Today's painting is a plein air piece that I painted in the 100-degree heat at the ranch and brought back to the studio for some finishing touches. I woke up at 4:30 this morning and headed to my art studio to work on softening the clouds, adding color in the shadows, putting reflected light from the sky in the path, and giving more volume to the tree. This giant oak in Ruiz field seems to watch over the cattle grazing nearby, and acts as a gatekeeper to the hills beyond. We have ridden under its heavy branches many times on horseback, and stopped in its shade for a brief respite before climbing to the top of the distant hills or traversing the cliffs along the river. This majestic tree must be more than a hundred years old!