Alexander Valley Snow

It snowed last night so the boys and I drove up the hill to check out the view from the Geysers overlook. It’s pretty uncommon to get snow here so we were having a great time of it. The boys and I threw a few snowballs and had fun driving our RC tank around in the snow. Afterwards I set up my gear and went to work. A few other people had the same idea as us and pulled over to admire the view. One of them was photographer Jerry Dodrill who was out hunting winter landscapes. His work is really beautiful, if you haven’t seen it he currently has a show at Sessions climbing gym in Santa Rosa and a photo gallery in Bodega, CA. Go Check it out.

9x15in Oil on Linen Panel
Rare photo of me painting, by Jerry Dodrill

Lost Sunset

There was an absolutely beautiful lavender sunset across the water last night. I wasn’t prepared and rushed out the door to try and capture it. Alas, I was too late. The light faded just as the painting was starting to get good. The golden hour had passed.

Freezing and frustrated I cleaned up the mess I had made and walked back home alone in the dark, regretful. If only I had more time or been there sooner… maybe things would have been different. The only thing for sure was that my timing was off. I wanted more time with that lovely light and I didn’t get it. Sigh, at least I got to experience something truly beautiful. It has been a long time since I saw a sky like that. As I wake and write this it dawns on me that this beautiful sunset got me outside painting again and for that I am grateful. The sun also rises.

9x11in Oil on Linen Panel

Rainy Day on the Ranch

The heavy rain thinned out to a drizzle so I hiked up behind my mom’s to check the water level at the lake. As I walked towards the dam I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was full, It reminded me of a Steinbeck quote, “And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way.”

The view down the valley to the south was rain soaked and lovely. I watched the clouds crawl down the mountains. Then after a time the rain picked up and it sent me running back to the house with another painting in hand.

9x11in oil on linen panel
Artist’s view

High Tide on Tamalpais Creek

It was raining too hard to go out and paint so I stayed inside and worked from some stereoscopic reference pics I took last week. This is the salt marsh creek near Kent Middle School on a high tide. I really wanted to paint this one in person but I didn’t have the time.

24x15in Oil on Linen Panel

Shaver Grade in the Rain

The big storm hitting Marin took out the power at my apartment this afternoon so I went for a little adventure in the rain. I headed over to Phoenix lake to check out the overflowing spillway. On the north end of the lake I found this nice view of some redwoods on Shaver grade. This is just before the Eldridge crossroad. I probably should have painted the flooding creak behind me but I liked the light on the road better.

9x11in Oil on Linen Panel

New Year’s Oaks

After a few days of rain and gray, New Year’s Day brought us crisp blue skies, green grass and sunshine. It was absolutely lovely when I stepped out the door with my paints. I drove around the ranch looking for a creek to paint which led me to the spillways above my uncle Jim’s house. A short hike up the hill these oaks caught my eye and that was that. I was working with a larger panel and was only able to get a first pass in before the light changed, so I finished this one up at home.

18x12in Oil on linen panel

Corte Madera from Ring Mountain

It was a sunny day cast in a veil of thin fog. I hiked around the salt mash looking for a view to paint but the misty air made all the southern and easterly views blown out and a bit too contrasty for my tastes. That killed my painting options around the apartment so I drove up to the Ring Mountain trail head off Taylor road and found something north facing I could work with.

9x11in oil on linen panel

Salmon Creek

My brother wanted to go surfing out at Salmon Creek this morning so I tagged along to catch the sunrise. The offshore winds were really strong and stepping out of the car I could barely hold onto my painting panel. There was no way my easel was going to stand up in that wind. I came up with a pretty good workaround though, I clamped my canvas to one of the information signs next to the trailhead that leads down the cliff to the beach. That worked like a champ.

9x11in oil on linen panel