Thursday, January 31, 2013

Alma Mater

OK -- not a desert painting. But sometimes ya jes' GOTTA do other stuff, too!

I attended California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (in California) to get my science degree. One of the things I like about Cal Poly was the fact that one can find relatively wild areas on the outskirts of the campus. In fact, some of the biology classes would go hiking around in these places, learning to identify native plants and taking measurements that would be done for environmental impact studies. The lab section of my Principles of Ecology class went out there several times into the "coastal sage scrub habitat" typical of this region.

This painting shows a slightly idealized view of the area (although, unfortunately, the colors never come out quite right on my digital camera). I opened up the view somewhat and added more of the California poppies that do occur here. Lots of California and black sagebrush as well as sycamore trees live here, hence the title of the piece: Sagebrush and Sycamores. Mule deer also hang out here -- it was fun when I arrived on campus in the early morning hours, and I'd see a deer wandering around on the landscaped grounds of the college, venturing away from the natural areas. But the painting depicts mid-morning -- the deer are already relaxing in their out-of-the-way spots, away from humans.

I enjoyed exploring this area of Cal Poly, and I'm thankful I took a class that exposed me to a place I never knew existed prior to taking the class. I plan on making more paintings showing a slice of California at its most beautiful.

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