Acorns - Volcan Mountain

Acorns - Volcan Mountain
12x16 oil on panel

What better subject for the new year than the acorn! Beginnings, possibilities, great things to come... All the rich potential for a majestic oak is contained it the beautiful nut that wears a cap! All the birds that will find homes in the oak's branches, the squirrels that will store it's nuts for winter,  all the deer, coyote and bobcat that will pause in it's shade in the hot summer, and all the oxygen the oak will release into the air is in that beautiful nut that fits so perfectly in the palm of your hand. Magic!

This is the first of the paintings I will be producing as the Resident Artist for the Volcan Mountain Foundation. I was approached by representatives of the Foundation while exhibiting at the Festival Of Arts in Laguna Beach last summer. They were looking for an artist to kick off their residency program. I love the wild lands of northern San Diego County and investigated the Volcan Mountain Foundation. I found that it was a group that had purchased, bit by bit untouched tracts of land on Volcan Mountain in order to prevent development and preserve open space. I admired their mission, and my work seemed a perfect fit for their desire to celebrate the wilderness preserve that now spans 2,900 acres rising behind the city of Julian, CA, and offering sweeping views of both the coast and the desert on a clear day. See

I wrote a proposal, submitted a portfolio of my work and was selected by the Volcan Mountain Foundation. I plan to produce around 10 paintings of the plant life on the mountain through the cycle of the seasons. At the end of the year the Foundation will hang a show of the collection of paintings at the time and place of their choice.

Being involved with this organization is deeply satisfying for me. I greatly admire their mission, and the success they have had in preserving land that is still so untouched and will remain so in perpetuity. I get to routinely hike the mountain and gather photos of all the plants there, and I have the pleasure of developing a series of paintings that will be used to draw attention to the preserve and the unique beauty of the California environment. Perhaps it will help inspire others to protect and defend our shrinking wild environments.

This is a photo of the underpainting. Done in Burnt Sienna, this is how I place my image on the panel, develop the pattern of values and make sure I like the composition.

Here I have begun to weave the background of leaves that the branch I am focusing on is nestled into.   

Here I have spent several sessions on the acorns and leaves in the foreground. Several more are required to finish the detail of the subject, and to balance it with the background.

The finished painting is found at the top of the post.