Mt. Tom Springtime – Bishop, California
9 x 12 landscape oil painting on plein air panel
This was the first time I’ve been up in the Sierra to paint this season. I always look forward to seeing the first wildflowers blooming as the snow recedes.
I painted this along one of Bishop’s many agricultural canals. I set up under a cottonwood tree for a little shade, but as the wind picked up, I decided to move. There were too many broken branches on the ground for me to feel safe.
Trail into Springtime
Tejon Ranch plein air oil painting
9 x 12 inches, oil on linen panel
One of California’s unspoiled treasures is the Tejon Ranch, north of Los Angeles and south of Bakersfield, up in the Los Padres Forest.
I had the pleasure to do some plein air painting there, and this is one of the pieces that came from the trip. Free range cattle roam through the hillsides, and you’re as likely to meet a steer as a rattlesnake or a cottontail rabbit. It’s Old California in the very best way. I’d love to get back there again sometime to paint.
The Light in the Forest (California redwoods)
16 x 20 inch oil painting
These magnificent Sequoia redwoods are growing in the Armstrong Grove in Northern California, not far from Guerneville, which is on the Russian River. It is an old growth forest, protected, and will never be cut down. I love being in the redwoods and I love painting them, too. They impart a certain feeling of peace, grandeur and spirituality that is almost overwhelming. I try to capture the feeling of being there in every redwood painting that I do.
Let me know if you are interested in a redwood theme in perhaps a larger size. I do a lot of painting on commission, and the redwoods are one of my favorite subjects.
“Virgin River, Zion National Park”
9 x 12 oil on plein air panel
A beautiful summer day in Zion National Park, Utah, down by the river. The water level was low, but flowing. We had just returned from a hike up to the Emerald Pools, and the water looked so refreshing. This was the first time I’ve visited Zion, but it won’t be the last.
“Colorado Cloudy Day”
8 x 10 inches, oil on plein air panel
I painted this as we were on the way from Monte Vista, Colorado to Gunnison. It was just a turn off the highway into a campground, but when I saw it I knew I had to stop. The sky was clear when I started blocking in the scene, but before long large clouds starting rolling in and completely filled the horizon. I had just finished when raindrops started to fall, so we scrambled to get everything under cover and into our car. Not long after, the storm blew through and the sky was sunny again. Then more clouds and raindrops, more sun. It was like that for our whole trip. I guess that’s what they mean by Monsoon Season!
This was painted in Lancaster near the Poppy Reserve in Southern California’s Antelope Valley. It was late in the day and the colors were just getting more and more intense as I kept working on it, making changes and modifications.
Below, a few pictures of the work in progress
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.
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:
“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.