Some days are easy, other days you have to dig deep. Those are the days you find out what you are made of. I’m just a painter, but compared to working in the studio, plein air painting can seem like a battle with the universe itself.
Confession. I am naturally lazy. A water person. I don’t push through, I flow around, always looking for the path of least resistance. So bear with me as I recount what went into painting this one…
First, I’d slept the night in a grocery store parking lot so I could put myself in quick striking distance in the morning to sneak this 2 hour driving detour in the middle of a much longer trip just for this painting.
I arrive to find the 1 mile trail to the beach from the carpark has been washed out, but fortunately there is another trail still open, slightly longer, but no matter its a nice morning, not too hot, and I’ve got the time.
But remember I am lazy, and I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed hauling my whole studio on my back for what ended up being a 4 mile round trip of tromping around looking for this view. The tromp included a long stretch of dry sand, a dead end up a poison oak infested goat trail (apparently goats get skinnier as they climb, and eventually become ghosts, according to their trails anyway), a few hops over barriers set up by the park to keep folks like me out of their closed trails, and one tepid tip toe around the loose eroded cliff face that was the reason this trail was closed.
The view you see in this painting finally called to me and required setting up the easel in a patch of dry grass and poison oak. I watched the oak closely and it was quite a chess match of slow deliberate movements to get everything in place without contacting the evil leaf.
The painting itself was a joy and a half after all that. Nevermind the ticks that I continued to find crawling out of my hair the next two nights. For real.
That’s what I love about this art form though. There is no other way to make these paintings than to literally put yourself in them and deal with nature’s realities.