"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.