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Twisted Eucalyptus… Matt Beard Art + Design + Everything Else = Whatever.
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UPCOMING EVENT: Free Range: Santa Cruz at the Boardroom | Oct. 8-9

free-range-santa-cruz-lane-spSanta Cruz has always been a fun place to visit when touring the coast. The coastline of the town itself is full of character (and characters) and the stretch just north of town contains beauty unrivaled in California.

I’m looking forward to an extended visit to the area this fall, spending two weeks painting as much as humanly possible up and down the coast, in town and out of it, culminating in a 2 day showing of work at the Boardroom International Surfboard Show in Santa Cruz on October 8-9 to be held at the Kaiser Permanente Arena.

“Without Concern for Rules or Regulations”

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

Notes:
This one’s title has nothing to do with ignoring the state park rules, but more about my decision to drop that palm in the foreground, chopping off a chunk of the composition against all of my better judgement. Its not like I ran out and just painted what was in front of me and then realized later that maybe a strong vertical like that isnt the best thing for a pleasing composition. I knew full well even before setting up my easel that I was flirting with disaster. Even now I reckon that disaster and I might just be involved in a committed relationship here. But then every time I really start regretting that choice, I end up looking right at that palm trunk and the rest of the painting comes together peripherally and I love it again.

“I’m Only Bluffing”

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

Notes:
The previous afternoon I had tried and failed to get a view of a spot I was curious about, high tide, unscalable cliffs, and tightly secured gates had me stumped so I skulked back to my friend’s place and grabbed a board to go ride (well mostly paddle) some of the smallest waves one could possibly ride. Just washing off the disappointment really. Found a cool little cave up the beach I’d never seen before and all in all felt much better walking back to the house in the evening light. As I passed this sweeping eucalyptus wave washing over these bluffs at the speed of tree, I thought it would make for some fun painting. Lots of structure to work with. Came back the next day to quickly attempt it before heading to my one night show at M.Special Brewery in Goleta. “Quickly” turned into an hour longer than I’d intended. You might have thought I was trying to be cool showing up late to my own show, but I wasn’t, I was only bluffing.

Free Range: Santa Barbara/Ventura | August 17-31

Images from a recent painting tour of the Ventura/Santa Barbara coastline. There are still a few veins of pure gold south of Point Conception, this was my effort to tap into a few of them. It was a real joy to peek around a few new corners and discover what lurks in the distance beyond the barbed wire fences.

Several of these original paintings are still available so hit me up if you’re interested.

Many of these pieces can be ordered as prints from this site (click any image and look for print options in the info below the image) but if you’re interested in one without print options available, just let me know and we can still make it happen most likely. Thanks!

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Free Range: Marin

Images from a recent painting tour of the Marin coastline. It’s a beautiful area, requiring a fair bit of effort to get to the ocean vistas along this stretch of California’s highway one, but oh so worth it.

Many of these original paintings are still available so hit me up if you’re interested.

As of now I haven’t added any of these as print options in my online store, but if you’re keen to order any, just let me know and we can make it happen most likely. Thanks!

Free Range: San Diego – SOLD OUT

You know that song from the Who about the kid named Tommy that sure plays a mean pinball? Yeah, I’ve figured out his name isn’t really Tommy, it’s Diego, and he is a Mexican Saint, as in “San Diego”. I know this because San Deigo plays the meanest pinball I’ve ever seen, bouncing me all over town with requests for locations from Point Loma to Encinitas. I painted as much as I could, even extended my visit there and still never finished all the art that folks were waiting for. I’ll have to go back and do it again sometime. For now, though enjoy the work from that trip as shown below.

As of now I haven’t added any of these as print options in my online store, but if you’re keen to order any, just let me know and we can make it happen most likely. Thanks!

“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.

 

“Her Answer” $603

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 12″ x 16″
Year: 2016

Free Range/Outdoor/Plein Air Price: $603
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for specifics on this piece.

Notes: I’d hiked this windswept beach for hours through the midday heat when the sun is at its shadowless peak. I was looking for a few things- a painting mostly, but also a wave or two. What I found was mostly wind. Lots of it. Blowing hard offshore early in the hike, then sideshore as the coast gradually bent to meet it.

Just once the wind let up briefly, then switched gently and met me face to face, greeting me with a holy sprinkling of sand, curiously examining this bearded fellow with the funny backpack. Not threatening but not welcoming either, whispering a cautious reminder of what she did to those Spaniards the other day who attempted to sail her waters. I told her what I was looking for but she said nothing and flew violently back to her Maker, leaving me to search in vain for a spot to paint that would convey the desolate beauty here.

Even if I’d mustered the mojo to scramble up the cliffs for a better view, my gear would have surely blown off and out to sea before getting too far. Still early in the afternoon, I was resolved to find some sort of windblock in or near the next ravine.

The steep wall that sheltered me there would surely cast its shadow soon. The tide would fill in and cover the wet and rippled sand along the rock wall on which I perched. I would wait patiently and go after it when the time was right.

After a long while 3 things became clear. First, the afternoon brought a shift in the wind and I was no longer sheltered, canvas bouncing like a kickdrum at a punk rock show, and my heavily weighted easel threatening to set sail with each gust. A brush in one hand, my easel in the other attempting to ride this bull to completion. Secondly, the tide had peaked and the water would not crest the berm today. And thirdly, the coast here hooks so unusually that I had no bearings on direction when staring at the overhead sun and grossly miscalculated its arc. This ravine would remain lit up and shadeless for hours to come.

I’d already blocked the painting in, anticipating these changes and really enjoyed the way it was looking, so I did what any fool that speaks to the wind might do. I kept on going, and that was her answer.

 

“Welcome Home” $484

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

Free Range/Outdoor/Plein Air Price: $484
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for specifics on this piece.

Notes: Had to charge my dead phone at a small bar in an even smaller town the night before I painted this. Open mic night was raging for a handful of locals and passers-throughs. Nursing my beer in the corner by the pool table (only spot near an outlet), and watching a few Mexican fellows play their game, I must have looked a bit too interested because next thing I knew a local had me lined up to shoot a game with him. He chose a poor opponent, I nearly didn’t sink a single shot even after he cleared his from the table.

We got to chatting a bit and I mention I’m down from Humboldt, and he says he knows the guy that painted the Humboldt Surf Company sign years ago when they were on the plaza. I’m tripping cause he doesn’t even seem slightly familiar to me but he described the sign I painted for them pretty well. At one point he turns to me and for some reason says “welcome home”. He was fairly stoned too I reckon, he said so himself anyway.

Had a few other fun conversations as well, one with another artist who saw me painting at the path down to the beach earlier in the day. During that conversation one of the Mexican pool players took to the mic with a guitar while a gringo joined in on piano and belted out some numbers that had the whole room hooting and hollering.

Once they wrapped up, I checked my phone and it was charged, checked my beer and it was empty, checked my social interaction comfort level and it was as non-existent as ever, so I promptly checked out for the night and hit the road at first light and arrived not too much later to this desolate beach I’d been wanting to explore for years. Up on the bluff looking back over this pristine piece of Califaornia that I’d never laid eyes on before, I noticed my van in the carpark, and I welcomed myself home.

“Same as She Ever Was” $815

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

Free Range/Outdoor/Plein Air Price: $815
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for specifics on this piece.

Notes: Took a grueling hike in the heat of the day yesterday in search of a spot I’ve been eyeing on the map for years. Like all the best places it requires a drive off the main road until the pavement ends, then a drive down a dirt road until the road ends, then you get out and walk. Unfortunately I didn’t find any views of the spot I had wanted to see, but the walk up the coast was a walk back in time to old California, possibly ancient even. California does this sometimes. Here she is, same as she ever was. Every bit worth all the sweat and effort to get here. Lots to more to explore, hoping to get back here another day…

“Comin’ Down the Mountain” $547

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

Free Range/Outdoor/Plein Air Price: $547
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for specifics on this piece.

Notes: Painted this one from the mobile studio. It wasnt moving at the time though. That would have been rough. Although that mighta helped keep the monstrous flies out of the van… they were nuts. Had to swing my paint rag around every couple minutes the entire time I was painting. I think they liked my yellow.

“Odelay”

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

Notes: Had good afternoon sun for most of this one before cloud layer rolled back in. Had to wing it just a bit at the end there. But I learned something neat: torrey pine trees are the chameleons of trees. They change colors drastically at every subtle shift of light. I think it has to do with their needles being fairly open, allowing light to filter and refract through between them. Very beautiful, but challenging to convey. They may have won this round, but I’ll be back for a rematch one of these days. Title has nothing to do with any of this, I was just listening to that album from Beck while painting today.

“Sabbath Day”

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 30″ x 24″
Year: 2016

Notes: 2 things to say about this one… First, it’s the largest plein air piece I’ve ever done, requiring 2 full sessions on different days. Way more fun than I thought it would be. Looking forward to more. And secondly, when painting at busy locations like this one, I often listen to loud music to get amped up and tune out distractions. This one was fueled by old Black Sabbath and apparently I was heard singing along from the top of the hill. Apologies to the neighborhood. I can only imagine how ridiculous it sounded.

“Expression Session”

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 16″ x 12″
Year: 2016

Notes: This was my take on yesterday’s scene at the first ever SDSFF Art and Surf Invitational Expression Session down at Scripps pier. I dont think I’ve ever painted people painting before, but couldn’t resist this one. I was just so stoked to see all these great artist buddies painting, surfing, and generally finding excuses to eat another donut. Big loud thanks and hugs to all the artists and everyone who showed up to enjoy the scene. The vibe could not have been better. And also to the San Diego Surf Film Festival folks for letting me put this together and run with this one. Hoots and shakas all around.

Ripple: Group Show- New Orleans, LA

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Pretty stoked to be part of this show in New Orleans, LA at the Graphite Gallery. Unfortunately I could not attend in person as New Orleans is east of the Sierra Nevada mountains range and my travels in that direction are severely challenged. The show, however, looked top notch with incredible art from a range of amazing artists.

I am humbled and honored to be involved with this group, and even more so to have my work, “Reclamation” chosen to  represent the group on the official show flyer. Huge thanks to my friend Kyle William Harper for curating this one and making it happen.

UPCOMING EVENT: Free Range San Diego Plein Air Tour

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I'll be heading to San Diego as one of a handful of artists participating at the Boardroom International Surfboard Show and it would be a shame to leave right away with the San Diego Surf Film Festival kicking off the very next week. That leaves me with  some wide open days to fill however I wish...

What to do with all that downtime? Paint. That's what. Every day, like mad, all day. Where, you ask? Wherever you tell me. I'm taking orders and will attempt to fill everyone before I leave that town. If you've been itching to get your hands on an original plein air painting of your favorite piece of coast, now is the time to let me know.

Prices:
16" x 20" - $650
12" x 16" - $500
12" x 12" - $350

UPCOMING EVENT: Expression Session- An Art and Surf Invitational | May 21, 2016

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This should be interesting...

 

The surfy art events that I find myself in from time to time are always a great time to connect with other artists who share the ocean as a common inspiration. But since they are always held on land, and most often on the wrong side of the coast highway, art talk often fades to shop talk, which fades to business talk, and next thing you know someone's talking about someone else's money. It's awkward. Some artists seem to thrive on this sort of thing over cheese and crackers and wine and beers, but I've come to loathe it. Not that I'm above it, I just find myself wishing we could be anywhere but standing next to the food table talking about making sales.

So when my friends who run the San Diego Surf Film Festival asked me to come up with an art event to tie in to the festival this year I figured this would be a great chance to reclaim some of the stoke that got us all inspired to make the art we make in the first place. And thus was born...

THE FIRST EVER SDSFF "EXPRESSION SESSION: A SEMI-PLEIN AIR ART AND SURF INVITATIONAL"

Here we will gather all the outdoor artists we can muster on one beach to create art on location and require them to ride at least 3 waves each in order to show their work in the gallery show that will run throughout the San Diego Surf Film Festival. The public will be welcome to interact, heckle, surf with, snake, burn or otherwise interfere with their favorite artists all morning long on the north side of the Scripps pier on Saturday morning, May 21st. There should be donuts too.

UPCOMING EVENT: California Coast at the Boardroom | May 14-15

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By far the largest collection of California Coastal art I've ever hung in one place. It's a big state...

Last summer I took a 3 week road trip down the entire California Coast, stopping to paint every 50 miles or so. It was a rather spontaneous trip and folks kept claiming them as I was posting them, so I never really had a show of them in Southern California, I just took them all home and shipped them all out.

To make up for it, I've gathered up all the California Coast art I could muster at once and made limited edition canvas prints of each, many for the first time ever, to display publicly for two days only at the Boardroom International Surfboard Show in Del Mar, CA on May 14 & 15. I've never put this much of my coastal work together in one place before.

Plus, these prints will be offered this weekend only at ridiculous tradeshow special prices, and if the one you're after is sold, I'll be taking discounted orders as well. But you have to be there in person! Come take a look and say hi! I don't know my booth number, but it's worth walking the whole show anyway, there's a lot of great people and things to see in there every year.