War and Peace

06/11/2021

Conflict is inevitable  
The Sea sends its navy   
To war against the Land  
The Fog lays an ambush   
Against the Bluer Skies   
The Mud launches a ground assault   
Against Your Soggy Boots  
Warring factions lie in wait   
Around every bend   
At the end of this trail   
Named for a creek   
Whose Latin tributaries can be traced   
Through blood red thickets  
Back to the god of war   
Whose thirst for conflict   
Is only surpassed   
By the mutiny of his forces   
Aligning with Dappled Light   
and Babbling Creek   
And Chirping Birds  
and Buzzing Bees   
And the Unhurried Lover  
In Your Arms  
Conspiring   
To bring  
Peace


Proof of Concept

05/03/2021

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know, but I recognized the name on the sign as the previous landowners and so I thought that surely these must be out of date.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.


My Father’s Song



November 8, 2021

There’s a song my father used to sing
Not really a song at all
Just a rhythm of syllables
Rising and falling
With every step
And a pause with
Every breath

There were never any words
Neither for the song itself
Nor for the way
It brings me home

It would often be sung
Out in the wilderness
Surrounded by wonders
Sometimes emerging
From an ice cold pool
Formed by a beaver dam
In the high mountains

Or sometimes just in the kitchen
After a phone call
Grandpa has gone home
And our hearts fell
Like fresh-washed plates
And broke

Today I heard the song again
It came from my own heart
Sung quietly over my kids
On a forest path
As they took my hand
And said
Papa we’ll show you
The waterfall
And the ice cold pool

And along that path
The song walked along
Never really beginning
And never really ending
Just filling the air
Like the call of birds
Like the rush of the creek
Like my Father’s song


Say Nothing

09/25/2021

The land that lay directly behind me as I painted this distant view from one of California’s more central coasts belongs to none other than Neil Young, and having learned this I couldn't help but recall him singing the old Woody Guthrie tune This Land is Your Land:

As I was walkin', I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said "no trespassing"
But on the other side, it didn't say nothin'
That side was made for you and me

I’d be lying if I said this didn’t have me tempted to go walking right off this ridge for an afternoon stroll through his private ranch. Just for the poetry of it. But I'm pretty sure it was just a song he was singing from a stage and not exactly his personal property trespassing policy, and if I'd made it very far at all nobody but me alone would have thought it was all that witty to cite that song as my justification.

And besides, I was here with a specific purpose. I was brought up to this lonely ridge to paint the sweeping view and it was far more beautiful looking toward the coast than back over at Neil’s bald hills anyway.

I had learned it was Neil Young's property from the guy who drove me up and dropped me off up here. He's spent a lot of time on this property and knows everyone pretty well.

So of course he knows the caretaker of the cattle on this ranch, the same cattle that we had to slowly navigate through just after the second gate, and he knows that this caretaker is a real... let's just say handful. On our way down one hill, we see the cattleman coming up the dirt road in a cloud of anger and we pull aside to let him pass and he's yelling and spitting as us, red in the face, because a water truck is coming up behind him and I guess he's afraid we'll just plow into it blindly instead of pulling over like we had just done for him and he's also yelling about some loose cattle, and I'm thinking, yeah they're all pretty loose, just hanging around. Who ties up their cattle anyway? I’m no cowboy so I know that any thoughts that run through my head about cattle management are completely bunk, so I keep my mouth shut, but in all seriousness we closed every gate behind us as we went along, which is probably exactly what he thinks we didn’t do. Our Ford 350 was the same plain silver as his but in his mind I think he might have seen ours as covered with sloppy hand painted rainbows and driven by th…

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Pale Blue Eyes

07/30/2021

It’s true, that fog just lingered on, and on. Those pale blue eyes…

I saw a burst of blue sky while rounding a bend and thought for sure the fog was lifting. That was my mistake- thinking anything was sure about fog. I should know better. And I generally do, but the scene was truly beautiful so I thought I’d risk it for the biscuit and I barely got a sketch in before the fog went all gray and dark. I could still make out the foreground ok, but mostly just had to finish the piece on that first impression of a memory. All good. It can be somewhat liberating to chase a memory because it’s more of a feeling than a literal thing to look at and compare to. When it works it’s a lot of fun.


The Whole Wide World

05/05/2021

This was a commissioned piece for a couple who was married on the bluff beneath those trees in the distance. It had me thinking of marriage and a song I’d been enjoying by Bill Callahan called Pigeons where he sings:

when you are dating, you only see each other
And the rest of us can go to hell
But when you are married, you’re married to the whole wide world

I thought that was pretty much genius and truth. So I named this painting after the song.

Also unrelated to the title and song and all that, the wind was howling so much so that I had the easel blow over twice even with my weighted pack on it. That’s unusual. I ended up finding some loose bricks from an old industrial foundation and used some tape I keep rolled around my water jug to strap bricks to the windward leg of my easel, which did the trick, but still was a challenge to paint through and I called it a day while the painting was still in a pretty rough state. Had quite a bit of studio finish work to do on this one when I got home later.


Ether

05/05/2021

Ever since I’d heard about the remains of this old pier at the bottom of a steep cliff, all covered in graffiti, I knew I’d need to paint the place. The morning fog kept me from being able to paint another cliff top vista nearby so I took advantage of the weather to paint these remains from a close distance where the fog wouldn’t obscure my subject completely. I didn’t know the graffiti would read “ether”. Seemed appropriate to me on this day where even one’s own thoughts seemed to vanish in the ether of fog every few steps.  Halfway through painting the sun burned the fog away and a beautiful morning light hit the remains and I went after it.


Nowhere Else to Go

05/04/2021

Sometimes there’s just nowhere else to go.

You might be the raindrop drifting freely from a cloud, your flight abruptly ending in earth.

You might be the stream gathered from many mountains rushing down the valley locking into every twist and turn, hypnotized like a teenage race car driver, your mad dash halted by the edge of a cliff and suddenly you are a raindrop once again.

Or you might be the thermal energy stored up and released in the wind and transferred to the ocean as you march a thousand miles, flinging water molecules in a great circle behind you as you run at the pace that your slow decay calls for until one day it all comes crashing down and you meet a steep beach beneath a waterfall and in your final breath your exhalation sends water droplets into the warm air to become part of the atmosphere and eventually yes, a rain drop.

Or you might be me grumbling along a tourist coral herded like cattle until you reach a fence across the trail cutting your trip short and forcing you to stop in your tracks and paint the scene from where you stand, damn the stinkeye you get from the occasional tourist who is certain that your sprawling art setup is hogging the only photogenic spot on this wickedly shortened trail.  I tend to be a water person, I flow around things rather than push through, always seeking the path of least resistance, letting gravity pull me along, but just like the rain drops, sometimes there’s just nowhere else to go.


Sorry Not Sorry

05/03/2021

So this was different. There's a really great beach park 6 miles north of here that I hadn't painted for awhile. I was on my way through the area and thought it would be fun to return and see what I could do with it after a few years of pushing my art process a little further along. I had the idea to hike to a small bluff just north of the park and explore for a different view from over there. I made it about ten feet from my van and then had an idea.

I recalled reading recently that you could hike to the lighthouse 6 miles south of the park at low tides. I didn't say I had a good idea. But I did have peanut butter and jelly sandwich just before setting out from the van so I figured I'd be good to go and off I went on a whim. Just to see how far I would get.  You know.

The tide seemed favorable, so I just kept going, and going, and going. All the way to the end of the beach. Now I didn't read anything too closely, I just thought I saw that I could walk to the lighthouse and when the beach came to an end at a sheer cliff, the only route to go any further was up a trail past one no-trespassing sign after another. I couldn't be sure I was doing this right, but I recognized the name on the sign as belonging the previous owners of the property and so I figured the new owners had some deal with the state worked out for access and just hadn't removed the signs yet. Sounds good, right? I thought so too.

So up the trail I went and over the bluff, marching in broad daylight right up to the turning point of all of California. Just before ascending the knoll was another gate of sorts, with new signs, this time from the Coast Guard saying that only authorized personnel were allowed. I'd come this far to see the light house that I was sure that I read I was allowed to see, so yes, authorized I was. A bit of an odd feeling, tromping past one sign after another with creeping sense that I'd made a wrong turn or missed something somewhere.

But up I went and checked out the whole scene. Didn't see a single person out there. Desolation row. I took some photos of the lighthouse itself but the wind was beyond next level and I wasn't having that, so I settled on this view from a shaded and sheltered spot in front of some old living quarters on the back of the knoll, looking due East! It was a view I had not expected to paint this day, or any other anytime soon.

I had to work exceedingly fast as the day was getting long, the tide was coming up and I had to jam 6 miles back to the car on foot before dark since I was just parked in the day-use spot. I was hoping for a burger at the park store too, but I had a sinking feeling the grill would be long cold by the time I made it back.

Tired and half-broken from the high tide rock scrambles, but proud to have two dry boots after numerous close calls, my tired body smiled as wide as my happy soul as I raised my feet and ate my second peanut butter and jelly sandwich of the day in my van before moving on.

Post-edit:
Later on I read a little more about the hike to the lighthouse. I was supposed to stay on the beach at the lowest tides and see the lighthouse from below. My bad. Sorry, but not sorry. It was an amazing day and my conscience was clean on this one.  Ignorance can be beautiful like that.


The Sea is for “California”

05/02/2021

The Sea is for “California”
The Ay is for “Ay, it looks kinda fun out there”
The El is for “Where the El did all these people come from? It didn’t look this crowded a minute ago”
The I is for “I didn’t see you back there”
The Ef is for things I’ve heard out there that I can’t repeat
The Oh, is for “Oh look at this set coming in”
The Arr is for “Arr, that guy seems like he’s getting every wave with that massive log”
The In is for “Hey those guys just went in”
The I is for “I might get a wave or two now”
The Ay is for “ay, it is was super fun out there today”


Cottage Industry

04/30/2021

Hot exhaust fumes hardening into tar deposits hanging in the air over the snow cone machines where the tourist buses come to die and pour out their guts just short of the hospital where elderly cottages are kept on life support by the steady IV drip of short-term rental vacation deposits.

This place is bought and sold to the masses as a glimpse back in time to an older California.

Except the older California didn’t have a gift shop.

I just came to paint and move on. It really is an adorable little cove though.


Jacob’s Ladder

04/29/2021

This pier is condemned. Structurally damaged. And the scene here beneath the shadow of its condemnation is… interesting to say the least. Police patrols. Dealers. All manner of today’s American riff raff squaring off against the sunny California dream.

Let’s call this man by the stairs Jacob.

?? ??? ???????? ?????????, ????? ??? ? ????????? ??????????? ??? ??? ??? ??? ????. ??’? ?????? ???? ??? ??????? ?????????? ??? ??? ??? ??????? ?? ???? ??? ??? ????.

We have no idea what bad decisions brought our Jacob to the pier here on this day.

“??? ?? ???? ??? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ??? ?????, ??? ??? ?? ????? ??? ????, ??? ??? ???? ?? ???? ????? ?? ?????.”

Our Jacob sleeps with his head on the concrete.

“??? ?? ???????, ??? ?????? ? ?????? ??? ?? ?? ??? ?????…”

Ours is a cement stairway with metal handrails.

“??? ??? ??? ?? ?? ??????? ?? ?????? ??? ?????? ??? ?????? ?? ??? ????????? ??? ?????????? ?? ??.”

And ours is the top of the pier where couples in love stand and take in the cool salt air, because when your bed is the stone of concrete wherever you lay, and you have made some bad decisions and maybe even burned some bridges with your friends and even your own family so now you have nobody to help you in your loneliness and despair, well… the gulf that stands between your sad state and that of a couple in love on a pier in the sun may as well be the chasm that separates heaven and earth themselves.

And sometimes it is the Jacob’s of the world that God eventually chooses for the greatest things.

Don’t ask me why.
I have no good answers.
It’s easy to cast judgment.
But it’s a lot harder to be right.
You never know where greatness lies.


No Van is an Island

04/28/2021

Another view from the roof of my van. This was the next morning and only about 600 feet south of my last post.

To be honest I pretty much just painted here because the prime parking spot had just opened up in this lot. It was a busy morning on a summerishly spring day and I was worried that if I didn’t stay here I might not find another parking place all day. I opted for the rooftop view this time not as much because of the compositional possibilities, but more just because it would give me a buffer from all the activity below…

Walkers, joggers, and yoga bloggers. Bikers, skaters, likers and haters. Selfie seekers acting the goofiest and shady ham-radio enthusiasts. Car sleeping, still drunk, greasy tattooed bass players grumbling out car windows at bright eyed white shirt spring break baseball players who are invisible to the chain-smoking plastic chair and card table dark-eyed novelist who instead zeroes in across the street at an upstairs party for real estate tax evading campaign slush fund grovelists.

It was that kind of day. I couldn’t change it. California is a funny place sometimes.

But rain or shine, zoo or solitude, I know my part in this circus, and I was here to paint. So to the roof I went once again. Headphones creating the sonic seal to my own private world up there and even still:

“Hey! Hey! Hey man! Did you see a guy on a bike go by?” (yes, which one?) followed immediately by “Someone stole my buddie’s bike and I can’t find my dog.” (I’m sorry to say, I wasn’t much help, but I hope he finds everything he was looking for).

And as much as the van provided a limited buffer from the distractions below, there’s no way it would stop friends from passing by, climbing up on the roof to check things out, grabbing beers from my cooler below and having a generally fine time. In fact it probably only encouraged such friendly visits due to it being a rather conspicuous perch along the busy road. They couldn’t miss me.

But what could I do? After all, it’s just like they say…

No Van is an Island.


Just Before Sunset

04/28/2021

One of those summer evenings that make you just feel like life could always be this way. It can’t. But in the moment, maybe it sorta can.

I painted this while watching one particular section of reef where wave after wave peeled across in perfection.  I couldn’t finish this quick enough.

I caught one gem of a wave just before the sun set, a roller that passed under the outside reef and was setting up nicely just where I was hunting. The rest of the pack was further in and as I faded and stalled to line up the wave for a speed run when it stood up on the reef I heard someone screaming behind me. Had to turn and see what the fuss was and it was some guy on a longboard that I’d already passed by as I wove through the crowd, he must have turned and paddled in behind me and now was trying to call me off this little beauty. Nope. The effect of his yelling was counterproductive for him as all it did was cause me to stall a bit longer than intended and then promptly stuff him in the whitewater as I turned up and into the bending wall before me. It was a racetrack to the end, and when I finally came through as the wave slowed up again, he was nowhere to be seen. Sorry buddy. But not sorry at all. That was a fun one.

The only thing I really am sorry for is talking explicitly about surfing right now. I generally try to avoid this sort of thing. I don’t know, it always sounds pretty silly. I guess that’s because it is. You can’t take things too seriously on summer evenings like this.


The Boulevard

04/27/2021

I came with a plan.

The plan was to paint these sculpted arches and coves and the sea at work around them while ignoring everything else. Forget the palms, forget the houses, forget the sun and the sky, forget the boulevard, and forget it’s name along with my own and just get lost in the weathered sandstone and rhythms of water and paint.

But I also came with a van. With a roof platform. And four other artist pals. And a cooler full of ice cold beer.

Next thing I knew I was up on the van painting, well, everything.


None Shall Pass

04/26/2021

An arch that’s been painted once or twice or a thousand times before this, and will be again by countless others walking these shores.

All I know is that at least on this day they better approach from the south, because there was no getting past the rocks on the north side. A steady stream of snap-shotters and well dressed selfie-seekers poured into this arch as I stood and painted, and everyone one of them stopped and turned around to go back to from whence they came.

None shall pass.

For effect feel free to picture a pirate sitting on the arch spitting and cursing all of us softies down below, the dirty soles of his feet swinging in the wind overhead, while the barrel beside him leaks almost as much as the streams of rum running down his beard*.

NONE SHALL PASS.

*I am not the pirate. Any resemblance is purely coincidental and imagined.

 


Capital Punishment

04/26/2021

To kill a killer. Justice served. Except in this case I don’t think the killer ever actually killed anyone, and even if so, it was certainly not intentional. “Killer” was only a nickname. In fact the “killer” was much loved and revered by California surfers until 1966, when capital punishment was dished out and the “killer” would be no more.

You know what I’m talking about. But if you don’t it should be too hard to look up. The clues are plenty.

I will say this though, my wife’s family was from this little town. There’s even a massive photo of her grandpa Mel on the wall hanging in one of the hotels down in the harbor. There he stands to this day, grinning, shirtless, holding behind him a redwood surfboard that must have weighed more than any of his 4 children at the time.

I recall asking him about the harbor that was built here that ended the days of the “killer”, and he seemed confused that I asked him if he was sad to see it built and ruin such a great surf spot. He said flatly that the harbor was the best thing that ever happened to this place. I wasn’t about to push this any further with him. A matter of perspective I suppose.

It’s a beautiful headland, and a beautiful harbor at that. I just couldn’t help but hint in this painting at what once used to happen when large swells marched into this cove before the breakwater effectively stopped them in their tracks.


The Royal Treatment

04/25/2021

Already a long day of painting, this was a late afternoon session down the street from a restaurant where I’d just ate and drank to my fill with an old friend. I was supposed to be delivering a fresh batch of canvas prints to the restaurant as well. After a relaxed meal I told them I’d be right back with the art that was in my van around the back, then promptly got to talking with my old pal about where I might go paint next and he wanted to show me this spot and we got so excited that I jumped in the van and followed him down the hill to paint this scene.

About half way through painting it, I realized that all the art I was supposed to deliver was still in the van and they must have thought I was the biggest hack of an artist they’d ever seen. “Yeah I’ve got the prints, how about some food and beers first?” and “yeah, I’ll be right back with the art” and poof, I was gone. Never trust an artist.

All was well and good when I returned though, I think they were so relieved to see me back and deliver the goods that they went right ahead and fed me again. The royal treatment indeed.


It wouldn’t be wrong to mention the restaurant here would it? I highly recommend The Shore Grille.

Hiding in Plain Sight

04/25/2021

Access to this pocket of reef beneath sandstone cliffs is now through a private club serving coastal California’s elites. An old friend of mine grew up surfing here before the club existed. 

The owner of the club is a rather infamous self-important jerk of sorts, and was probably here for an event, when security recently stopped my friend at the gate. They asked if he was on the guest list. Of course he was. He gave them a name. The guard fumbled with the list and with smug satisfaction placed his hand on the car as he was about to direct this unwelcome guest to turn around. My buddy glares at the guard and tells him to take his hand off his car as though he’s the boss himself. (It’s a nice ride, and he keeps it spotless.) The suddenly off-gaurd guard removes his hand, stands up straight, and my buddy blows right past him and heads past the clubhouse to his usual spot, and makes his way quickly down the bluff for a fun session.

Places like this hide in plain sight, existing squarely between two worlds. The elite and the illicit. The billionaires and the bankrupt and all that lies between. 

And I hid in plain sight while painting this. Out of bounds and over a roped off area, sneaking a view of this peak, in clear view of any hired staff who may or may not care that I was painting where I was.  Only one way to find out. I went after it fast, laying a sketch at breakneck speed, so that if I got the boot I’d at least have enough started to get ‘er done later. 

This would mean a lot to it’s eventual owner, a surfer who pioneered this wave that had long been considered unrideable. He rejected the blatant territorialism that was familiar to the north and south of this place, inspiring the next generation to guard the spot with aloha and skill instead of zip codes and fists. My friend above was part of this generation and he rallied the crew to have me paint this as a gift of gratitude for their respected elder. It’s an honor I can hardly describe, and I hope it brings back a million good memories every time he looks at it.


Walking on the Moon

04/19/2021

I don’t know why the child suffers
But I know he is more than his pain
I don’t know when he’ll return to this place
But I know he’ll be here again

I don’t know why this life
Brought him these troubles so soon
But I know that when his feet touch this sand
The child walks on the moon


Painted at the request of the parents of a small child suffering a painful medical condition. This beach is his favorite place in the world and they wanted him to have this painting to remember the place and bring him some cheer and remind him of good times had, and to look forward to as well.

South by South

04/19/2021

There are souths, and there are Big Souths, and there are places like this that are still south of those while still being north of many other souths, let the reader understand.

I’d spent the morning painting out on that headland just past the breaking waves, and the view in this direction made for a perfect bookend of an afternoon. Like justice being served.

Speaking of justice, we need to figure out how to serve justice to folks that are trashing beautiful places like this.  The view is worthy of the glossiest post card in the gas-station spinner rack, and yet the ground is covered in debris like the gnarliest gas station restroom you’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s sad. Sorry to mention it here, but it’s hard to see and say nothing about. If it gets much worse I might have start including the toilet paper drifting in the wind in these paintings and nobody, nobody, nobody wants that.


Rags to Riches

04/19/2021

A road closure not too far north of this headland made for a quiet night sleeping on a highway pullout. The view I'd come for was obscured by the marine layer which hovered about 200 feet above sea level so after a quick cup of coffee and some grumbling in the mist I made my way down to a gap in the barbed wire fence that I spotted passing through the previous evening.

I'd wanted to explore this zone in the past but had been met with barbed wire, no-trespassing signs, and poison oak encroaching all over what might have been a footpath behind an abused portion of fencing. There's times we face challenges that we must dig deep to meet. That's when we see what we're really made of.  In this case I dug deep and found an excellent reason to go somewhere else. I don't recall the reason, but it was pressing, let me tell you. Otherwise I'd have ventured boldly onto that sketchy poisonous path in a heartbeat. Ahem. Yes.

But I told myself I'd come back another day and this was the day. In a fortunate twist of fate, I was greeted this time by signs stating that the trail was open to the public during daylight hours. And through use the oak had been beaten back into a much more manageable submission beside the path. I should have grabbed my gear right then, but I got so excited that I charged down the path driven by curiosity and coffee and made my way out to this vista greeted by poppies and a sweeping view up the coast.  Stumbling on this scene after being denied in the past was like living through my own personal rags to riches story.

Sure, I had multiple commissioned paintings I needed to get done today, and sure, the fog had lifted and mostly burned off so I could have made a mental note and come back for this after being responsible and getting my paid "work" out of the way first, but I'd already left this place for another day once and I wasn't about to do it again, so it was off to the van for my gear and back again.  A good way to start the day.

Also of note: came across a big fat snake in the grass on my way back out the second time. Probably just a garter snake of some kind, but he was a thick one. I try to tread lightly out there anyway, but after seeing this bugger I tried my best to float over the trail instead.


Twenty Twenty-One

05/22/2021

This is a follow up piece to a painting I did back in 2020. You might remember that one, it was a little darker, a little stormier, a little more 2020. This one is 2021. It’s still dark and stormy but there is a break in the clouds at least for a moment.

I was thinking about the power of the ocean and how in spite of its beauty, it really doesn’t care about you at all and if you find yourself in the wrong place out there, well, you’re in a heap of trouble.

It may be a beautiful world for all of us at times, but just like the ocean, if you find yourself in the wrong situation, the world at large doesn’t care much for us either.

The house in the distance is the local U.S. Coast Guard headquarters on Humboldt Bay. They’ve saved a lot of lives over the years when people found themselves in the wrong place at sea.

I’d never painted this iconic building on the bay here even though it’s just down the hill from my home, and since this painting is being auctioned to benefit Humboldt “CASA” it would make sense to include a “house”, so I figured this was the time to make it happen.

But the real deal is that just like the Coast Guard is always there and ready to help us when we find ourselves in trouble at sea, so the folks at CASA are doing something just as heroic for kids who find themselves in trouble in life, without family, and in a world that doesn’t always care. CASA is there to advocate for these kids when nobody else is stepping up. And that is worth honoring.


*(CASA stands for Court-Appointed Special Advocates- and is made up of volunteers who are everyday people appointed by a judge to speak up and advocate for abused and neglected children in court.)


Nosebleeds

04/23/2021

To be honest I don't know why I'd never painted here before, I've painted a lot of Orange County beaches, both iconic and off the beaten path, but none more famous in modern times than this one. On any south swell you can expect to see footage and photos all over the internets and newspapers (where they still exist) and the nightly news on TV, it's hard to escape.

The day after I painted this I ate a bowl of cereal at my uncle's house in long beach and there on the front page of his morning paper were photos of this place, surfers being swallowed whole with no chance of escape. I recognized one of them specifically as a ride I had witnessed while painting this one.

Speaking of photographers I probably wouldn't have gained this particular perspective if it wasn't for one of these photographers. I wandered the entire beach on my arrival, the first time I'd been here in a very long time, and definitely the first time I'd scouted a painting here. I was drawn to this further vantage point that looked across the harbor and still caught the action out front in this gladiator pit of a surf spot.

As I was setting up near a lifeguard tower I got to talking with one of the photographers who was using the tower for a shooting platform and when I complimented him on his choice of vantage points he told me there was plenty of room up there if I wanted to paint. One thing I try to avoid when painting is setting up in a spot where I might get booted out before finishing and that was my concern here. Knowing the area well, he explained the lifeguards wouldn't be using this tower at all today and that was all the assurance I needed.

And indeed he chose the best seat in the arena as far as I was concerned. Look him up: Jeremiah Klein (@miahklein). You'll be stoked.

After he left there was a steady stream of photographers that made use of this platform as they made their rounds documenting the action. It's definitely one of the more unique ocean arenas in California, and up here in the nosebleeds section of the stadium we could see it all. One day I'll have to come back and get something that focuses more on the warping beast of a wave itself, but for my first crack, I was pretty stoked to come away with a painting that tells a bit more of story.


Irish Coffee

03/17/2021

A quick family getaway. An early morning stumble across a cow pasture. A desperate and failed effort not to spill my coffee while being distracted by this beauty. A fleeting glimpse of my wife jogging on the beach beneath the first light of day. How does she do that at this hour? I can barely walk.