The lurid glow of a San Gabriel Valley sunset and its reflection on water are the key elements of my current work of chalk pastel drawings and oil paintings.
Four days a week I drive by the gravel pits in Irwindale. On the way home, there is a particular vista from the 605 that enchants me. Most of the elements have been touched by man: smog tinges the sky and the landforms surrounding the "lake" have been carved out by industrial processes. Yet dusk envelopes the scene with an eerie beauty and cloaks the more unsettling aspects of it – the strange color of the water and the raw earth exposed by the digging.
My process involves shooting “drive by” digital photographs as reference material. I then distill images that resonate for me, either through oil paint or chalk pastel, simplifying and abstracting the scene.
In my Irwindale series I give a modern inversion of the Hudson River School approach to landscape painting. Instead of depicting sublime nature unsullied by man, I present the beauty in a landscape wracked by human intervention.