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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Close to Home Landscape

It was a dimly lit afternoon and a storm front was coming in from the west behind me. I had a deadline to paint a 14X11 work for the Socalpapa online exhibition that same day. I drove 2 blocks with my Jeep loaded up with my painting easel and supplies to the edge of the canyon. I live close by a beautiful trail that steeply descends to open space by San Juan Capistrano. On top of the hill it is Laguna Niguel, once you go past the eucalyptus tree on the trail you enter SJC with incredible vistas of hills and valleys. I have admired the majesty of this eucalyptus tree for several years, I knew one day I would paint it. So here it is finally on a 14X11, linen over board, titled "Eucalyptus, Last Glimmer of Light". It was 4pm, the left over splashes of sun between the clouds was actually behind me, it was casting spotty light on the tree's trunks and branches. The scrub weeds in front of the tree had dried flowers also catching some light. Although it was beyond the tree's overhanging branches that I captured the last glimmer of light on the SJC hills way over on the other side of the corridor. That look just sang to me, the arrangement of the natural plant growth appeared to point to the tree, the trail was positioned in a gentle curve and had been trodden upon endlessly by hikers, bikers and horses. The trunk and branches of the tree gave strong lines towards the narrow bit of light on the distant horizon. It was mine to enjoy and render for a short time. I worked furiously while bikers whizzed by, they were surprised to see a painter. I was surprised to see so many mountain bikes, it seems this place is getting more popular through word of mouth. Still, it is open space and just a couple of minutes from my door. I was standing off the trail in a bunch of prickers, it was not smart to wear sandals. I am sure they heard a couple of Ow-ow's from me. Next time I will wear boots. I have been down at the bottom of the canyon to paint the old orange groves before, they are on private land. I always had to wear boots down there because of the many rattle snakes and wood ticks that inhabit this area. So, I was leery to go down the trail on this dark day because I suspected the snakes would startle me. I said to myself, why travel so far when I have an abundance of nature so close to me, waiting to be captured on canvas? I played it safe and was better off for it. I will do this giant tree more honor another time. This is just the first time to try to understand it's design, it's essence, it's glory. I will wait to see the results of this online judging by November 15th before I decide where to offer this for sale.

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