Thursday, April 19, 2012

Oak Above Santa Barbara

"Oak Above Santa Barbara"
22" X 28" Oil on Canvas

I was driving back from Pasadena when I saw this oak tree on a hillside off the highway just above Santa Barbara. I've seen this tree many times and in different light. Normally, I don't paint midday scenes but actually I took the reference photo around 4-5 pm. The fact was the sun was slightly above and behind me putting the tree in direct sunlight, casting shadow to the backside of the tree.
What drew me to paint this scene was working with a tree that was in full sun. I liked the dark shadows under and behind the tree and the sweeping hillsides. I liked the Santa Ynez mountains as the low looking backdrop with the cloud formation covering the tips of the mountains. It is a scene that I see a lot around here. During the day this is a pretty typical scene up here. I've done plenty of late afternoon scenes so catching a scene in direct sunlight was refreshing to me.   

Monday, April 09, 2012

Alisal Trail

Alisal Trail
18" X 24"
Oil on Canvas

This is a scene just south of Solvang heading towards Nojoqui Falls. This trail is actually a two lane road that I've driven quite often heading towards a favorite stand of Sycamore trees to gather reference photos. I like this spot and have painted plein air just a bit further down the road. I like the spot and enjoy looking towards the valley over the hill and just seeing big puffy clouds gliding along the ridge line here. The cattle that belong to the Alisal Ranch will occasionally come strolling by the wire fences lining the road which always make for interesting company. If you try and apporach them they shoot off down the valley where less humans reside. It's hard to believe such large animals can be so intimidated by man....then again they aren't eating us are they?