12x16 oil on panel
A tangle of waist high gooseberry bushes have drawn my attention time and again as I have hiked up Volcan Mountain. They are thick in the shadow of the second rise of the mountain, just past where I generally sit in a meadow to rest my legs, have a bite to eat and watch the hawks circling on the wind rising from the valley below. Each month the gooseberries show off in a new and delightful way. Their thick, glossy leaves first shelter hanging blossoms that fuchsia fans would love, then in spring they produce spectacular yellow pods that develop a bristling brilliant crimson stubble. As summer's heat builds the pods deepen in color, turning red and then moving to a rusty brown. The leaves loose their luster, begin to look tattered and drop leaving arching canes to weather the winter.
Just another marvelous cycle of regeneration I've been following while hiking Volcan Mountain!
I more closely documented the steps in developing this painting than I usually do. Below is the sequence, covering about a month of elapsed time.
This time the finished piece is repeated here at the bottom, in order to make all the changes in each step more visible.
|Spring in Julian|
oil on panel
I have gone missing, I know. I've been living a technological nightmare. A computer melt down has stopped all forward motion for a couple of months now. Rising from the debris, I'm forging ahead with a shaky smile, and a deep seated drive to properly organize and back up...
This is another in my series of paintings done for the Volcan Mountain Foundation who were lovely enough to select me as their first Artist in Residence. Volcan Mountain sits above the town of Julian in Northern San Diego County which is famous for it's apples. Orchards create a patchwork around the town, and the trail to the top of Volcan Mountain starts by cutting directly through rows of well tended trees.
I love begining and ending each hike among the apple trees. They mark the season so vividly. Gnarled grey branches well up with bright red and pink buds, which in a blink burst into tender white and pink blossoms. Small green fruit is revealed as petals drift to the ground like snow. Buried in tender new leaves, the shiny new apples grow as the days warm. Their color and flavor brighten and insects, birds, rodents and larger mammals enjoy the bounty. The town of Julian fills with pies, cider and happy tourists.
This 12x16 oil records a beautiful plant I found blossoming profusely under the harsh desert sun.
These bursts of color were small in scale, but reached up from the glossy leaves throughout the plant.
The reflection of the brilliant desert sky and the beautifully articulated shadows on the curving leaves
caught and held my attention. I hope you enjoy it as well.
|This is the underpainting, where I worked out the composition and the overall pattern |
of light and dark before I dove into finding all those greens.
My pallet consists of 2 yellows, 2 reds, 2 greens, 2 blues, 4 browns, black and white.
This series has tested my ability to mix the necessary 1000 shades of green.
Someday I'll move to another subject and perhaps I won't feel
green around the gills after a day in the studio!