Thomas Anderson

Blackbirds on the Grapevine
"Blackbirds on the Grapevine"
Watercolor, 13" x 31"
©2000 Thomas Anderson

I have lost count of the number of times I have been on “the grapevine,” the stretch of Interstate 5 where north and southbound lanes separate and intertwine a time or two as they wind through the Coast range of mountains between the San Fernando and central valleys. There are several changes in biozones in the elevation changes, from coastal sage to oak chaparral to scrubby pines to grasslands. Depending upon the way the light hits them, these hills, overgrazed and no long supporting native grasslands, always captivate me. The gently rolling planes and contours of the gold hills contrasting with the bright, clear, blue sky cannot be captured with any pigment in paint. And from the grapevine on through the central valley, there are always the Brewer’s Blackbirds exploiting the opportunities human activities (like farming and roadside rest areas overflowing with scraps of tossed fast food) have opened up for them.

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