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!

Just Off of Mulholland Hwy

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.

California Burning

When thinking about the normal four seasons, most would say that Southern California has maybe two of the four. Well, as someone who has been born and raised here, we do have four seasons, they just aren’t the norm for most places. The seasons here are Spring, Summer, wind and fire. The central and southern part of the state have had a drought going for a few years now and it was so nice to finally have gottten the rain we needed and the hills and mountains around us were filled with beautiful wildflowers and greenery everywhere.Generally the summers are hot and during the season of Fall, the hot “Santa Ana” winds start up causing fires but things have started all too soon. Sadly, three separate fires have started this past July weekend. Two in the Santa Barbara County and one called the “Alamo Fire” south of Santa Maria.View from the vineyards of Arroyo Grande and Santa Maria southward.

Our fire season has officially begun and our prayers go out to the brave firefighters, police, many workers and all who have been affected by this.

A Path Well Traveled

IMG_1587.JPGIMG_1580.JPGI took the time to scout out some new¬†areas to paint and I thought I’d visit El Matador State Beach in Malibu, California — which is absolutely beautiful! The parking is free and one just has to hike down a set of staircases to get to the water. The path is well traveled by photographers, sight seers, people filming, artists and even high school graduating classes for their senior photos.For those¬†visiting Southern California, this is worth the hike. If you have visited, I would love to hear your thoughts and share some of your photos.

A day derailed

It never ceases to amaze me regarding the range of emotions a human being can experience within a period of mere seconds.

Sunday arrived and I had planned to paint for the afternoon after getting home from church. The day was cold and drizzly and as I was driving home, the drizzle had turned to rain which was just fine with me because we need the rain and I wouldn’t have any distractions to work on my current project.

As I began to put the key in the door, I felt happy, content and at peace. Once I walked in, I was greeted by our two Boxers, Cooper and Luna, and looking at them sent me into a state of confusion, then shock and finally, panic! I was horrified to realize that the object in Luna’s mouth was a gnarled, once full, tube of oil paint – burnt sienna, to be exact. Normally, my dogs are fawn color with white markings on the face, chest and paws but at that moment, I couldn’t see any white. I followed the path of destruction throughout the house which finally led me to the dining room/living room area that now had very, VERY large areas of smeared burnt sienna OIL PAINT! IMG_1882

Needless to say, my day had been derailed. Four hours later with plenty of elbow grease and a gallon of Mona Lisa odorless paint thinner and the carpets are looking pretty darn good!

A New Look

Time for a couple of changes. In a drawing or painting, the artist will draw a viewers eye to a specific area first, called the focal point, then with color, value and shapes the viewers eye then moves throughout the rest of the art. Each new blog I post will be that focal point.


Santa Rosa Valley after a recent rain, this is what I was able to capture!