Vasquez Rocks Park

Vasquez Rocks Park, Agua Dulce, CA

Tuesday, March 6th, was a windy day but beautiful and the temperature was perfect for painting “En Plein Air” with a group of friends. I am a native Californian but have not been back to this area since I was a child and now that I have been back, I kick myself for waiting so many years to do so. This is a perfect area for so many sports along with photography, painting or just hanging out to enjoy the beauty.

Vasquez Rocks was home to the Shoshone and Tataviam peoples and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. These iconic rock formations known as “hogback ridges” are steeply ridged strata that sit along the San Andreas Fault system and of course, we as Californian’s have to deal with the occasional earthquake now and then because of this fault system.

This area has been used to film motion pictures, television and advertising since 1935 but prominently since 1963 with episodes of the Outer Limits, the Wild Wild West, Blazing Saddles, The Flinstones and Star Trek’s episode “Arena”, where Captain Kirk rolls a boulder on the reptiloid alien, Gorn. The prominent rock formation has been nicknamed “Kirk’s Rock” since it had been featured in a several Star Trek episodes. Taco Bell, Nike and Bank of America have shot commercials here and there are so many more, too numerous to mention but interesting to look up.

I continue to set aside days to paint outdoors and am loving the time but with all this amazing reference material, it’s time to head back into the studio. I consider myself a perpetual student and look forward to the challenge and practice of this technique. I am encouraged by what I was able to accomplish in a few hours and encourage any other studio painters to grab their gear and head outside.

There are so many wonderful sites to visit in Southern California and if you like the desert and are traveling in the area, definitely make a point to explore this area. Happy travels!

2 thoughts on “Vasquez Rocks Park

  1. I spent a short while at Joshua Tree, way back in 1992, following a long hike on the Pacific Crest Trail through Oregon, where I also did a lot of quick outdoor sketching and later a series of small paintings (in one of the gallery pages of http://www.christerrell.co.uk). I remember the lovely subtle smell of the air in the desert areas, the complete dryness and amazing clarity of the air, a rare thing here in Britain and even rarer in Scotland! That’s a good painting that captures something of that heat and dryness, yet still vibrant with life, that is part of what I found the experience of that kind of “desert” to be. Looking forward to seeing the studio works!

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    1. How great it must be to look back on the the adventures you have been on and at the sketches you created – wonderful memories! There is such a huge difference of terrain from Oregon to Joshua Tree and I am glad you were able to see as well as experience it. I have never been a big fan of the desert but saw it with new eyes a few days ago and of course, pleasant weather made all the difference in the world. I checked out your link and really enjoyed reading it plus your sketches and small paintings were good! When traveling, I’ve tried to capture scenes quickly with just watercolor, only to be disappointed because there is nothing “quick” about working with that medium but looking at your work has reminded me that I will get better results sketching first, then laying in the watercolor. One day I hope to visit Britain and Scotland but until then, I will see it through the lens of your camera when you post photos on your blog. Take care. 😊📸🎨

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