Eastern Sierra Oil Painting
“Lundy Creek Aspens”
12 x 12 inches
Oil on linen panel
As you go up Lundy Creek, after passing by the lake, you encounter two beaver ponds. There is evidence of a lot of beaver activity, (fallen gnawed logs) but the crew has never been working the times we’ve been there. Perhaps they were hiding out in their lodges until the humans went away. This stand of aspens were in the process of changing from green to gold, which made them look frosted on top. Later they would be yellow and orange – another equally dazzling combination.
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!
“Morning Swim in the Arroyo Seco”
16 x 12 inches
oil on canvas
Ducks gently paddle in the pond beneath Pasadena’s Colorado Street Bridge … a scene of rural tranquility in the heart of Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco. Readers of this blog will remember the great duck adventure a few years back, as we watched a mother lead her ducklings up the flood control channel to the safety of the pond – including scaling a 45 degree incline covered with moss. But all the ducklings made it eventually, safe from hawks and owls. Perhaps some of these paddlers are those little ducks, all grown up with families of their own.
Sold at the Art for the Animals show at Gale’s Restaurant in Pasadena this past week, benefitting the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA.
Loch Shiel, Scotland
12 x 16 oil on canvas
This painting, painted as a commission, depicts a historic site in the highlands of Scotland in the village of Glenfinnan. It is the site where bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard at the beginning of the Jacobite rising in 1745. Glenfinnan sits at the north end of Loch Shiel. A monument (a pillar) can be seen at the lakeside at the closest point.
My forbears came from the western isle of Skye, but some of the MacDonalds who were landowners on Skye were also allies of Prince Charles.
I love painting Scotland and hope to return again. Good thing we took a lot of pictures when we were there the last time. Although today there are playing fields and roads and other signs of modern habitation, I tried to paint it as it may have looked more than 200 years ago (except for the horses and wagons and clansmen, that is.)
Crystal Crag (view from Lake Mary)
Mammoth Lakes, California
5 x 7″
The first snow at Mammoth Lakes, California, dusted the Crystal Crag formation overlooking Lake Mary. More storms would follow creating tall drifts contrasting vividly with the blue of the water. This seemed to be a good subject for a winter scene, although the time was truly in late fall. The late afternoon sun gave a slightly warm glow to the white snow. In nature, white is rarely, if ever, pure white. It is always picking up color from the environment, including the warm light of the sun, or cool skylight in shade.
Mammoth Lakes Study
5″ x 7″
oil on canvas panel
Just a quick study of Mammoth Lakes, California, from a trip we took long ago. I’d like to get up that way this summer and paint on location. I did some watercolor plein air paintings many years ago – including one sitting on a rock in the snow. Cold, but fun!