California Desert Landscape – Owens Valley Oil Painting

Owens Valley Morning
12 x 16 inches
oil on canvas

The eastern Sierra Nevada is a place of many different textures, moods and biomes, depending where you look. Just a short distance from some of the cottonwood groves I’ve painted is this desert like area with sagebrush and other desert wildflowers. Being an Angeleno, I have to confess that the Owens Valley was not a desert before Mulholland secured (grabbed) the water rights for Los Angeles. And it is true that the DWP is restoring water to the area, which is helping to bring back some of the native flora and fauna.

If you look carefully in the background of this painting, off to the right, you’ll see some brushy trees. That’s where the Owens River is flowing in this location. The range in the background is the White Mountians.

Sierra Nevada California Landscape Painting – Sierra Willows

Sierra Willows
14 x 18 oil on canvas

More Sierra Nevada paintings here

Although fall had come to the Sierras, there were still late wildflowers blooming on the banks of the Owens river. Young willows were turning yellow, glittering with each passing breeze. What attracted me to this scene was the contrast of the delicacy of the golden willows contrasted with the solidity and cool violets of the towering Sierras. The area is near Big Pine, so I’m going to guess that’s Piper Peak in the background. My husband gave me a GPS for Christmas so on future trips I should be able to get more exact locations for those who want to know exactly what and where.

I used a lot of thick paint on this one, more than I usually do, applying it with a palette knife in places to get a more expressive energy into it. I found that this was a better way to suggest the wind blowing off the tops of the mountains and stirring the brush. There’s nothing sedate and calm about this one!

If you’re in Southern California, mark your calendars for February 21. I’ll be giving a short presentation about my art at Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse at the intersection of Foothill Blvd. and Angeles Crest in La Canada. We’re going in alphabetical order so I’ll be appearing last at 8:30.

If you’re thinking of joining Facebook – jump in! It’s a lot of fun and you’ll reconnect with all your old friends there. Drop me a note if you’d like to add me as a friend, or follow my art activities.

California Landscape Oil Painting – Hansen Dam Willows

Hansen Dam Willows
14 x 18 oil on canvas

Like most seasons in Southern California, signs of the season don’t follow a predictable pattern. This, for example is what early winter looks like at Hansen Dam, about 15 minutes from our house. To most people it would look like fall. But no, in fall the trees are still green. Because of our short seasons, however, spring is likely to come early. Our ash tree lost its leaves after Christmas in one rain and windstorm. Within a few days green leaves were making their appearance. It’s weird. I know.

We lack a full season of snow, gray and restful quiet but we do gain extra months in which to paint growing things, like these fall beauties gracefully shedding their leaves with every passing breeze.

Today’s reception for the new members of Pasadena Society of Artists was wonderful. It was a terrific opportunity to meet new friends and catch up with old friends, talk some busienss and enjoy a lot of beautiful art. The show runs until January 29 … so if you’re in LA, I hope you’ll have a chance to stop by and see some of the things we’ve created. We were each asked to bring one painting to the show – a painting that was one of the three we presented when we were juried in. Because two of those paintings have sold (Castle Green Balcony and Under Autumn Skies) and the third is currently in a California Art Club show at the Blinn House – instead I took this one … Dana Point Headlands, 18x 24 oil.

Eaton Canyon Landscape Oil Painting – Eaton Canyon Springtime

Eaton Canyon Springtime
16 x 20 oil on canvas
SOLD to a collector from Pasadena

Interested in this painting? Please write.

This spring, be sure to mark your calendar to visit Eaton Canyon in Altadena when the wildflowers are in bloom. There has been enough rain that we should probably have a good show again.

Eaton Canyon is one of my favorite painting spots within an easy drive of my home. Sometimes if I see that there are interesting clouds in the sky I try to get over there to have a look or paint a little.

Yesterday I enjoyed visiting the LA Art Show, sponsored by FADA (Fine Art Dealers Association.) Several of the dealers featured paintings by Edgar Payne and William Wendt, both of whom are icons of California impressionism. If I had a spare 80 or 90 thousand dollars maybe I’d buy a small one. But since I don’t, I contented myself with gazing at them longingly, and making mental notes about the painting. At home, I’ve been reading Nature’s Temple, a catalog of Wendt’s work and Edgar Payne’s classic book on composition. It’s a good thing I enjoy being a perpetual student of art in all its manifestations. There is always something new to see and to learn from.

Ojai Valley Painting Study

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.

Eaton Canyon Oil Landscape Painting Study

Eaton Canyon Color
5 x 7
oil on canvas on board

These small color studies are fun to do when I don’t have time to dedicate to a larger painting. I guess that’s the essence of being a “daily painter” isn’t it? No one really expects us to finish a large painting every day, but, like Jello, there’s always room for a small study.

Although there’s not a lot of wildflower color this time of year, the remnants of autumn brush still glow against the greys and browns of winter. Buckwheat is one plant that adds a ruddy hue to any landscape. I like the white boulders that gleam in the sunlight – I think they add an interesting sculptural touch and provide contrast to the soft foliage.

This small study may be the basis for a larger work sometime soon. And speaking of larger paintings, I’ve been working on a larger Eaton Canyon oil painting, 16 x 20 inches, and I will be putting it here soon.

Aspen Landscape Oil Painting – Aspen Grove

Aspen Grove in the Sierras
11 x 14
oil on linen

Interested in this painting? Please write.

This painting is sold, but you can see more Sierra Nevada paintings here

Wow, where did the week go? I’ve been so busy doing various art marketing and selling tasks that I haven’t made time to post. That will be remedied very soon.

This is another in my ongoing Sierra fall series. The aspen grove pictured here is dwarfed by the steep uplift of the Sierra Nevada range, which literally rises like a wall from the Owens Valley floor. I was captivated by the contrast of the deep blue violet mountain in contrast with the warm bright foliage of the aspens. Sages and other late blooming wildflowers, nipped by the frost and tousled by the wind, provided an interesting foreground with some suggestion of motion.

Can you feel the autumn wind blowing down out of those peaks, causing golden leaves to quiver and fly away?

Tomorrow I’ll be taking a painting to White’s Gallery on Honolulu Ave. in Montrose for the Pasadena Society of Artists new member show. I was juried in last April, but the new member show is an annual event, so it’s a nice opportunity to show some work. The reception is January 24, 2-4 pm if you have the time to come by and see the works of 20 artists.

Pomegranate Orchard, impressionist oil painting

Pomegranate Orchard
11 x 14 oil on linen
SOLD (commission)

Write Me

This was a very interesting project to do, and one which I thoroughly enjoyed. A woman wanted a painting of a pomegranate orchard to give to a loved one for a Christmas present. The man had grown up in a middle eastern country where such groves were common, and he had childhood memories of playing there. I had never painted in that country, nor did I have any usable reference material, but I did a little research and realized that the area had a mediterranean climate and that the geography looked much like parts of California. So, I used a late afternoon photograph of a grove in California and used local reference photos of pomegranate trees to create an imaginary composite, which I showed her for her approval. So, this was the result, and I understand that her friend was very happy with the result.

We all love to paint from real life whenever we can. But this is one of the occasions when it’s just not possible. That’s when we, as artists, draw upon our memory and study of nature, and from having painted so much outdoors that we can craft as scene as it might have been.

If you’d like to give a special painting to someone commemorating a place or an event, but you don’t have a picture to work from, we can probably come up with a solution, just like this orchard from long ago and far away.

Owens River Fishing Spot – California impressionist oil painting

“Owens River – A good day for fishing”
14 x 18 oil on canvas
SOLD to a lovely couple relocating to Montana

This new panting features what I’ve been told is one of the best fishing spots on the Lower Owens River. It’s near Highway 168 close to a place known to the locals as “Black Rock.” In the background you can see the Eastern Sierras and the Alabama Hllls, the choclatey brown lower range, still glowing in afternoon light. For many years, the water in the Owens River was diverted for Los Angeles. Now, some of the water flows again through local steams in the Owens Valley, and the landscape is recovering. I understand that some of the best bass fishing in California can be had in this spot. The day we were there a fisherwoman was doing well. I don’t have much experience with freshwater fishing, but this place looks like a little bit of heaven.

Because the painting is wet, it’s hard to get the look of the clouds without excessive reflection. There is detail in them; it’s just hard to see. I’ll try shooting this again when it dries.

Here’s a detail of just some of the native grasses:

Colorado Street Bridge Painting – California Impressionist Pasadena Landscape

Across the Arroyo
9 x 12 oil on canvas on panel
(The Colorado Street Bridge, Autumn in the Arroyo Seco)
New, and available.

Yes, more sycamores. It’s the time of year when I want to capture them in all their glory, and if I can include my favorite bridge, all the better.

Just looking at this view makes me happy. And painting it, well, I can get downright giddy around these trees.