Walker Basin Creek
12 x 16
oil on canvas
Last summer we spent several pleasant days with other California Art Club artists at the Rankin Ranch in the Southern Sierra in Kern County. This oil painting was inspired by that trip. The hills are used for grazing by the range cattle owned by the ranch. This small stream serves as a water source for part of the herd. The tree growing by the water didn’t seem to be a willow, but no doubt it was a water-loving species. I liked the way it made a spot of lush green among the dusky tones of the surrounding hills. The area is not far from Bodfish, Caliente and other Southern Sierra towns.
(Wowona Tunnel view)
12 x 16 California impressionist oil painting on canvas
Iconic of California’s Sierra Range, the Yosemite valley is a treasure for all Californians. This painting depicts the valley in the summer, when Bridalveil falls is still putting out an immense volume from the previous year’s snowmelt.
El Capitan can be seen on the left. The Merced River (invisible) flows through the valley but is covered by the trees from this view. Half Dome is visible in the far distance, along with Cloud’s Rest. The large formations in the right foreground are the Cathedral Rocks.
11 x 14 inches – California Sierra landscape oil painting
(Sierra Creek, eastern Sierra Nevada, California)
As the summer heat melts away, fall comes to the Sierra, and the cooler nights start to turn the creek-side willows from bright green to gold. The spires of evergreens catch the last light of the day.
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Bishop Creek Reflections (near Lake Sabrina)
6 x 6 inch oil painting
Sierra Nevada fall color art
When the aspens turn, they are never lovelier than when their color is reflected in a mountain stream, as it is in this view of Bishop Creek, in the Eastern Sierra.
My husband and I have been visiting Yosemite since we honeymooned there (a very long time ago) and it never fails to captivate me, no matter the season or the weather. One of my favorite views is that of Yosemite Falls from the valley floor. The water is roaring more than ever this year, with the melting snow waters. With autumn on the way, it won’t be long before these peaks are snow clad again. We were told that many of the trees are going to be removed from the valley floor because their growth is obscuring the geological features that people come to see. I hope they don’t remove too many, though. The stately pines and deciduous trees add to the overall beauty of the park.
6 x 8 inches
Two California icons – eucalyptuses and California poppies, gathered together around a quiet stream. One historical account recalls that in the springtime the hills of Altadena (above Pasadena) were covered with soft green grass and poppies. Streams flowed out of the hills to merge with the San Gabriel River at its confluence.
11 x 14 oil on canvas
Autumn. My favorite time of year. It reminds me of back to school, fresh pencils and crayons, an imminent coolness in the weather, Halloween, football games and the bluest skies of the year. Here in southern California, at least when I was growing up, the summer heat trapped a layer of haze in the sky. But spring and fall were crystal clear. When you put the blue of the sky against the warm complements of orange and gold – well, it’s just magical, and who could resist painting it. By December, the sycamores have turned and the first rains bring forth new green grass. Autumn comes late around here.
Update: This painting was done a few years ago, but I just drove through the area a few days ago and it looks exactly like this.
The June Lake loop (off highway 395, in California) has several areas where you can pull off the road and look down onto meandering streams. This viewpoint of Rush Creek (between Silver Lake and Grant Lake) was on a bright overcast day, and the hazy whitened sky made the stream look more white then blue. I liked the striking contrast with the straw colored marsh-meadow and the deep blue shaded mountainside in the distance. I used a very limited palette for this study – mostly ultramarine blue, yellow ochre and cadmium yellow light. A few tiny bits of burnt sienna and cad red added warm notes.
I have it on good authority that all those little nooks and crannies along the creek are filled with hungry rainbow and brown trout. Is it true? Fisherfolk, do tell!
Yosemite Falls from the Swinging Bridge
11 x 14 oil painting
The Swinging Bridge across the Merced River in Yosemite connects the two sides of Yosemite valley. From the bridge, or a little south of it, where I was, you can see Yosemite Falls cascading down the granite face. Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America. When we visited, in the summer, it was not at its most intense flow, but it was impressive all the same.
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.