Archive | Marin

“A Wide Range” $454

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 20″ x 10″
Year: 2018

Price: $454
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.
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Notes:
The 4th painting of a long day spent in solitude, hunting views and painting in one of the most beautiful parts of California I can think of. I’ve driven past this little ranch nestled along a finger of this estuary and always thought it would make a nice painting. The sun was already starting to set when I pulled over, but I don’t make it out this way too often and thought it was a good opportunity to take a crack at it. I had to work fast in the fading light. Watching the wide range of evening colors fall on the expansive landscape before me was a joy, the trouble was trying not to be tempted to chase them all and end up with an utterly confused painting. I went with the pre sunset warm glow illuminating the scene from directly behind me casting it’s soft shadowless light on all the eye could see (and the hand could paint).

“Nova Albion” $861

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

Price: $861
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.
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Notes:
I could see this painting, or something much like it, long before arriving. Just looking at this place on a map reveals a tantalizing thin finger of land extending out to the shelter of a sweeping bay- the roaring Pacific one one side and calm waters on the other. That sort of thing gets me fired up, and why not? There’s not many places one can stand in California and get this two-sided dynamic in one frame.

This bay is the site where an english explorer first claimed this land for England over 400 years ago, dubbing it Nova Albion- latin for “New England”. This was before that term had come into use for the Northeastern United States. England never followed up on the claim though, and Spain continued it’s expanding rule of the region they called Alta California. Nova Albion would be lost except to the history books, and a few old maps.

This painting could have also been lost had I not used every ounce of weight in my pack to keep my easel anchored in the howling wind on this exposed headland.

“Her New Road”

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

Notes:
I imagine it was only a seasonal closure, something about nesting birds on the sand dunes, but it rattled my whole game plan. This isn’t a place one just passes through on the way down the coast, you have to really make the effort to get off the beaten path to find yourself out here. Once you do, especially if it’s on a quiet weekday, it’s one of the most amazing places in California. But even so, if your whole plan was to march up on to the dunes to capture the beach scene here for a dear friend from your youth, it’s a bit frustrating to be met with signs and fencing marking everything off limits except the parking lot and the beach itself. I like to be outside of a place and looking at it from a decent distance when I paint a location, so sitting on the beach wouldn’t cut it. I found the only vantage point that offered a distant perspective was from the side of the freshly paved road that led to the beach here. As I took in the scene I realized the road was boldly part of the landscape and it gave me a moment to reflect on the different roads we take in life. Hers and mine parted many years ago. This was her new road. I’d never been here before, and probably wouldn’t have come at all if she hadn’t asked me to. Realizing this, I made it part of the painting on this beautiful morning.

Later that night, I’d end up sleeping in the van illegally in this carpark at the end of the road. Restless at one point in the early evening, I got up and walked this road by starlight. The wide road providing an easy stroll in the dim light as the night mists hung over the low vegetation on either side. Not a soul around. Just a painter alone with his thoughts, passing through in the night, and gone again at first light.

“The Light at the End”

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

Notes:
I’m here to paint the coast, but I can’t see the coast on account of thick fog. Just back from the coast it’s clear enough to see through this tunnel of Cypress trees. Behind me there is blue sky and it’s early in the day- a good sign.

Even though the fog gets thicker before finally lifting, at one point causing large drops to fall from the branches scooping it from the air overhead, the view down this tunnel remained fairly constant for the hour or so that I stood and painted it.

The light at the end of the tunnel was a constant reminder to keep hope alive that the sun would prevail over this foggy haze and I would indeed so the ocean today.

Post edit:  I did indeed see the ocean, the fog burned off and this ended up being the first of four paintings I’d complete in the area today. And possibly my favorite…

“Milk and Honey”

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

Notes: Plein air from the van.

I tried to leave this area after the last one, I was beat, dirty, and looking forward to a hot shower and my family’s faces once again. But just as I was mentally plotting where I might find the nearest cheeseburger before making the 5 hour drive home, there was a fork in the road.

To the left was food and the prospect of being home tonight, to the right was a road that would take me further out on this headland, already an hour’s dogleg from highway one. I’d never been this far out here before and not knowing when I’d be this way again it was an easy choice. I’d have to sleep in the van one more night.

Then 5 or 10 minutes down that new road there was another fork that headed to the leeward side of the headland. I thought I would just take a look and then continue to the end of the main road. I never made it past this view. I literally used the side door opening on my van as a viewfinder for this one.

Nothing in me felt like painting except for the sense of awe and opportunity that this beauty presented, so I ate a bit of dry bread for fuel and pushed through this one as quickly as I could and moved on.

By now the exhastion and hunger had the best of me and this time I chose the cheeseburger over the end 0f the road. Still had to sleep in the van though.

 

“Her Answer” $603

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

Free Range/Outdoor/Plein Air Price: $603
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for specifics on this piece.

Notes: I’d hiked this windswept beach for hours through the midday heat when the sun is at its shadowless peak. I was looking for a few things- a painting mostly, but also a wave or two. What I found was mostly wind. Lots of it. Blowing hard offshore early in the hike, then sideshore as the coast gradually bent to meet it.

Just once the wind let up briefly, then switched gently and met me face to face, greeting me with a holy sprinkling of sand, curiously examining this bearded fellow with the funny backpack. Not threatening but not welcoming either, whispering a cautious reminder of what she did to those Spaniards the other day who attempted to sail her waters. I told her what I was looking for but she said nothing and flew violently back to her Maker, leaving me to search in vain for a spot to paint that would convey the desolate beauty here.

Even if I’d mustered the mojo to scramble up the cliffs for a better view, my gear would have surely blown off and out to sea before getting too far. Still early in the afternoon, I was resolved to find some sort of windblock in or near the next ravine.

The steep wall that sheltered me there would surely cast its shadow soon. The tide would fill in and cover the wet and rippled sand along the rock wall on which I perched. I would wait patiently and go after it when the time was right.

After a long while 3 things became clear. First, the afternoon brought a shift in the wind and I was no longer sheltered, canvas bouncing like a kickdrum at a punk rock show, and my heavily weighted easel threatening to set sail with each gust. A brush in one hand, my easel in the other attempting to ride this bull to completion. Secondly, the tide had peaked and the water would not crest the berm today. And thirdly, the coast here hooks so unusually that I had no bearings on direction when staring at the overhead sun and grossly miscalculated its arc. This ravine would remain lit up and shadeless for hours to come.

I’d already blocked the painting in, anticipating these changes and really enjoyed the way it was looking, so I did what any fool that speaks to the wind might do. I kept on going, and that was her answer.

 

“Welcome Home”

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

Notes: Had to charge my dead phone at a small bar in an even smaller town the night before I painted this. Open mic night was raging for a handful of locals and passers-throughs. Nursing my beer in the corner by the pool table (only spot near an outlet), and watching a few Mexican fellows play their game, I must have looked a bit too interested because next thing I knew a local had me lined up to shoot a game with him. He chose a poor opponent, I nearly didn’t sink a single shot even after he cleared his from the table.

We got to chatting a bit and I mention I’m down from Humboldt, and he says he knows the guy that painted the Humboldt Surf Company sign years ago when they were on the plaza. I’m tripping cause he doesn’t even seem slightly familiar to me but he described the sign I painted for them pretty well. At one point he turns to me and for some reason says “welcome home”. He was fairly stoned too I reckon, he said so himself anyway.

Had a few other fun conversations as well, one with another artist who saw me painting at the path down to the beach earlier in the day. During that conversation one of the Mexican pool players took to the mic with a guitar while a gringo joined in on piano and belted out some numbers that had the whole room hooting and hollering.

Once they wrapped up, I checked my phone and it was charged, checked my beer and it was empty, checked my social interaction comfort level and it was as non-existent as ever, so I promptly checked out for the night and hit the road at first light and arrived not too much later to this desolate beach I’d been wanting to explore for years. Up on the bluff looking back over this pristine piece of Califaornia that I’d never laid eyes on before, I noticed my van in the carpark, and I welcomed myself home.

“Same as She Ever Was”

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

Notes: Took a grueling hike in the heat of the day yesterday in search of a spot I’ve been eyeing on the map for years. Like all the best places it requires a drive off the main road until the pavement ends, then a drive down a dirt road until the road ends, then you get out and walk. Unfortunately I didn’t find any views of the spot I had wanted to see, but the walk up the coast was a walk back in time to old California, possibly ancient even. California does this sometimes. Here she is, same as she ever was. Every bit worth all the sweat and effort to get here. Lots to more to explore, hoping to get back here another day…

“Comin’ Down the Mountain”

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

Notes: Painted this one from the mobile studio. It wasn’t moving at the time though. That would have been rough. Although that mighta helped keep the monstrous flies out of the van… they were nuts. Had to swing my paint rag around every couple minutes the entire time I was painting. I think they liked my yellow.

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