Archive | Day Trips

“Skunked”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 24″ x 36″
Year: 2002

Notes:
From the way-back machine all the way back to 2002. This won an award or mention or something in a Juried Exhibition at the Morris Graves Museum in Eureka, CA back when it was painted. Some friends owned it all these years and moved around the country ten times before moving back to Humboldt recently and allowing me to borrow it for some cleanup and to take some good photographs.

“Backside of the Dunes”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 16″
Year: 2002

Notes:
I’d forgotten about this painting entirely until a collector notified me it was up for sale on craigslist. Once I saw it, I immediately remembered the day I painted it, scouting around for hours being all kinds of particular about the view not being what I wanted. I probably passed up 35 great paintings before settling on this one. I’m pretty sure my thinking then was that it was getting late in the day and I’d better not go home empty-handed. I don’t recall what came of the painting or who bought it, or if I gave it away or what, but I was pretty stoked to see it once again. When my collector friend bought it and brought it over to my studio for some touchup, varnish, and framing it was a little like being reunited with a long lost child that had gone off into the world and lived a life of its own now back to say hello to Dad once again before heading out on another chapter. I wasn’t so sure of it when I painted it, but now after all these years I reckon it turned out alright after all.

“The Dining Room”

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

Notes:
My last painting from the US and THEM event. For this one, I had a good friend and collector offer to cater a meal for the 4 out of town artists and 4 local artists. She brought enough to feed 40 artists, and several who weren’t officially part of the event joined in and feasted magnificently with us all. She is a saint. This is where we ate and drank happily under a bright midday sun. I was so taken with the scene that I had to paint it after we broke it all down and scattered about for our afternoon session. Lots of memories here too, glad I finally painted this angle.

On a separate note, when promoting this event on social media, my website, the local papers and the local radio (yes, I went nuts) I specifically encouraged local artists who wanted to join us to bring some donuts or beers or something to share if they chose to paint alongside the crew. One of them did. Thank you Richard Stockwell, your generosity did not go unnoticed. Other than Richard, the only other artists to bring shareable sustenance were two on the US team- particularly Steve Taylor who procured an amazing assortment of local pastries and a thermos of hot coffee the first two days of the event. Ken Jarvela went above and beyond and managed to coral a beach bonfire oyster feast that everyone was too tired to enjoy, but still (he also passed his whiskey bottle around often, which was appreciated by many, if not all).  All that said, what in the world is up with the local folks that showed up and smiled and high-fived and chatted us all up and set up easels and painted away alongside us but alas- not ONE donut was shared. I’m not naming any names here, but come on. Step it up next time.

“It’s Never Like This”

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

Notes:
On the third day of the US and THEM event, the out of town artists were moving a touch slow in the morning. I’d been pushing them for two full days of action with very little rest. The weather had been beautiful, but gray in the mornings with brief patches of brilliant sun and light winds. This morning was different though. Coming over the hill to see the coast for the first time, I don’t recall ever seeing the ocean so smooth. If I’d been looking for waves, I’d have been disappointed, but as it were, we were here to paint and to see the ocean so sheet-smooth, no swells or ripples of texture at all was a real unusual treat. The crew from San Diego may not have realized just how special this was- they have clear, sunny, flat days on the regular down there I reckon. But for us, it was a pretty big deal. All morning as were painting, folks were walking up and telling us “you know, it’s never like this here”. Yup. Got it, but thanks for drilling it in for those guys. The last thing we’d want is for them to head back to SoCal and tell everyone it’s like this all the time here. Cause it’s not.   Oh and also, on the first morning of this event I painted with oils, and while I usually enjoy my forays into that grown-up medium, that morning I did not. It took me awhile to realize it wasn’t the paint though, it was the scene- I just wasn’t all that into it, so I struggled and struggled with that painting until finally making peace with it at the end. This morning was so beautiful, I felt it appropriate to go for a “redemption” session and broke out my oil palette and had a great time from start to finish. Much better. Thanks for asking.

“Bread and Butter”

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

PRINTS AVAILABLE HERE

Notes:
3rd painting from the second day of the three day US and THEM event featuring 4 out of town artists and 4 local artists painting the beautiful Trinidad coast. These scenes as beautiful as they are, are also pretty common here. I love to paint them, but sometimes it feels like a guilty indulgence. Inviting artists to paint alongside who’ve never seen this coast before is a fun way to see it anew, but still, when we pulled up to this scene (which I have painted several times before- and I’m a not a huge fan of such practices) my challenge was to find a different approach. In this case it was as simple as using my van’s roof deck to get just a bit more vertical stretch in the landscape and approach it as a vertical and let that lone tree really stand right up to the sky. The evening glow was just the inevitable bonus after finding a compositional approach that got me interested. And now I feel guilty in a different way- look at that beautiful coast! And here I am struggling to find interest? I might need to get my head checked.

“Head Games”

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

Notes:
After a long morning walking around the coast here, showing the out of town crew the lay of the land, I wanted to take them to this vantage point. I had my reasons, though I didn’t tell them. This is one of the most iconic perches on the coast. The view (looking north, not the way I painted) is incredible, and one of the most painted and photographed vantage points in Humboldt. But for me, it’s always a struggle how to make it work as a painting. Something always seems off. A rock placement here, a compositional problem there. It’s so good, but at the same time, it’s full of spacing problems that are easily missed until a painting is fully committed to at which point it’s too late to do anything about. At least for me. I wanted to see how these guys would approach this scene, seeing it for the first time in their lives. As for myself, I found what shade I could while it lasted and painted this direction instead. I like to check the surf from here on small days off this headland, so it was a painting I knew I would enjoy and it would spare me from the problems facing the other direction. Was I playing head games with these guys, or just trying to learn from them. It’s a hard call. But they nailed some beauties, so it certainly didn’t faze them either way.

“There and Back Again”

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

Notes:
Second painting on day one of the US and THEM show I put together featuring 4 out of town artists painting alongside 4 local artists. I showed the out of town guys this view first thing in the morning, then on account of Ken Jarvela painting down on the beach we all went down and joined him, hoping the sun would come out later in the afternoon for this view. We painted well into the afternoon and never saw more than a hint of sun. After the beach sessions we ventured again past this point and up in to the town of Trinidad for some lunch and then returned once again to paint it as it was, sun or no sun. There was a filtered sunlight softly falling, and no complaints were heard. Or maybe they were, but I was up on top of my van and couldn’t make out most of what was being said down below anyway. They kept passing drinks up to me so I think it’s safe to say everyone was enjoying themselves.

“Because of Ken”

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

Notes: First morning of the US and THEM show I put together with 4 San Diego artists and 4 local artists painting all over the Trinidad coast. Ken Jarvela showed up early with no regard for where the rest of the crew wanted to paint and proceeded to bang out a 6 foot by 2 foot masterpiece of this rock pile from the parking lot looking south. I can’t seem to paint here without  showing Camel Rock in the distance, but it seemed nobody else wanted to paint this rockpile and I was really hoping our paintings would overlap each other’s in nice ways, so I took one for the team and while everyone else painted beautiful little pieces of the river making it’s way out to sea with Camel Rock in the background, I marched further up the river to paint Ken’s rocks and Camel Rock at once. It was a gray morning and with the rocks, beach and sky all shades of mostly gray it was tough to find motivation. Also beach level paintings are my kryptonite. Can’t stand em. I like some elevation, but again, this was a team effort so here I stood.

“She Loves the River”

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

Notes:
A birthday painting for my lovely wife.  We hiked a few miles climbing through brush on a barely-there trail, scrambled down a hillside clinging to dead snags and roots for our lives. Ok it wasn’t quite that extreme, but it was a nutty, sweaty, and awkward hike with all my art gear on my back. Not a spot many painters would ever bother to venture to. We swam in this beautiful little hole. I painted this one for her while she swam. She does love the river. Happy birthday, babe.

“Bluegrass & Dunegrass”

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

Notes:
Painted with some great live local Bluegrass from the Compost Mountain Boys to support the Friends of the Dunes at their annual Wine by the Sea event. I often paint live at this event and typically end up painting some swirly abstract thing just grooving to the music, but the view here really is beautiful and figured after 4 years of getting weird, I’d throw a curve ball and get a bit more normal and do what I usually do when painting outdoors on the coast and just react to the scene at hand. Kinda fun. Might do it again sometime…

“One Last Chance”

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

Notes:
I’ve wanted to paint this one for a long time. Not sure why it took so long, but it was fun to finally take the time to make it happen. It’s not a place I’ve spent a whole lot of time at, but I’ve driven past it dozens of times and made a few memories here and there. Everytime I see this place I remember one of the first times I was here, over 20 years ago. I was maybe 21 years old, just a kid really. I wound up staying in a hostel tucked away just at the bottom of this hill. I arrived at the last light of day and was looking forward to getting up early and enjoying some of the small clean waves I saw out front before heading on to wherever I was going the next day. At first light I awoke and slowly, quietly, gathered my belongings and softly made my way to the door so as not to disturb the other travelers still soundly sleeping. Well, all but one. She was at the door before me, perplexed and fumbling with the handle. In hushed tones she explained to me the door was locked, with no way to unlock it without a key, which was not to be found. Really? Together we strategized the finest plan ever put into action. Running out of options, it was likely our One Last Chance to break free. We did what we had to do.  We climbed out the window. I know you were hoping for something more dramatic, but what can I say? That’s all there was to it. After a quick embrace, like captives about to go our separate ways after a daring jailbreak, we parted into the misty morning. The waves did not disappoint and to this day I have not seen it as good since. But still I always look forward to seeing it again, and marvel at the hostel that locked it’s visitors in at night.

“Car Trouble”

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

Notes:
I seem to remember several occasions over the last 20 years where my van wouldn’t start after a surf here. Probably because it was just an old Volkswagon and that’s kinda how they work. It was as good a place as any for the old van since the road makes a gentle descent to beach level just past the little carpark on the top of the bluff. It was never hard to get it pointed down the hill and pop the clutch to get it going. The day I painted this one, in my fancy big sprinter van, I noticed a foul smell just before arriving. I had hoped it was another car on the road, but it followed me a little longer than I’d liked. Just as I pulled up I saw the old Check Engine Light on the dash. Nuts. Ah well, let’s hope it’s nothing major. At any rate, nothing to do about here anyway, may as well paint the place.

“Who’d a Thunk?”

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

Notes:

After months of working on a book project and endless late nights preparing for an online pre-sale campaign, the business side of the art life was getting to me. I needed a break.The forecast was favorable so off I went to reconnect with the real world for a surf and a paint session on my own without any thoughts of business. Checking the campaign right before leaving, I saw that there were 176 backers who had pledged a total of $17,706 which just happened to be 176% of the total amount I was shooting for in this US only presale campaign.  Hooray for the USA, 1776, freedom and all that! Let’s go! Who’d a thunk that I’d be at this point just 5 days from launching this 32 day campaign.

This country’s history has never been a smooth one, though, and this day was no different. I embraced the freedom the day offered and found it was a different sort of freedom than expected. It was the freedom to flounder around indecisively between breaks, nitpicking the tide and wind, finally skipping a surf altogether to just get some painting done, only to be faced with an interview with two very nice young ladies who had a lot of questions about art which I was happy to answer, but kept me so distracted that by the time they wandered off I was ready to throw the painting off the cliff and go home, but I didn’t because I was also free to push through and bring it to a better state, which I think I did, and you’d agree if you could’ve seen it before I pushed it through, which took a lot longer than I’d hoped, which left me completely free to realize that as I was muttering at this painting in the bushes here, just behind and to my right the tide has switched and some fun waves were being had and at the same time I was realizing this I also realized it was packed with the crowds that always show up at peak low tide here and I missed my favorite pre-crowd window, which left me completely free to chat with a few friends and just call it a day.

CHECK IT OUT! HOLIDAY DEALS AND IMPORTANT DEADLINES INFO HERE!

Scroll Up