Behind The Painting – Old Shadow Road

Go behind-the-scenes and get the story behind the painting Old Shadow Road. An artists perspective on what inspires, motivates, and challenges artistic endeavor.

Painting on a bookshelf

Santa Cruz Inspiration

There are several small islands off the coast of California. Catalina is one of those popular tourist island you are probably familiar with, while Santa Cruz was once a privately owned island that was less popular. As you can imagine, being largely untouched by tourists it was quite beautiful with loads of inspiration for any artist!

One weekend a co-worker friend of mine from Disney planned a day trip for a group of us to this little paradise.

Unlike Catalina with all the buildings and tourism, this secluded island was mostly in it’s natural state. The only exception was the owner’s house and buildings. Nothing about this place shouted commercialism, and nature was able to flourish in all it’s beauty and uniqueness. There are even species of plants and animals unique to this island!

On our hike we came upon this road in the middle of nature, and something about that gracefully rustic gate caught my eye. I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures as artistic reference for the future. You never know what will become your next great painting!

Some of the Eucalyptus trees had a droopy almost weeping look to them while their boughs were so full and heavy. Everything about this place lent itself to a more romantic styled. I was especially captivated by the incredible shadowing and light when the sun broke through the trees.

Turning Reality Into Visual Interest

The painting itself is actually a color interpretation from the original. I decided to give it a warm colored sky, as if at eventide rather than the bright blue sky that graced us overhead. The addition of the reddish tint to the bushes adds a  visual pop of color.

Finally, I thought a lamp post might be a sweet little addition, again for interest and to lend itself to the dreamy quality of the space.

painting with trees and a shadowy road with gate

In this painting you can see my love of detail work. While my painting style is definitely not realism, it isn’t quite impressionism either. I like to see a marriage between the two, and I tried to accomplish just that with the look and feel of this painting.

You’ll notice some detail work in the foliage of the trees while still maintaining simplicity and looseness. I wanted to show the distinct tree variations so I emphasized the weeping quality with a bit of detail work.

The Original Painting

You may have seen the print for Old Shadow Road in the shop, but I recently donated the original to our local hospital Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley. 

I’m so thrilled that this hospital knows the value of art for their hospital. The space would be cold and sterile without some of the finer details such as artwork to brighten the view for their patients.

Because they need  help gaining funds for art, they asked several artists to donate pieces for auction. The funds will then go to purchase the quantity and quality of art required to fill the hospital.

It was such an honor to be part of raising funds, as well as to be the keynote speaker at the fund raising event. I hope Old Shadow Road is well loved by it’s new owner.

Shop | You can own your own copy of Old Shadow Road by buying the print here