Plein Air Colorist
Mt Diablo, Briones Crest Trail,24x36 featured painting in St. Mary’s College Gallery Sacred Mountain Exhibition 2009
I have painted Mt. Diablo only once a year so that each time I find a fresh and unique approach, painting mostly on site from the northern view, which is most familiar to me. Painting in the open air in secluded places, I have seen the resident Golden Eagles soaring and been in the feeding path of coyotes, which barely notice me. A single plein air painter becomes an accepted part of the scenery.
My interest has always been to preserve the landscape and particularly the mountain that looms majestically over all of Contra Costa. It is challenging to find a view of the mountain with an inviting, uncluttered foreground.
My husband John hiked up the Briones Crest Trail early in January finding a spectacular pristine view. I returned to the Briones trail with him later that week packing my pastels, portable easel and digital camera. I sketched several views of the distant mountain in the late afternoon, attracted to the unusual lagoon to the left of the hiking paths cut into dry grasses. Mid-day, the distance and haze gave a ghostly effect, but as the afternoon wore on the crevices defined. It felt to me like an Edgar Payne painting. I built the shapes trying to maintain subtlety. The vast melodic rolling foreground; intersecting trails; sparse oak trees; jingling bells of the goats herding close by; and only a hint of suburbia’s flickering lights continued to inspire me as the sun sunk.
I am fortunate living in California. I can paint the compelling landscape en plein air 12 months out of the year. I hope you find joy and discovery in my images.