Archive | Plein Air

“Off in the Distance” $432

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

Free Range/Outdoor/Plein Air Price: $432
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for specifics on this piece.

Field Notes:
We had some good sunny weather a few days ago, and I got it in my head that I’d go up to Trinidad, to the top of the headland there and paint the view looking north. I had the exact vantage point in my mind with vertical rock faces framing one side of the painting but deep atmospheric distance plummeting away up the coast on the other. It would take some scrambling to get all my gear to the little zone with the view, but nothing too problematic. Well… except for the wind. I was just so excited to see a clear sky forecast after all the rain, that I ran out without thinking of that pesky wind factor. Needless to say, it was a no go. Howling north winds were slamming full force into the promontory I wanted to perch upon. I figured since I live around here, I can always come back on a calmer day and kept going around the leeward side of the head to see what views were on offer on this winter afternoon.

I’d thought of doing a studio piece from this perspective years ago, I even have a file full of images taken with a zoom lens to get this unusual angle of one of my favorite surf zones. I never considered painting it in plein air as the entire frame of the composition is only about two finger widths at arms length due to the distance across Trinidad bay. Not a lot of visual information to work with, a rather flat atmosphere (again due to everything in the painting being a long distance away), and a really awkward compositional problem with no real foreground to work with made this one a bigger challenge than I had expected. I could have included some plants from the side of the trail I was on and peering over, but thought it would distract from this near aerial perspective, so instead I just hammed up the swell lines and foam trails in the water down there to give the eye a bit of enjoyment down there.

While I did have higher hopes for this one (I think I always do for all of them), I am pretty stoked to have come away with a different perspective of a familiar spot.



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

Plein air from small boat

Yup. By boat. A lot of times I’ll set up to paint a spot that I just know has seen a steady stream of painters like myself over the years. Not this one. I wouldn’t be too surprised at all if this was the only painting ever completed on site right here.

I’m always stoked when the opportunity arises to paint from a different perspective. This one came with some pretty unique challenges, particularly the constant movement of the boat, even on a calm day. When I tried to put the brush here, it went there, and vice versa. Frustrating at times, but it seems to have given a certain life and movement to an otherwise quiet compostion.

What’s with the title? We pulled up to a buoy with stenciled letters around it that read NO RANCHO. Wondering for a second who or what Ranchos were, we figured either way we didn’t have any so we’d be good. Then as we came around it we saw the first R of Rancho dissappear and show up at the end of the word, like the first in a series of waves dies out only to rebuild at the back of the line. Ah yes, no anchor. Of course. Im sure our fearless captain piloting the vessel knew all along, but us Ranchos aren’t always the sharpest tools on the boat. And there you have it.

Big thanks to our captain (who shall remain anonymous in case word gets out that he brought a full on Rancho out to this spot) and also the folks at Save the Waves for facilitating this little voyage. You bet I’m donating back from thus one. Also thanks to Dramamine. That was awesome.

“Wedding Chapel in the Church of the Open Sky”


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

My hosts on this road trip were hesitant to accept a painting from me as a gift for generously offering me a place to stay throughout my tour of this stretch of coast. I think our long friendship had them not feeling right about being paid for something that they would have offered freely anyway. But policy is policy, and hosts receive art whether they like it or not. The fact we’re long time friends just makes the exchange that much more enjoyable for me. But still, it’s hard to do one of these for someone when they won’t tell you where they want you to paint. So when I discovered the beach site where they were married through a conversation with a mutual friend, I knew what I had to do.  But holy moly, the wind did too. This was the only vantage point I could find where painting this location was feasible on this afternoon. The makeshift rock lined fire pit up against the leeward side of this cliff face speaks to me of hearth and home and the many fine conversations we shared in their current home sitting around their unlit wood stove as the weather never did call for an actual fire to be lit. Thanks you Anders and Stacy. Wishing you many more years of life and love together.

Scroll Up