"12 Days of California" a petite collection inspired by artist, Krista Schumacher's road trip travels throughout California.
By KRISTA SCHUMACHER
Since moving to the West Coast three years ago, my husband and I have made a point to travel as much as possible. Let me tell you something, there is no place like California. California's unparalleled diverse beauty cannot be captured, it must be felt. It is overwhelming. It is magnificent. The paintings in this collection, which represent twelve iconic landscapes, are just the start. California truly is a wonder of the world, and I am an artist in awe. By exclusively using palette knives and oil paint, I wanted to share the beauty of California through my eyes. The impressionistic paintings focus on capturing the emotionality of these iconic locations.
1. BIG SUR
Big Sur is truly a wonder of the world. In this painting, depicting the Big Sur coastline, I wanted to capture the seemingly endless vista. The rugged textures of the coastline are met with the smoothness of a blended sky filled with calming colors. The intensity of the blue hues are met with a complementary orange, creating a sense of balance and harmony.
2. SAN DIEGO
San Diego was inspired by my home city. As someone who walks the coast every day, I wanted to capture the cacti along the coast, because to me, it is the embodiment of “where the desert meets the sea.” In my painting, I contrasted the rougher textures of the cacti, with the smoother strokes of the sky and ocean. Additionally, the deep reds and pinks of the sky juxtapose the green of the cactus, giving a sense of drama.
3. JOSHUA TREE
Joshua Tree, the legendary tree which grows in the Southern California desert, was named by early Mormon travelers because it reminded them of the prophet Joshua raising his arms to pray. As they tree stands in the vastness of a hostile climate, it reaches upward. To me, it serves as a symbol of faith. By using lighter colors in the sky, I deliberately backlit the tree, adding to its sense of prominence. The Joshua Tree is, and will always be, marveled by any visitor of the Mojave Desert.
Yosemite is a true gem. Visiting for the first time three years ago, I was stunned by the towering rocks, sequoia trees, and vast wilderness. In my painting, I sculpted realistic granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome, and contrasted the realism with an abstract background and foreground. It was my intention to liberally employ my signature peach color. Yosemite is best described by photographer Ansel Adams, “Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.”
5. NAPA VALLEY
Napa depicts the vineyards that fill the hillsides of this wine region north of San Francisco. Purposefully using the complementary colors of reds and greens, I was able to create rows of grapes in the foreground. These vertical lines recede into the painting, as the viewer’s eyes are met with horizontal lines that draw your eyes up into the soothing sky. The use of perspective, texture, and color creates a deep sense of space in this composition.
6. SUPERBLOOM IN LAKE ELSINORE
Superbloom was inspired by the 2019 California Superbloom. During this superbloom, I went to Lake Elsinore and Anza-Borrego Desert to see the hillsides of orange, yellow, and purple. It is a site I will never forget. In my painting, I wanted to create the sense of abundant flowers moving in the wind. In the foreground, I painted with more detail, and larger flowers, and then, as the viewer’s eyes move towards the background, my strokes become looser and smaller.
7. BODEGA BAY
Bodega Bay sits on the Sonoma Coast outside of San Francisco. Right before COVID, I visited this coast with two girlfriends. We were in awe of the rugged and authentic beauty of this region. In my painting, I wanted to depict this striking coastal landscape by using smaller strokes with bolder colors to represent the red blooms in the foreground in contrast with larger, pastel strokes in the background sky.
8. OLD MISSION SANTA BARBARA
Old Mission Santa Barbara, also known as the “Queen of the Missions” was founded by the Spanish Franciscans in 1786. It has become a cultural symbol of Santa Barbara. Framed by the Mission Rose Garden in the foreground, the composition juxtaposes our manmade and natural worlds, creating an appreciation of the scope of beauty in our world.
9. MCWAY FALLS
Since moving to California, my husband and I have visited McWay Falls three times. As you stand on the cliff, hovering over this majestic landscape, you are filled with a grandiose sender of wonder. In my painting, I wanted to capture the magic of this place. Using deep purples in the sky, I reflected these tones into the rocks to provide a sense of harmony. Then, utilizing different palette knife techniques, I created movement in the water, giving the impression of the high tide rolling in. When viewing my painting, I feel like I captured the essence of this spot to the point where I can hear the waterfall crashing down.
10. LOS ANGELES
Palms Over LA is a palette knife painting depicting the LA landscape. Through color and movement, I created an illusion of an endless, vibrant city in the background. The lighter tones of the sunset sky, which are painted with geometric, confident strokes, frame the darker, more organic shaped palms in the foreground. Los Angeles, the city of angels, is a place I never thought I would get the opportunity to visit. Since moving to California three years ago, I have been to LA over ten times! This sprawling city is eccentric, electric, and eclectic- and that is why I love it.
11. BIXBY CREEK BRIDGE
Bixby Creek Bridge is an iconic coastal landscape located in Big Sur. All the elements are present, working together: the sky, mountain, cliffs, bridge, and ocean. It was my intention to create a radical, colorful sky, to provide color and reflections to this majestic landscape. Notice the various directions of palette knife strokes, which create movement and liveliness. It was my goal to enchant the viewer.
12. BIG BEAR LAKE
Big Bear Lake is a mountain retreat destination for many Southern Californians. In my painting, I wanted to capture the sunset sky over the mountain range and reflections in the lake. By using complementary colors, the smooth orange palette knife strokes of the sky and lake contrast the heavy-textured blues of the rugged mountains. Big Bear is a place to return to nature and stillness. My desire was to capture this sense of tranquility and peace.