for them, updating my portfolio etc. By Monday I’ll be able to catch my breath and get back to painting for a little while.