Evening Etude

 “Evening Etude”


oil on linen

I live in a beautiful place that often feels overrun by people and cars and freeways.

It can be difficult to find undeveloped spaces. I think this challenge speaks to one of the gifts that art can be to all of us who have to fight for time and space, for peace and reflection.

Painting these places and moments encourages me to seek out and appreciate the beauty around me, take the time to notice and give thanks for this land and light.

This painting is one of several studies I’ve done recently of Crystal Cove State Park, a strip of wild land between Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar that looks much the same now as it did a hundred years ago when William Wendt and his contemporaries painted here.

“Evening Etude” is available now at Forest and Ocean Gallery in Laguna Beach as a part of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association’s exhibit – Inspired by Van Gogh.

Fun with Gouache

{Agapanthus at Villa del Sol}

I’ve been having a lot of fun lately doing small paintings in gouache,
inspired by James Gurney’s recent posts and videos.

I can fit everything I need into a little bag and can complete a little sketch in whatever time I have, whether it’s 20 minutes or two hours.

My watercolor kit includes a travel set of transparent watercolors, tubes of gouache (lemon yellow, cad yellow, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, viridian, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and permanent white), a few paintbrushes, a homemade palette, watercolor pencils, a pen, and a moleskine watercolor sketchbook. (Just add water!)

{Summer Reading}

I can pull out my things and be set up in minutes. I’m loving the way the opaque color gives me flexibility in how I build the painting. In this small format I can experiment and play around with different subject matter and different combinations of media.

{Classic Hume Lake}

(right detail)

(left detail)

{Keeping Watch}

{Boats at Rest}

I highly recommend checking out James Gurney’s blog, Gurney Journey. He has all kinds of clever and inspirational ideas for those who want to take their painting and sketching outside and work from life. So much fun!

A Disruption of Distraction {Painting up the California Coast}

I recently returned from a beautiful trip up the California coast to Cambria, a quaint town just off Highway 1. Beautiful rolling hills, dramatic cliffs, and wonderful light provided plenty of inspiration for painting. Here are a few of my sketches from the trip.

 {North side of Morro Rock}


oil on linen

{Evening Light at Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, Cambria}


oil on linen


I’m still working (as I suppose I always will) to get better, to practice, practice, practice, and thinking about why I paint. There is something crucial about capturing the world truthfully, about communicating that arresting moment of seeing something that causes one

to stop,

to focus,

and to appreciate the beauty of the world.

Some scenes are more naturally picturesque than others, but it’s not about recording the postcard views. I’m trying to share my experience of the feeling of a place, to bring that home and into my life and hopefully others’ lives too.

Painting as a disruption of our distraction.

Beauty to counteract our busyness.

California Impressionism: Plein Air Painting Past and Present

I’m honored to have two paintings included in this beautiful show.

The exhibition will be open through July 4th. Hope you can make it!

Click here for more info.

Huntington Beach Art Center presents California Impressionism: Plein Air Painting, Past and Present, an exhibition for art-lovers who also love Impressionist painting. The bold color, bravura brushwork, and “captured light” of this historical and contemporary artistic movement have captivated audiences on the West Coast since the turn of the twentieth century. The Southern California community will now have an opportunity to view paintings of historical masters, as well as purchase those of contemporary painters who are inspired by light, nature, climate, and creative fellowship.  The Huntington Beach Art Center will open its doors to give viewers a glimpse of a group of artists united across history through their love of subject and their passion to paint outdoors en plein air. “Our vision for this show is to present to the public an exhibition that they’ve never before seen, that is beautiful, historical, educational, and spectacular,” Director of the HBAC, Kate Hoffman notes.

This exhibition will have a dual focus. On one hand, it will feature masterworks of painters who were inspired by this area in the early decades of the 20th century; enough to move here, build here, and start a colony of artists known today as the city of Laguna Beach. Alongside those works, the exhibition will also feature the creations of a select group of artists from the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA), many of whom live in California, and all of whom have painted within the State. The Art Center has invited both Signature and Artist members of LPAPA, whose works you see in galleries, magazines, competitions, exhibitions, and shows across the country.