Three New Small Works

Coming up soon is North Coast Open Studios the weekend of June 12-13 and, the following weekend, June 19-20, the Marin Art Festival. I’ll have framed paintings, prints and cards at both events, plus a variety of small, unframed affordable original oil paintings. I’ve been doing new ones in between working on larger paintings and it’s a nice way to take a break from the more complex pieces.

I generally do these in two sittings, plus maybe one more short one for final tweaking and try to keep them fairly loose and simple.

Rooster 8x10" oil
Chipmunk 5x7" oil
Three Tule Elk, Point Reyes 8x10" oil

Coming up: a new on-going series on how to improve your paintings, based on all the mistakes and false starts I’ve made over the fifteen years I’ve been painting in oil. So it will be a looong series. ;0)

Rewarding Day At Point Reyes National Seashore

As promised, here’s a look at Point Reyes National Seashore on a fabulously beautiful day.

Pierce Ranch buildings at the northern tip of the park

Unlike most national parks, people still live and work within its boundaries. There are over a dozen dairy and cattle ranches dating back to 1852 still in operation, plus an oyster farm. Back in the mid-20th century, developers wanted to turn the whole area into a new city. After a long battle, that was defeated and now this incredible part of west Marin County is preserved for everyone to enjoy. Including around 450 tule elk, which is what brought us to the park yesterday. They had been extirpated from the area by 1860. Nearly a century later, they were re-introduced. They are smaller than the better-known Roosevelt elk, whose southern-most range stops about 300 miles north in Humboldt County.

tule elk grazing
Tule elk; what a backdrop! The Pacific Ocean
Tule elk; part of a herd of about sixty

When it comes to wildlife, one never knows what to expect. We had great luck and saw four different herds, all from the road. I didn’t have my long lens, so these images were taken with the 28-300. You can see that the elk weren’t very far away. Below are more images of other parts of the park.

Looking north; elk are to the left
Native Douglas iris; it was blooming in big clumps all through the park
Near the lighthouse at the southern-most point, looking north along beach
Drake's Bay, to the east of previous image, looking south towards San Francisco

Yes, THAT Drake. Sir Francis Drake made a landfall here in 1579. He stayed here about five weeks, hauling the Golden Hinde onto the beach to careen her, which means pulling her out of the water and leaning her on her side to clean the hull of barnacles and seaweed. He and his crew encountered local Miwok indians who supplied them with boiled fish and meal ground from wild roots.

Another of the old ranches; on our way out of the park

Point Reyes, as you can imagine, is a magnet for local and visiting plein air painters. Now that I’ve been able to reconnoiter, we’ll plan a future trip so we can stay in the area and have time for me to paint, too. There are a lot of small resort motels, a private campground in Olema and vintage hotels, B&Bs and good restaurants in Point Reyes Station. We had lunch at the Pine Diner. Cobb Salad to die for.

More on Point Reyes on the official site here

Friday Follies

We’re on a weekend trip to the San Francisco Bay Area. Taking care of some business in Santa Rosa this morning, getting a second key made for the VW Eurovan (long story) and then it’s fun time.

The next stop will be Point Reyes National Seashore, which is on the north side of the Golden Gate in Marin County. At the northern end is a tule elk reserve, which is the main reason we’re going to the park. With luck I’ll be able to post photos late this afternoon or tomorrow morning, along with information on this species of elk that is smaller than the better-known Roosevelt elk.

I’m also hoping to get good reference for small paintings that I’m going to do for the Marin Art Festival in June. Perfect work/play day.

The weather is spectacular. It was 72F in Santa Rosa at 8pm last night. Crazy for March, but very pleasant. Clear as a bell and sunny this morning, so it should be beautiful over on the coast and even warm.