No matter an artists’ style or choice of medium, there are many things that go into a great composition. I am working on a new series of paintings that make the “shadows” key players in the compositions.
Taft Gardens and Nature Preserve is a local treasure with acres and acres (264 acres to be exact), of plants, trees and paths to meander. There were so many beautiful areas to explore but since time was of the essence to start painting, my friend and I chose a place relatively close to where we parked to start painting.
There are over 20,000 different species of plants and trees and I only captured a very small percentage of them.
The recent California fires were devastating and it seems like no area was left untouched but firefighters were able to save so much of the gardens. The surrounding hills and nature preserve was a different story but thankfully new growth has already begun with the recent rains.
Tomorrow we are suppose to get another few days of rain so I plan to head back there soon to see even more wildflowers and green hills before the summer months turn it golden.
Until next time, take care and take time to enjoy your surroundings wherever that might be.
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!
18″ x 36″ oil on canvas
This painting began with a conceptand instead of sticking with the usual sizes of canvas, I made an 18″ x 36″ canvas to fit my design. I had fully intended to go with a full color, daylight scene but it was missing a certain feel to me.I was going to scrap the whole idea but figured I had nothing to lose by changing the color and with it, the mood. I went with a limited palette of Dioxazine Purple, Indian Red, Raw Umber, Titanium white and a tad of Ultramarine Blue.The underpainting from the original colors show through and gives a nice warmth to this piece. It is quite a departure in color from my other paintings but I’m liking it and it gives a calm, moonlit effect. I am thinking about creating a smaller version in full color but I need time to ‘rest’ from this subject and to paint in watercolors.🎨
I welcome your thoughts and if you have changed directions as well with paintings of your own.
Rocky Oaks is a small nature reserve and wildlife refuge regional park located in the Santa Monica Mountains.
As we all have experienced, sometimes the time in your day does not belong to you – it gets chipped away by the busy-ness of life and/or the needs of others and this week has been one of those weeks for me. I needed a “mental health day” so I grabbed my art gear and headed off to this state park to meet up with a couple of other artists. The day was perfect and there was even a pond with ducks and various other birds. If Southern California doesn’t get anymore real rain, this little pond may be gone in a few months so I decided to set up my easel to capture the moment in oils.
This painting is still in progress but it has been sitting on my easel for a couple of months because I just wasn’t “feeling it”. Before covering it up to create a completely different painting, I thought I’d try to change the background and the entire mood of the painting so I chose a moonlit night. I plan to put an old oak tree in front of the barn and have this completed in the next couple of weeks – hoping I made the right decision.
Below is the “before” in progress photo. Anybody else drastically change your art?
18” x 36” oil on canvas
Under painting is complete and now I can concentrate on greater care with color, depth and detail. This is one of two projects currently in progress for my vineyard series.