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US and THEM

6-9pm Saturday, August 31
Matt Beard Art Gallery
1636 F St, Eureka
(Inside Eureka art and Frame Co, same building as Brick and Fire Bistro)

What happens when you take 4 artists that have never set foot in Humboldt County, and place them on Trinidad’s scenic drive for three days and tell them to paint as much as they can?  Probably an argument, or a corny joke, or possibly both. But after that you get to see our beautiful coast through fresh eyes. And what if 4 local artists joined them who collectively have painted that stretch of coast more times than most can count? Well, then you get US and THEM, a unique art show set to take place at the Matt Beard Art Gallery in Eureka.

Local plein air artist Matt Beard is behind this experiment, inviting a group of artists up from San Diego that he has worked with many times over the last several years during his visits to their area. They are Jeff Yeomans, Norm Daniels, Wade Koniakowsky and Greg Gorgas. Welcoming them from Humboldt County and painting alongside the group will be established local artists Jim McVicker, Ken Jarvela, and Steve Taylor.

After three busy days of painting, the finished work from the invited artists will be hung at Matt Beard’s gallery at 1636 F St in Eureka (inside Eureka Art and Frame, same building as Brick and Fire Bistro). A reception for the artists will be held from 6-9pm on Saturday August 31. There is no cost to attend and snacks and light beverages will be provided. The visiting artists leave town the next morning, so don’t miss this chance to see their work, connect in person, and hear what they thought of their brief visit to Humboldt.

The work will remain up for viewing through the month of September.  Collectors may contact Matt Beard about previewing the work prior to the opening reception at 707-440-9375

Ok, but what’s with the donuts?  Nothing much. Matt Beard put the graphics together and he happens to enjoy an occasional donut with friends. It’s just an art show. Really.

All local artists are welcome to join in the painting sessions, though no schedule will be announced -just look for 5 to 8 painters clustered along the coast between Moonstone Beach and Patrick’s Point on any given day from August 28-30.  While not required, it is strongly encouraged that visitors bring donuts and/or coffee in the mornings, and cold beer in the afternoons. 

US

Jim McVicker

Jim has been painting plein air landscapes with a feel for nature and light like no other for as long as I’ve known of him. He’s one of those rare artists that could be dropped anywhere on earth with his easel and find inspiration to create a masterful painting in whichever direction he faced.  I’ve never known Jim to attempt to paint within any rigid style, he simply responds to the landscape before him afresh each time. And the results speak for themselves.

 

Ken Jarvela

In my mind Ken Jarvela is a true living legend. I’ve spent years refining my process and hunting scenes that are a bit further out than most painters would bother to venture with a full painting setup. Ken makes me look like a lazy tourist that won’t even get out of their car to take a selfie. Miles, days, and weeks on end spent in Humboldt county’s high country, leap frogging multiple packs around this lonely rugged terrain, surviving unexpected snowstorms, improvising a dark paint from the charcoal of last nights campfire, being stalked by confused mountain lions who’ve never seen this particular species of human in their country, often with his cat for his only companion. Ken is the real deal, and he paints with a passion unrivaled by anyone.

 

Steve Taylor

Steve is a long time friend. Always a creative soul with a lifelong background in carpentry, the ability to craft something beautiful with his hands and follow through in bringing a vision to reality is simply part of who he is. When he took up painting just a few years ago, I knew he would have no trouble finding his way, and its amazing to see the rate at which he’s progressed.  Many artists who paint outdoors feel locked in by what they see before them, but Steve is one of those that understands the task of the artist is not simple record what is seen, but to build a painting worth viewing in the process. Good on ya, Steve!

 

Matt Beard

Well, yeah I’m part of this thing too. But you knew that. What you might not realize is that this is the first show I’ve ever hosted at my gallery involving other artists. I tend to cram my walls with art yearround, a hodgepodge mix of prints and originals, best-sellers and recent oddities. There’s never a whole lot of rhyme or reason to it, I just want folks who go out of their way to visit my space to not leave wondering what else they might have seen.  But for this show, and this show only, I’m taking it all down. The only art on display will be art that was made over the three days with this group.  I imagine there will be groupings of similar scenes and vantage points as translated through each artists individual approach. Should be fascinating and to say that I’m honored to host these guys is an understatement.

THEM

Jeff Yeomans

I’ve loved Jeff’s work for years and I was a big fan long before I ever met him in person. Painting alongside him at various events over the years in San Diego has been a high honor. You know how sometimes you can meet a hero and then they turn out to be a big jerk? Not with Jeff. A great guy, a great sport, a solid approach to painting without any sense of outsized ego. I learn a lot from Jeff every time I paint with him. I can’t wait to see how he approaches our local coastline.

 

Norm Daniels

Norm is one of the most amazing people I know. While sheepishly cracking jokes and talking himself down, he’ll sneak up and paint masterpieces, then proceed to tell you why he doesn’t think they’re any good. He’s not fishing for compliments either. He is just a truly humble human being with a great sense of humor and an even greater talent with a paintbrush.  About 5 years ago, Norm and Wade invited me to tag along with them and do some plein air painting on a crystal clear day in La Jolla. I had no gear with me and ended up crouching on the ground uncomfortably to paint, but that day re-ignited my joy for painting outdoors and I haven’t looked back since.  Thanks Norm!

 

Wade Koniakowsky

I’ve painted with Wade more than anyone other artist I can think of, which really isn’t all that much. I just don’t often seek company while painting. But he’s been a great friend and paint companion over the years. His approach is different than mine in the field and I think we both puzzle over each other’s methods, and push and inspire one another as well. Wade spends a lot more time painting in the studio than I do, exploring several different ocean related themes in his art. One of my favorites is when he just paints waves- rugged, chaotic, and beautiful. They often remind me of our north coast ocean here.  I’m looking forward to seeing what inspires him when he sees our coast in person for the first time. Also looking forward to finally hosting a show with Wade after he’s hosted several shows for me over the years at his gallery in Solana Beach. Back at ya, Wade!

Greg Gorgas

Look at that painting!  Greg’s painted some great stuff in his day but life has a way of taking us different directions at times and these days I think it’s pretty safe to say Greg isn’t painting as much as he’d like to. All the more reason to look forward to turning him loose for three days surrounded by the beauty of Humboldt’s coast without the distractions of daily life. He’s also driving the other three up here in an extended cab Ford F350 dubbed the Beaver. That’s 4 artists sitting enclosed in a tight space while driving for 16 hours from San Diego to Humboldt. Oh my. Have mercy on his soul. By the time he’s done with this trip, he’ll be happy to be done with art for awhile I reckon.

Free Range: The Island of Bearded People

2 days on an island. 10.2 miles on foot. 33 miles in the back of a truck. 59 miles by boat. 5 paintings completed. 4 paintings I can show here. 1 painting that might get me in trouble one day. 1 awesome team of 18 folks from the California Coastal Commission that graciously allowed me to tag along on their weekend trip. 1 of the best guides anyone could ever ask for who’s lived on the island for over 50 years to show us around.  1 old map made in the 1600’s called this the Island of Bearded People. 1 artist with a beard just smiled.

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Free Range: “Maycember” 2019

30 days away from home.  Stayed at 11 different homes. Slept in the van 4 times. Painted 33 paintings (3 of them got away). 3,277.7 miles by car. 4.7 miles on a bike. 27.2 miles on foot. 5 slow mornings drinking extra cups of coffee waiting for the rain to stop. 11 paintings completed under the threat of rain. 4 times I held my ground painting about 5 feet from a passing Amtrak train. 1 time I got a good talking-to for standing so close to the tracks. 6 views painted from private property (all with permission). 7 paintings completed from the roof of my van. 1 late night collaborative painting of a friend’s cat (not shown).

“A Hard Rain”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 16″
Year: 2019

Notes:
Recently I’ve been really enjoying the rough stages of my underpainting process, where the canvas is all awash in thin coats of transparent paint, dripping, running, colors bleeding together in an unhindered enjoyment. When these loose rough sketches come together, it’s often a disappointment when I go to finish them. I find there are parts of a painting that I really enjoy developing more than others. I’ve been thinking of how to leave some areas unworked and just focus on the parts I want to focus on. The rains that have been threatening and following me around on this trip have got me thinking to just let the paint run in those areas and this was a first attempt to embrace the “unfinished” in my work. In this case it was the dark foreground hillside. I was drawn to the drama of light on the distant scene, and just didn’t want to get bogged down in rendering the foreground rocks and grass with the same degree of attention as I wanted to give the ocean and cove in the distance- so I didn’t. I just painted it dark and let it run… and left it be. It’s an ominous effect, but I like it.

“Bird, As a Weapon”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 24″ x 12″
Year: 2019

Notes:
I grew up near here. Technically in this city, though a bit removed from this scene. It’s a very industrial coastline, and one I’ve mostly avoided throughout my adult life until this day. Folks come here from the hectic city to unwind on the beach, or deal drugs, or eat at hip restaurants, or mumble incoherent profanities at anyone within earshot. It’s decidedly urban, and at times urbane, at other times profane. It takes all kinds. Welcome to the beach.

I’d found this perch overlooking this beach bike/pedestrian path. Occasional walkers, joggers and bikers formed an infrequent stream of traffic on otherwise quiet day. But the real action came from the Birds. Not the ones in the air, the ones on this path, being ridden by folks of all feathers and stripes zipping from here to there. Those things are everywhere nowadays.

Right behind me, separated by a wall of plexiglass, were the well-to-do afficionados of a beach front craft brewery. I like beer. Standing in the humid sun, sweat beading down my face, lost in the minutae of industry in this painting. That thin plexiglass may as well have been a mile wide barrier of concrete and steel. I wish it had been. I tried not to look back at it, and all those cold beers being swished around.

At one point there was a commotion on the nearby pier just out of frame and to the left. Cop cars came driving down the bike path. Dozens of them gathered from all directions. I still don’t know what happened out there. Later that day I saw a news report that a woman was killed in this city, beaten by a scooter.  We… people that is… we can be monsters.

I don’t have any moral to this story. It’s just how the day unfolded as I went to revisit and paint this stretch of coast that I mostly only remember from childhood.

“The Other Side”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2019

Notes:
I’d been thinking of this for a long time. I have to make an exception and let you know where this is. This is the where the California/Mexico border meets the sea. I was hoping to drive out to the park on the hill right here overlooking the scene, but due to late season rains, the road was too muddy to open to vehicles so I had to walk in the 2 miles to the spot. After tromping off the wrong direction and ending up at the border about a mile from the coast under the watch of border patrol agents and confronted by a myriad of signs saying I wasn’t supposed to take a step further, I tip toed back to the van and tried again.

I noticed a lot of folks heading down the paths that made their way to the park. The smart ones on bikes. Whole families. Abandoned scooters. Dead crows. Nasterciums in beatiful bloom. Humid rain falling lightly at times. Mosquitoes that meant business. It was quite a scene down there in those wetlands of the Tijuana river.

Beautiful in its own way. But curious too. Why were so many people walking all this way just to be confronted by this uncomfortably stark reality?

I’d know soon enough. On the other side of the fence was a carnival of color. Ice cream trucks. Cotton candy. Kites flying. Flags waving. A swirling mix of humanity. On this side was gray. Border patrol SUV’s with armed agents keeping watch. An additional fence effectively creating a no-go zone buffer about 100 feet wide. Surveillance cameras. Concrete and weeds. No ice cream.

And no judgment really. I’m sure the southern border of mexico doesn’t exactly open the gates and throw parties for everyone from central america that might want to stroll on through. But still- a stark reality to be confronted with no matter how you cut it.

And that no-go zone?  There was one exception to that rule. Right on the bluff overlooking these waves there was one area, and one area only, where visitors from the U.S. side were allowed to walk right up to the actual border fence. Only 10 or so at a time were allowed into the area, and they were watched closely at all times by a dedicated border patrol gaurd.

But here was the heart-breaking answer to my orginal question. This is where families and friends separated by geopolitics could speak, not by letters, , not by phone, not by email, not by facetime, or anything fancier than that. Here is the one place, and the only place I know of, that these affected families that find themselves on both sides of the fence can see one another and truly speak face to face.

No matter which side you’re on, this place is all about the Other Side.

Free Range: March 2019

12 days. 18 paintings. 49 miles hiked.  110 miles in a boat.  5 nights on an island. 2 creek crossings that required carrying borrowed waders for 2 miles on one hike. 3 passing showers I narrowly managed to dodge. 1 long downpour that soaked me to the bone all 3 miles back to the cabin. 1 tick seen. 29 miles hiked on an island without seeing a single human. 5 miles hiked among the poppies on the mainland with every other human on earth.

2019 Wall Calendar

2019 is right around the corner.  Don't get stuck in 2018. We've got you covered.

Features:

  • 12 full-color images- 13.5" x 12"
  • 2 new holidays (Buy An Artist A Drink Day- August 30 & Take An Artist's Spouse Out to Lunch Day- July 28)
  • Total size when open- 13.5" x 24"

 

Free Range: A Bit Farther Out (mostly) 2018

11 days. 22 paintings. 27 miles hiked. 5 paintings completed in one day. 8 of them on an island. 2 nights in the van in awkward locations. 1 bird landed on my palette in the middle of the last painting. 1 cooler full of beers found right beside the to the door of my van in an otherwise empty carpark. 1 time I felt like telling a park ranger what-for, but refrained.

“Tide Falling”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 16″
Year: 2018

PRINTS AVAILABLE HERE

Notes:
One of the most iconic waterfalls in all of California and one of only two year-round falls that land on the beach. This one used to land in the water, but a landslide deposited so much sediment up the coast that the gradual drift of currents built this beach where none previously existed.

I’ve heard stories of repeated rescues of tourists who get the wild idea to climb down to the beach here get stuck on the cliff face halfway down and have to get lifted, dragged, or otherwise hauled out.

I was cognizant of that as I edged around some fencing to a private perch of my own so as to paint this scene without disturbing anybody’s selfie backdrop, which is unfortunately what a scene like this is often reduced to in our age.

During my short time there I saw repeated groups of tourists go half-stomping/half-sliding through the brush and poison oak down the hill in search of some better view. I often thought to say something about the oak, but then figured the deed was already done, why ruin their moment?

This overcast daylight was fading fast and I had to work a little more frantic than usual to make this one happen, but I’m glad I stopped and made the effort. Even on a gray day, the color of that water stops you in your tracks.

“Some Things Money Just Can’t Buy”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 24″ x 12″
Year: 2018

PRINTS AVAILABLE HERE

Notes:
Like most surfers who’ve visited the area, I’ve collected some great memories of this place over the years. I’d wondered about painting this rock outcropping overlooking the beach for a long time. The last time I drove through (years ago, prior to the landslide and bridge collapse), I scouted it for views, and somehow came away feeling like I couldn’t find an angle to paint it from. That could be because I don’t recall there being a developed trail here -it was all bushwack and poison-oak dodging back then. But still, kinda boggled my mind on returning and seeing how easy it was to stroll up to this scene that was practically served on a platter.

People walking by are usually quite friendly when they see a painter, sometimes overly so. This day was different. Maybe I smelled bad from car-dwelling, who knows? All I know is 5 out of the 6 groups that walked by while I painted here seemed utterly annoyed at my presence. I was baffled, but it was refreshing too, because it meant they didn’t want to stop and chat much.

One group in particular is worth mentioning. 4 guys, young, college age, or just out of college walk up and see me painting. They all have their phones out to take photos of the scene, taking turns walking up and shooting from right beside me, as if I was in the only spot with a view on this trail. Ok, whatever. But then they turn to leave and one of them walks back. He seemed friendly, and I thought it would be a typical out-in-the-field conversation- (How long you been painting? Is this your hobby? Do you sell these? Etc) But no. He explains that he went to design school and seeing me paint reminds him of a cartoon he saw where a photographer walked up to a painter at work and held up his camera, pointed in the direction of the artist’s subject (at the same time he pointed his cell phone at the scene I was painting) and pressed click (at which point he took a photo) and turned to me and said “Done.”  Then he turned and walked away in a mic drop sorta way. I hope he didn’t pay too much for his “education” there.

“If These Walls Could Speak”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 10″
Year: 2018

PRINTS AVAILABLE HERE

Notes:
It’s a busy spot. I wanted to paint from a higher vantage up on the new bike path, but due to the narrowness of the space I thought better of setting up there and having to suffer the wrath of irate spandex bikers- an easily annoyed species if there ever was one.

I ended up down below and this little driftwood shack ( a satellite shack from a much more complex and heavily used complex of impromptu structures) made for a nice contrast to the beachfront homes that line the shore here.

Then there’s the point itself, it was a small day, but not hard to recall better days with the walls wrapping down the point in a mesmerizing and machine like fashion.

The things these walls have seen. All of them. The stories could fill volumes.

They won’t be told here.

The walls themselves are the only story I saw today.

Oh and the squirrel that nabbed my trail mix from my bag… and the very oddly placed cooler full of Coronas that was set next to the driver door of my van when I returned. Was that intentional? No other cars in the lot. I figured if they were left accidentally, someone might return for them and be bummed to find them gone so I left them where they lie. But still… a nice gesture if it was meant to be one.

“Time Waits for No Man… And Neither Does the Boat” | Miles Hiked: 0.6

Medium: Acrylic on Birch Wood Panel
Size: 16″ x 12″
Year: 2018
Miles Hiked: 0.6

Notes:
I’ve heard it said that “time waits for no man”, well… neither does the boat.

It was a pretty rushed scramble taking on this scene just before the boat was to depart for home. I was half-tempted to “miss the boat” just to stay a bit longer, but thought better of it.

When I started this painting of the entire scene before me, I may have bit off a bit more than I could chew in such a short time and wasn’t able to quite finish this one on location, but a bit of studio work at home from memory and I think it conveys the place pretty well.  

They say visiting these shores is like going back in time, to an older California… well, there you have it.

“Moonlit Echoes” $451 | Miles Hiked: 0.1

Medium: Acrylic on Birch Wood Panel
Size: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2018
Miles Hiked: 0.1

Price: $451
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.
click here for full cost breakdown

Notes:
5th painting completed today… well sorta today. Technically I only did four during the daylight hours but then snuck this one in the late hours of night.

The moonlight falling on the crushed gravel paths made walking the trails at night a beautiful experience. The reflective white surface of the path glowed in comparison to the grass on either side. The old building here are relics from the previous era of sheep and cattle ranching- of which the cumulative effects on the islands native species and coastal topographies are still being studied today.

In the daytime it gets apparent pretty quickly that these old buildings are no longer used, but in the quiet of night it’s somehow easier to imagine them resting from the noisy activity of a long day’s work, only to rise at first light and go about it all over again. Each clanking chain blown in the wind creates another echo from a not so distant past.

In reality though, the sun has set for good on these operations. These moonlit echoes are a reminder that each day has its own dawn and its own sunset. But the moon comes and goes as it pleases

“Torrey Pine Sentinel” | Miles Hiked: 6.1

Medium: Acrylic on Birch Wood Panel
Size: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2018
Miles Hiked: 6.1

Notes:
When most folks hear the words “Torrey Pines” they think as much about a rare variety of pine tree as they do a very specific location in San Diego- the state park named for the tree and often touted as the only place in the world where these trees grow.

But don’t worry, I’m not naming locations here, this is nowhere near San Diego, and just happens to be the only other place on earth where these pines are found.

I had hoped to march further up the hill and get a more expansive view of this grove, but sometimes when I see a painting before me, it’s hard to pass up. Especially if the day is getting late and I still have a 3 mile hike ahead of me. In this case I was battling a sense of urgency and perhaps over rushed this one. I had been out on the hills in the late afternoon the day before and really enjoyed the way the sun set behind them but still illuminated the flat alluvial plains that sweep out and form this long crescent bay. I went after it a bit prematurely, anticipating the changing light shift to come, but it wouldn’t happen for another hour or so after I was done with my shift standing watch beside this old Torrey Pine sentinel.

Some plein air paintings are created by reacting to the moment, but sometimes they are a reaction to a memory as well. That was this one.

“Our Farther” $611 | Miles Hiked: 6.1

Medium: Acrylic on Birch Wood Panel
Size: 16″ x 12″
Year: 2018
Miles Hiked: 6.1

Price: $611
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.
click here for full cost breakdown

Notes:
I usually grumble about my heavy pack whenever I have to hike more than a mile. This turned out to be a six mile round trip to make this painting happen. But I could not complain about the heavy pack this time. My hiking companions on this morning sunrise walk were a couple of scientist fellows intent on monitoring frogs on the far side of this island, which somehow required them to carry a massive metal post and post-driver. (I’m no scientist, so don’t ask me). I guess we all have our crosses to bear, but theirs was definitely heavier today. And they were traveling twice as far. I made it back to our cabin with time for a dip in the ocean and another quick painting before dinner. We didn’t see them back until several hours after dark.

Along the way this morning, I kept seeing plenty of places to stop and paint, but something kept driving me farther along the path.

I think it was simply the desire to go farther itself. There’s something about spending yourself to get out there off the beaten paths and be alone on the face of a wild earth that gets in your blood.

The scientists and I approach this place from completely different angles, but we have a lot of common ground as well, it’s just a bit farther out.

“We Must Keep Our Eyes Open” | Miles Hiked: 3.46

Medium: Acrylic on Birch Wood Panel
Size: 20″ x 16″
Year: 2018
Miles Hiked: 3.46

Notes:
We must keep our eyes open. First two syllables: We-muh. Wordplay for the name of the tribe that lived here for thousands of years before they were scooped up and sent away to make room for sheep and cattle and now a national park.

The opportunity to come visit this place was part of a program through CSUCI that brings students here to study this unique natural environment. This trip was designed with an emphasis on “seeing the landscape”.

That’s my bread and butter. Happy to join these wide-eyed kids who get excited about the announcement of an “ethnobotany hike” in 30 minutes.

I lasted about 20 minutes on the educational hike and then my need to see the landscape from the top of this hill won out and they sent me on my way.

What a joy to set up an easel and paint on this hill, where not many feet travel, and even fewer easels get dragged up and put to use.

Life is hard to predict, so keeping my eyes open, I know this opportunity may not come again. How thankful I am to be here today. And this is what I saw…

“The Gambler’s Fallacy”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 16″
Year: 2018

Notes:
One of California’s prized state parks. I arrived early, knowing the park fills up to capacity nearly every day with a line of cars waiting to enter. I’d made it on time, but my van was too long. Denied.

I had a long way to drive that day, and a boat to catch tomorrow that I could not, and would not, miss. But I’m here now, and there’s parking on the road. A 2.5 mile hike would swallow a fair bit of time, as would the painting itself. I gambled it and hoped for the best.

A frantic fast-paced hike across the entire length of the park, heading straight for a zone I thought would be ideal, but when I arrived, I found that due to heavy foot traffic, every piece of trail in this park is roped off with steel cables and the rangers mean business. No big deal for a photographer to hop over and get the shot, but for a 3 hour post out on a rock in plain view was a bit more than I was willing to wager. I’d follow the trail along the entire northern perimeter of the park and find a suitable view from the trail itself. Given the natural beauty, I liked those odds better.

3.5 miles round trip for this one. But my gamble was nothing compared to the one-time owner of this land who gambled it away to a troop of soldiers in one failed hand of cards. At least I got a painting out of my gamble, and a pretty good workout as well.  Oh, and I did not miss the boat either…

“Pure and Simple”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 10″
Year: 2018

Notes:
One of my favorite things is finding a new trail to access a piece of coast I haven’t seen before. I’d seen some newer trailheads on a previous trip and made a mental note to return when the opportunity arose. Today it arose because the surf was no good but the weather was nice, a great day to go paint and I happened to be in the area. I’d looked up the trail on a map and saw that it ran for miles on the edge of the coastal bluff, fields of artichokes on one side, the deep blue sea on the other. A pure and simple distillation of the essence of this coastline.  I was disappointed to find the trail closed on weekdays. Nuts! I’m sure they have a fine reason for this, but it boggled my mind. Fortunately, it wasn’t closed at the road, but all the way down by the ocean. The view from the locked gate was nice… but it was a little nicer just a little further.

“Keep Out: Side B”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 24″ x 12″
Year: 2018

Notes:
Painted from the deck of a small cottage on a controversial stretch of beach. A billionaire bought this land from a rancher a few years ago. Lots of folks live in these cottages that have been here for decades, and lots more have enjoyed this beach for generations. In recent times the new landowner has engaged with the state of California in a battle that is pitting the public’s historical coastal access rights against more general individual private property rights. Nobody knows just where it will all end up once the dust settles. The folks that rent these cottages are caught in the middle of it all. They love this place and have called it their home, or getaway home, for years. Before the new owner arrived and the controversy began, this place was quiet as could be. Even though lots of folks enjoyed this beach for years, they did so as a slow and quiet trickle of visitors.  It’s off the highway, hidden from view, the surf is mediocre at best (despite how it’s depicted in these paintings). All of this suited everyone just fine. Once the recent hullabaloo put the place on the wider public radar, it’s seen a constant stream of visitors, and a LOT more surfers. Even the bad days seem to have a few people out now, where the good days often went unridden before. My friend who’s owned this beach cottage for 15 years has watched it all go down. He’d like to stay as long as he can and I don’t blame him. But then again, the next day I stayed with an old friend down the coast who’s grandfather used to take his dad here to go fishing- quite possibly before the billionaire was even born. All that aside, it’s a beautiful place. I actually painted two views from this deck, looking both ways…

“A Wide Range” $454

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 10″
Year: 2018

Price: $454
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.
click here for full cost breakdown

Notes:
The 4th painting of a long day spent in solitude, hunting views and painting in one of the most beautiful parts of California I can think of. I’ve driven past this little ranch nestled along a finger of this estuary and always thought it would make a nice painting. The sun was already starting to set when I pulled over, but I don’t make it out this way too often and thought it was a good opportunity to take a crack at it. I had to work fast in the fading light. Watching the wide range of evening colors fall on the expansive landscape before me was a joy, the trouble was trying not to be tempted to chase them all and end up with an utterly confused painting. I went with the pre sunset warm glow illuminating the scene from directly behind me casting it’s soft shadowless light on all the eye could see (and the hand could paint).

“Nova Albion”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 16″
Year: 2018

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Notes:
I could see this painting, or something much like it, long before arriving. Just looking at this place on a map reveals a tantalizing thin finger of land extending out to the shelter of a sweeping bay- the roaring Pacific one one side and calm waters on the other. That sort of thing gets me fired up, and why not? There’s not many places one can stand in California and get this two-sided dynamic in one frame.

This bay is the site where an english explorer first claimed this land for England over 400 years ago, dubbing it Nova Albion- latin for “New England”. This was before that term had come into use for the Northeastern United States. England never followed up on the claim though, and Spain continued it’s expanding rule of the region they called Alta California. Nova Albion would be lost except to the history books, and a few old maps.

This painting could have also been lost had I not used every ounce of weight in my pack to keep my easel anchored in the howling wind on this exposed headland.

“Her New Road”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 16″
Year: 2018

Notes:
I imagine it was only a seasonal closure, something about nesting birds on the sand dunes, but it rattled my whole game plan. This isn’t a place one just passes through on the way down the coast, you have to really make the effort to get off the beaten path to find yourself out here. Once you do, especially if it’s on a quiet weekday, it’s one of the most amazing places in California. But even so, if your whole plan was to march up on to the dunes to capture the beach scene here for a dear friend from your youth, it’s a bit frustrating to be met with signs and fencing marking everything off limits except the parking lot and the beach itself. I like to be outside of a place and looking at it from a decent distance when I paint a location, so sitting on the beach wouldn’t cut it. I found the only vantage point that offered a distant perspective was from the side of the freshly paved road that led to the beach here. As I took in the scene I realized the road was boldly part of the landscape and it gave me a moment to reflect on the different roads we take in life. Hers and mine parted many years ago. This was her new road. I’d never been here before, and probably wouldn’t have come at all if she hadn’t asked me to. Realizing this, I made it part of the painting on this beautiful morning.

Later that night, I’d end up sleeping in the van illegally in this carpark at the end of the road. Restless at one point in the early evening, I got up and walked this road by starlight. The wide road providing an easy stroll in the dim light as the night mists hung over the low vegetation on either side. Not a soul around. Just a painter alone with his thoughts, passing through in the night, and gone again at first light.

“The Light at the End”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2018

Notes:
I’m here to paint the coast, but I can’t see the coast on account of thick fog. Just back from the coast it’s clear enough to see through this tunnel of Cypress trees. Behind me there is blue sky and it’s early in the day- a good sign.

Even though the fog gets thicker before finally lifting, at one point causing large drops to fall from the branches scooping it from the air overhead, the view down this tunnel remained fairly constant for the hour or so that I stood and painted it.

The light at the end of the tunnel was a constant reminder to keep hope alive that the sun would prevail over this foggy haze and I would indeed so the ocean today.

Post edit:  I did indeed see the ocean, the fog burned off and this ended up being the first of four paintings I’d complete in the area today. And possibly my favorite…

Art for a Good Cause: A Collab with Jeff “Doc” Lausch

September 07, 2018
By Matt Beard
Surfboards on Parade 2018:
Final Auction: October 07, 2018

Lots of scattered thoughts on this one, not sure how to tie it all together… bear with me.

I’ve been surfing nearly all of my life, and painting nearly even longer. Back in 2011/2012 I had the idea to invite some of my favorite artists to team up with shapers and create unique art boards and sell or auction them to benefit SurfAid International. We called it the Board Art Benefit and to be honest it was really just a bit of a scheme to have some fun but we ended up raising over $30,000 for SurfAid by the time the dust settled. I was also an unlikely culprit to spearhead such an event, being that I’ve only painted a handful of boards in my life and prefer my boards to have no art on them. I truly see the surfboard as functional art already and when used for its highest purpose it is immersed in Creation itself and needs no further adornment.

After we concluded the Board Art Benefit, I was done with organizing artists. We’re nuts, in a good way of course, but still I was a  little burned out from all the work and effort. But I wasn’t done with using my art to raise money for nonprofits and great causes. I went on from that experience to launch AidCurrent (aidcurrent.com), an experimental online tool designed to track an artist’s fundraising efforts. Since I began using it in 2013, I’ve seen my art raise over $44,500 for over 70 different nonprofits.

When Surfboards on Parade began it was exciting to see someone taking the idea of surfboard art for a good cause to the next level. Many of the original artists and shapers from the Board Art Benefit were recruited from the start and produced amazing pieces for the event. In fact if you scroll their facebook photo feed, you’ll see the third photo they posted was actually a cropped flyer for the Board Art Benefit showing the original boards we made for our event. (Linky:https://www.facebook.com/441816709261122/photos/a.450305098412283/450304915078968/?type=3&theater) I wasn’t asked to do a board at the time, but I was still proud to see the work going forward.

As the first Surfboards on Parade event unfolded, raising money to support Hoags’ Hospital Cancer Institute to further education and research for skin cancer, my sister was losing the final battle of her ten year war with skin cancer. We buried her body in Long Beach, CA not far from Huntington Beach where Surfboards on Parade took place.

Did I mention I grew up in Long Beach? The early years of my surfing life took root all over Orange County, from Seal Beach, to Huntington, to Newport, and beyond. I’d go wherever my older brother wanted to go. Surfside Jetty mostly. Or I’d lie to my folks and tell them I was riding my bike to the beach with a friend in order to go alone and find my own peak on the miles of empty stretches between the focal points of the piers and jetties and parking lots. This is where I fell in love with surfing marginal waves in total solitude.

No wonder then, that when I was 18 I went off to school as far from the metropolii of LA and Orange Counties, and fled north to the remote northern coast of Humboldt which is where I reside to this day. Since moving north 25 years ago I’ve pursued my path as an artist relentlessly and regular travels across the entire length of the state eventually became the foundation for my life’s work, painting the entire California coastline, from border to border.  At this point, I’ve painted over 500 paintings of the state’s coast with an average of less than 2 miles between each painting. A life of looking around the next bend in the coast for surf has led to a life of painting every bend in the coast that I can. California is my home. It’s what I know. So it’s also what I paint.

When I was asked this year to paint a board for Surfboards on Parade, it meant a lot to me on several levels. First, it meant the most to me to have this opportunity to honor my sister and use my art to battle the beast called cancer that stole her (and countless others) away from us far too soon. Secondly, for all the shows and events I’ve been part of all over California, this would be a homecoming of sorts- the first major show I’ve been part of along the stretch of coast that shaped my early surfing life. And thirdly, with my background organizing an event that was in many ways a precursor to Surfboards on Parade, returning as a participant is a true honor.

The next question after being asked to participate was what shaper would I work with. I have a tremendous respect for the art of shaping, and like I mentioned earlier I truly don’t think a surfboard needs “art” on it, it’s already a complete work of art. That said, this event was about painting a board so finding the right shaper to collaborate with was important. If I was going to paint a board, maybe only the 4th I’ve ever done (and possibly the last, who knows?), I knew I didn’t want to just paint any old board. I wanted to find a shaper who I could connect with and pursue a vision together.

I chose Jeff “Doc” Lausch to work with for a few reasons. He had done a board in our Board Art Benefit years ago with a different artist and I always appreciated that. But mostly I knew I wanted to work with a Huntington area shaper, and for years my brother ordered boards from him and we’d see him in the water from time to time so there was a personal connection as well. On top of that, he’s a true artist and had even done a board in the past for Surfboards on Parade as a shaper AND artist. Say no more. I was stoked to hear he was willing to work with me.

I wanted this board to be an homage to California, my home. I chose artwork that would epitomize two classic California elements: poppies, and pointbreaks. And since this year’s Surfboards on Parade event was being held in conjunction with the Surfing Walk of Fame, I compiled a list of previous inductees that were from California, and printed their names directly on the fiberglass that the board was glassed with before I painted it in order to highlight this state’s contribution to the sport and culture of surfing.

After the painting was completed the board was returned to Doc for a gloss coast, pin lines, and a hand-made glassed-on fin. The finished piece is ready to be ridden, and I hope it will be at least once. After all it’s a fully functional work of art already… it just happens to have a paint job under the glass.

 

 

 

 

 

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