You are currently viewing Manzanita on a Switchback (sold)  |  Richard G. Tiberius
Manzanita on a Switchback

48 x 36 in | 122 x 91 cm

To prevent erosion on steep mountain trails the parks people cut the trails in a zigzag pattern called “switchbacks”. Switchbacks offer plant lovers a rare perspective because they are literally cut into the hillside. On the side away from the mountain you can see a panoramic view of the valley below. While on the side against the mountain you can view the shrubs from a low perspective. Their branches looped into the most graceful curves, while their colors exhausted my pallet. The bark was as smooth as polished wood and of a brilliant hue. I used up a whole tube of scarlet paint. The smooth texture results from the fact that the bark does not form cracks when the growing branches expand but rather peels off, like the bark of a birch tree.

Click for detail

The peeling bark added another dimension. The loose peels were translucent when back lighted. In places where the branches had died off, the weather worn wood had turned to a range of muted blues, greens and purples. The leaves also displayed an impressive range of color—brilliant green where the light shone through them, dark green where the leaves piled up and blocked the sun, and blue-green in reflected light. Completing the color spectrum were the older leaves which turned many shades of ochre, orange and red before falling. There is nothing more enjoyable than painting a subject that demands all my colors.

Manzanita means “little apple” in Spanish. It’s fitting that this shrub should be known by its Spanish name. Its range spans the semi arid lands of Baja and Alta California, although some species of Manzanita (Archostaphylos) grow all the way up the West Coast to British Columbia.  This one lives in Yosemite National Park.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Rayne Wood

    Hello im a student at Humboldt State University in California currently working on a project for the Humboldt Botanical Gardens. I’m making an interpretive nature sign for their manzanita collection and was wondering if I could use your painting in the sign. This only for educational purposes and no profit will be made from it. We would also include the name of the artist in the sign. Let me know what you think.

    Rayne Wood

    1. RichardTiberius

      Hi Rayne,
      I’m delighted that one of my paintings will be used to foster appreciation of a tree. My primary motivation in painting is to express the beauty of flora, especially trees. You have my permission to use the image of my painting for the purposes you described. I have two other paintings of Manzanitas, “Manzanita on a Rock Ledge” and “Manzanita on a Hilltop” You have my permission to use any or all of these three images.

      By the way, I have reduced the size of the files of these paintings so that they can be loaded quickly on the Internet and so that the high resolution images cannot be used without my permission. Depending on the size of the sign you are making, you may need a larger file. I have very large files for the pictures of all of these paintings which I would be glad to share with you.

      1. Rayne

        Hey Richard,

        Do you recall what type of Manzanita species is in this painting? Also, would you be able to send me your highest quality file of this painting to

        I appreciate the help!

        Rayne Wood

Leave a Reply