Getting up before sunrise to explore a California hillside can bring a smile to your face as you begin to see the early morning sun shining across the golden grasses and through the nearby eucalyptus trees.
Adah Isaacs Menken was a celebrated American songstress, dancer, actress, author, and poet. The costume she is pictured wearing for the stage play Mazeppa titallated audiences in San Francisco. Well educated, creative, and mercurical, her friends included poets Walt Whitman and Bret Harte, artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and novelist Alexandre Dumas.
In the foothills of the Sierra Nevada near Carson City, the fall colors glitter like the gold and silver that the prospectors were seeking. They found many things that glitter, but they weren't all gold.
Engine 29, christened the "Robert C. Gray,"¬ù steams along the Virginia and Truckee Railroad, following the same route that the lumber and mining trains ran during the Comstock Lode silver rush of 1859.
Every fall, 40,000 sandhill cranes flock to wetland preserves near Lodi, California, for the winter. It is such an awesome sight that it makes for a popular tourist attraction and story in the local papers. I had fun trying to create a bit of fantasy in the design while keeping the birds as the focus of the painting.
I woke early one day on a trip with the PAC6 and realized I had the opportunity to see the sunrise. It proved to be spectacular. As I was squinting at the glare of the rays coming over the ridge, a flock of birds took off from the brush to greet the new day.
Sharon continues to explore the relationship between landscape and gold leaf in her Golden Hour series. With Golden Inlet, she takes chances and pushes her ideas. "The distant cliff face creates interesting negative space and abstract shapes which highlight the rugged pines. It is always a matter of push and pull, yin and yang, gold and paint."
The golden sun is reflected in the blue waters of Lake Tahoe as Sharon combines oil paint with gold leaf. “The coast along the north shore of Lake Tahoe has deep inlets where sunlight sparkles between the rocky outcrops. Capturing the magic of the light against the silhouettes of the pine trees creates a wonderful contrast of light and shadow.”
Cowboy, horse and dog all share the satisfaction of a job well done after herding the cattle from one pasture to the other. The folks at Rankin Ranch continue to work the ranch as their family has done since 1863.
The Eastern Sierra has a special place in the heart of the PAC6. The view of the Minarets from the shore of Ediza Lake was breathtaking. Riding in on horseback to the remote camping spot was a great adventure.
Lotta Crabtree started acting at age 8 and never stopped, becoming one of the most beloved and well-paid actors and comedians of the nineteenth century. She is shown here in an early role playing a boy (hence the britches) and smoking a cigar.
In the 1860s, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) explored his way across the Sierras Nevada mountain range many times. He explored Mono Lake. His account of a boat ride on Mono Lake with his pals and a dog during a storm are hilarious. You can find the account in the book "Roughing It." The story highlights the unusual quality of the water at Mono Lake!
Emerald Bay on the California side of Lake Tahoe is a popular destination because of the beautiful color and clarity of the water. Emerald Bay provided the setting for one of the first summer homes built at Lake Tahoe. Ben Holladay, stagecoach magnate and early-day transportation king, constructed a home there in the late 1860s.
While on a painting trip in Sequoia National Park, I discovered this old cowboy on his horse visiting a place called Boot Hill. He didn't say much (cowboys tend not to talk a lot), but his eyes said it all.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known to most as Mark Twain, has been called "the father of American literature." He was the first American author to write in the unique voice of each of his characters. He is one fellow I would have loved to have met.
Lake Tahoe was a place to rest for travelers headed to San Francisco from the territories east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Before the settlers arrived, Sand Harbor Cove, along the lake's eastern shore, would have been an idyllic spot to make camp for the Washoe tribe in the summer months.
The author Mark Twain had a lumber claim in the forest between Lake Tahoe and Truckee until he burnt it down by not keeping an eye on the morning fire. It's a typical story from Twain's adventures out west. This small lake is on that land and I like to believe Twain stood here looking at this very scene 160 years ago.
Travel, exploration and camaraderie are all important parts of the PAC6 experience. This painting was inspired by our trip to Lake Tahoe and Virginia City. The warmth of friends enjoying a fire on a cool fall day is a scene that recalls fond memories. Through our paintings you are invited to the party too.
The PAC6 were exploring the area near Angels Camp where Mark Twain's story about the "Jumping Frogs of Calaveras County" began. As we explored the area, we went down to the river and I saw this gorgeous river rushing down the gorge.
The PAC6 painting trip to Lake Tahoe was memorable. My first sighting of Lake Tahoe had me eager to paint the turquoise water. The calm day made the surface look like glass and enhanced the reflections in the water. This piece was painted en plein air, on location, on a beautiful morning.
Prospectors and explorers crossed the Sierra Nevada range on foot, mules, horses, and wagons. They always had to keep the essentials in mind: food, water and shelter. Finding a source of water was often the primary goal for explorers.