Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wind In the Pass

The Banning Pass (aka the San Gorgonio Pass) is an area west of Palm Springs, CA. It separates the low desert from the coastal-influenced weather. It tends to be REALLY windy there due to differences in humidity and temperature. Most of the time, the wind blows from west to east, often at considerable velocities (25mph+).

The view I've shown in this painting is east of the pass. The wind is gusting as it often is as Mt. San Jacinto stands unmoving against the force of the wind. This is the first time I've attempted to depict blowing wind in a painting, and I expect I'll do more in the future. In my mind, deserts are windy places; at least, they often are. it seems reasonable to paint that aspect of one of my favorite habitat types.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another Fall Painting

This is a painting I completed (and reworked) years ago. I'm sure if I were to do another version of it (which I'll probably do someday), I could make it even better using the skills I have evolved over the years.

My piece was inspired by a painting by my favorite 19th century artist, Thomas Moran. When I attended a retrospective of his work in (I think) 1998. The title is Cresheim Glen, Wissahickon, Autumn. Out of the many wonderful paintings in the exhibit, this is the one that transfixed me the most.

My work is, of course, not as nice as the painting that inspired it. However, this is an example of how I sometimes try to capture the feeling of a master's artwork without copying it directly. I'm sure I'll try again to glorify the beauty of the northeastern part of the US during fall, especially since we never see anything like this in the desert!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Day of Autumn

Autumn is always an exciting time for me; in fact, sometimes I think I should have been a duck.

OK, I don't feel a need to migrate south or be shot at by duck hunters. But I want to find fall colors (not easy when you live in the desert!) and eagerly await the Big Three (to me) holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Funny -- if fall passes me by and I just don't get into it, I don't get into Christmas, either. Autumn seems to prepare me for Christmas.

I've shown this painting before, but it's one of my favorite fall paintings, as small as it was (8"x10"/20cm x 25cm):

We don't get many of these colors in the West. Cottonwood and aspens turn a brilliant yellow, and some aspens can develop orange-red leaves, as well. But in the desert, we don't get colors at all except for those few areas where water exists and cottonwoods are growing.

However, if one travels into the mountains, one is more likely to see fall color -- yellow, anyway. (Poison ivy sometimes turns red, but reds and oranges are limited to non-native plants planted along a town road or in a yard).

This painting shows a scene along a hiking trail on the grounds of the Wildlands Conservancy, a group that, like the Nature Conservancy, acquires land and sets it aside to preserve it.

The weather has been hot in the desert, so it just doesn't seem like autumn yet. I'm hoping that will change soon!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Borrego Palms

It almost feels funny doing a painting in a vertical format. But sometimes ya just gotta do it!

This is a group of fan palms alongside a creek that is normally dry. The scene is in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA in the afternoon. "Borrego palms" is the title of the painting, not necessarily the name of the palm group. It just sounded good and helps identify where these palms are.

I can imagine the native borregos (bighorn sheep) enjoy coming to the stream further uphill, away from human view, and getting lots of water while they can.

By summer, of course, the stream will be dry, waiting for the next rainstorm to restart the downward course of water. But on this day, I was able to enjoy the trickle of water and the rustle of palm fronds in the breeze. I'm sure the local critters did, too.

By the way, I've been posting small (8" x 10" / 20cm x 25cm) paintings that I've included in my "art on a budget" Website page. I believe any of those pieces would look great in your home or office!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ocotillo Wash

This is a mostly accurate rendition of a place in La Quinta, CA (near Palm Springs). I say "mostly" because the wash is really a trail, and I brought the ocotillo on the left closer to the viewer.

Otherwise, the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains are a series of fun jagged sawtooth peaks that give the area an incredibly rugged look.

I plan to paint more views of this area. This place has the look of what I'd consider quintessential California desert.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

San Jacinto from Morongo Valley

Mt. San Jacinto is one of the landmark features in our area here in the desert, and the North-facing view is, in my opinion, the best-looking side of the mountain. San Jacinto was formed by earthquake action: this side was lifted out of the desert floor, giving the northern slope a steep and rugged appearance.

The image I'm sharing here shows San Jacinto from this angle. This is how it looks from the rural community of Morongo Valley, a place that transitions from the low desert of Palm Springs to the high desert towns of Yucca Valley and Twentynine Palms. The hills of Morongo Valley block the bottom part of San Jacinto, but I've painted this rock so often, a change in the look is welcome!

I hope you enjoy it. (And by the way, I sold it today). =)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Few Summer Flowers

Although the desert is not totally devoid of flowers during the summer, they are a little scarce.

So it was fun to come across this bright red-orange crown on a barrel cactus (actually, two of the barrels on this property were flowering). This cactus is not in the wild, and I'm sure it's in bloom because it gets water that it wouldn't get if it were growing in the open desert.

But as a painter, it's helpful for me to know that these cacti can bloom in late summer/early fall. It's entirely possible that I'll paint this little beauty in a wild setting, with the "excuse" that summer thunderstorms gave it the incentive it needed to put on a show!

We painters can do that!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Updated Website

Well, I took some advice from an artist I know ("LB") who has had success selling from her Website, a goal I've had for a while now.

So I've added some additional links to the
homepage, including one (with my picture--UGH!) that will take you directly to my Bio/Statement page. I wrote about what aspects about the desert fascinate me. I also removed a page that was all about my technique -- LB thought it would appeal to artists, but they are not my target audience, and most art buyers wouldn't care about all that stuff.

Finally, since I've been making original paintings that I can sell inexpensively, I created a page that features some of these works as well. You can see them

And, as before, all of these pieces are for sale!!! (Yes -- that's a hint!)

But if you're not in the market for art today, that's OK. Maybe tomorrow. At least go take a look. Be sure and let me know if you think of something else I need to change or fix.