San Diego

Paintings inspired by Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve and Del Mar Mesa Preserve

I thought it was worth showcasing part of my ever-growing body of landscape art that celebrates views from the chaparral-covered mesas, hillsides and riparian corridors of Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve and Del Mar Mesa Preserve. These are unique and beautiful habitats that are becoming increasingly rare in San Diego County as shortsighted developers continue their attempts to level them.

These mixed media pieces were made by combining professional, transparent watercolor pigments and powdered soft pastels of the highest quality on 300lb Arches hot or cold press paper to imbue them with an ethereal, dream-like quality.

Los Peñasquitos Canyon XVII . 2019. Transparent watercolor and powdered soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 15" x 19" (38 x 48cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon XVII. 2019. Transparent watercolor and powdered soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 15" x 19" (38 x 48cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve I . Watercolor and pastel on 300lb hot press paper.  14" x 19.75" (36 x 50cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve I. Watercolor and pastel on 300lb hot press paper.
14" x 19.75" (36 x 50cm).

Chaparral Path To Black Mountain I.  Watercolor and pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 12" x 18" (31 x 46cm).

Chaparral Path To Black Mountain I. Watercolor and pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 12" x 18" (31 x 46cm).

Afterglow.  Watercolor and pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 14" x 19" (36 x 48cm).

Afterglow. Watercolor and pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 14" x 19" (36 x 48cm).

Crepuscule (Los Peñasquitos Canyon XIV) ". Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 14" x 19" (36 x 48cm).

Crepuscule (Los Peñasquitos Canyon XIV)". Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 14" x 19" (36 x 48cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon VI.  Watercolor and pastel on 300lb cold press paper.  14" x 19" (36 x 48cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon VI. Watercolor and pastel on 300lb cold press paper.
14" x 19" (36 x 48cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon VII (Approaching Storm).  Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 13" x 19" (33 x 48cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon VII (Approaching Storm). Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 13" x 19" (33 x 48cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon with Black Mountain III . Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 14" x 20" (36 x 51cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon with Black Mountain III. Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 14" x 20" (36 x 51cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon VIII (the Swallows Return).  Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 13" x 19" (33 x 48cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon VIII (the Swallows Return). Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 13" x 19" (33 x 48cm).

Last Light with Moonrise over Iron Mountain . Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 14" x 19" (36 x 53cm

Last Light with Moonrise over Iron Mountain. Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 14" x 19" (36 x 53cm

Los Peñasquitos Canyon IV . Watercolor and pastel on 300lb hot press paper.  12" x 16" (31 x 41cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon IV. Watercolor and pastel on 300lb hot press paper.
12" x 16" (31 x 41cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon XI.  Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 13" x 19" (33 x 48cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon XI. Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 13" x 19" (33 x 48cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon XIII (Coastal Fog at Dawn).  Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 14" x 19" (36 x 48cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon XIII (Coastal Fog at Dawn). Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 14" x 19" (36 x 48cm).

Chaparral Path to Black Mountain II.  Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper.  15" x 19" (38 x 48cm).

Chaparral Path to Black Mountain II. Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper.
15" x 19" (38 x 48cm).

Coastal Preserve with Invasive Mustard Plant (Lopez Canyon I).  Watercolor and pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 15" x 19" (38 x 48cm).

Coastal Preserve with Invasive Mustard Plant (Lopez Canyon I). Watercolor and pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 15" x 19" (38 x 48cm).

Departure (Crows at Dawn).  Watercolor and soft pastel on 140lb cold press paper. 13" x 19" (33 x 48cm).

Departure (Crows at Dawn). Watercolor and soft pastel on 140lb cold press paper. 13" x 19" (33 x 48cm).

Asterism over Black Mountain.  Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 14" x 21" (36 x 53cm).

Asterism over Black Mountain. Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 14" x 21" (36 x 53cm).

Bank of Passing Clouds.  Transparent watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 15" x 20" (38 x 51cm).

Bank of Passing Clouds. Transparent watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 15" x 20" (38 x 51cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve XII (Walking with Bats and Owls).  Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 14" x 19" (36 x 48cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve XII (Walking with Bats and Owls). Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 14" x 19" (36 x 48cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon IX.  Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 13" x 20" (33 x 51cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon IX. Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 13" x 20" (33 x 51cm).

Westbound at Dawn.  Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 14" x 20" (36 x 51cm).

Westbound at Dawn. Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 14" x 20" (36 x 51cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon XV.  Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 14" x 20" (36 x 51cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon XV. Watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 14" x 20" (36 x 51cm).

Crepuscule II.  Transparent watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 13" x 19" (33 x 48cm).

Crepuscule II. Transparent watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb cold press paper. 13" x 19" (33 x 48cm).

Waxing Moon with Chaparral and Power Lines.  Watercolor and pastel on 300lb hot press paper.  8" x 16" (20 x 41cm).

Waxing Moon with Chaparral and Power Lines. Watercolor and pastel on 300lb hot press paper.
8" x 16" (20 x 41cm).

Winter Storm (Mammatus Clouds over Black Mountain).  Transparent watercolor and powdered soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 14" x 19" (36 x 48cm).

Winter Storm (Mammatus Clouds over Black Mountain). Transparent watercolor and powdered soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 14" x 19" (36 x 48cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon XVI.  Transparent watercolor and powdered soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 14" x 20" (36 x 51cm).

Los Peñasquitos Canyon XVI. Transparent watercolor and powdered soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 14" x 20" (36 x 51cm).

A bouquet of southern California wildflowers.

Sunshine has been a bit of a stranger here in coastal San Diego as of late. Our typical May gray and June gloom months have brought moisture that we typically only see in the form of heavy fog at this time of year. It’s a perfect evening to gather together a few of my favorite wildflower photos from this spring and summer as the bloom continues, albeit in a more subtle way than that which made national news. The desert “super blooms” attract large crowds, but there are always plants present to be appreciated no matter the time of year, particularly if you enjoy the hunt as I do.

California poppies (Eschscholzia californica), beach sand verbena (Abronia umbellata) and common phacelia (Phacelia distans) overlook the Pacific Ocean at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in La Jolla.

California poppies (Eschscholzia californica), beach sand verbena (Abronia umbellata) and common phacelia (Phacelia distans) overlook the Pacific Ocean at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in La Jolla.

Ground pink (Linanthus dianthiflorus) growing in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego.

Ground pink (Linanthus dianthiflorus) growing in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego.

Desert or Ajo lily (Hesperocallis undulata) is both beautiful and wonderfully fragrant. I spotted this one growing in the Coyote Canyon area of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in Borrego Springs.

Desert or Ajo lily (Hesperocallis undulata) is both beautiful and wonderfully fragrant. I spotted this one growing in the Coyote Canyon area of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in Borrego Springs.

Desert five-spot (Eremalche rotundifolia) is a favorite desert sight of mine and one I got to enjoy during multiple trips to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park this spring. Unfortunately, my attempts at growing it from seed myself weren’t as successful as they were last year due to wildlife interference. I’ll sow more seed when winter rains arrive.

Desert five-spot (Eremalche rotundifolia) is a favorite desert sight of mine and one I got to enjoy during multiple trips to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park this spring. Unfortunately, my attempts at growing it from seed myself weren’t as successful as they were last year due to wildlife interference. I’ll sow more seed when winter rains arrive.

Rays of sunshine and Parish's poppies (Eschscholzia parishii) are framed by the ever sculptural and graceful ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) along the Cactus Trail at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Rays of sunshine and Parish's poppies (Eschscholzia parishii) are framed by the ever sculptural and graceful ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) along the Cactus Trail at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

California centaury (Zeltnera venusta) glow in the setting sun on Del Mar Mesa Preserve near my studio.

California centaury (Zeltnera venusta) glow in the setting sun on Del Mar Mesa Preserve near my studio.

Giant coreopsis (Leptosyne gigantea) blooming on Santa Cruz Island, part of Channel Islands National Park off of the coast of Los Angeles.

Giant coreopsis (Leptosyne gigantea) blooming on Santa Cruz Island, part of Channel Islands National Park off of the coast of Los Angeles.

The citrusy fragrance of Sacred Datura (Datura wrightii) blends with the scent of ocean air at Torrey Pines State Beach just after dawn.

The citrusy fragrance of Sacred Datura (Datura wrightii) blends with the scent of ocean air at Torrey Pines State Beach just after dawn.

A splended mariposa lily (Calochortus splendens) glows in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.

A splended mariposa lily (Calochortus splendens) glows in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.

Calico cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii). Mojave National Preserve between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Calico cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii). Mojave National Preserve between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

I watch for the emerging leaves and developing buds of Weed's mariposa lily (Calochortus weedii) every spring in nearby Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, Del Mar Mesa Preserve and at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, the latter being where I took this photograph.

I watch for the emerging leaves and developing buds of Weed's mariposa lily (Calochortus weedii) every spring in nearby Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, Del Mar Mesa Preserve and at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, the latter being where I took this photograph.

I believe the featured cactus here is Mojave prickly pear (Opuntia erinacea). A strangely cool for late May day that was mostly cloudy made for a memorable walk in Mohave National Preserve. It was exploding with colorful desert flowers and I wish I’d had many more hours there to explore.

I believe the featured cactus here is Mojave prickly pear (Opuntia erinacea). A strangely cool for late May day that was mostly cloudy made for a memorable walk in Mohave National Preserve. It was exploding with colorful desert flowers and I wish I’d had many more hours there to explore.

Switching gears a bit, two of my mixed-media paintings inspired by California wildflowers I admired in situ were featured in “The Art of the Wildflower,” an exhibition during Wildflower Week at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, California. From their website: “Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is the largest botanic garden dedicated to California native plants, promoting botany, conservation and horticulture to inspire, inform and educate the public and scientific community about California's native flora. The Garden is a living museum with curated collections of more than 22,000 California native plants, some of which are rare or endangered. Spread across 86 acres in Claremont, California, the Garden is located approximately 35 miles east of Los Angeles. The Garden displays about 2000 taxa of California plants and includes those native to the California Floristic Province.”

As with the wildflower photographs above, you will find prints of these paintings for purchase in a wide range of sizes and on different surfaces by clicking on the images. Please email me if you’re interested in owning one of the original paintings.

Thanks for supporting living artists.

—Robin Street-Morris

Weed’s Mariposa Lily (Calochortus weedii) . 2019. Transparent watercolor and powdered soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 13" x 19" (33 x 48cm).

Weed’s Mariposa Lily (Calochortus weedii). 2019. Transparent watercolor and powdered soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 13" x 19" (33 x 48cm).

California Poppy ( Eschscholzia californica ). 2018. Transparent watercolor and powdered soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 19" x 13" (48 x 33 cm).

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica ). 2018. Transparent watercolor and powdered soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 19" x 13" (48 x 33 cm).

New works, the 2018 Comic-Con Art Show and a published piece.

Having lived most of my life so far in the Midwest before moving to San Diego, fireflies are something I look forward to seeing every summer on my visits back.  I still typically make at least one firefly-inspired piece each year.  Hotaru-gari VII is my most recent in this series.  I framed it and a handful of other pieces for inclusion in the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con Art Show at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel.  This sale and auction will run July 18th through the close of the convention that Sunday the 22nd.  You don't need to have a badge to stop in to enjoy the art show and bid on a piece if you're taken with it.  

Robin Street-Morris.   Hotaru-gari VII . 2018.  Transparent watercolor and soft pastel on 140lb hot press paper. 9" x 16" (23 x 41cm).

Robin Street-Morris.  Hotaru-gari VII. 2018.  Transparent watercolor and soft pastel on 140lb hot press paper. 9" x 16" (23 x 41cm).

What San Diego lacks in the way of fireflies it makes up for in another form of bioluminescence.  Our periodic algal blooms, known as red tides, can make the waves glow blue.   I got to see this spectacular natural phenomenon for the first time this year and made two mixed media paintings inspired by it.     

Robin Street-Morris.   Luminescence at Torrey Pine s. 2018. Transparent watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 14" x 19" (36 x 48cm).   

Robin Street-Morris.  Luminescence at Torrey Pines. 2018. Transparent watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 14" x 19" (36 x 48cm).

 

Robin Street-Morris.  Luminescence at Torrey Pines II . 2018. Transparent watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 14" x 20" (36 x 51cm).

Robin Street-Morris. Luminescence at Torrey Pines II. 2018. Transparent watercolor and soft pastel on 300lb hot press paper. 14" x 20" (36 x 51cm).

Finally, it's an honor to have Coastal Walk VII, a piece inspired by my beloved Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, included in Reed Magazine's California Edition. Issue 151 is dedicated to fine art and literature inspired by the Golden State and may be purchased directly through their website.    

--Robin Street-Morris