A very short trip to Santa Barbara, but I couldn’t leave without sketching the Santa Ynez mountains. We took the afternoon drive up into the mountains. The Santa Yenez start off as volcanic hills that then transition into well defined ridges. On a bright sunny afternoon they brighten up the landscape and from the top looking down they are quite dramatic. Even in the distance you could smell the sage scrub and see the patches of green break up the rolling yellows and oranges of the mountains. The early inhabitants here were the Chumash people. There are many examples of rock art, we only got to see the Painted Cave. Didnt get to sketch these as we were short on time. But a great excuse to return!
Here then are the sketches of Santa Yenez .
I love trees, always have, I can’t walk by one without looking up its spine, and as a kid couldn’t walk by without climbing up one either, and have the scrapes and scars to how for it.
Biologists, ecologists, foresters, and naturalists increasingly argue that trees speak, and that humans can learn to hear this language. (If only we would listen…) They speak constantly, even if quietly, communicating above and underground using sound, scents, signals, and vibes. They’re naturally networking, connected with everything that exists, including you. There’s a fascinating article on how “Plants use acoustic vibes to find a drink”
Literary and musical history is speckled with references to the songs of trees, and the way they speak: whispering pines, falling branches, crackling leaves, the steady hum buzzing through the forest. Human artists have always known on a fundamental level that trees talk, even if they don’t quite say they have a “language.”
Have you not walked in the woods and head the murmur in the canopy, stood under a tree in early spring and heard the soft crackle of a new leaf bud bursting out, or the whistling and rustling of leaves in the wind, and wondered!
Read more on this in Euphrates Livni’s article here.
Fall was in the air when last I went sketchwalking on Campus Way. There were quite a few runners, some skateboarders and some dog walkers. The air was crisp, the grass was still green but the trees on the distant hillside were turning and the colors of fall were peeking through. I managed to capture a few quick sketches on a somewhat sunny day, but got drizzled out by the end.
The first two sketches are of an extended clump or should I say stand of some really tall trees. I’ve yet to determine what species they are, but their presence is unmistakeable as most of the area around them is open grassy farmland, and they stand sentinel at the end of the stretch. I was fascinated by their intertwined branches outstretched high above and over the pathway,
I tried to convey a sense of their height and the atmospheric mood – the first sketch was the reflection of the bright sunshine atop their crown done on my way out, whereas the second one done on my way back was when the rain clouds had set in and turned everything to an almost grey scale. How quickly the weather does change around here!
From here you get a clear view of Mary’s Peak, granted there aren’t any clouds of Course! Once again the sketches were intended to capture a specific mood and not a photographic representation. It was a clear day but had turned cold and windy by the time I caught the sunset over Marys Peak, and of course the rained out sketch with the rain’s contribution is obvious!
This last sketch here is the distant hillside, and yes the light drizzle by then had turned to rain!
With the Santa Ynez Mountains as a dramatic backdrop on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other Santa Barbara is a sketchers paradise. Everywhere you look there’s a sketching opportunity.
Even on a short short trip I got a lot of sketch time in. As always I’ll start with the views from my window. A few cloudscapes to start with.
And I simply love the perspective of mountainscapes from 35,000ft. It’s totally mesmerizing. I see fractals everywhere!
I’ll follow up with more sketches of the Santa Ynez Mountains, sunset on the beach and downtown Santa Barbara in a later post.
YInMnBlue in Totality, or is it Totality in YInMnBlue….as viewed from our backyard.
Three celestial bodies vie for a spot of alignment! In preparation, here’s my take on totality!
Less than 16 hours for the first ‘Totality’ to appear in Oregon. The last time a total solar eclipse was visible from coast to coast in the United States was in 1918. Total solar eclipse was when some of the most fundamental discoveries in science were made – like the first proof of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, the discovery of the element Helium and solar storms or Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) to name a few! And now a chance for new discoveries, new information, new research into the sun and its atmosphere, and of course a great show put on for everyone in it’s path! I’m ready…
#totality #totalsolareclipse2017 #totaleclipseoftheheart
Continuing with sketches from a few weeks ago, the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania. It’s a befitting name for these mountain ranges in western Pennsylvania, for as far as the eye can see is all shades of blue and the distant haze, and just a pop of bright green where the sun hits the Valley! Of course I had to stop to sketch.
Then on through into the Allegheny Mountains and the colors change to softer shades of greens.
A trip to remember- It’s been a busy two weeks – weeks of celebrations and trips and sundry! The important one was our daughter’s birthday celebration. She had wanted to make a family trip to Fallingwater for some time now, so we decided to surprise her . Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic masterpiece in western Pennsylvania is one of Smithonian’s Life List of 28 places…., and is also a designated National Historic Landmark. Set atop a cascading waterfall the cantilevered architecture of the building is reminiscent of Japanese style homage to nature and space. The building has strong intersecting vertical and horizontal lines in colors of light ochre and Cherokee red, and the cantilevered balconies peek in and out of the lush green foliage almost intertwining and interpenetrating the interior space with the exterior. My favorite bit of the building is the cantilevered stairway that leads from the main level balcony down to the stream below, with an ideal spot to sit and dangle your feet in the gushing water, once again connecting man-made structure with nature. The dappled sunlight filtering through the canopy above bounces off the sparkling water below. The sound of the rushing and gurgling water is inescapable no matter where you go. When you arrive it leads you to the house, and then follows you everywhere as you hike the trails.
I couldn’t resist a few sketches but all we really wanted was to simply enjoy the beauty of this wonder that is.
Our next visit we’ve planned to be here when the rhododendrons are in bloom, as the grounds were covered in them everywhere you looked, along with ferns and other native plants of Pennsylvania.
This is the last posting for #WorldWatercolorMonth -Day 30 &31/31
The meadows have come to life now that we’re into mid summer and with the mega downpours we’ve had, it’s as though each day brings about a drastic change. The brush seems to grow in leaps and bounds and there’s a burst of wildflowers everyday, ever changing the colors and hues of the landscape. The vibrancy on the Meadows is an artist delight. Nature paints a splendid palette be it in the early morning light, mid afternoon glare or at sunset. I love sketching the meadows at all times of day and at all seasons, but the bright hues of summer are especially my favorite. But even summer brings such rapid change, if you blink you miss the nuances. Two days ago the colors were mostly greens with dabs of white. Now as you look across over the undulating landscape you see brush strokes of yellow from the goldenrod and rudbeckia with pops of powderpuff whites of QueenAnne’s lace swaying in the wind.
Often I take paper in different sizes with me to sketch in the field. This forces me to sketch a subject matter within it’s constraints, makes me look at it from a different perspective. Painting landscapes typically is done in landscape form to capture the vastness across a broad sheet of paper, but what if we took a vertical perspective of the same landscape and potrayed the vastness in another way. It’s quite refreshing to paint this way.
Here I’ve done the same scene both in landscape and vertical perspective. What are your thoughts, Id love to know.
Day #29/31 #WorldWatercolorMonth
Taking a break from nature and looking closely at man made stuff – the restored Italian Limestone sculptures at the main fountain gardens. I’ve sketched some of these when they were crumbling and patinad from years of use and had fallen silent. Some of them had stopped working and had been cordoned off for safety. Now they’ve been restored and look brand spanking new and are gurgling again.
This one, the lion faced gurgler was always one of my favorites. Here it is in its new revived form.