Author Archives: Amy N

Recent Work

Here is a selection of recent work painted in and around Pasadena. I am exploring the pattern of form and color in the landscape. I especially enjoy working the subtle variation within a larger color field.

Keep scrolling below to see more recent work. Click any image to enter the gallery and view the paintings.

Last June I joined a group of artists with the California Art Club for a painting excursion to a lavender farm/resort in Beaumont, CA.  The lavender fields were in spectacular bloom against the backdrop of hedgerows and distant surrounding mountains.

I’ve also spent some some cold and rainy winter days in the studio on a still life series. These small paintings are direct and to the point. On a few of them, I thought of the title first and then went about executing the idea – see Before Lunch, and After Lunch, and Taking Stock.

Trees and light

I am producing a suite of paintings as part of the environmental art project Carry the Earth. See Earth 17 for a more detailed post about my part in this project. With the eye of an artist and the ecological focus of a landscape architect, I will look closely at five tree species native to Southern California—coast live oak, western sycamore, California laurel, white alder, and Santa Cruz Island ironwood. I explore each species with three paintings—whole tree/grouping; trunk/bark; and twig/leaf. This telescoping of scale mimics how we might appreciate the environment, from big pattern picture to small intricate detail. Below are the paintings to date.

White alder (Alnus rhombifolia)

Santa Cruz Island ironwood (Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. asplenifolius)


I have worked on many paintings that focus on trees. Sometimes the whole tree, trunk, or leaf captures my interest. Sometimes it is the light on the ground.

Still life

Here is a series of recent small still life. These subjects are direct and to the point. I conceived the titles of a few before executing the painting. See Before Lunch, After Lunch, and Taking Stock. I think the titles add a clever twist.

I really enjoy painting leaves as still life (or abstract) objects. Also included – a sampling of some earlier still life work. Click on any image to enter the gallery and browse the paintings.

Artist-in-Residence, San Gabriel Mountains

2016: For my second Artist-in-Residence (AIR) experience, I was excited to return to the Angeles National Forest over Memorial Day week. I was stationed at Little Jimmy Trail Camp, which is located on the Pacific Crest Trail about 20 miles west of Wrightwood, CA. The week brought glorious, long painting days up on the ridge above camp and along surrounding woodland trails, where I absorbed spectacular panoramas and the rugged landscape. My encounters with the through-hikers on the PCT gave added inspiration. They were learning the landscape step by step.

Here is a gallery of that week’s work, presented in the order I painted them. Click on any image to enter the gallery and browse the paintings.

2015: I participated in my first AIR experience this year, sponsored by the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Area, . Continue reading below for more information about my time in the forest. Click on any image to enter the gallery and scroll through the paintings.

During summer and fall 2015, I participated in the Artist-in-Residence program with the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. I was one of ten artists selected for the inaugural year of this program and spent two intensive periods of time painting out on the trails of the Crystal Lake Recreation Area.

Crystal Lake is located within a mountainous natural bowl at the top of San Gabriel Canyon (north of Azusa, CA). Many of the higher ridges are dramatically exposed due to loss of forest cover from the Curve Fire in 2002. The remnant trees, regenerating vegetation, and rugged slopes create dynamic patterns that change in color throughout the day. The canyon runs out towards the south, with the heavily developed San Gabriel Valley about twenty-five miles away. From certain vantage points, overlapping mountain ridges fill the space between the top of the canyon and the distant plain. Cloud formations can be dramatic, as they flow through the mountain passes and down the valley, or pile up against the peaks when the air flow reverses.

Painting on site, I used water-soluable oils and an impasto technique, layering paint while wet with a palette knife. Often I spent one or two days in an area and painted multiple views in a day. Some views beckoned for more than one attempt, in an effort to capture the effects of different time and weather or just to explore a slightly different technique or size.

My aim was to capture in paint the color, shapes, and energy of this stunning environment.

On the road

I love to paint plein air landscapes when traveling to new places. There is no better way for an area to make a deep impression on me than to study the landscape and to make a painting. Some of the works here are from trips to Zion National Park and nearby areas, made in the company of the Plein Air Round-up painting group, on expeditions organized by artist Chuck Kovacic. I completed other paintings during a cross-country driving trip in the summer of 2016 and while on a glorious recent trip to the Umbrian countryside in Italy.

Click on any image below to enter the gallery and browse the paintings.

Big Santa Anita Canyon

I spend a lot of time in Big Santa Anita Canyon, especially in an area known as “First Water” where my husband and I have a cabin. I paint there regularly and often find myself working from the same locations. Every time is different, the view ever-changing. Click on any image below to enter the gallery and scroll through the paintings.