Wednesday, February 29, 2012

a puzzle

What is the contraption in this photo?

(Answer below)

On our recent visit to Santa Barbara, California, we climbed the steps to the roof of the courthouse clock tower to take in the view.  The above device was visible on the way up, through a large plexiglas window.  No sign or placard offered an explanation.  On the way back down, I saw it again and realized what it was.

Here are two of the views from the roof (the courthouse and grounds occupy an entire city block).

Answer:  It's the clock!  The tower has a clock face on each of its four sides.  You can see that the clock mechanism has an arm extending out to each wall to drive the clock hands.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

studio 7

This interesting doorway opens onto a small courtyard in downtown Santa Barbara, California.

Monday, February 27, 2012


I have posted some black and white images featuring the rocks near Paradise in Los Padres National Forest.  Now, here is one in color- it shows off the hues of the outcrops.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Here is another tree and rock image from Paradise, in Los Padres National Forest.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

beach house, carpinteria

I did this plein air painting of a beach house on February 13 from the salt marsh in Carpinteria, CA.  There was actually a row of houses between the marsh and the beach dunes, but I left them all out of the painting except the most interestingly shaped one.

The salt marsh is frequented by egrets and other interesting birds.

Beach House
oil on canvas, 6"x8"

Friday, February 24, 2012

two of a kind

This is the same pair of trees shown in Wednesday's post, "Twisted," from a very different viewpoint and with the spectacular tilted rock strata of Paradise visible in the background.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

uptown house

I did this painting in the studio, like the Boat and Van a couple days ago, from a photo I took last fall.  More of a sketch in oils than a painting, it's all about shapes and colors.

Uptown House
oil on canvas, 6"x6"

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Here is another scene from Paradise, in Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara, CA.  Some of the trees were very twisty and curvy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

boat and van

I did this painting yesterday.  It is not a plein air painting- it was done in the studio from a photo I took last fall in an uptown Port Townsend neighborhood.  Sort of a macro still life.

Boat and Van
oil on canvas, 6"x6"

Monday, February 20, 2012

boulder at paradise

Here is a boulder with some of the iconic rock outcrops near the Paradise campground, Los Padres National Forest, California.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

another paradise

Not the one on Mount Rainier, this Paradise is in Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara, California.  Angular rock outcrops and twisty trees flank the Santa Ynez River.  This grove was in a low spot near the river.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

desert afternoon 3

An early sunset races across the desert floor, from the ridges to the west.  Plein air painters be warned:  the light changes very quickly.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

desert afternoon

In late afternoon in the Anza-Borrego desert floor, the shadows start to lengthen.  The ocotillos stand above the surrounding vegetation.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

morning palm 2

Here is another view of the fan palm featured in my February 8 post, this time just at sunrise.  As an added bonus, the moon was just past full and close setting.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

granite planter

Desert plants will take hold and grow in the tiniest bits of poor soil.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

desert pass country

Up in the hills near Culp Valley, looking back toward Borrego Springs, California.  Even in winter, the midday lighting is harsh and contrasty.  Desert plants cling to life here and there amid the granite boulders.

Friday, February 10, 2012

desert sunrise, desert moonset

In the Anza-Borrego desert.  These images were taken early this morning within a few yards of the place where we are staying.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

morning palm

Here is a California fan palm in the morning light.  As the tree grows higher, the lower fronds droop and form a skirt around the trunk as they dry, helping to protect the plant from moisture loss and insect predators.

The desert air is crisp and clear.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

chased by a theropod

There's nothing quite like being chased by a large hungry raptor across the Anza-Borrego desert!  Fortunately, the metal sculpture, one of many created by artist Ricardo Breceda, doesn't actually move.

Monday, February 6, 2012

approaching fog

In late afternoon, fog approaches in Stanislaus County, California.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012

zig zag 3

The battery structures at Fort Worden, with all their weathering and their decorations of painted-out graffiti, have so much character!

Friday, February 3, 2012

into the tomb

An image of the interior of Battery Kinzie, deliberately blurred by twisting the camera, looks like a completely different space when turned on its side.

Shot at Fort Worden State Park, Washington.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

point wilson trees

These trees stand just inshore and up the hill a bit from Battery Kinzie at Fort Worden.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

zig zag 2

Another architectural detail with shadows, from batteries Kinzie and Vicars at Fort Worden State Park.