Sunday, February 28, 2010

Beyond the back fence

Still studying the complexities of trees, shrubs and grasses on the hill behind our house. It is an interesting challenge to try and imply what's going on. I have been looking at some of Richard Schmid's work, and I think it has infected me a bit. He often paints very complex trees in front of equally complex architecture, and does it beautifully. He sets the bar pretty high for his edge control, as well as a mixture of very tight, and very loose handling of paint in the same image. At this point, I'm just trying to paint a tree in front of itself. Research continues.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Spring is coming

Though it is only February, yesterday was warm, sunny, and dry, so I took a long hike on the Rocky Ridge Trail out of Rancho Laguna Park in Moraga. This is a path that runs through East Bay watershed, and has easements through several parcels of grazing land up to Rocky Ridge, which is a few thousand feet in elevation. I only walked in about 2.5 miles, but had plenty of climbing and descending, as I was curious about the views towards the ridge. The light was pretty flat in mid afternoon, looking in that direction, so I started hiking back and became intrigued by a view to the southwest, looking downslope and towards the sun, which backlit all the grasses, turning them insanely green, as well as illuminating the atmosphere tremendously.

I've also been painting closer to home, as in my own backyard, or wandering on the hill behind my house. There is a large buckeye tree that appears to be dead every year, and then miraculously blooms in spring. Uncanny. I am intrigued by that patterning of the branches as well as the different tangles of foliage one encounters at close range amongst the oaks, blackberry vines, dormant fennel stalks, and lurking (and abundant) poison oak. Here's a few studies looking at some of those subjects.