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“We’ll Cross that Bridge When We Get to It”

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

Notes:

Under the authority of a king in Europe, there is land in California, owned and private today, that was taken from Californians and given to friends of the throne. It’s wild to think of the history behind some of the barbed wire we see all over the coast here. I don’t blame anyone. I’d have accepted any land they offered me as well, and to be honest, it’s not hard to imagine what these pristine lands would look like if the gates were open to us all. Pack your trash and leave no trace is truly some sort of elitist psuedo hippy mumbo jumbo now. I’d rather be kept out of some places than to allow myself and everyone else to trample nature into a twisted banal backdrop for the drama of humanity’s less noble urges. Still though, when I see the signs telling me to stay out, I bristle at the royal throne, whose guilded vanity was built on the backs of those like me, just getting by in the world, working for another meal for our kids, and ourselves if there’s enough. But under all these layers of understanding, it is clear we have lost something. Maybe we’ll never know just what, but a reckoning will come sooner or later.

I slowly enjoyed a beer when I finished this one, under the watching eye of the drone that flew repeated laps out to see and back again, right up to the van, I thought it might fly in at one point. I even looked for something reasonable to throw at it, if it tried that again. It never did, but the world keeps going forward and the throne is always thirsty for more. It wants all that it’s eyes can see, and now it has eyes everywhere. Enjoy your quiet moments while you can, a day of reckoning will come sooner or later.

I guess we’ll just cross that bridge when we get to it.

“Avoiding the Evil Leaf”

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

Notes:

Some days are easy, other days you have to dig deep. Those are the days you find out what you are made of. I’m just a painter, but compared to working in the studio, plein air painting can seem like a battle with the universe itself.

Confession. I am naturally lazy. A water person. I don’t push through, I flow around, always looking for the path of least resistance. So bear with me as I recount what went into painting this one…

First I’ve slept the night in a grocery store parking lot so I could put myself in quick striking distance in the morning to sneak this 2 hour driving detour in the middle of a much longer trip just for this painting. I arrive to find the 1 mile trail to the beach from the carpark has been washed out, but fortunately there is another trail still open, slightly longer, but no matter its a nice morning, not too hot, and I’ve got the time. But I am lazy, and I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed hauling my whole studio on my back for what ended up being a 4 mile round trip of tromping around looking for a view. The tromp included a long stretch of dry sand, a dead end up a poison oak infested goat trail (apparently goats get skinnier as they climb, and eventually become ghosts, according to their trails anyway), a few hops over barriers set up by the park to keep folks like me out of their closed trails, and one tepid tip toe around the loose eroded cliff face that was the reason this trail was closed. The view you see in this painting finally called to me and required setting up the easel in a patch of dry grass and poison oak. I watched the oak closely and it was quite a chess match of slow deliberate movements to get everything in place without contacting the evil leaf. The painting itself was a joy and a half after all that. Nevermind the ticks that I continued to find crawling out of my hair the next two nights.

That’s what I love about this art form though. There is no other way to make these paintings than to literally put yourself in them and deal with nature’s realities.

“Dressed in White”

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

Notes:

Drive, drive, drive. Arrive. Park this huge van here? Drive around, drive around, drive around, ok, park!  Walk, walk, walk. Listen. Every language on earth spoken here. A true magnet for the world. It’s nice to hear. I’m not sure why some places draw the world’s travelers and others  just up the road draw none. But that’s fine with me. The tongues of men can’t be spoken everywhere. We’ll leave that task to the tongues of angels.

The angels often speak more clearly, even amongst a sea of human voices. The arc of the cypress, the glare of white sky on white sand, the pounding of the ocean’s heartbeat up and down the beach. These voices need no translation.

Painting is just another way to sing along. Sometimes I can be a little tone deaf, but still I try. Bear with me.

Free Range: Mendocino/Sonoma 2017

8 days. 8 dodgy parking situations. 4 tresspassings. 2 lengthy discussions with the authorities. 1 “VEHICLE IMMOBILIZATION AND NOTICE OF ARREST NOTICE”. Zero tick bites! 23 paintings.

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“From the Overflow of the Heart, the Mouth Speaks”

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

Notes: 8th day on the road, 23rd painting completed, 2nd one on this day. Last one of the trip. I’m exhausted.

There’s something about a rivermouth sandbar that really holds one’s attention. I wanted to get the whole scene here: the inland valley leading to the now hot and dry“heartland” this river flows from, the coastal coolness of rugged rock and sea stack shrouded in fog and cloud, the beach, the driftwood, and the sand piled up creating a focal point for bending lines of swell approaching from deep water. I wanted to show it all.

Perhaps I took on too much and maybe this one lacks a clear focal point. It happens. But then again, it’s all in there and if I’m gonna roll by and paint one painting here, I’m stoked this was it.

The biggest dissappointment was the extended time it took to finish this complicated composition eating into rapidly closing window to go surf a few down at that sandbar. I maybe could have swung it still, but this was my last one in this area and had a long drive ahead of me that night. I was also considering the burger that I was looking forward to that might be out of reach if I pushed it any longer (everything closes pretty early on this coast).

Excuses, excuses… it was now foggy and getting dark and bobbing around a sharky rivermouth lineup alone and barely visible for marginal but fun looking two foot waves for some reason just didn’t sound as fun as it did when I’d started the painting.

I paused to enjoy a celebratory beer for a week of hard work, and thought I heard the river speak. “Next time” she said, “Next time.”

“Russian Interference” $372

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

Price: $372
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.
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Notes:
8th day on the road, 22nd painting completed, 1st on this day

The Russians are planning to claim this coast for themselves. It’s true. From San Francisco to Trinidad Harbor, they’ve left secret signs, “possession plaques” buried at various strategic locations.

This painting is located near the first of these plates, and within a year or two, they will be back to stake their claim, renaming this location as Mouis Rumyantsev (Point Rumyantsev) after the current Russian Minister of Commerce.

Alarmist political phrophesy? Hardly. These are just the facts. I have proof.

Besides, it’s not like this location has been claimed by Spain yet.

Did I mention it’s 1810?

“Soaring with Griffin”

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

Notes:
7th day on the road, 21st painting completed, 3rd one this day

Painting the California coast is something that rose out of my admiration for the California Impressionists of the early 1900’s.

Before that I was painting skulls and bones and waves, which rose out of my admiration for Rick Griffin (1944-1991) and his artwork. I learned of his art when he passed away and the Surfer Magazine ran a tribute to his life and art featuring his mindblowing works from the psychedelic era.

If I hadn’t started surfing after my big brother did 7 years earlier when I was 11 or so I wouldn’t have been reading Surfer at age 16 and likely not encountered Rick’s art in the same life-altering way.

In a similar vein, if my brother and I hadn’t been so keen to explore and surf the California coast from junior high onward, I wouldn’t have appreciated the California Impressionist’s work nearly as much when I encountered later, as it was my connection to the coast that was triggered by those paintings and made me want to explore that direction in my art as well.

So here I am today painting up and down the California coast, exploring, still hunting for waves I haven’t seen yet. Whispers here and there, accidental discoveries, pure curiousity, whatever leads around the next bend, it’s all fair game.  I’d heard of this wave for years, but only recently learned it was one of Rick’s favorite waves to surf when he lived in the Bay area.

Standing over the cove, watching the windblown lines clean up around the rocky headland, it was a full circle moment thinking of the maker of so much influential art hooting and hollering on the waves below.

A hawk soared past as I painted, circling the cove repeatedly, at times hovering just to my right or left on the updraft before diving and riding the wind tunnels down and around the cliff faces below. I don’t normally add flying birds into paintings as they are so ephemeral to the landscape. This one seemed different.

“Ticks are Evil” $757

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

Price: $757
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.
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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.

“A Reluctant Admission” $424

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

Price: $424
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.
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Notes:
7th day on the road, 19th painting completed, 1st one this day

After collecting an official “Vehicle Immobilization and Potential Arrest Notice” on this private development the day before, I was careful on this day to stay in the designated public access area. It’s always odd to me to encounter these pay-to-play private coast mentalities. I’ve even read interviews with the developers where they talk dismissively of the area locals who felt they had the right to cross the land to get to the beach to dive for abalone, as they had done for literally years before this development came along. But that is another story.

Speaking of another story, as I was heading back to my van to get my gear after scouting my location for this crisp morning painting, I saw a whole herd of fire trucks rolling across the meadow and watched with amusement as firemen, piled out of their trucks and headed to the stairs with their frisbees in one hand and walkie talkies in the other. Must be nice to have “emergency vehicular access” privileges. I figured without my painting pack full of loose straps dangling rusty buckets I didn’t yet look like a misplaced hobo, so I made sure to enquire if they had a permit for this “operation”. Sheepishly they all deflected to one another and scattered down to their frisbee games, eager to get on with their fun.

Busted.

If I’d been a little better dressed and grayer in the hair they may have been a bit more nervous about brushing me off so easily, but it really was a beautiful morning, and I’d have done the same in their shoes… er, boots… er, sandals… whatever.

“Tea and Oranges”

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

Notes:
6th day on the road, 18th painting completed, 3rd on this day

I had this place pinpointed on my map for months. Not for it’s beauty, though it doesn’t lack in that area, but because it’s a place that means a lot to a friend that commissioned me to paint it on my next trip through. This is located in a long stretch of heavily regulated private development. Not knowing where the nearest public access was for this beach, or if it even had one, I figured I’d just pull up to the private road that led down to it and accept the risk involved.

I scoped the place on foot after leaving my van in the clearly not-for-public car park. When I returned to get my gear a few minutes later my plan was to leave an apologetic note on my windshield explaining what I was up to and hope for mercy. Instead I found a security guard already writing up an official “VEHICLE IMMOBILIZATION AND POTENTIAL ARREST NOTICE”  to go where my note would have been placed. These guys worked fast. I proceeded to explain myself and he explained this was the first notice after which (if I was found again on the property) I would face fines and further consequences. Realizing this was just a warning then, I read between the lines that this was my free pass to go paint and enjoy this private slice of earth for the afternoon and rub shoulders with the upper class of beachgoers. Nobody brought me any martinis though.

For that matter nobody brought me any Tea and Oranges that Came All the Way from China either, that title being a reference to a Leonard Cohen song of a different name that played as I pulled onto this private lane, and a sneaky double reference to the security guard who may or may not have gone by the name of Leonard.

“Get Off My Lawn” $592

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

Price: $592
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.
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Notes:
6th day on the road, 17th painting completed, 2nd one this day

A big inspiration in my art life came from an unlikely source. It makes perfect sense in hindsight, but at the time when my older brother got the book “Surfing California” when we were teens, I had no idea the years of exploration that would follow, and that would lead naturally into what I do today, travelling and painting this state’s coastline from border to border.

One spot in that book eluded me for years until this trip. I’m embarrassed to say it’s the only one that I recall being listed by it’s actual address on Highway 1. Why I never thought to look for the address sooner (maybe, you know on a map or something?), I have no idea. But here I was on this trip armed with a fully functioning map. Nothing could stop me now. Except I couldn’t remember the address. I must have stopped and hopped around the bushes at 3 or 4 different properties before almost accidentally arriving here. In fact I nearly drove by it, except for seeing the wave from the road. What? It’s even visible from the road?  Good grief. I’m not nearly as observant as I sometimes pretend to be.

Sure there were NO TRESPASSING signs every 10 feet on that fence, but then why did that one spot have a clear trail leading away from the fence and along the bluff and down to the water, hmm? Methinks I’m supposed to go over this fence. Only problem was my nerves while painting in full sight of house and highway 1 out in the open on clearly marked private property. Never looked over my shoulder so many times in one painting. Kept expecting old man McCrakker to come out of his house yelling, “Get Off My Lawn!”  Never did though…

And what a setup! I hope to be back, looks like a fun little slide out there.

“Open Lanes”

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

Notes:
6th day on the road, 16th painting completed, 1st on this day

I was hoping to paint the view north from this location, but when I got here I wasn’t feeling it. The linear elements of this reef meeting the microscopic 8inch lines of windswell wrapping around it were of interest though, especially with the backlit morning light peeking around the hillside I was on.

I did have to walk around a locked gate through an opening to a private lane where I noticed a large NO TRESPASSING sign spray painted completely black. I think that means visitors are welcome then, no?

At any rate, the few folks that came and went through that locked gate either didn’t notice me lurking with my easel in the ferns, or they just didn’t care, as nobody said a word.

“Fault Lines”

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

Notes:
5th day on the road, 15th painting completed, 2nd one this day

I’ve scouted around in this cove a few times looking for an angle to paint this place, but never bothered to find a way out onto the cliffs that overlook it. Glad I finally did, I could spend weeks painting out here. What really stands out up here is the geological forces that have shaped this cove. I believe the San Andreas fault line runs right through it, and I was drawn to the linear elements of the scene before me.

It was a longish walk from the road to get out here, often on game trails through tall grass that had me tucking my pant legs into my socks and checking for ticks religiously. I was relieved to never see a single one, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking of those little bloodsuckers nearly the whole time.

When I was nearly finished with this one, some ladies came walking by on the nearby trail. They stopped and made note of the waves they thought I’d added (I’d seen a few). At first I thought they were just friendly walkers out to chat on a nice afternoon. Then they wanted to know where I was from, and who I was with, and let me know they noticed my van back at the carpark. I assured them I was alone, not part of a group and not connected to any other artists that have passed through these parts.

Maybe I read them wrong, but they sure seemed to be putting out some territorial vibes in that short conversation. But I understand, they live in a very small town, in a very beautiful place, in a state whose coast is being bought and sold at an alarming rate. Protectionism isn’t all their fault. It’s also their virtue.

“In a Different Light” $307

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

Price: $307
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.
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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.

“We All Stand Alone” $299

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

Price: $299
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.
click here for full cost breakdown

Notes:
4th day on the road, 12th painting completed, 3rd one this day

I came around a bend on the winding highway 1 a bit south of here today and a large RV was heading toward me in the oncoming lane. It wasn’t swerving or dangerous, we were both moving slowly and within our respective lanes. What stood out was the clear view I had of the driver of the vehicle. She looked just like my sister who we lost to cancer several years ago.

It was a head on collision.

I’m not one to grieve outwardly too much so these things take time to slowly boil out over the years. I cried around the next few bends remembering her, all while laughing about the prospect of her driving around the country in a big RV.  (If you knew her, you know of the humor present in that thought).

This painting was later in the day, I first surfed here on a road trip with my dad a long long time ago. It could have been that family connection, or the old church standing tall across the river in the distance that had me recalling her again as I painted this one.

The solitary beachgoer that waded out to the sandbar island that had formed in the rivermouth was a reminder for me, that at least on this side of life, we all stand alone on the face of the earth.

One day we’ll stand together, but I’d like to get a few more waves first.

“A Change is Brewing”

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

Notes:
4th day on the road. 11th painting completed. 2nd one this day.

Often the main challenge in painting a location is finding an angle that condenses the story of being there into one frame. I’d surfed here years before with a friend, repelling down the steep cliff on a wet, gray day. I’ve been fond of the place ever since. That personal connection can make a painting even more difficult since I’m also trying to pack all those memories onto the canvas as well. After scouring around, I settled on this view. I knew it was a little dicey parking on this narrow road, but I needed the elevation provided by the van to see down the bluff to the beach below. If I’d pulled up just another 50 feet or so, I’d have been in a wider section designated for tourists to park and take photos of the view (or themselves). But this particular spot had the magic I was looking for- perhaps more than I had first realized as it was here I learned of a particular approach to my art that would impact every subsequent painting. No joke, and I’m not telling either.

It was a quiet week day and any ordinary car could still easily drive around my van so I figured I’d be fine. In my time there, I learned there are a lot of folks that drive really nice ordinary cars, likely to pair up with really nice ordinary houses that overlook the ocean. Then a large truck rolled up with a trailer, perhaps full of gravel by the look of it, and after a minute he got out and approached my van. I’d already started putting loose items away and closing open containers and generally stabilizing anything that looked precarious for the impending move, so I was ready for him and offered to move before he could ask. He was real nice about it., so I asked if he was going to be making repeated trips down this lane, and he said it was his last of the day. I pulled forward and let him pass, then backed up into position to complete the painting. As I was finishing, a lady in one of the nice cars drove by and said something out her window about my van being in her way… as she easily drove around it. Go figure.

“Heard from Across the Valley”

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

Notes:
4th day on the road, tenth painting completed, first one this day

Some paintings I’ve seen for a long time before I painted them. When painting plein air it can take awhile since you’re not pulling images out of your imagination, if there’s a painting rumbling around in there, you have to wait until you put yourself in the place at the time of day that painting is asking for.

This was one of those. I’d seen this rambling creek, this cove, this shaded valley in the morning light for awhile in my mind. I had a few different locations I was hunting for it on this foggy morning. The first two were beautiful, but the angles were wrong and the fog was thicker than usual. Pressing on to this last option I thought had potential, the clouds breaking and lifting just as I arrived, I was a bit giddy at the site before me. It looked even more like the painting than the one in my mind.

The freshly mowed poison oak/berry patch lining the road here provided adequate space to pull over and work from the van, which was great since I didn’t want to set foot on all that chopped poison oak anyway. The passing cars shook the van each time they roared by, the shoulder wasn’t quite as large as I’d have liked, but one can’t have it all, can they?

Nothing about this painting ever really felt like work, it was just a pure joy reacting to the scene before me and listening to the steady crack of breaking waves on the sandbar that built up around this rockstack. I could hear them clearly from all the way across this valley.

But I saw this painting coming from much further than that.

“Glass at Dusk”

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

Notes:
3rd day on the road, 9th painting completed, 3rd one this day

Not so long ago, and prior to the age of plastic’s dominance, one coastal town decided it’s beautiful bluffs overlooking the sea would be a great place for the town dump. It made all sorts of sense, what with the flat ground being suitable for simple pushing the refuse over the cliff onto the rugged beaches below for the ebb and flow of the ocean to magically make it all go away.

Well, it’s almost all gone, but what’s left behind is a bit of a wonder. All the glass bottles (this was before recycling was seen as a worthy endeavor) simply broke up, and worn by the sea and sand, filled entire beaches with translucent fragments. At first glance it just appears gravel, upon closer inspection it seems entire coves are made of glass.

I’d wanted to attempt a painting at beach level with afternoon light pouring through the beach glass, but the weather turned and I was left to wander around in the thick overcast evening air looking for a suitable cove. The first one I had in mind was blocked off from public access. No worries, I’d find another. Cove after cove was blocked and/or inaccessible. I came to the end of the trail and still no way down. Well now, I’ve hopped fences for paintings before and on account of the quickly fading light, I saw no reason not to add one more to the list.

It’s a perplexing conundrum this town faces now that it’s marketed this beach as a destination for tourists, needing to keep them away from the best coves so the tourists don’t remove all the town’s old trash. Wait, what? Hard to believe that’s a real sentence, but there you have it.

“Untouched”

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

Notes:
3rd day on the road, 8th painting completed, 2nd one this day

Well “Untouched” may be a misnomer, this place has seen a lot of action being as close as it is to town. That said, it’s been amazingly spared from development and remains an unconsumed and pristine open space. A refuge for many from the trials of small town life.

She was dark and gray today, that open space expanding to the point where you feel you don’t belong, no one belongs. Like the earth there is unsure of her beauty and just wants to be alone. The footpaths in the meadows yearn for healing, and are in the process now, but the scars run too deep. They will not heal before the sun returns and brings the wounded from town back to these paths in search of joys, wonders, stoke and revelries.

She will open up to them, soothe them, give of herself for their betterment. But she will let not let them have her, she will send them all back after their brief dance. Some will return smiling, some in tears, but all will be changed by their encounter in some way.

On days like this, when she is dark and gray, she is also happy. It is these days she can be herself and wait upon her own healing. These are her sanctuary times, and they usually only come on moonless nights. Here on these dark days she can see herself better and she knows beyond the doubt of night that indeed she is beautiful.

“The Wind Blows Where it Wishes”

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

Notes:
3rd day on the road, 7th painting completed, 1st one this day

The wind was blowing lightly onshore this morning but the fog was moving out to sea and back again on a seemingly different program altogether.

You never know what or who will blow in with the wind.

Besides fog, here’s what else the wind blew past me while I worked on this one on the side of the road:

A chain smoking man in a cowboy hat in a white ford 350 and a good dose of country music.

A couple in a rusty blue minivan who appeared to be looking for something in the bushes right beside me, pulling out all sorts of random roadside detritus including but not limited to one busted chair and a pair of ladies jeans that they nearly kept but finally decided not to.

An old friend from Humboldt who spotted me at work and stopped for a quick minute to say hi.

A road walking 20 something guy with a backpack who feigned interest in the art while scouting my bags for food (or whatever else he was looking for) and finally left with my Cliff Bar.

A grown man on a bmx bike asking directions to the next market north of us.

None of that happens in the studio. Well, not very often anyway.

“No Vegetarian Options”

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

Notes:
2nd day on the road, 5th painting completed, 3rd one of the day

There’s a chunk of reef out here that I’ve always enjoyed pulling over for and watching when passing through this area. I’ve never seen it look truly rideable, but I wouldn’t put it past some nut to give it a go on the right day. Heaving peaks onto dry rock reef. Mindsurfing was never so fun.

It’s not just the water that’s compelling here either, it’s also the landscape leading up to it. The open space of these tall grassy (ticks!) meadows is part of the California coast experience that just makes you happy to be alive. The sky is bigger. Your body is smaller. The rolling hills lead down to rocky canyons with micro pocket beaches.

Sea lion locals stare you down the moment you peak over the grass into their private cove. They seem always on edge, even as they bask in the sun. A reminder of the food chain at work in these waters. No vegetarian options.

“Nothing is Easy”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 6″ x 8″
Year: 2017

Notes:
1st day on the road, 2nd painting completed

I pulled off the highway here on my first day down the coast. The light was of the flat midday sort where the shadows are still hiding underneath their rocks staying cool in the heat of the sun, waiting till things cool off to come out again in the afternoon. I wanted to paint here but the light was not working for me yet. That said, the color of the water up the coast with the distant haze of the morning marine layer hovering was interesting enough so I settled on a quick small one, figuring it would be easy to just paint real quick and move on.

2 hours later, what am I doing? I’ve painted 16×20’s faster than this little 6×8.

Nothing is easy.

“The Usual Difficulties” $485

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

Price: $485
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.
click here for full cost breakdown

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.

“The East Coast of California” SOLD OUT SHOW @ BeardArt Gallery, Eureka, CA

It’s a bit awkward, but yes, this show is sold out before it even opened. We didn’t see it coming either…  Huge thanks to all who helped make this one happen.

Tahoe Waves

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