Archive | 2015

“Groupthink”

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 36″ x 36″
Year: 2015

Painted live with Spencer Reynolds at Musarity 2015 during live music set by Absynth Quartet.

This was a super fun collaboration. Mostly. Spencer and I hadn’t done this together before, but there’s a lot of mutual respect for each other’s work so we both looked forward to it. I paint a lot at live events though, and it was in my local neighborhood, while he doesn’t do this sort of thing too much. So unfortunately I got a good buzz going pretty quick and started letting everyone that wanted to paint on the piece, and didn’t realize how annoyed he was getting with that. Then at one point I started doing some big sloppy washes of an orange tone mixed to transparent with a lot of medium and since it was acrylic paint this could be applied willy nilly over everthing without screwing it all up, but being an oil painter he saw me flippantly destroying everything in a fast and loose slopfest and grabbed his brushes to leave. I think he got to the back of the room, cooled off and saw that I wasn’t destroying the painting after all and he got back into it. But yeah, I think he was a bit surprised by how emotional the experience was. I’m sort of used to letting go in these settings as it’s the only way to survive and enjoy it. But for him it was all so new and I’m a sneaky joker when I get in those settings telling people to go tap him out and grab a brush, then giggling in the corner watching the chaos ensue. Probably not the nicest of me, but if you can’t screw with your friends a bit, who can you screw with right? Shoot, I owe him a few set waves now, but worth it for the fun. He was stoked by the end too, so that was a huge plus. would have been pretty bummed if I really let him down and ruined the night for him. And to be fair, when I told him how the last time I did a live collaboration and the other artist brought a bunch of reference photos, I stole them and hid them until the night was over, Spencer approved of the mischief wholeheartedly, so in a way he was warned… Ok, I have a small mean streak, but only with friends.

 

“Last Rites”

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size 12″ x 16″
Year: 2015

Notes: Technically, this would be the 33rd piece in the Free Range series. Odometer maybe at 1525 miles or so. Painted it on location in La Jolla at the VIP party for UCSD’s Legends of Surfing Invitational that benefits Moores Cancer Center. This little one raised $1200 to fight cancer that night (not to be confused with my large painting of Scripps Pier that sold for $14,000 at the main event the next day). Shortly after that I was keeled over in pain and ended up in the ER at Scripps hospital. They couldn’t figure it out and sent me on my way where the stabbing pain came and went for the next 2 weeks. Tests, appointments, all that. Still no answers but feeling better. Reckon 3 weeks of van life and brutal work pace had me neglecting proper nutrition and hydration and I paid the price this time. Anyway, all that is to say I’m not dead yet, and even though this is the last painting I’ve done as of this moment, there will be more. Just a reminder we never know what tomorrow brings. Life is short. Love people. Now.

I’m beyond stoked to have been part of such an amazing event and grateful to all that work so hard to make it happen each year. I hope to be back, and in better condition to howl at the moon and fight cancer like a pirate with you all next year. Heroes.

“Free Range 32: End of the Line”

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 16″
Year: 2015

Series: “Free Range: California”
Odometer: 1,499.6 miles
Notes: A common theme when exploring an unfamiliar area is to drive to the end of the road, then get out and walk to the end of the trail until you can’t pass any further. Doesn’t matter if it’s a remote location or just a curious corner of your own local neighborhood, it happens time and time again. This was a familiar stretch, but I hadn’t gone this far before on these bluffs. In hindsight it’s fitting that this was the end of the trail, as my plein air tour would be cut short in the following days due to illness, the hard toll of road life perhaps catching up at last. I reckon I’ll be fine and the rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated but huge thanks to everyone that stepped up and helped me out when I was feeling pretty awful. Apologies to those who asked for paintings further south, they won’t be coming on this trip. As it turned out this was much closer to the end of the line than I thought it would be at the time.

 

“Free Range 31: Summer Cooker”

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2015

Series: “Free Range: California”
Odometer: 1,491.6 miles
Notes: Not much to say here. It was really hot. I’m not used to sweating so much near the beach. All good if you’ve got your feet in the water, another story when perched tantalizingly close on the bluff for 2 hours in the midday heat. A beautiful big beetle kept landing on my easel telling me I should wrap it up and get in the water. He knew I didn’t belong up there.

 

“Free Range 29: This Too Shall Pass”

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2015

Series: “Free Range: California”
Odometer: 1,361.2 miles
Notes: Painted this after driving through the largest freeways of this trip on a hot humid day, suffering a random nosebleed in the fast lane, and arriving to this spot covered in a sweaty layer of smogfunk. Figured I’d make the most of it since I was here. This place has history with me. When I really got into landscapes and plein air art around 15 years ago, I was briefly living in long beach and this was the closest place to come and hike and submerse one’s self in nature and atmosphere and not see cars, roads, or houses for miles. And its also very close to the beach where I proposed to my wife a little over 15 years ago as well. We celebrated our 15th anniversary together up the coast a few days ago, so was really wanting to paint one around here even though I wasn’t too inspired when setting up. Laid out a few lines and was greeted by the heaviest rain I’ve seen on this trip. Paint literally dripping off the canvas. Just about called it quits, but figured this too would pass, and sure enough it did. Glad I didn’t give up earlier.

“Free Range 28: For Those Who Have Gone Before Us”

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2015

Series: “Free Range: California”
Odometer: 1,296.1 miles
Notes: There’s a lot of history here. Native history, Spanish colonial history, surfing history, and countless other threads entwine around this focal point of the coast. As I painted this one I chatted with a local who was a long time friend of a fellow coastal artist who passed away not too long ago. Hearing his stories and backstories to those stories really brought home the reality to me that this life is too short not to live fully. He lived a much different life than I, but born to another time and place it could have been me that was gone and him just now hearing tales of my days here. Hug the ones you love.

“Free Range 27: Jeepers Creepers”

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2015

Series: “Free Range: California”
Odometer: 1,274.8 miles
Notes: Ok. I know I can seem a little creepy to some folks all hoveled up in my van dwelling, but sometimes even I get creeped out by the local humans. This was an empty stretch of road but it produced some odd characters in fairly rapid succession. I’m glad I wasn’t abducted. My van is nicer than any of theirs…

“Free Range 26: Morning Funk”

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2015

Series: “Free Range: California”
Odometer: 1,209.7 miles
Notes: In order to make the most of the daylight hours and paint as much as time and geography allow, I’ve been flying under the radar and sleeping in the van in random offbeat commercial locations. Wake up early and move on daily. Some mornings are rougher than others and our good old coastal marine layer has fairly well mimicked the physical feelings of general funk arising from car sleeping and a questionable road diet that are most prominent in the morning hours. By the time the clouds burn off I’m usually feeling a lot better. This one is about working through the funk and pressing on even when nothing in me felt like doing so at the moment. In the morning mental haze I even forgot a critical piece of my outdoor easel, the bottom ledge for clamping the canvas on. Didn’t realize it till I’d already walked the 20 minute hike from the parking lot and around the point. Improvise, adapt, and move on, it’s all good. I’m just stoked to be here.

 

“Free Range 25: Don’t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows”

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 16″
Year: 2015

Series: “Free Range: California”
Odometer: 1,151.9 miles
Notes: Chalk up another victory for the mobile studio van. The wind was howling so strong here it was hard to paint even with all windows up and only one back door open. The van was shaking so much the brush never seemed to land where I thought it would so this one is a little loose around the edges, but without the van it could not have happened at all. The offshore canyon winds were so strong I didn’t even consider taking an outdoor photo, and even the blurry shot I’m posting here was on account of the van rocking and rolling so much I couldn’t hold the camera still enough to get it any more focused. So with all the wind difficulties, I am only that much more stoked to have been able to paint the late afternoon/evening light on such a beautiful piece of California’s coast.

 

“Free Range 24: The Spirit not the Letter”

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 16″
Year: 2015

Series: “Free Range: California”
Odometer: 1,120.9 miles
Notes: Driving out to check this place, I could tell the wind was coming up fast and early, so I figured I’d skip the surf and just get right into painting. I had the easy spots in mind, simple views right off the shoulder of the road as it wound over the bluffs above the beach. It had been awhile since I’d passed this,way so I didn’t recall all the no parking signs lining the entire length of road. Large, wide, safe shoulders everywhere with amazing views up the coast and someone got a wild hair to keep anyone from stopping there. With the wind blowing as it was, I knew my only chance to paint this view would be from the windblock afforded by my rolling studio van. I figured I’d go down to the county park at the end of the road and see what the park ranger had to say. I paid for my day use and he said go for it. There was one old retired gaurd around that made a point of enforcing the no parking rule and that the main point of the signs was to keep folks from parking up there and poaching on the use of the park without paying. Fair enough. Figured I was good to go then so I painted, had my burger and left for points south.

 

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