Park lands in the western states are being threatened on a daily basis. The natural beauty and stark intensity of desert lands just aren’t important to some people in power. The land is seen as valuable only in terms of what it can give up for money: mining, uranium, rooftops.
Close to my home are the Tucson Mountains, and the Sweetwater Trail, which still has National Park status, but lots of new rooftops dotting the pristine hills. I had a free day and went to walk the washes and animal trails just off the main human trail. Found a spot to set up and do an oil sketch.
It was so peaceful, yes warm because it has been the warmest recorded temps for this time of year, regardless of what some might say. But no snakes! Just coyotes howling a little in the distance and some birds rustling about.
This Friday, the September Full Moon brings again Open Studios at the Metal Arts Village. I’ve been working on some small studies in oil of monsoon water flows from the creeks around southern Arizona. Looking forward to some cooler weather now!
Full Moon Open Studio is this Tuesday, at my studio in the Metal Arts Village, Tucson. I will be featuring this painting, a recent oil based on studies made of a special place in the wash at Rancho Linda Vista in Oracle, AZ.
In studio paintings, I like to let the mark making and color fly. Abstraction meets representation, and the painting becomes something more than the original study, which is more often than not painted on site.
Above is the small plein air study made of this prehistoric waterfall, mainly of the little top section, a very intriguing boulder conglomeration. This piece is 12 x 9″. The studio painting is 24 x 36″.
Located within the upper basin of the San Pedro River basin, Ramsey Canyon is a paradise for birding, nature watching, and plein air sketching and painting. It’s nice to compare the seasons as they unfold.
Last November as the leaves were in full color, we took advantage of a great opportunity to take the easel and paints out to the Ramsey Canyon nature preserve. The sketch was really about the brilliance of the color, and the forest environment.
A couple of months later, we returned to the preserve, and set up easels next to the beautifully running creek.
The light is gorgeous, the water running at a steady clip. Being mid-day, the sun was going to steadily move down, but we figured we had 2 1/2 good hours to paint..
The goal was to catch the light on the running water, the movement and transparency of the water flowing over the rocks.
At the Plein Air Conference and Expo last month in Monterey, we had the fun of participating in a paint-out on the beautiful beach at Carmel-On-The-Sea. The weather was perfect, amid a group of blustery days; the sun shone and there wasn’t too much wind.
We walked down the beach a little way, towards a view of Pebble Beach off in the distance, and set up our gear.
I was working on creating a quick tonal underpainting, while the fog was rolling around in the distance. I had recently purchase a set of primary colors from Michael Harding paints (at the PACE) and was excited to play around with the oils a little, and see how far I could mix with just the primaries.
turns out I could mix some lovely tints and tones of green, which went along well with the view.
The shadows were growing long, and it was time to pack it in, go somewhere to get warm, and take a little walk in the quaint town of Carmel.
Recently we took a trip to this quaint little Victorian town near Monterey. The day was overcast and blustery, the bay was choppy and a steely grey. A perfect time for a quick outdoor sketch in oil. There was a little town park at the tip of the town, called Lover’s Point, a place dating back to Victorians who loved to bathe in the waters, and take boating trips in the bay. The boulders were personable, yet a little dangerous.
I’m working on birch panels that have been stained a transparent earthy red to seal the wood. I start the sketch quickly, using marks that block in the basic shapes of the boulders, sea and sky. I noticed that the shapes of the boulders were quite smooth, leaned together at odd places, and had interesting cracks and things that seemed to go through the whole grouping.
The light was fairly constant, since the sky was overcast. The water was moving and crashing, transparent in some places, opaque in others.
There was a misty and nostalgic atmosphere to the space and composition that I tried to keep in the painting. I was pleased with the way that the boulders opened up the space to the vastness of the sea. Beautiful northern California!