20" X 24", oil/stretched canvas. Sold, private collection.

This painting is the centerpiece of the Cabrillo Series.  This is how it looks there mosts days, overcast with a cool breeze off the ocean.  Included are most of the elements which not only identify this place, they define it.  

The Old Lighthouse still stands watch over the Point.  The radar towers are active and maintained by the US Navy, who is responsible for establishing and helping maintain the Point Loma Ecological Preserve.  Coastal scrub and Shaw’s Agave, endangered native plants, flourish here.  The viewing stations overlooking the ocean at right offer information and an ideal vantage point to those who watch migrating Pacific Grey Whales passing nearby between December and March.  The beautiful crumbling sandstone bluffs remind us that all of this is ephemeral.  We can feel the importance of protecting and supporting this place here and now, as it continues to protect and enrich our lives.

The reception for the show is tomorrow, so with this post I conclude the Cabrillo series.  You can see all 26 paintings in the show here and all work done on the subject of Cabrillo here.


Old Lighthouse with Torrey Pines

9 X 12", oil/canvas panel

This started as a plein air painting at a very popular spot near the Lighthouse, with scores of visitors constantly walking by and stopping to chat.  I absolutely love interacting with the visitors there, they're from all over the world and are always so appreciative and complimentary.  But the painting usually suffers a lot due to my inattention and lack of focus, so this panel was headed for the bin when I got home.  At first I tried to salvage it, and only made it worse.  Then I completely changed it, moving the lighthouse to the left, changing the vantage point, and including much more of the trees.  Sometimes you have to completely let go before things will begin to come around.  The only part left from the original painting is the small dark area at the lower right, but now I'm really happy with it.  It would be interesting to x-ray this one.


Bayside Trail Revisited

12" X 16", oil/canvas panel

One of my favorite plein air studies in this Cabrillo series was the Bayside Trail 6" X 8", painted on site.  Studio paintings done from studies have their own unique identity.  A remembered impression, rather than an observed one.

About the Bayside Trail:  This former Army road now provides a wonderful 2-mile hike for visitors, with information plaques describing the vegetation, birds, and other wildlife they might see there.  This vantage point is at the end of the trail, looking back toward the starting point (at upper right, near the radar tower and Old Lighthouse).  Behind me was Ballast Point, where Cabrillo made landfall in 1542, which is now part of the Navy's SPAWAR division.


Spirit of Cabrillo

12 X 16", oil/canvas panel.

Visitors enjoy a clear view south toward Mexico, as a military transport plane (probably a C-130) comes in for a landing at North Island Naval Air Station.  North Island is a stone’s throw from Ballast Point, probably the site where Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo made landfall in 1542.  The commemorative statue of Cabrillo was donated by the Portuguese government (Cabrillo was Portuguese).  The original statue, created in 1939, eroded over time and was replaced in 1988 with this exact replica, made in Portugal.


Egret Surveying Zone 3

12" X 16", oil/canvas panel

This is from a photo taken during a visit to my friends at the Coast Guard outpost, not far from the New Lighthouse.  Shorebirds are a beautiful presence at the Monument, and their numbers are closely monitored by Rangers and volunteers.  A count is taken by hand every time there is a low tide (exposing the tidepools) and a tally is kept of which birds, and how many, visit each of the three zones of tidepools.   This Great Egret is unconcerned with the solar-powered monitoring station right beside him.  He was a bit concerned with us, though, so we took a photo and quietly moved away so as not to disturb him.



20" X 24", oil/stretched canvas. Sold

Today I  hung the last three paintings in the Cabrillo series.  There are 26 paintings at the Monument Visitors Center, and one in the show at L Street Fine Art (shown second from right, top row, on their website).  Now I can finally get the blog caught up with all the work I haven't posted here yet.  

This is a Darkling beetle, an abundant species of the genus Eleodes which can be seen scurrying all over the area here.  They are also known as Clown Beetles or Stinkbugs, and are unique among our local beetle species for their daytime activity.  They move about fearlessly because they have a pretty effective defense mechanism:  when alarmed, they will stop and raise their rear end and spray an offensive substance to foil their pursuers.  They're large (about an inch and a half long), harmless, and make a beautiful, satiny black color note against warm hues of the sandstone rock and sand.  

I love insects, as well as reptiles, amphibians, and birds.  They're beautiful things.


The Show is Up!

We hung the show at Cabrillo National Monument yesterday, and in the next couple days I'll get caught up on the most recent work that I haven't posted here yet.

This is the flyer (created by Ranger Tavio) to promote the show:

And here are some shots of the gallery and the installation process:

Ranger Tavio (right) and I, hanging a painting.  Below: the gallery, looking left and right.  One could not ask for a more beautiful setting.  It really adds dimension to the work, seeing the actual landscape where many of the paintings were created.

This is the information table, where there is now an exhibition catalog, business cards, my statement and CV.   That painting (yet to be posted here) is 20 X 24, and is really the centerpiece of the show.  It sums up my intention in this body of work.

If you would like to see all 26 works in the exhibition with my descriptions of each painting, you can see them on my website at this link.

A special shout-out to my sainted husband, who was instrumental in the success of this 4-hour installation process and who also took these pictures.

More soon.


Lighthouse from the Bluffs

This is the back of the Lighthouse, viewed from the bluffs, done during the last paint-out with the Meetup group. 

12" X 9", o/cp. (Sold, private collection)

The intermittent fog and hazy sun made for an interesting atmosphere, but the challenge was to render that white building against a cool bright sky in weak sunlight, and to push it back so that the bluffs would get the attention.   This is a study for a larger work in progress, so I wrestled with this a bit.

Painting for a residency feels a bit like a combination of commissioned work (and it is, in a way, since one painting will be donated to the Monument's permanent collection) and painting to please a certain audience (the park visitors).  I have my own concept, which I've talked about here, and have mainly expressed it with subjects that interest me.  The response has been overwhelmingly positive, though admittedly everyone still wants to see more of the lighthouse.  And that's okay.


Old Lighthouse

11 X 14", o/linen panel.  The endangered coastal scrub on the rocky hillside below the iconic old lighthouse is wild and beautiful.  Radar towers at left belong to the Navy, which has been instrumental in establishing and co-managing the Point Loma Ecological Reserve.  The Torrey pines near the building were planted in the 1930's; we can't be sure if there were ever Torrey pines naturally occurring here.  They were very widespread in this region millions of years ago, but currently there are only two remaining native populations.  One is Torrey Pines State Reserve, a few miles up the coast, and the other is on Santa Rosa Island near Los Angeles.


Cabrillo Show and new work

I've been working feverishly to finish some larger works for the upcoming solo show at Cabrillo Monument, and will be posting those very soon.  The show runs January 14-31.

Here are updated versions of a couple small paintings.

 End of Point, hazy morning color.  8" X 6", o/cp. Sold, private collection.

Winding Tidepool Path.  6" X 8", o/cp.