Overlooking the Ojai Valley
8 x 10 oil on linen plein air panel
This new painting features a view of the beautiful Ojai Valley, a verdant agricultural area northwest of Los Angeles, in Ventura County. The viewpoint is looking southward from the north part of the valley. Orange trees are in abundance there. It’s late afternoon, a few hours before sunset.
“Trail to the Ojai Valley”
11 x 14 oil
My reception for my show at Descanso Gardens will be tomorrow afternoon, 1-4 pm as scheduled. I have heard that the rain is clearing out and should be completely gone by later tonight – hopefully it will be a beautiful day in the gardens. If you’re in Southern California, I hope that you can come.
This is painting depicts a trail in Dennison Park near Ojai, California, whose trails overlook and lead into the Ojai Valley, seen in the background.
Where the Sespe Flows
16 x 20 oil on canvas
Sespe Creek Campground, Ventura County
This beautiful little creek, cut so deeply into the surrounding land, provided an opportunity to work out on trees, water, reflections and eroded land masses, all in the same painting. What a treat to paint. The Sespe, 25 miles long, is not interrupted by dams and is one of the main sources of water of the Santa Clara River. The Sespe originates in the Sierra Madre mountains and is part of a condor sanctuary. According to wikipedia, it’s one of the last wild rivers in California. Long may it be so, for campers and artists alike.
Peaceful Valley Farm
9 x 12 inches
plein air oil painting
Last week I noticed that the theme on the Creative Construction blog was “farm” and that jogged my memory of this farm study, painted last fall, up around the Santa Ynez Valley. I don’t know the location since we were driving around without a GPS. So I found it in my archives and put on a few finishing touches and here it is.
Today my project is to make canvas panels for a workshop I’ll be attending in Fallbrook the week after next. Someone asked me recently about the importance of study in painting. I think that it’s essential to be a perpetual student, either literally, as in taking classes and workshops, or self-study by learning from nature.
When I’m riding in the car with my husband, if we’re not talking, I’m constantly observing and making mental notes about the landscape. It might be the color of the clouds when the light is coming at a certain angle, or the value difference between the light-struck part of a bush and the underbrush on a bright day. I might think about how I’d mix a certain shadow color that I see on the hills, or the sort of brushstroke I’d use to convey the softness of a field of grass vs. the roughness of a broken stump. We are not just painters when we sit or stand at the easel. We are painters every moment of the day (and sometimes, when we are asleep, too.)
Ojai Valley Study
5″ x 7″ oil on canvas panel
Here’s another small color study, as I organize my thoughts about painting this view in a larger size.
When we visited the William Wendt exhibit recently, at the Laguna Art Museum, I observed that he frequently used diagonals in the foreground, either in the form of a road or overlapping hills, to lead the eye into the picture. This scene provided the opportunity to experiment with that lead-in style. I see several things I would do differently in a larger painting, but this small study served its purpose.
If you’re in LA, please join me and 19 other artists for the Pasadena Society of Artists New Members Show reception. The place: White’s Art and Framing … 2414 Honolulu Blvd., Montrose, CA 91020 (818) 957-4071. Time: 2-4 pm.
Lake Casitas Sunset
16 x 20 oil on canvas
One of the best bass fishing spots in California, so I’ve been told, is Lake Casitas in Ojai, not far from the Pacific Ocean and Carpinteria. The lake is formed by Casitas Dam and offers year round camping and other recreational activities. The day we were there it was late fall and more than a little crisp. I’m looking forward to returning again to be inspired by a different light and season.
What appealed to me about this location were the soft muted colors, slightly warmed by late afternoon light. Just an hour before or after it would not have revealed these jewel like tones.