Corner of Lincoln & Presidio Blvd from the YMCA parking lot

I set up perpendicular to the Tennessee Hollow trail looking back towards the post office and LDAC. It was windy as usual, but this time I thought ahead and brought a thicker painting panel mount. It’s a lot easier to paint when you’re not having to track a moving target. Probably should add paracord and some tent spikes to my kit for good measure. A few people stopped to talk as they parked to go to the gym, and I had a nice conversation about Duolingo with an older gentleman. Another normal lunch break in the Presidio.

9x12in oil on linen panel

Presidio Main Post from Tunnel Tops

Well, I tried to paint the main post twice. Two lunch breaks in a row, both days I didn’t have much success. Trying to paint the straight lines of buildings in the wind proved way too challenging. It doesn’t help that my brushes are as frayed as a cat struck by lightning. I definitely need to invest in some new sharp-edged brights if I’m going to start painting the buildings around here. The second afternoon, I returned with a more appropriately formatted canvas, which at least helped the composition, but the painting was still a mess as I had to hold onto it with one hand to keep it from flying off. Technical challenges aside, both attempts have too much detail and not enough depth. I can’t find the happy medium. I’m forcing it, and that lack of traction is coming through on the canvas. Time to move on.

9x12in oil on linen panel
9x15in oil on linen panel

Woodlark Apartments

The boys and I went to see Howl’s Moving Castle at the Lark Theater this afternoon and then after we got back home, they decided to go for a swim. I, for my part, wanted to paint, so I hiked up the hill above the pool and sketched the view looking back at my apartment. This place has been good to us, but we’ve been here too long. I wish I could find a house we can afford. Maybe I should trade my heart to a fire demon that seemed to work out for Howl.

6x15in oil on linen panel

Petlenuc Creek

Lunchtime paintings in the presidio will start being a regular thing again now that Lucasfilm wants me in office twice a week. My plan is to ride my bike in one day, scouting for locations, and then paint them at lunch the other. This place has so many layered vistas and shifting weather patterns, there will be no shortage of scenes to paint for years to come.

Today I set up on the Tennessee Hollow trail / Presidio Promenade Trail. Not sure which trail this is as the map says both names, which is a little odd. I regret not looking at the trailhead sign I was standing next to while I painted. Unofficially, I guess this is the view looking south across the Tennessee Hollow watershed from the bus stop next to the YMCA fitness center.

9x12in oil on linen
Artist’s view

Hal Brown Park at Creekside

Last light painting on the salt marsh. This time from the north side bike path behind Marin Catholic looking south towards King Mountain.

9x12in oil on linen panel

Lucasfilm Picnic

The kids and I made our annual pilgrimage to the swimming pool at Skywalker Ranch. I am told there are lots of other fun things to do at the company picnic, but as far as we are concerned, the pool is where it’s at. Once again, it did not disappoint us. After the morning fog burned off it was a perfect swimming day. Everyone had a great time.

9x12in oil on linen panel

President Biden Visits Larkspur

The President of the United States flew into Larkspur yesterday, and Marine Helicopter Squadron One landed right across the street from my apartment! It was my understanding that Joe Biden was on his way to Ross or Kentfield for a fundraising event. When he landed, I was in my usual painting spot next to the salt marsh with a brush in hand, trying to capture the scene. Watching the Marines fly about 200 meters overhead and land in a place I know so well was very exciting and surreal. However, as a painter, it was also sheer terror because the backwash from those MV-22 Ospreys is incredible. Thank goodness I had pre-stowed a bunch of my supplies, ballasted the tripod, and had a hand on the painting, or everything would have been gone when the last Osprey hovered directly overhead. That one hit hard and nearly blew me away; it knocked my gear back a few feet and tumbled the neighbors’ bikes to the ground. By sheer luck, I caught my palette before it crashed into a nearby car. Definitely the most exciting painting day this neighborhood has seen in a while. I was picking rocks and bits of grass out of the paint for a while after that.

12x24in oil on wood panel
POV of the first V-22 flying in and my in progress painting

The Kentfield Landing Field

The boys and I were shaken to our feet this afternoon by a thunderous roar. We bolted onto the balcony just in time to see a very distinctive, white-topped Blackhawk helicopter with the words ‘United States of America’ gleaming on its hull. We dashed across the street as another Blackhawk and two Ospreys proudly floated down over the redwoods. The noise was deafening as they passed just over my favorite painting spot. Standing there with a few neighbors, we were in awe. Everything about Marine Helicopter Squadron One projected power. It was definitely impressive.

Eventually, they flew off and the excitement died down. I headed back to work, and the kids headed to the pool. After dinner, I went across the street with my paints to commemorate the moment with a quick sunset painting. It’s not every day the Marines land in your front yard. The neighbors say Biden will be in town tomorrow.

9x12in oil on canvas panel

Piper Park from Doherty Drive

I had an hour or two to paint, so I grabbed my kit and headed out. Driving towards downtown Larkspur, I remembered how much I liked the view by Redwood High School, so I promptly turned east and made my way there. The weather was fair, although a little windy. Here’s the view looking back at Piper Park from across the water on Doherty Street.

9x12in oil on linen panel

Larkspur Creek

I was scouting around, looking for something to paint before the light faded and I found my way up Larkspur Creek towards Dawn Falls. Just north of the little trickling fall there is a small opening in the trees where the creek bends. It had a nice glow and a band of light was cutting through which helped break up all the muted greens. I set up shop and started painting.

9x12in oil on linen panel