One Morning, Two Midsummers

Let’s say it was an early morning in July some years ago and you happened to find yourself in a small town in Northern California. Let’s say you were taking a walk through the nearly deserted streets, admiring the houses and stores built in the architectural style of a hundred and fifty years ago when the town was settled during the Gold Rush of 1849. As the town awakened, sunlight poured through the clouds and cast long shadows on Commercial Street. You noticed a rusty pickup parked on Pine Street and a dog in the back of the truck. His coat was amber-colored. His head was perked up and attentive to what little was happening on the street. He looked like he was posing for a photograph.

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Una Esquina

Una Esquina – Watercolor – 9 x 12 inches.

El Barrio del Carmen is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Valencia. Until recently, it was also one of the most decrepit. Like many other neighborhoods in many other cities, it underwent a period of gentrification in which families were evicted, buildings demolished and new structures built. New homes emerged out of the ruins, but often the new buildings were too expensive for the former inhabitants of the neighborhood to live in.

What hasn’t changed is that young girls still care for their younger siblings, even though no one can protect either of them from “urban renewal.”

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Loch Fyne

Loch Fyne – Watercolor – 8 x 11 inches.

Although I’m normally not attracted to “picturesque” subjects, like brilliant sunsets or cozy hamlets cradled in mountain valleys, this sight in Scotland of clouds and sheep and acres of blues and greens was irresistible.

The body of water is Loch Fyne, about 80 kilometers west of Glasgow. The clouds and shadow-shapes were moving so fast that I had to invent and improvise somewhat, but sheep move slowly so they were easier to render. If the sketch looks like it was fun to paint, that is true, because during the hour it took to complete it, I was humming J.S. Bach’s Cantata No. 28: “Sheep May Safely Graze.”

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