Sunday, November 20, 2016

Late Summer Volcan View

Late Summer Volcan View
18x24 oil on panel

This piece completes my 10 painting series examining the plant life on Volcan Mountain in Julian California over the course of the last year. In late August the grasses on the mountain have been bleached by the sun and and rustle in the hot breezes that move about the mountain. The grassy ridges and meadows seem to bounce the brilliance of the of the sun back to the sky. Light and heat seem to come from everywhere. 

Walking down the trail after the long hot hike to the 5,500 foot summit I was struck by this lovely long view up the westerly face of the Volcan Mountains. It's a timeless sight, a succession of ridge lines and valleys, habitats in large part still untouched. 

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to spend a year scrutinizing this beautiful environment under the sponsorship of the Marjorie and Joseph Rubenson Endowment for Art and Science of the Volcan Mountain Foundation. My lifelong love of the wild lands of Southern California has become a driving mission to preserve and protect wherever we can. As my knowledge and understanding of the the importance of wild spaces has widened, my commitment has deepened. The hard work of the Volcan Mountain Foundation is a gift to the future. It's fight to preserve and protect over 17,000 acres since 1988 has protected the headwaters of the watershed that feeds the San Diego Basin, and has preserved the incredible biodiversity of wildlife and wild lands.

The soul opens watching a hawk circle in an updraft, startling a doe and her fawns in a grassy meadow, hearing the throaty jumble of sound a wild turkey unleashes from it's perch high in a tree top, and knowing that all of us are carefully observed by a thriving community of mountain lions.
Knowing that the Manzanita, Oak, Cedar, grasses and shrubs move through their reproductive cycles, producing flowers, seeds, nuts and berries in an unending cycle of regeneration is deeply reassuring. It is in the natural setting that the continuum of time is felt as much as it is understood. 

We are forever in debt to those who combine conservationist though with sustained hard work to preserve and protect our natural world. I offer heart felt thanks to the Volcan Mountain Foundation for their exceptional good work, and to the Marjorie and Joseph Rubenson Endowment for the opportunity to develop paintings that express my gratitude for all the Foundation has accomplished.

I will present the series to the Volcan Mountain Foundation and their supporters at a fund raising dinner on December 2. It will move to the Julian Public Library, where I will conduct a "Conversation" about the paintings and the experience of being an Artist-in-Residence on December 3 at 10:30. The show will continue throughout December and then move down slope to the Ramona Library. The exhibition will continue to move down the watershed to San Diego. Specific dates to be arranged.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Cedar Grove

Cedar Grove
Volcan Mountain
12x16 Oil on Panel

Roughly three quarters of the way to the 6000 foot peak of Volcan Mountain the trail plunges into a stand of Incense Cedars. For most of the year the deep shade is welcome, and at others the shelter these enormous trees offer is welcome when wind and rain descend on the mountain. In the hush that the trees and their feathery branches create, powerful trunks rise like ancient doric columns holding up the sky. Their erect and powerful presence is counterbalanced by curving branches and soft, feathery greenery. In late summer when pink and green immature cones nestled in the rich green arching right and left I couldn't resist making the scene the subject of a painting.

The completed painting is at the top of the post.