Eucalyptus Grove...

backlit eucalyptus 16x20sm


This is another painting from my trip to Laguna Beach last month. I was painting with several friends in a beautiful grove of eucalyptus trees. About an hour into our paintings the landowner asked us all to move our easels outside of the fenced area where we were. We ended up painting from about a hundred feet back, peering over a fence, wishing we had binoculars to finish our paintings. The trees had a lot of character, and looked great on top of the brilliant, sunlit green grass. The mountain behind the trees was in shadow all morning, a deep blue that made the greens look all the more vibrant. Even though I ended up working from a distance I was happy with how this one came out. This painting is 16×20″ and is on display at the Debra Huse Gallery on Balboa Island, CA.

Octopus Attack!!!...

Sparkling wave 9x12sm


Sometimes when I get together with other painters we’ll talk about the craziest thing someone said to us, or a weird thing that happened while we were working on location. Well, I definitely had my strangest painting experience while painting in Laguna Beach a few weeks ago.

I went out painting with my friend, Jacobus Bass, and we found a spot on some rocks at the edge of the water. I chose to stand on a flat rock just inches above the waterline. Occasionally a wave would splash my legs and feet, but it didn’t seem like anything to worry about. At least until I felt something on my foot. I looked down to see an octopus crawling onto my foot. The octopus was about a foot and a half long, and was apparently very curious about the human foot. Of course it scared the hell out of me, so I jumped away from it and ran to the other side of my easel. After a minute or so it slid back down into the ocean, never to be seen again.

Thankfully Jacobus was there to witness this insanity and my freak out. I settled down and got back to work on the painting, but every splash of a wave behind me shot my adrenaline back through the roof. My jumpiness was a great source of amusement for Jacobus. The only explanation I heard was from Ray Roberts, who told me it was Octopus mating season. Maybe it had a foot fetish?



California Workshop in February...

Crystal Cove 16x20sm


I just got home from California a week ago, but I’m already looking forward to when I can paint there again. This February I’m headed back for a workshop and solo show hosted by the Debra Huse Gallery on Balboa Island. Southern California is a great place to paint, with some amazing scenery. It should make for a fun place to host a workshop. If you want to learn more about the class feel free to contact me, or the gallery. The class will be February 3-6.

The painting above was done at Crystal Cove, a great beach with some charming buildings looking out over the water. The teal building is painted pretty frequently, but I liked making it the foreground of this scene. It’s a little busy, but he teal house feels like a nice resting place for the eye. Part of what drew me to the scene was the complexity of the background, and thinking about how I would be able to simplify it to simple brushstrokes.


Top of the World...

Top of the Worls Tree 18x24sm


I recently got home from a week in California participating in the Laguna Plein Air Invitational. It was so much fun to paint with my friends and to meet new people out there. It was also great to paint a new place. I really like the character of this tree and the valley behind it leading to Saddleback Mountain. While I was there, most mornings were overcast till 11am, so I used this scene as a morning subject.

Cast Shadows...

Barn 30x40sm


I’ve wanted to paint this barn for years, and never got up the nerve to ask permission till a few weeks ago, despite the fact that it’s owned by a friend’s mom. I finally did ask and got an enthusiastic invitation to paint there. I had never explored the property before so I spent some time looking around and choosing the scene I wanted to paint. Even after choosing the barn I had to do a lot of planning of the composition, and try to plan for the moving light. I really like painting a structure as the light is transitioning between shaded and fully lit. In this case I liked the long cast shadow from the roof, but had to capture that fleeting moment as fast as possible . The painting is 30×40″ so it takes a little more thought than a smaller sketch, but it can be a fun challenge to deal with.

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