“Left Behind” | Miles Hiked: 1.3

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


I have a few regrets about this one. To get here required a two hour drive across a private reserve to this far side of the island. I have to give a big shout of thanks to the California Coastal Commission for inviting me along on this island tour, to Lyndall for being our guide, to the UC system for letting us stay in the facilities on the island’s interior and to the Nature Conservancy for allowing us this access for the weekend.  The rest of the crew were headed to the furthest point west on the island, about another 45 minutes out from this outpost.

We stopped here for lunch and decided this was my opportunity to paint, being that they’d be gone for about 3 hours, just enough to paint a large 20×16. Not quite enough time to scout views to my satisfaction though, so after a few false starts trying to find a way up the hill for a better view, I settled for this one of this outbuilding and blooming cactus that I saw from the road on the way here. Only afterward did I see on a map just how close I was to the path I was looking for to get up the hill. That is my first regret.

My second has to do with the fact that behind this building, and nestled in behind these old cypress trees is one of the oldest buildings on the island, dating back to 1860. That would have been a neater thing to paint, but I just didn’t see a good angle to paint it from. Also I’m not sure I was technically allowed to paint that building after asking about some other old buildings on the island’s interior and being told that I wasn’t allowed to paint them according to the Nature Conservancy’s rules… I’m going to do my best to not speak about that anymore… but that said, I’m not even sure I was allowed to paint this building either, but what’s an artist to do? We paint stuff that catches our interest. But still the older building would have been extra cool if I’d found a good vantage point. That is my second regret.

My third regret is not seeing the furthest point on the island. This might have been the only opportunity I’ll ever have had to make it that far and see it with my own eyes. Forced to choose between a remote vista without painting, and a just-a-little-less remote vista with painting, it was an easy choice, but not without some pain.

And one final regret was the cold beer I left behind at the cabin. That would have been amazing out here, but perhaps appropriate.  After all my group left me behind here to paint an old outpost that was left behind from the ranching era on an island that in many ways seems to have been left behind by time itself.

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