Archive | San Luis Obispo

“Motel California”

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

Notes:

This is not a motel, nor is it painted from one, but on a map it shows this zone as the Motel District, so I went with it. On a personal note, that’s my wife and youngest daughter holding hands at the tide line, my son with a boogie board, and my oldest standing on the rock watching.  I really wanted to get down there and join them, but by the time I was finished they got cold and were ready to leave. Ah well, gotta work sometimes I guess.

“Hallowed Ground”

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

Notes:

William Wendt is widely considered one of the founding fathers of California Impressionism, a distinct school of impressionist art forged in the California landscape back in the early 1900’s. One of Wendt’s most iconic paintings is called What Nature’s God Hath Wrought and features a boldly centralized view of this very peak. Wade and I spent an afternoon scouting the countryside, climbing under fences, walking through high grass, fumbling our way around holding pictures of Wendt’s masterful painting up to the mountain before us, comparing views to determine roughly right where he stood and painted the scene from. We pretty much nailed it down one afternoon and decided to come back to paint it ourselves in the morning light. Too be honest, I wouldn’t have bothered if it wasn’t for Wade. The whole ocean thing. Hard to motivate. All that. But once we got going I was hooked. And also blown away all over again at Wendt’s masterful work. It’s just some rocks sticking out of the ground, but he gave them majesty. I kept thinking his composition with that mountain smack in the middle of the canvas just shouldn’t work, and yet it does. Neither Wade nor I were trying recreate Wendt’s painting- we didn’t even look at it once we had the spot figured out, our goal was just to stand where he stood and respond to the scene before us like we would with any other painting. I can’t speak for Wade, but I’m pretty sure neither of us felt like we had done half a lick of justice to the scene as the morning wound into afternoon and hunger took over. But still, we’d walked on hallowed ground.

“Grounded”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 16″ x 12″
Year: 2019

Notes:
I painted this boat over a year ago, grounded hopelessly on the rocks here after learning that it had previously belonged to my friend Colleen Gnos’s grandfather for years. It was even named after her brother until it was sold and the new owner gave it a new name and ran it aground in short order. This is where it’s been since. Except it’s spun around 180 degrees. It’ll eventually break into pieces here, but not for awhile. Part of the landscape now. I wanted to revisit it. It’s a great reminder that no boat stays at sea forever, and for each of us our day will come sooner or later, and often unexpectedly.

“Meet Me in St. Louis” $562

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 16″ x 12″
Year: 2019

Price: $562
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.

View Full Price Breakdown

Matt Beard Art- Plein Air Original Painting Documentation
_________________________________________________________________________

Artwork Title: Meet Me in Saint Louis
_________________________________________________________________________

Price Breakdown:

Base Price:
$240 – ($1.25 per square inch)

Travel:
$151.5 – Approximate distance from Eureka, CA ($0.3 per mile)
$50 – Overnight Travel
$25 – Sleeping in Van
$0 – Tricky Urban Camping

On the Ground Logistics:
$0 – Paid Parking
$0 – Illegal or Questionable Parking Required: Nope
$0 – Parking Ticket or Citation Issued

$0 – Painted from Roof of Van (that platform wasn’t cheap)

$0 – Painted from Private Land: No
$0 – Posted ‘No Trespassing’
$0 – Harassed by Authorities/Told to Leave
$0 – Citation for Trespassing Issued
$0 – Fence/Gate Hopping
$0 – Barbed Wire
$0 – Blood

$66 – Hauling Gear on Foot ($30 per mile)
$0 – Off Trail Wilderness Tromping
$0 – Climbing or Vertical Scrambling Requiring Use of Hands: None
$0 – Full On Bushwhacking: None

$0 – Poison Oak Observed: None
$0 – Bee/Wasp/Other Painful Insect Bites ($15 each)
$0 – Mosquitoes: None
$0 – Ticks Observed on Skin or Clothing: None
$0 – Tick Bites ($125 each!!)

$30 – Wind ($2 per mph)
$50 – Shade/Sun: Cooking in the Hot Sun
$0 – Heat/Cold ($1.5 per degree farhenheit above/below 65)
$-25 – Crowds/Questions/Human Element: Distracting, but Nice

$-75 – Sustenance Provided by Others Before, During or After Painting: Cold Beer and Snacks
$0 – Fun Surf At Location Before, During, or After Painting: Nothing, if it looks good in the painting, I probably lied.

$50 – Other: Required paddling 2 miles with gear to access location
_________________________________________________________________________

$562.5 – TOTAL COST

Notes:

My friend Colleen Gnos is a great artist. You might want to check out her work sometime. She studied in Italy. There may be a theme developing here, but I’ll save that for another day. In the meantime it’s enough to let you know this painting could not have happened without Colleen. She generously agreed to provide kayaks and paddleboards and accompany Wade and I on a one-mile paddle to paint this beach that is generally only accessible by water. If you’re up to speed on your 1940’s film history (and I’m not) you might get the subtle references going on with this title- the family that is the subject of the film Meet Me in St. Louis shares the same name as the family that once built houses for themselves out on that small rock island just off the shore here. It doesn’t hurt that the whole area is named after another Saint by the same name as well. Offbeat and obscure coincidental poetry for sure. Back to this day, though- any day that involves hauling paint gear and returning with an artifact from the edge of a place that few painters would bother to venture with easels and paints is a good day in my book. Thanks Colleen!

“A Pier Then Disappear”

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

Notes:
Back to the Italian dairy farms that took root here in 1860’s…  I painted this small dairy farm building one afternoon from beside an old ranch house where a not-so-Italian friend of Wade’s was living. Another not-so-Italian fellow had long ago purchased this land and setup operations here back in 1867. He first lived in the small ranch house set in this picturesque valley, and began overseeing the dairy operations behind the house with a mind toward something bigger than the dairy. A former ship captain himself, his interest was in shipping and commerce and not long after settling here, he built the town’s pier straight down from this dairy (along with a fancy new house right beside the pier that still stands today as a landmark that leaves the small ranch house and its dairy in its historical shadow). You can’t see the ocean or the pier from here anymore, the new coast highway has been laid on an embankment built across the valley, separating it from the coast from this small dairy farm that has long since ceased dairy operations altogether. But their past’s are inextricably linked together. The isolation provided by the highway severing this ranch from the small town has also helped to preserve this piece of history. On this bright summer afternoon I couldn’t resist attempting to tell its story. I’m sure I botched parts of it, but I tried to keep it straight.

“The Devil at My Heels”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 16″ x 12″
Year: 2019

Notes:
Considering the miracle of his survival and his boldness to share his faith in God, one could make an argument in favor of nominating Louis Zamperini (the author of book The Devil at my Heels) for sainthood, or at least make him a bishop or something. It’s quite a story and well worth reading, but aside from some overt wordplay subterfuge, it’s not the story of this painting. The devil that was at my heels this day, wasn’t a devil at all. But he worked for one, or at least a nuclear power plant that has taken the devil for its name. I’d hiked the 3 or 4 miles out on this windy day to see the furthest reach of this coast that I could legally access. It’s not public land, but is open during limited hours for public use with strict regulations about staying on the trail. These situations can make my work difficult. The best views are often a bit off the beaten path. I’d have to settle for a trailside setup today and was fortunate to find a spot that featured both the only view of the power plant itself from the legal trail system, and a nice windblock from the hill behind it. Painting here was a no brainer. After completing this, I hiked the rest of the allowable distance on the trail to it’s end, always followed by a white truck. I’d walk around a bend, and he’d pull up to a lookout on the road above the trail. Everywhere I went. For the next 2 hours. There were points where the road was right beside the trail, but he’d never stop there to chat. He’d go on a head to another lookout and wait for me to pass. His watchful eyes and lack of interaction had me wanting to mess with him and wait for him to go just out of view, then turnaround and backtrack and wait for him to follow, then do it again and again until he gave up or finally approached me. But I was tired (my outdoor studio travels well, but it’s not the lightest pack in the world), and if I hurried at a good clip I’d have time to paint another little painting before being locked behind the closed gate. I’d already scoped a perfect patch of poppies over a beach with a flowing creek, so there would be no fun and games today, just a mad hike into the howling wind with the devil at my heels.

“Red and Gold”

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

Notes:
Corralina, it’s the Italian word for coral, and though no coral is found in this cold water, there is a red seaweed with a hard calcerous surface named corralina that does grow in the rugged tidepools. There’s also poppies that bloom in the spring here. I had a strict 25 minutes to paint this one before getting locked in for the night with the devil in the white truck. Not an option, so I worked fast, got what I needed done, then did a bit of work at home later to bring it through.

“La Meccanica in un Momento de Pace”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 16″ x 12″
Year: 2019

Notes:
High tariffs in the newfound Kingdom of Italy in 1865 led to a large number of dairy farming Swiss-Italians to come to the US and eventually settle around this town. This coincided with the massive droughts that had just collapsed the large cattle ranches that dominated the California coastal landscape until that point. After the drought, small dairy farms became a viable reality and by 1880, Italian was the dominant language in this small town. And to this day the Italian influence can still be seen with icons like the Borradori Garage standing watch over the pier that was built to facilitate shipping of the local dairy products. It’s a peaceful setting, not at all what today’s prominant Borradori namesake, philosopher Giovanna Borradori writes about in her volume Philosophy in a Time of Terror. The title of this painting, La Meccanica in un Momento di Pace, is Italian for Mechanics in a Time of Peace, an inverted nod to both Borradori’s. What is more opposite of terror, than peace? What is more more opposite from philosophy than mechanical repair? Maybe that one’s not as obvious as the first, but I’m sure a case could certainly be made over a beer or two while standing on top of my van in the soft summer evening light. Disclaimer: I hold a minor degree in philosophy so standing around on an incredibly useful mechanical vehicle while arguing about incredibly useless subjects is something I consider not only good sport, but also an art. Cheers.

“Sir Francis Drake Was a Pirate”

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

Notes:
It’s true, he was. The Spanish navy hated the guy. But that’s history. And according to some amateur historians it is believed he may have hidden treasure in the caves on the headland at the end of this cove. Joined by my friend Wade Koniakowsky, we were stoked to walk up to this scene on a crisp sunny morning after the days of fog I’d been battling previously. We thought that was like walking up and discovering treasure. Finding the beach below empty was a great discovery as well, especially since it’s a notorious nude beach. Empty was just fine for us, thanks. Did you know they call the creepers on the cliffs “scalleywags” or “rock monkeys”? They have so many folks creeping up to oggle the nudies that they have names for them. I don’t know if that’s true, I read in a paper once though. Could be fake news, who knows these days? But what we do know is that even if those caves weren’t used for Drake’s treasure, they were at least used for smuggling moonshine during the prohibition years. The smugglers even carved steps into the rock face out at the end of the point to help run the rum up and down coast. Oh, and Francis Drake was a pirate. We know that too.

“The Back Road”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 16″ x 12″
Year: 2019

Notes:
Thwarted by fog on the coast, I found myself scouring the hillsides and back roads on this otherwise bright and clear morning for something to paint. Once I’m off the coast I get a little bewildered and find inspiration an often fleeting thing. But I was here to paint so I kept on and this little ranch road caught my eye leading up toward one of the rocky peaks that dot the landscape. I didn’t realize it at the time but this would be a significant piece to kick off this tour of the area, the peak itself being one of the most personally meaningful locations I’d paint on this trip- hallowed ground for sure. But that’s a story for later on…

“A Dissonant End”

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

Notes:
I’ve got no ear for harmonies, seriously. I might not be tone-deaf, but I am certainly tone-dumb. But I have heard that in the language of jazz, the end of a song is often signaled by a dissonant chord. I couldn’t really pick a dissonant chord out of a crowd, but I understand it to be one that isn’t in tonal harmony, whatever that my mean. It doesn’t quite fit in, it’s jarring, and out of place. But it works I guess. The end of this trail was kinda like that for me. An abrupt end at a barbed wire fence plastered with signs warning the would-be trespasser (me) to go no further. Of course I had wanted to go further, that was the plan all along. A quick lunch break while assessing the feasibility of proceeding would see a ranch truck come and go and come again in the span of about 20 minutes. Nuts. I could be wrong, but I was sure I saw some beady-eyed stink-eye being cast my way as well. I think these guys can smell it on me sometimes. So I figured I’d buy some time and just paint this little vista safely on the public side of the fence then see if things might quiet down. And they sorta did, but the ranch truck guy hadn’t left yet, so I figured it best to hop along the cliff edge out of view of the road. I made my way quite a good distance up the coast this way until two things happened. First, I reached an impasse where I could go no further without heading up toward the road and all the risks it would bring. And second, while pondering my predicament, the fog bank finally rolled in and made my decision for me. No point going further if there was nothing to see, so I turned back and called it a day. This place just didn’t fit in with my plans for the day, but such is life on the coast. The hard to reach places are just that, and that’s what makes them so special to finally reach when everything lines up, and that works fine for me.

“Stick a Fork in It”

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

Notes:

I’ve been on the road for a week and a half. I’ve slept in my van in grocery store parking lots, picking ticks off my face that must have crawled out of my painting gear as I slept. I’ve wrestled the sun and cursed at the wind. My back is tired, my feet ache, my lips are chapped, and the distinct itch of poison oak is catching up with me from a week of exposure. I’m heading home tomorrow, but today I am here.

The sun had grown tired of my grumbling and refused to join me for this last effort. The waters will not be illuminated today. The air is full of mist. My mind is full of other places I’d like to be. Home, mostly. But today I am here.

One last round with mother nature. It’s not a victory song, it’s funeral march, as Leonard Cohen would say, it’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.

I long to see this coast in another light, on another day, and perhaps I will in the not too distant future. But today I am here, and I cannot deny this moment. There is joy in the muted earth, joy in the slow passage of time, joy in the rumble of ocean below.

But I also cannot deny the joy of completion. Stick a fork in it. I’m done.

“More or Less”

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

Notes:

I saw an old man reciting poetry to the seagulls here. They waited on his every word, looking for any morsel of wisdom they could read between his lines. Or potato chips, those would work too. One seagull perched on my van. He wanted to know what I was doing in there. I was painting the scene he calls home. He didn’t like my painting because it didn’t include all the people and towels, umbrellas and bikinis, but mostly the paper sacks resting in open backpacks near the skinny awkward kids. Those contained the best poetry in this literary ave’s opinion. Poetry written in love by lonely mothers giving their lives for their young and wrapping their words in plastic and tin foil to keep them fresh in their child’s time of need. Yes, the finest verses ever written, penned from kitchen counters, awaiting their day to be read aloud for the young to hear. My winged friend above asks for silence. The recital is about to begin.

Not sure where that came from, but on a sidenote, I did include a bit of my childhood in this one, the yellow VW bus my folks got in 1976 when I was just a year old. In fact this whole area is permeated for me by memories of exploration as a teenager here in that old van. My grandparents moved just over the hill behind the coast here in those years and I would borrow the van and head out in all directions to see what waves I could find. I’d often end up right here after being too chicken to surf anywhere else alone at that age. I’d probably eat a sandwich wrapped in plastic and foil afterwards.

Fastforward to now, and here I am eating a sandwich and some chips out of the back end of the big white sprinter van (also in this painting), while talking to seagulls about life. Full circle, more or less…

“Mourning and Remembrance”

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

Notes:

By day they theorize, philosophize, and lay their eyes on this predicament from old lawn chairs behind a makeshift barrier of plastic tape. By night they await the higher tide under the spotlight, searching for answers, but generating none. Once a proud vessel, named for nobility, now on the rocks, without the gin, or perhaps because of it if the wind spoke truly. Each morning brings a new revelation, coffee and binoculars the potent ingredients of this daily visionquest. She is a solar eclipse, her shining brightness now darkened by the lesser light. Shucked like an oyster, removed from her shell of open water, she now sits waiting for the ocean to swallow her hull.

The heiress watches on, a mix of rage and longing, as she carves an homage of color to the one she once knew. All the while they watched this maiden work and no one said a word.  It is no different with you or I. While our voyages may end differently, still every voyage must end and we can only hope there is a daughter by our side to mourn and remember us when our day arrives.

True story.

The boat that got stuck on the rocks here was still stuck on the day of the solar eclipse, and over a meal of oysters with an artist friend in the area I learned the boat used to belong to her grandfather and was originally named after her brother. I told her I wanted to paint it, and convinced her to come with me the next day and we stood on the bluff and painted while the captains came and went. I could have just told you this plainly right off the bat, but the whole thing was too poetic to introduce like that.

Apologies if what I wrote was no good.

I’m just a painter.

 

“A Matter of Convenience”

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

Notes:

Chumash land: just the way it always was…

Spanish imperialism: all of your earths is ours now

Mission San Miguel: we graze our cattle on all your lands now

Mexican land grant: all of your ground is Mr. Pico’s now

George Hearst: I found gold, I buy your dirt from Pico.

Willam Randalph Hearst: Thanks dad, I like big castles

California state parks: Thanks king Hearst, we like beaches.

That’s my nutshell of the entire human history of this piece of coast dating back as far as we can know. Well, that and the Portuguese whaling community that made use of this convenient bay and the deepwater beyond to manhandle 370 whales into lifeless economic commodities in just 10 years. Bay of blood?

All told, it’s a very sheltered beach on a rugged windswept and swell-pounded coastline. A convenient place to build a wharf for offloading materials to build, oh say… a castle, or something like that.

Now there’s still a wharf there today. And ghosts from other eras still linger beside the towering Eucalpytus. History has unfolded at a different pace here than most places on the coast, and it’s tangible.

“The Sea Before Dark”

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

Notes:

A focal point for those just passing through. After miles of inland panoramas the road opens up to a view of the ocean here. But only for a moment or two. Then it’s back to the cows and the farms and the country music.

It’s hard not to stop once in awhile. It’s just so easy. And when traversing the entire state north to south in a hurry, it’s often the last chance for a quick dip in the sea before dark.

Also, this place scared the jeebies out of me when I was about 13 and paddled out in front of these cliffs thinking it looked small and fun. Visions of coast guard helicopter rescue attempts thwarted by the setting sun drifted faster than the sweeping current through my panicked mind as I realized the error of my judgment.

It’s a lesson all ocean going people learn the hard way, and not just once, but usually on multiple occasions before it really sinks in. Looking down at waves is very different than looking up at them.

“Leave No Trace: Sides A & B” $583

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: (diptych) Side A: 12″ x 12″  Side B: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2017

Price: Side A and B together- $583
Side B (right) only- $439
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.
click here for full cost breakdown

Notes:

Arrival: Late Afternoon. Look west, hike to bottom of trail. View from top was better. Plus creepy creepers lurking in the reeds everywhere down here. Trash strewn. Beautiful place, but yuck. Back to top. Look east, hike toward cove on that side of this headland. Trash strewn. Starting to feel guilty. Might head back to the van and dump some beer cans and toilet paper around at random to blend in better with all the creepers crawling all over this place. Continue on, decide not to add my own trash. Arrive at fork. Turn right, holy mackaroly, that’s a neat cave. Spend some time enjoying this marvel of nature. And graffiti. Because that’s what I feel like doing when I see a place this beautiful. Quick! Write my name on something, pronto! I Still prefer the view from the top though. Head back up the trail. Am I being followed? Creeper country picnic down here. Scope view from top. Neat granite rock formation in foreground. Like an  arcing wave. Covered in graffiti, of course, because names need to be written here. Go back to van, retrieve supplies return to paint. College girls smoking weed and giggling. No thanks, but thank you for offering. They leave and another couple shows up and picks up where the girls left off. But they don’t offer me any. I don’t hold it against them. One more group of kids show up, and climb over directly in front of where I’m painting. But they leave because it smells like piss down there. Because after writing your name on a rock, you usually need to pee on something… like the rock you just wrote your name on. The day gets late. A cute young couple expecting their first child shows up with a photographer to take pretty sunset photos. Probably going to crop out the beer bottles and graffiti. Not me. They are part of the story. When I am done I drink a beer of my own while the sun finally sets. I ponder smashing the bottle and pissing on it before I leave, but instead I take it with me and leave no trace. I guess I don’t belong here.

“Leave No Trace: Side B (Only)” $439

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: (diptych) Side A: 12″ x 12″  Side B: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2017

Price: Side A and B together- $583
Side B (right) only- $439
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.
click here for full cost breakdown

Notes:

Arrival: Late Afternoon. Look west, hike to bottom of trail. View from top was better. Plus creepy creepers lurking in the reeds everywhere down here. Trash strewn. Beautiful place, but yuck. Back to top. Look east, hike toward cove on that side of this headland. Trash strewn. Starting to feel guilty. Might head back to the van and dump some beer cans and toilet paper around at random to blend in better with all the creepers crawling all over this place. Continue on, decide not to add my own trash. Arrive at fork. Turn right, holy mackaroly, that’s a neat cave. Spend some time enjoying this marvel of nature. And graffiti. Because that’s what I feel like doing when I see a place this beautiful. Quick! Write my name on something, pronto! I Still prefer the view from the top though. Head back up the trail. Am I being followed? Creeper country picnic down here. Scope view from top. Neat granite rock formation in foreground. Like an  arcing wave. Covered in graffiti, of course, because names need to be written here. Go back to van, retrieve supplies return to paint. College girls smoking weed and giggling. No thanks, but thank you for offering. They leave and another couple shows up and picks up where the girls left off. But they don’t offer me any. I don’t hold it against them. One more group of kids show up, and climb over directly in front of where I’m painting. But they leave because it smells like piss down there. Because after writing your name on a rock, you usually need to pee on something… like the rock you just wrote your name on. The day gets late. A cute young couple expecting their first child shows up with a photographer to take pretty sunset photos. Probably going to crop out the beer bottles and graffiti. Not me. They are part of the story. When I am done I drink a beer of my own while the sun finally sets. I ponder smashing the bottle and pissing on it before I leave, but instead I take it with me and leave no trace. I guess I don’t belong here.

 

“Machine Work”

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

Notes:

A bit of Old California here. Not too many places are left like this along the coast. An old industrial building, built back when even those were made to be beautiful and long before the man/nature dichotomy narrative had reached it’s current crescendo and even man’s industry was a thing to be celebrated as a wonder of nature itself, placed right above a small fishing pier on a pristine stretch of coast. It’s a wonder to me that it’s survived all these years and not been replaced by an upscale restaurant, or hotel, or both.

I don’t know of the history of its survival, if it’s current existence has been won in a series of hard fought battles from preservation minded locals against outside monetary interests, or it’s just been simply overlooked in it’s quiet corner of the coast, but I hope it doesn’t just sit here as a reminder of a past, I hope it thrives in all it’s grease and glory for generations to come.

Oh and I was approached by the police while painting this one. I was in the back of the van, doors open to the view. They pulled up slowly, just enough to see in the back and watched for a minute or two.  They never got out, never said a word, and slowly backed up and left. I guess I wasn’t the one they were looking for that day. I know that wasn’t much of a story for you either, but I always get a kick out of the events that unfold when painting out and about in public. I’ve never had a police officer approach me while painting in my home studio.

“Economy of Scale”

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

Notes:

Geology trips me out. They always say that the large rock formation at the mouth of this bay is some sort of plug in a volcano. Okay…  well I guess that’s pretty convenient. Maybe that’s why they are so strict about not letting climbers set foot on the thing- don’t want to risk any climbers setting bolts on a weak spot and causing the whole thing to blow. No good when that happens.

But yeah, I wanted to get a good view of this landmark so I scouted a nice short trail up a nearby peak and made my way to the top. Upon arrival, I spun two things. First was a full 360 or two, taking in the panoramic view from the top. Pretty epic, but lacking foreground interest up there. So the second thing I spun was a 180 back down the trail to a large granite boulder I’d passed on the way up.

I thought there was a certain visual poetry in painting this boulder in the foreground, with a distant view of a downright massive rock formation that would make this boulder appear but a pebble if they were to sit side by side. An interesting economy of scale, to misuse a phrase.

If that one is some sort of volcano plug, maybe this one is plugging up an epic hot tub. I’ll have to file a complaint with the geology department. Hiking around with a studio on one’s back, one needs all the hot tubs one can find. Preferably without giant rocks on them.

“Most Wanted”

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

Notes:

I’d been wanting to paint this stretch of coast for years. It’s not a place I’ve visited much, but even driving by as a kid learning to surf years ago, this area called to me. The deepwater reefs and powerful surf was out of my league and for the most part probably still is, but the angle of the coast looking nearly due east to the place of the rising moon (no moon at this time, it was around the time of the solar eclipse, so if you’re a moon person, you know that happens around a new moon, but you should see this place when the full moon rises… oh my, but I digress). As much as I am drawn to this area, it seems the police are drawn to me here as well. I’m a slow cautious driver and don’t get pulled over much, but I was pulled over right here, maybe 8 or 10 years ago, driving an old GMC van. Pretty sure my muffler fell off just prior to being pulled over, but that’s not what the officer said I was pulled over for. He said my license plate light bulb was out… I think he just wanted to take a look in the van and scope it out all the contraband. He started by asking for my driver’s license. I handed it to him and in the photo on the license I was actually clean shaven, and he looks at my big old bushy beard and back at the photo and says “I don’t see a beard on here” to which I say “no, no it’s on there officer” and proceed to point to my last name. (These days I’d have likely been pulled out of the car and pinned down for reaching out the window like that, but like I said it was awhile back.) He laughed and changed his hole tone after that and let me go. Didn’t even write a fix-it ticket.  Fast forward to this day, and while painting up on this hill, a police car pulls up just at the base of the hill and I see the officer in the patrol car watching me up here. I knew it was fine to be here, but it stirred some fun memories. Then, I kid you not, even as I packed it all back down to the van, another officer pulls up and watches me load my gear back in the van. Not sure what that’s all about. Matt Beard. Fugitive van driving art guy.

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