while i was in santa barbara i had the good fortune and good sense to pop into the museum of natural history.
it is there that i made the discovery of ray strong, a california landscape painter and santa barbara resident since 1960.
ray died at the age of 101 in 2006. he continued to paint until the end of his long life.
over 50 years ago he painted the background mural dioramas in bird hall, a wing of the santa barbara museum of natural history.
they are magnificent!
i was the lone visitor to Bird Hall on the day i visited last weekend.
how magical to wander the dimly lit halls and gaze into the storied dioramas.
california geographies come alive with scenes of shadowed hills, blue expanses of water, craggy peaks, shoreline cliffs, high desert, wide skies.
tapestries of blue, green, honeyed browns.
glowing with light.
the wide landscapes are populated with shorebirds, eagles, sandhill cranes, and california condors.
as for the museum itself, it even has its own group of poets in residence!
so many lovely scenes. lovely.
so many places to wander right next to mission creek. next time i will take my journal and sketchbook. there are plenty of tables and chairs where one could set up camp for an hour or two.
the atmosphere here is really special.
it called to me.
and i am still answering.
now i am keen to read more about ray strong, see more of his paintings, explore more california plein air artists.
here, a couple of my sketch musings while in santa barbara last week.
i hope you’re good, friends. off on wild goose chases of your own. paddling your little boats around blue lakes. striding off into meadows thick with wildflowers.
going off on big & small adventures.
i’ll just be here… doing this and that.