“Bishop’s Peak” Oil Painting

| June 14, 2010
bishop's peak oil painting

“Bishop’s Peak” – 9×12, Oil on Linen on Board

The lone intrusion of what would seem modern day was the road on which we would travel. A slice of lined asphalt that allowed passage through the perfectly sculpted hills and countryside north of Santa Barbara. After two days of sun drenched skies and atmosphere crisped by a lukewarm sea breeze, the weather was less confident that day. The June gloom as the locals call it. Such skies in Colorado would threaten to give way to a steady rain, but not here. I asked the innkeeper if we could borrow an umbrella. With a look of hesitation on her face, she said, “I am happy to lend you one but it is not going to rain today. It will burn off by two,” she assured me. “We wouldn’t have the wine country if we didn’t have this weather from time to time.” With that sage local advice, I decided to trust her and kindly said she could keep the umbrella.

The exit from Santa Barbara proper only takes about ten minutes at which point you take San Marcos Pass Road over the surrounding hills to make your way to the heart of the Santa Barbara wine country. Thick with atmosphere, the mountain ranges form a stunning backdrop for parched hills lined with meticulously manicured vineyards. The view was reminiscent of the Tuscan countryside that we saw last summer but there is a hint of ruggedness here that can only be California.

After a stop in Los Olivos for lunch and a look through an art gallery or two, we continued north toward Cambria, which is a quaint town about 12 miles from San Simeon and the Hearst Castle. We were not seeing the castle on this trip. We had already seen the castle six years ago while visiting Monterey and Carmel. We were just looking forward to a scenic drive and a visit to The Vault Gallery where paintings by Elizabeth Tolley hang.

As Donna was kindly watching the road, I was driving and combing the countryside for for photo opportunities. There it was. One of the Nine Sisters. How could something called a lava plug be so beautiful? The geologic explanation fails to capture the benefit of time that has allowed the formation of a near perfect medley of landscape elements ripe for painting. Funny enough, the reason I recognized “The “Sister” was because I have seen them in Libby Tolley’s paintings. I was captivated by the painting and even more so by its beauty in life.

So here it is. My version of Bishop’s Peak as seen from the outside of an iron gate just off of Highway 1. Not having my panting gear with me on the trip, I painted this from a photo reference. With grand ranch houses at its base complete with horses kicking up dust in the distance, it is hard to imagine something more beautiful. I loved how the landscape in life is was almost perfectly simplified and ready for painting.

Category: Fine Art and Painting

Comments (2)

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  1. AutumnLeaves says:

    Funny you mentioned “Tuscan” and “Olivos” because despite the absence of the muted oranges, I immediately thought this painting reminded me of what I imagine a Tuscan countryside to look like. I was reminded of the colors of the olive groves I’ve seen in Spain as well…Lovely painting, Lee!

  2. Lee says:

    Funny, I did not even think about olives. Now that you mention it, I remember seeing olives everywhere in Tuscany. The trees are quite beautiful as they shimmer in the sun. Truly an enchanted place just like California!