Malibu Creek State Park, IV

Note: to see this painting a bit larger, you will need to right click on it (PC) and open in a new tab to see it bigger. WordPress has a new editor and I am not quite sure how to get it to make an image larger when you click on it. Sorry!

More Malibu Creek State Park, but this time with a different twist. The water is there – in the form of misty air. In spring and summer the coastal fog rolls in, and the landscape softens as it recedes. It doesn’t bring rain, but the environment is adapted to live on the moisture. As well, the land is often green from the rains earlier in the year.

I tried to capture this with washes and glazes, working wet-in-wet as well as rewetting the paper and adding color. This type of painting takes a patient approach (at least for me) as you have to load the paper with a bit of water and/or color, and then test it for dampness if you want things to soften and blur. It is also a fun way to express very faint geological shapes in the mountains.

Finally, oak trees. I just love these trees! Here in California they are really twisty and spooky, unlike the more upright specimens in the midwest. This one in the middle of the plain is unusual, but it is there, alone and grand.

Malibu Creek State Park, II

I tried to simplify things more in this painting by using washes and bleeding colors into them.  The foreground was tricky as there was a lot of texture from the brush on the lower left.  The same brush is on the opposite shore, but, as you can see, with a lot less detail.  Also, I decided to try to use a bit of white gouache mixed with watercolor to represent the white brush – baby sycamores? – as well as the branches of the sycamore trees.  Sadly, I didn’t really think about the leaves of the sycamores until after I had painted in the mountain in the distance, so I tried to retrieve a bit of lighter leaves in the foreground.  Not super successful, but am pleased with the effort of simplifying.