Archive | Available California Coast Paintings

“Ones and Zeroes” $495

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 16″
Year: 2017

Price: $495
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Notes:

It was only a lifetime ago, that we stood here and watched, scanning the horizon for very real threats. It was a different time, when triangles and protractors could save the world, and ones and zeroes just belonged to the hobo’s walking the rails.

It was only yesterday we stood and watched, scanning the horizon for lightning, long out of range and out of season. Everything’s different now. No need to reminisce. Anything we need, we can pay for with ones and zeroes.

So close we could almost feel the blast. A flash of light. A child screams. But there is nobody left to put up a fight. Just some ones and zeroes.

We never saw it coming because we sold the watchtower, and carved the earth from it’s foundation. It still stands, hovering and weightless above the earth and sea. Inaccessible for all but the names of the fallen, written on the walls with triangles, but traded for ones and zeroes.

I shelter in the book of names, their colors shade my vision. The falling mist and threats of passing showers cannot hinder me now. I am hidden by ones and zeroes.

“Passing Shadows” $432

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 16″ x 12″
Year: 2017

Price: $432
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Notes:

Passing clouds cast shadows of doubt across the rolling hills. Would it rain? Would it hold out? Would the wind come up and blow it all away? The short trail up was full of the oddest switchbacks you’ll ever see. Paved path 50 yards to the left, then 50 yards to the right, to gain a mere 10 feet with each run of the gauntlet. A bench with a view at every right turn. 5 or 6 of them, one above the other stacked up the hillside- ornaments for the Mother of All Switchbacks paved in all her bituminous glory. Hikers, joggers, headphones blaring, baby strollers zipping this way that way, a choreography of life unfolding up and down this hill. Metaphor on metaphor coming on strong, hitching rides on the passing shadows. Halfway up the hill, maybe on the third bench she sat. Unstable. Speaking to the unhearing ears, drowned out by fitness podcasts, she trailed off her sentences with laughter, but void of joy as each one passed. I too had to pass her by, my back burdened with gear and blank canvas, nothing to offer at this time but a piece of my silent heart. She is somebody’s daughter. She locked eyes as I approached. “In five years this could be you…” and she awaited my response as she reverted to her unsettling laughter. “I hear you” was my unthinking reply, and my mind continued “could be me in 5 days” as my own heart laughed at the thought of just how close we all walk that line even on a good day. I hope the shadows pass her by.

“All that Remains” $410

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 10″
Year: 2017

Price: $410
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Notes:

Cerebral flapjacks cooking on the whiskey bar
Artificial roller coaster couldn’t beat the bumper car
Creepers in the bushes don’t look now it aint no good
Sterilize, sanitize, scrub it kook, give em all your food

Paint the cave, take a bath, what about the money
Stick parade, children laugh, hide them from the sun
Drink the water, drink the brine, eat the fish and honey
Leave a tip, exit quick, once the eatin’s done

Sun and wind, electric eels, drying on a line
The pizza burned the house down and blamed it on the wine
Our feet are wet with old concrete the romans laid to last through time
We checked the clock the time ran out but they said they didn’t mind

How about the old ones, still soaking in the past?
The love they made, the things they said, none of which would last
They wrote their names upon the walls like flowers through the cracks
They killed the sky, they drowned the moon, they wrote them loud and fast

Look around, make no sound, what is it we have gained?
This is it, nothing more, this is all that still remains

“Stick a Fork in It” $475

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 10″
Year: 2017

Price: $475
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Notes:

I’ve been on the road for a week and a half. I’ve slept in my van in grocery store parking lots, picking ticks off my face that must have crawled out of my painting gear as I slept. I’ve wrestled the sun and cursed at the wind. My back is tired, my feet ache, my lips are chapped, and the distinct itch of poison oak is catching up with me from a week of exposure. I’m heading home tomorrow, but today I am here.

The sun had grown tired of my grumbling and refused to join me for this last effort. The waters will not be illuminated today. The air is full of mist. My mind is full of other places I’d like to be. Home, mostly. But today I am here.

One last round with mother nature. It’s not a victory song, it’s funeral march, as Leonard Cohen would say, it’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.

I long to see this coast in another light, on another day, and perhaps I will in the not too distant future. But today I am here, and I cannot deny this moment. There is joy in the muted earth, joy in the slow passage of time, joy in the rumble of ocean below.

But I also cannot deny the joy of completion. Stick a fork in it. I’m done.

“More or Less” $540

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 16″
Year: 2017

Price: $540
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Notes:

I saw an old man reciting poetry to the seagulls here. They waited on his every word, looking for any morsel of wisdom they could read between his lines. Or potato chips, those would work too. One seagull perched on my van. He wanted to know what I was doing in there. I was painting the scene he calls home. He didn’t like my painting because it didn’t include all the people and towels, umbrellas and bikinis, but mostly the paper sacks resting in open backpacks near the skinny awkward kids. Those contained the best poetry in this literary ave’s opinion. Poetry written in love by lonely mothers giving their lives for their young and wrapping their words in plastic and tin foil to keep them fresh in their child’s time of need. Yes, the finest verses ever written, penned from kitchen counters, awaiting their day to be read aloud for the young to hear. My winged friend above asks for silence. The recital is about to begin.

Not sure where that came from, but on a sidenote, I did include a bit of my childhood in this one, the yellow VW bus my folks got in 1976 when I was just a year old. In fact this whole area is permeated for me by memories of exploration as a teenager here in that old van. My grandparents moved just over the hill behind the coast here in those years and I would borrow the van and head out in all directions to see what waves I could find. I’d often end up right here after being too chicken to surf anywhere else alone at that age. I’d probably eat a sandwich wrapped in plastic and foil afterwards.

Fastforward to now, and here I am eating a sandwich and some chips out of the back end of the big white sprinter van (also in this painting), while talking to seagulls about life. Full circle, more or less…

“A Matter of Convenience” $419

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 10″
Year: 2017

Price: $419
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Notes:

Chumash land: just the way it always was…

Spanish imperialism: all of your earths is ours now

Mission San Miguel: we graze our cattle on all your lands now

Mexican land grant: all of your ground is Mr. Pico’s now

George Hearst: I found gold, I buy your dirt from Pico.

Willam Randalph Hearst: Thanks dad, I like big castles

California state parks: Thanks king Hearst, we like beaches.

That’s my nutshell of the entire human history of this piece of coast dating back as far as we can know. Well, that and the Portuguese whaling community that made use of this convenient bay and the deepwater beyond to manhandle 370 whales into lifeless economic commodities in just 10 years. Bay of blood?

All told, it’s a very sheltered beach on a rugged windswept and swell-pounded coastline. A convenient place to build a wharf for offloading materials to build, oh say… a castle, or something like that.

Now there’s still a wharf there today. And ghosts from other eras still linger beside the towering Eucalpytus. History has unfolded at a different pace here than most places on the coast, and it’s tangible.

“Leave No Trace: Side A” $583

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: (diptych) Side A: 12″ x 12″  Side B: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2017

Price: Side A and B together- $583
Side B (right) only- $439
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.
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Notes:

Arrival: Late Afternoon. Look west, hike to bottom of trail. View from top was better. Plus creepy creepers lurking in the reeds everywhere down here. Trash strewn. Beautiful place, but yuck. Back to top. Look east, hike toward cove on that side of this headland. Trash strewn. Starting to feel guilty. Might head back to the van and dump some beer cans and toilet paper around at random to blend in better with all the creepers crawling all over this place. Continue on, decide not to add my own trash. Arrive at fork. Turn right, holy mackaroly, that’s a neat cave. Spend some time enjoying this marvel of nature. And graffiti. Because that’s what I feel like doing when I see a place this beautiful. Quick! Write my name on something, pronto! I Still prefer the view from the top though. Head back up the trail. Am I being followed? Creeper country picnic down here. Scope view from top. Neat granite rock formation in foreground. Like an  arcing wave. Covered in graffiti, of course, because names need to be written here. Go back to van, retrieve supplies return to paint. College girls smoking weed and giggling. No thanks, but thank you for offering. They leave and another couple shows up and picks up where the girls left off. But they don’t offer me any. I don’t hold it against them. One more group of kids show up, and climb over directly in front of where I’m painting. But they leave because it smells like piss down there. Because after writing your name on a rock, you usually need to pee on something… like the rock you just wrote your name on. The day gets late. A cute young couple expecting their first child shows up with a photographer to take pretty sunset photos. Probably going to crop out the beer bottles and graffiti. Not me. They are part of the story. When I am done I drink a beer of my own while the sun finally sets. I ponder smashing the bottle and pissing on it before I leave, but instead I take it with me and leave no trace. I guess I don’t belong here.

“Leave No Trace: Side B” $439

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: (diptych) Side A: 12″ x 12″  Side B: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2017

Price: Side A and B together- $583
Side B (right) only- $439
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.
click here for full cost breakdown

Notes:

Arrival: Late Afternoon. Look west, hike to bottom of trail. View from top was better. Plus creepy creepers lurking in the reeds everywhere down here. Trash strewn. Beautiful place, but yuck. Back to top. Look east, hike toward cove on that side of this headland. Trash strewn. Starting to feel guilty. Might head back to the van and dump some beer cans and toilet paper around at random to blend in better with all the creepers crawling all over this place. Continue on, decide not to add my own trash. Arrive at fork. Turn right, holy mackaroly, that’s a neat cave. Spend some time enjoying this marvel of nature. And graffiti. Because that’s what I feel like doing when I see a place this beautiful. Quick! Write my name on something, pronto! I Still prefer the view from the top though. Head back up the trail. Am I being followed? Creeper country picnic down here. Scope view from top. Neat granite rock formation in foreground. Like an  arcing wave. Covered in graffiti, of course, because names need to be written here. Go back to van, retrieve supplies return to paint. College girls smoking weed and giggling. No thanks, but thank you for offering. They leave and another couple shows up and picks up where the girls left off. But they don’t offer me any. I don’t hold it against them. One more group of kids show up, and climb over directly in front of where I’m painting. But they leave because it smells like piss down there. Because after writing your name on a rock, you usually need to pee on something… like the rock you just wrote your name on. The day gets late. A cute young couple expecting their first child shows up with a photographer to take pretty sunset photos. Probably going to crop out the beer bottles and graffiti. Not me. They are part of the story. When I am done I drink a beer of my own while the sun finally sets. I ponder smashing the bottle and pissing on it before I leave, but instead I take it with me and leave no trace. I guess I don’t belong here.

 

“Economy of Scale” $627

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 16″
Year: 2017

Price: $627
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Notes:

Geology trips me out. They always say that the large rock formation at the mouth of this bay is some sort of plug in a volcano. Okay…  well I guess that’s pretty convenient. Maybe that’s why they are so strict about not letting climbers set foot on the thing- don’t want to risk any climbers setting bolts on a weak spot and causing the whole thing to blow. No good when that happens.

But yeah, I wanted to get a good view of this landmark so I scouted a nice short trail up a nearby peak and made my way to the top. Upon arrival, I spun two things. First was a full 360 or two, taking in the panoramic view from the top. Pretty epic, but lacking foreground interest up there. So the second thing I spun was a 180 back down the trail to a large granite boulder I’d passed on the way up.

I thought there was a certain visual poetry in painting this boulder in the foreground, with a distant view of a downright massive rock formation that would make this boulder appear but a pebble if they were to sit side by side. An interesting economy of scale, to misuse a phrase.

If that one is some sort of volcano plug, maybe this one is plugging up an epic hot tub. I’ll have to file a complaint with the geology department. Hiking around with a studio on one’s back, one needs all the hot tubs one can find. Preferably without giant rocks on them.

“Ticks are Evil” $757

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 16″
Year: 2017

Price: $757
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Notes:
7th day on the road, 20th painting completed, 2nd one this day

This is another place I’ve wanted to paint for a long time, but it’s quite a walk from the road and just hadn’t had the time on previous trips. I knew the angle I was looking for, but it would require an extensive bit of off-trail work to get there. Fortunately it was pretty much open grassland I’d have to cross, though the signs warning about ticks were a bit unnerving considering I the amount of shoulder high grass I was about to wade through. These paintings don’t happen without some effort though, so a tuck of all the loose clothing, a quick prayer, a few deep breaths, and I was off.

I made it through the grass and to the vantage point I was aiming for, but off by 100 yards or so to the south.The wind was howling as it does in these parts and unfortunately the vantage I was looking for faced it directly and the cliff face below even magnified it. I could head back through the grass or traverse the sandy cliff face over to the better angle. Ticks being evil, I went with the cliff face. With the gusts of wind and all my gear flapping about it was dicey at best. And straight down 100 feet or so to rocks below at worst.

Did I mention these paintings don’t happen without some effort? Well, they don’t.

I was happy to get back to the van after this one. Nothing blew off the cliff, I didn’t fall off either, I didn’t even see a single tick after an entire afternoon of constant checking. Had to sacrifice my socks though on account of all the little pricks and burrs that they collected on the tromp.

“In a Different Light” $307

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 16″ x 12″
Year: 2017

Price: $307
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Notes:
5th day on the road, 14th painting completed, 1st one this day

Occasionally when I mention to folks that I travel up and down painting the California coast, folks will suggest that I paint all the lighthouses. I usually think that’s because someone once gave them a calendar with a different lighthouse on each month. I have nothing against lighthouses, in fact, I truly appreciate a bit of the symbolism that I think people like to put on them- guiding lights, light in the darkness, etc…  but personally I’m more a fan of the rocky gnarl that usually surrounds them. I guess I just see the coast in a different light.

“The Usual Difficulties” $485

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 16″
Year: 2017

Price: $485
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Notes:

First day on this road trip, first painting completed.

I’ve driven past this dirt road for years, knowing that it was there, but a bit wary of taking my large sprinter van down it’s length, not wanting to get stuck in a situation where I’d need to reverse a half-mile of dirt road with no turnaround.

But it offers a such a great glimpse of a rather lost-in-time stretch of coast that I keep thinking one day I’ll just borrow someone’s truck and just go daytrip the thing. Why I haven’t done so yet is beyond me, but on this trip south I figured I’d take just a peek after scouting on the maps for a good turnaround for the van and seeing what looked like one only a half mile in.

It turned out to be a great spot with a real good view from a little knoll above the turnout. The morning light was crispy and lent a sense of urgency to the piece that I rather enjoy seeing in it now, though at the time I felt it a bit frantic.

Now that I’ve gotten a glimpse of this zone firsthand, perhaps I’ll be fired up to make the actual trip happen to go explore the length of it.

But alas, such is California’s coast that so often we peer down on these amazing zones with fun little waves from cliffs high above, yet with no way to access them beyond risking life and limb, and possibly even getting hurt.

This was no different. So inviting, so close, but so far away. Just the usual difficulties.

“Silent Conversations: Long Departed” $926

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 16″
Year: 2016

Free Range/Outdoor/Plein Air Price: $926
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for specifics on this piece.

Notes:
Desolation row out here. Didn’t see a single soul for the few hours I spent on these cliffs a good distance from any of the more visited headlands in this region. I’ve been told this is the site of one of the oldest human settlements in North America. Long departed now, nothing remains but a man made hill of shells and refuse surrounded by the windblown dunes built up around it. That and the wind. The wind has always been here.

As I was scouting the headland doing the legwork of composing this painting there was a large platform of bare rock extending just below the vegetated bluff that was begging to be explored. The views from this platform were suitable as they were, but as with any time you find yourself in a spot like this, you have to walk out to the furthest edge as well. A finger of rock with a maybe 10 foot flat area extended from the platform a good 30 feet or so, sheer cliffs dropping straight to water on either side. From this vantage out on this ledge these 5 seacaves became visible while from just 20 feet back on the broader platform none of them could be seen.

If you’ve followed my notes about painting these on-site paintings, you know what an issue strong winds can be, and the difficulties they can bring. The wind this day was already blowing steady with undertones of far greater force to come and it was still only mid morning. It takes about 3 hours to set up my gear, tackle a painting this size, and pack it up again, so I knew that by the time I would finish a painting here, I’d be dealing with a fairly tense situation.

Now I had a dilemma. I forgot to mention that the broad platform from which the finger extended was rimmed by ten foot eroded dirt bank that provided excellent wind block at many locations. The view I sought was out on that finger though, and as it was the wind was blowing from off the open water directly behind the formation, slamming into the face creating all sorts of turbulence, and rushing onward toward these caves.

In these times of decision I always take a moment to seek direction from the Silence around me. Even in the noise of life there is always Silence around each of us, and within that Silence, a Voice, easy to miss, but impossible to ignore.

Go out to the edge and paint. Beauty is never without risk. I am with you.

Ok then. It was quite a chess match getting set up here, requiring total concentration on each movement and considerations of weight and flight risks for each element involved in my painting process. Rocks were gathered. One item at a time moved into place while the rest remained weighted down until bit by bit, all was in order and the painting could begin.

In the midst of all this, other voices were present in the wind. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned. Not threatening voices, but not welcoming either. The Silent Voice seemed to be speaking back to them and something in me was in awe of the conversation taking place around and within me while standing out on this precipice unknown and unseen by a single soul. They were ancient voices, but not as ancient as the Silent one. I couldn’t understand their conversation but continued on unsure of what to expect. I began to wonder if this was a sacred site, and my presence was in some way violating an unspoken boundary.

I noticed mists of white blowing past me as I painted, always passing between myself and the headland to the left, as if to separate me from the land I came from. They’d blow over the finger I was standing on and swirl down seemingly into the cave below. At first I thought they were stray bits of marine layer caught up in the wind but then looking back to see in the direction of the wind and seeing nothing but bluebird blue skies out there I figured maybe they wisps of moisture from the breaking waves below. It wasn’t until I was nearly finished painting that they began to hit me directly and I was a bit surprised to find myself being pelted by sand. From where? The nearest dune around was literally the base of the mound left behind by the ancient civilization just a few hundred yards behind me. That gave me a moment of pause in appreciation of nature’s poetry.  A more appropriate body for these voices I’d been hearing could not ever be found.

I also took it as my cue to wrap it up out here and proceeded to methodically deconstruct my mobile studio in reverse order. If there ever was a windblown disaster in the making (thing gear flying off cliffs, painting blown out to see, artist vanished) this was it. I attribute this painting surviving to be enjoyed today (sand embedded in the paint and all) to the One who is with me always. Many thanks to Silence.

“Quiet Water” $510

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2016

Free Range/Outdoor/Plein Air Price: $510
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for specifics on this piece.

Notes:
I’d been painting a lot around town the few days prior to this one. To be honest, Santa Cruz stresses me out a bit. Crazy, crazy place… but I like it. That said it was great to get out of the hamster maze for a bit on this day. A friend treated me to some epic midday views up a private road way up the coast and I followed that up with this quick afternoon sketch from a path less traveled overlooking a place I’ve enjoyed visiting (although infrequently) for years. The wind howled pretty good while I painted this, but looking down on this pond nestled into a hook of coastal bluffs you wouldn’t know it. Smooth as glass, and quiet as could be. Something in me needed this today. Thankful to have the opportunity to walk this earth, life is beautiful. Find some quiet water and reflect when you have a minute. You won’t regret it.

“Milk and Honey” $452

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2016

Free Range/Outdoor/Plein Air Price: $452
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for specifics on this piece.

Notes: Plein air from the van.

I tried to leave this area after the last one, I was beat, dirty, and looking forward to a hot shower and my family’s faces once again. But just as I was mentally plotting where I might find the nearest cheeseburger before making the 5 hour drive home, there was a fork in the road.

To the left was food and the prospect of being home tonight, to the right was a road that would take me further out on this headland, already an hour’s dogleg from highway one. I’d never been this far out here before and not knowing when I’d be this way again it was an easy choice. I’d have to sleep in the van one more night.

Then 5 or 10 minutes down that new road there was another fork that headed to the leeward side of the headland. I thought I would just take a look and then continue to the end of the main road. I never made it past this view. I literally used the side door opening on my van as a viewfinder for this one.

Nothing in me felt like painting except for the sense of awe and opportunity that this beauty presented, so I ate a bit of dry bread for fuel and pushed through this one as quickly as I could and moved on.

By now the exhastion and hunger had the best of me and this time I chose the cheeseburger over the end 0f the road. Still had to sleep in the van though.

 

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