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Dawn at San Elijo, California Plein Air Painting

I got out early this morning to try to find some good light. San Elijo Lagoon Nature Reserve was the destination. I got there before sunrise and set up my easel in a spot that had a nice composition for the canvas.  I finished before 9:00am, when I took this shot.

San Elijo Lagoon, 9:00am, September 15, 2012

Here is the signed and finished painting, Available for purchase at my online gallery, here.

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Papaya Perch

This little guy caught my eye as my wife and I were walking down to D.T. Fleming Beach Park, in Kapalua, Maui, USA.  Rain clouds were moving in and the early morning colors were lit in a moody light. I had my telephoto lens on and was able to frame up a good shot.

The papayas were out of reach or they would have made a nice breakfast.

The papayas would have been nice but we had some really good, Maui grown pineapples instead.  Here’s a tip a Hawaiian worker in the produce section of a Mauian supermarket gave us: Pineapples never get “riper” after they are picked–if they are not sweet when picked they will never get sweeter with shelf time.  He also said that the best pineapples have a golden color and the leafy stalk on top should be dry and not lush or green.  Since taking this advice to heart we have not been disappointed with our pineapple selections…now you know!

Maui Gold!
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Torrey Pines Plein Air

Here is a shot of my easel as it stood after completing, “Highway 1, Torrey Pines,” which is available for purchase in the gallery. Following is shot of the completed painting.  This was a fun outing and I had to hike in quite a distance to set up here with a full french easel and a five gallon bucket with supplies.


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“Valiant in Service”

Here is what I’m working on now.  This is going to be a Tanker Plane dumping retardant on a forest fire below.  I’ve just begun to work on the mountain scenery.  There is still work to do on the smoke, fire and clouds, as well as the plane of course, which is blocked in in magenta.

Work in Progress 09-11-2012

I’ve done some more work on this and like the rhythm it has.  There is still much more to do but all in all I’m pleased so far with the composition and the colors.  I think I can work through the problems with this one, which is saying something because that is not always true.  Sometimes you just have to scrape it off and try something different.  In fact, this painting began its life on a scraped, cast-off painting that I tried to bring to life but it was eventually D.O.A.  Here is the second installment: 

…Just an update on this painting. I’ve done a bit more and still have quite a bit to do. Here is the third installment:

Added more trees, smoke, clouds, etc.
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“The Squall”

The Squall
Ronald Lee Oliver

Our bark pitched and lolled
midst breakers that rolled,
dark as squids ink o’er the gunnels.

Both larboard and lee,
The sky nor the sea could nary agree
which was the charge of t’other.

The toothless Bosenmate, Phigg,
chortled while quaffing a swig
of foul and treacherous grog,
just dipped from the quartermain hog.
He exclaimed with delight,
his eyes sheeny with light
from the St. Elmo’s fire
that danced in the wires above.

“I’ve seen the likes of fjords
‘n dikes and sailed the blue
waters down South…but I’ve never
skimmed through a squall such as
thee’n, nor dodged such devilish spouts!

Tighten yer buckler, ye pewlin’
landlubber, we’re in for a Helluva blow!

Yes, we’re in for a God-awful blow!”

The wind shrod through the lines
that hummed as if tines of some
giant’s mad tuning fork.

When Cap’n yelled out,
“Coming About!” and spun the wheel,
heelin’ the rudder.

It was then that I seen that wall
black and green that made my spine
tingle and shudder.
That wall of sateen, spindrift and sheen,
keen deadly for malice and murder.

Down bore that black curtain that
meant one thing certain.

We were in for a Terrible blow!

Yes, we braced for a punishing blow!

That’s the last that I seen of Phigg
and the Cap’n and two-score other
poor souls. The Bark torn asunder
as the Wave pulled them under
and down to the black deep below.
Why I was spared is a wonder
that I ‘spect I’ll never know.

Rare’s the day I don’t weep
for Forever they’ll keep
in the rivers of deep that flow
in the icy cold brine below…

in the inky dark brine below.