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“No Harm, No Foul”

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

I was thinking this would be a simple little painting to start my day. It was in some ways. But it was also a bit nerve-wracking. Nestled between boulders I painted the morning away, and marveled at just how quiet the trains that run this line have become. I barely heard them coming. The stretched cotton canvas hummed in vibration as they passed by just a few steps away.  I was safely out of the way where I stood, but it was startling every time one snuck up on me. At one point I was visited by a security gaurd for the ex-president’s compound just behind me. I thought I was getting kicked off the tracks, but apparently he didn’t care much what I did. He had a call that some idiot was standing on the train tracks down below and had to respond to it. He made sure I knew it was stupid to be there, and I assured him that I was smart enough to know just how stupid I was, and with that he was off and back to his tea and scones or whatever ex-presidential security guys do when they’re not investigating idiots on the train tracks. No harm, no foul.

“Modern Lines”

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

I’ve walked over and beneath this line many a time. I’ve jumped from the tracks to flee the train. I’ve marveled at the burnt beams and wondered that entire trains could be held up by charcoal and memory. Apparently others wondered too, and decided on that eternal upgrade- smooth concrete. Impervious to the hobo’s fire. It’s not the same, but nothing is ever the same. The quiet train, now electric glides overhead. You don’t even hear it coming, you only feel the ground shake and then it’s upon you. Be careful out there. Write your name on the asphault with surf wax. Write your name on the concrete with paint. Try not get your name engraved in the concrete over your head before your proper time.

“Midday Flats”

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

Standing here today, it’s hard to beleive this is one of the focal points of high-performance surfing in California. At times there are thousands packed onto this beach to watch professional surfers compete at this very spot. But not today. There is no one. Looking down the coast from here brings back a lot of good memories for me as well. I’d wanted to come down and spend a whole day wandering and painting here, but the wind had come up and ripped the ocean ragged, making the chore difficult and the inspiration harder to come by. I’m not sure what it was that struck me about this little scene, but there was a simple elegance to it that caught my eye. Or that might have been a piece of sand caught in my eye. Or maybe both.

“The Hectic Pace of Modern Life”

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


I’d started this one from the roof of my van much earlier on this trip. But there was no VW in the foreground, just that white truck. And it bothered me. The whole composition was messed up by the dead space beneath it. I’d tried to live with it. Sometimes I have the tendency to cram too much information on to every inch of canvas. Not details necessarily, just information. Lots of brush strokes, interlocked, dancing. It can be a nice effect, but sometimes equally nice to let the quiet spaces just be quiet once in a while. I think I thought that would work when I painted this, but it never really did. So I went back and parked in the same spot and waited for someone to pull in beside me and paint their car in the foreground to break up that dead zone. But it was a quiet day here. Everyone must have been busy keeping up with the hectic pace of their modern lives. Or maybe they just looked at the webcams streaming into their living room to tell them there was no waves, and just one van with a bearded dork sitting around on top of it scratching his head and drinking beer- sometimes at the same time even. No matter what the cause though, the effect was that there was no cars to paint at all. So I did the next best thing and painted my dad’s 76′ VW from memory. I grew up in that van. I was one year old when he got it, and he’s kept it all these years in great condition. My wife and I drove from Long Beach, California to Long Beach, Canada and back in that van on our honeymoon. We lived in for nearly three months. I know it pretty well, so I figured I could bluff a sloppy rendition of it just about as well as I could attempt to accurately paint something else if it had pulled into the lot.  I took my time and enjoyed myself, reveling in the hectic pace of my modern life.

“Oh No, Not Today” $522

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

Price: $522
*all prices subject to change and availability, CONTACT us for more info.

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Matt Beard Art- Plein Air Original Painting Documentation

Price Breakdown:

Base Price:
$180 – ($1.25 per square inch)

$228 – Approximate distance from Eureka, CA ($0.3 per mile)
$50 – Overnight Travel
$0 – Sleeping in Van
$0 – Tricky Urban Camping

On the Ground Logistics:
$10 – Paid Parking
$0 – Illegal or Questionable Parking Required: Nope
$0 – Parking Ticket or Citation Issued

$25 – Painted from Roof of Van (that platform wasn’t cheap)

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

$0 – 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!!)

$20 – Wind ($2 per mph)
$50 – Shade/Sun: Cooking in the Hot Sun
$9 – Heat/Cold ($1.5 per degree farhenheit above/below 65)
$-25 – Crowds/Questions/Human Element: Distracting, but Nice

$0 – Sustenance Provided by Others Before, During or After Painting: Nadda
$-25 – Fun Surf At Location Before, During, or After Painting: Good Enough

$ – Other:


I was supposed to meet some visiting Northern California friends here for an easy morning surf. I figured I’d roll down, even though I was pretty far up the coast- it’s not very often we see each other outside of Humboldt, or even in Humboldt for that matter. After a surf, I’d hang, maybe paint, just see what they day would bring.

One of them backed out the night before on account of a less than favorable forecast, but I’d already made the plan and figured I’d meet the other one that was still planning to go. On my way down, that friend backed out too, citing the same crummy conditions. Oh well, I’d already gone this far, and besides, even with a bad forecast there’s always still something to surf here.

But oh no, not today. It was the worst day of surf I’ve ever seen here. And I’ve seen some bad ones and surfed em anyway.  I could always paint, but even that was tough. My usual approach to this place is to paint the bustling parking lot full of cars and scattered surfboards. It’s a living piece of California surfing history here. But alas, not today.

And so I present to you here this iconic mecca of carpark surf culture, as absolutely empty as you may ever see it.

At least it wasn’t raining.

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