It has been an unseasonably warm winter here in Northern California with very little rain. Although this isn't good for the ranchers or our water supply... it's been great for me as a plein air landscape painter. I've been out a lot in the last couple of months and have many new paintings created in a time when normally I'm locked in my studio painting larger pieces.
Yesterday, I started the day visiting Graton Gallery outside Sebastapol, CA where they are holding their annual invitational show. I was invited this year and submitted two paintings but had not seen the show yet. While there, I asked for a local place to paint and they steered me to Coleman Valley Rd., just outside Occidental, CA. It meanders through a valley where I discovered a classic whitewashed old ranch house that lit up in the morning sun. I couldn't resist it and pulled over to paint. Beautiful light.
After eating a bit of lunch... I continued on and the road moved up and out of the valley to the ridgeline that meandered out to the Sea. Along the way I was stopped by the CHP to wait for a film crew that was making a commercial with a bicyclist riding along the road. After they let me pass, I found a spot on the hilltop overlooking an enormous valley that went down to the ocean. The late light was just starting to turn colors, so I did my block in and continued to add color and light while the sun dropped lower in the sky. Loved the spot and the painting.
Reflecting on this magnificent day, I felt a deep connection with painting and the land... I felt alive and blessed and wanted to share this.