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I’ve long loved the way the rolling hills along the coast of California fold together and overlap, the sensuality of that “hot rise and cool dip.”  I’ve tried to capture a bit of that fascination in some of my poetry: Hot Hills in Summer Heat, and Playing with Light, loving the way the light falls upon those folds so that “the hills unwind, one at a time, to dance before us all.”

Lately I’ve been trying to capture some of that in a few paintings, some inspired by the work of other artists and some from my own photographs. I’m not wholly satisfied with any of them, but something of what I’m trying to capture comes through.


This first is watercolor and oil pastel, and even a brush of soft chalk pastel in the sea and highlighting the closest hill. This was inspired by a Dale Laitinen painting of the coastline along Highway 1 near our home called.


The one above and below were inspired by a local and much-loved artist Erin Hanson who works mostly in oil. My painting above is again oil pastel and watercolor on Arches cold press paper, which has much more texture than the smoother hot press Fabriano paper used in the other oil pastel paintings in this post. DSCN6472

This one was also inspired by Hanson which I painted some time ago in acrylic. I’ve only created three works in acrylic so far, but for some reason I feel intimidated by it. I’m not sure why.  The three I painted out came out well enough. Of course, none of these inspired by other artists come even close to the quality of the original works. But I learn so much each time I try.


This one and the one below are from my own photographs taken of the hillsides on my walks around our neighborhood. They come closer to those “folding hills” I wrote about earlier, “the hot rise and cool dip” in my poems. Both are oil pastel and watercolor on hot press paper.


In this last one I wanted to see what the hills would look like stripped down and closer. I’m not sure which version I like best. The mattings help a lot to set off the works. Someday I will learn to photograph my paintings better. That might help too (smile.)

Thank you for bearing with me as I try to learn this craft and share my efforts. It’s a fascinating pastime.

[Note: I created this post before the latest round of fires set these hills ablaze north and south of where we live. My heart goes out to all who have lost their lives and homes, and seen their communities destroyed, including the wildlife that inhabits these hills and forests.]