Talk of the Endings

We talk a lot these days
About the Endings
Put your boots on
When you enter the kitchen
And step carefully
Through broken china
Sometimes the Ending
Is only a burnt tortilla
With the face
Of Jesus

But mostly
We talk of the Endings
In low tones
Fearing the unknown
We speak of lives lost
And suffering to come
As if these things
Aren’t just variations
In the rhythm
And the beat
Goes on

Maybe we can only know
Some tragedies
Of the Endings
After they’re over
Through songs left unsung
And artwork left unfinished
And books left unwritten
The collective works
Of broken souls
In burned out mobile homes
That would have let the rest of us know
That we aren’t alone
And that we’ll always have a home
To go back to

Damn it
The world cannot end today
We’ve still got work to do
And as much as we talk
About the Endings
We never really know
Where or when
We will see
God’s face
Again

Plate Tectonics

A plein air painting of the steep cliffs of the Pelican Bluffs trail on the Mendocino coast of northern California

 

When two bodies collide
There will always be
A fault line to find
In you or in me
But not now
For today we are lovers
Folded one around the other
Cliffs and chasms
Metamorphic
And sedimentary flesh
Thrust like beating hearts
Love is a precipice
We stand on the edge
And as we spill over
We fall into the wind
And rise like mountains
On the updraft
And from these higher heavens
We wonder at all the gems
Glowing like children
Pouring out from the earth
Below

 

Artwork Title: Prime Pelican Real Estate
PRINTS AVAILABLE HERE

Water Wheel

Time is a water-wheel
And we’ve gone around the bend
Water spills out
And down the creek
To the oceans to the clouds
And back for another spin
Looks like we’ve got a whole new chance
To do it all over
Again

Our last turn was dripping
Into an empty room
Full of whole new ways
To put each other down
Busted neon
And a broken tune
Perfection left the practice
All in a ruin

Yet water takes the form
Of the vessels that hold it
The river is the shape of the valley
And the poem is the shape
Of the thoughts in the mind
Of the one who thunk it and told it
So we’ve got another year ahead
To take this water
And mold it

Let’s think some higher thoughts
Of garden plots
And fresh laid eggs
Or just getting along and getting by
With our feet in the dirt
And the only division
Is the line between earth and sky
Let’s hold this year’s water
In better jugs
And nicer buckets
Or even that fancy pitcher
That your grandma left to you
Yep, that one
The one that’s hard to reach
The one up in the back of the highest cabinet
The one that’s shaped like a chicken
And makes you laugh every time
It may not work at all
But it might be
Worth a try

Ghosts Can’t Swim

You never really know
Who they bring along
What ghosts are riding shotgun
Talking
And drowning out the song

But everybody here
Knows that ghosts can’t swim
Cold water to them is searing heat
And anyway
They can’t even stand
A bit of sand on their feet

The ghosts just stay in the cars
Angry at the stars
And their children here below
Made of countless planets
That stick between their toes

So in the cars they wait
Grumpy
Listening to AM radio
While the real people
Laugh and play
Real smiles on real faces
Beneath a bluer sky
Better times
And better places

So linger a bit if you will
Lend that wax to the stranger
Crack those jokes
And hide those beers from the ranger
Take it easy
And take it slow
And don’t be in such a hurry to go
Because it’s never really known
Just who’s waiting for your friends
On their lonely ride home

The Light In Our Eyes

One fine morning we arose
And somehow cooked
Our morning brews
Seventeen machines
From which we could choose
And some of them
Are pretty good

We stare into ceramic darkness
That floods our morning with life
Egad, what’s this?
The sun that shines
In our eyes while we’re trying to write

Piercing light whom I address
One little request if I may
Just please step aside
And shine from behind
My eyes weren’t yet ready to play
My coffee’s not drank
My mind like a bank
Robbed at the break of day
But take it slow if you will
And I’ll dip this quill
And jot down whatever you say

And though I heard every last word
It now seems rather absurd
Like a worm that swallows the bird
And the details may be a bit blurred
But it went something like this
Rest assured…

The moon is in tears
Out under the pier
For her lover’s been stabbed by the light
She’s dressed to the nines
And dark eye shadow lines
Streak her cheeks as the night slowly dies

The clouds collapsed
When lighting made cracks
In the urn in which the wind churned
Out the rain poured
Through cracks in the floor
And the fire no longer burned

Winter’s love has gone cold
There’s nothing left here to hold
You walk in and she just looks away
But the note on the pillow
And her suitcase of snow
Make it clear that she’s leaving today

This season of strife
This fight for your life
This darkness that conquered the world
It’s converted to digits
There’s no way to bridge it
In a blaze of light the plug will be pulled

The night and the storm
This season forlorn
You know them well and you hold them so tight
You let them define you
But let me remind you
The warmth of the sun still brings you delight
And when all things end
I’ll still call you my friend
I am here and I am the light

War and Peace

Plein air painting of the Humboldt county coast near Trinidad, California

Conflict is inevitable. Land vs Sea. Fog vs Blue Skies. Mud vs My Boots. Warring factions lie in wait around every bend at the end of this trail named for a creek whose Latin roots run to the God of War whose thirst for conflict is only surpassed by the mutiny of his forces aligning with the dappled light and buzzing bees and bubbling creek conspiring to bring peace instead.

Proof of Concept

Plein air painting by Matt Beard of the California coast just north of Point Conception

Painted this one en route to a lighthouse at California’s greatest turning point. I was originally going to paint the beach park about 5 miles north of this point, just around that first bend in the distance of this painting. After walking about 30 feet north to seek a nearby view, not even getting out of the parking lot, I turned on a whim and walked south. For 5 miles. I did some things wrong. I didn’t check the tide. I didn’t consult a map. I didn’t bring any food. All I remember is reading that you could walk to the lighthouse now, so off I went.

When I reached the 5 mile mark I couldn’t go any further on the beach, blocked by the massive cliffs jutting right into the water. No lighthouse in sight, I figured I would just follow the road that came down the ravine here. Lots of no trespassing signs, I mean, they really wanted to let people know, but I recognized the name on the sign as the previous landowners and so I thought that surely these must be out of date. When I got up on the bluff I could make out the lighthouse in the distance a little less than a mile away.

I could also make out a white truck. It’s always a white truck. I don’t know why. It just is.

Well, I figured the worst that might happen is that I’d be asked to leave. I figured I could talk my way out of any situation that arose, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to talk my way into permission to pass if that’s what it came to. So after getting this far without thinking things through, I did the first smart thing I’d done all day. I retreated about 30 feet below the crest of the hill, out of sight from whoever was rolling around in that white truck, and painted this scene looking back over the coast I’d just traversed. This way even if I got kicked out of here on my way to ascend the knoll where the lighthouse was, I’d at least go home with this painting done. Proof of Concept, if you will.

“GROUNDWATER” @Morris Graves Museum of Art | March 31-April 29

 

“GROUNDWATER”

In addition to creating a new series of work live during the Redwood Coast Music Festival at the Morris Graves Museum of Art, I will also be showing one of my favorite bodies of work in the Floyd Bettiga Gallery (downstairs from the main floor).

My Insinuation Series explores the idea of using light and subtle contours of stylized water to suggest, or “insinuate” the presence of a looming wave without actually showing the wave form itself. A poetic treatment of one of my favorite subjects of all time.

I’ll be sure to sneak a few other things in there too, just for fun…

SDSFF 2017 Skip Frye Tribute: The Glider

This year the San Diego Surf Film Festival hosted a heartfelt tribute night to San Diego’s Skip Frye, who has been building beautiful boards and outsurfing everyone for over 50 years. The hall was packed with legends of the surfing world there to honor Skip with the SDSFF Lifetime Achievement Award. As each speaker stood to speak about Skip they would mention what an honor it was to honor such an inspiring individual. If they could have read the mind of the painter standing in the back of the hall busy crafting this visual tribute to Skip based on an old Ron Stoner photograph, they would have seen that there was nobody in the room that felt more unworthy of the honor of being there than him. Of all the amazing artists in San Diego, this fuzzy kid from Humboldt rolls down and is asked to perform his trade for the audience to admire, heckle, mock, or cheer (all of which happened in spades). Beyond stoked. This one was for Skip.