“Heard from Across the Valley”

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

4th day on the road, tenth painting completed, first one this day

Some paintings I’ve seen for a long time before I painted them. When painting plein air it can take awhile since you’re not pulling images out of your imagination, if there’s a painting rumbling around in there, you have to wait until you put yourself in the place at the time of day that painting is asking for.

This was one of those. I’d seen this rambling creek, this cove, this shaded valley in the morning light for awhile in my mind. I had a few different locations I was hunting for it on this foggy morning. The first two were beautiful, but the angles were wrong and the fog was thicker than usual. Pressing on to this last option I thought had potential, the clouds breaking and lifting just as I arrived, I was a bit giddy at the site before me. It looked even more like the painting than the one in my mind.

The freshly mowed poison oak/berry patch lining the road here provided adequate space to pull over and work from the van, which was great since I didn’t want to set foot on all that chopped poison oak anyway. The passing cars shook the van each time they roared by, the shoulder wasn’t quite as large as I’d have liked, but one can’t have it all, can they?

Nothing about this painting ever really felt like work, it was just a pure joy reacting to the scene before me and listening to the steady crack of breaking waves on the sandbar that built up around this rockstack. I could hear them clearly from all the way across this valley.

But I saw this painting coming from much further than that.

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