Archive | Monterey

“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 23: Location, Location, Location”

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2015

Series: “Free Range: California”
Odometer: unknown, the numbers kept spinning, I’ll have to get it checked out, must be busted or something…
Notes: One of the most enjoyable parts of this trip has been having the time to explore some dog legs off the main roads that I’ve wondered about for years and peer around a few corners on nothing but a wim and a bleeping internal surf radar. On one remote stretch of coast where I stood looking out at the glassy lines I was surprised by the sound of the crunching dirt road gravel very close by. Looking around for who or what was nearby, I realized it was just my jaw that had dropped to the ground on realization that I was staring out at just the oceanfront spread I’d been looking for for so long. Nothing too fancy, just a place to raise some cattle, skate my private bowl, and surf a left or right point on any given day, you know, just the basics… holy moly. Let’s not worry about where this is, let’s just be content to know that this is. California, I love you.

 

“Free Range 20: Overwhelmed”

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2015

Series: “Free Range: California”
Odometer: 935.8 miles
Notes: The coast of California is not fair. For every spot surfed or vista painted there’s a multitude of others that will have to wait for another day. Been enjoying this paint tour, but my heart breaks for all that I’ve seen and haven’t had time to stop for. It doesn’t matter how many times one makes this trip, many a stone will always be left unturned. So do not weep for me, not that you would, but weep for us all and all of the hidden beauty around each bend that this fleeting life is too short to take in. Yes, weep, but not in sorrow, weep for joy! For there is always more out there and none of us will ever be able to sadly say that we’ve seen it all. We haven’t come close.

 

“Free Range 19: Like a Bridge Over Troubled Wompers”

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2015

Series: “Free Range: California”
Odometer: 887.8 miles
Notes: Well, not really trouble wompers. I’m sure the womp down there is perfectly content to be left alone and only viewed from above. The only troubled ones would be the prospective wompees passing by hankering for some all-time scenic & historical womp. Access down there isn’t easy. This one is for all my boardless wave sliding friends. May your goat trails always be passable.

 

“Free Range 18: Punk Rocks”

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Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 12″ x 16″
Year: 2015

Series: “Free Range: California”
Odometer: 862.3 miles
Notes: Beautiful coast here. Almost too beautiful for painting as it draws throngs of visitors from all over the world in a constant stream of selfie sticks, bored kids on family vacation that will not be impressed by anything analog, and well, bearded painters too I suppose (though I was the only one out there on this day). The trouble with all this activity is the constant stream of nice folks who want to know if I’m making a living from art. I’m not sure why that is the question most often asked these days, but it is. In a crazy busy place like this one I get tired of fielding that inquiry and quickly run out of new ways to answer it on the spot so I prefer to wear headphones and enjoy some blindingly loud music so I don’t hear anything anyone has to say. I even sing along loudly from time to time in case they don’t see the headphones. This piece was painted with some enjoyable punk rock that brought me back to my teenage years. The fast pace forced a bit of a different vibe and kept it rough around the edges. Funny how that works. When you first saw this painting scrolling through your feed, you didn’t think to yourself, “oooo, looks like 80’s punk rock”, did you? No, you did not. But look again, and now you do. Neat huh?

 

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