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Santa Barbara Afternoon

Here is another series of sketches done during a quick train ride up to Santa Barbara the day after Christmas. To me there are some advantages to sketching the subject in the heat of the moment, and painting it later in the studio:

1. There is no pressure to get it all done at the time. Making a quick sketch of a passing scene, or of waiting out on a cold platform for a train is good practice. Sometimes the more time I have to sit and paint, the more time I have to overwork the sketch or put too much in.

2. Having a simplified armature of a scene to paint allows me to explore color, value and composition in a relaxed, free and experimental manner. Not being tied to reality is a great benefit.

In this series of Santa Barbara sketches, I started out with my traditional perspective warm-up of the view from inside the train and a few sketches of the passing scenery. I can’t resist sketching a train station and this one is a beautiful historic structure restored to perfection. I did a quick study of the view from the restaurant of the sun peaking through the clouds, the distant harbor, and the waves crashing below us. A few clouds rolled in as we were sitting on the beach. Finally, another view of the station as the passengers gathered for an evening departure.

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