There is something very refreshing about California landscape paintings. It has something to do with the light here. Paintings tend to be more colorful, and artists often use the brightest primary colors straight from the tube in order to achieve the clarity of the sky and the water. It’s true that light defines color, and the crispness of the West brings out that color on artists’ canvases more so than even the bright seascapes one sees in galleries in the New England area. Mike Helman, who is exhibiting a series of landscapes this month at Phoenix Framing & Gallery, at 1901 Capitol Avenue, is a perfect example. His landscapes of local rivers, parks and hills in varying sizes, painted in a quick, on-the-spot manner, work well with the simplicity of the primary colors. Helman recreates that feeling of being out of doors on a beautiful summer day in California.