Bending Lines


You know those painters you see outside on sunny days with their fancy umbrellas, leisurely painting away on the manicured park lawn? I don’t know if they’ve spent much
time in the coastal zone.

I recently got one of those fancy umbrellas for myself. Seemed like a great idea at the time. I even got one that was silver on top to reflect heat and black underneath to
reduce glare, and with about 87 different clamp options to attach to nearly anything. It really is a marvel of modern engineering.

And it’s basically worthless. I used it as I was painting this one on a beautiful windless day until what I’d call a very light breeze finally came up, not much, but magnified by the cliff-face beneath me, and that thing warped itself into all manners of hideous misshapes and bending lines, an origami of umbrellic obscenities, threatening to topple my whole easel and send it down the cliff. I will not be using it again.

On the brighter side, I really like how this turned out and solved a nagging visual problem, using simple horizontal strokes to define bending lines of swell.

Now that is something I will use again.

-Entry on February 16, 2015

Winter Sun


We’ve spent long days here
North of the river

We’ve spent
Our last two dimes
And waffles
And a good night’s sleep
From the falling snow
Until the storm blew over

And now we ourselves
Are spent
Worn out
Like the two
Dog blankets
In the back of the van

One more look at the ocean
Before we head home
And two things
Become clear

We’re not going home tonight
We’re gonna smell like dog
In the morning



Unplanned live art from The Accident Lab poetry event last night. Kinda different, maybe someone will dig it… or maybe not. I might be stuck with this one.

Fire Fusion


So I think I’m going to just start enjoying water more as I do these live art paintings. This one I just relaxed and felt like painting a mix of explosive fire and water. It’s not exactly what I had in mind, but when completing a large painting in just two and a half hours, it rarely is. What it was though, was super fun. I think just zoning out and painting water is where it’s at for me right now, and I’m looking forward to more.

Eureka- Finding California

October 22, 2014

Artist Matt Beard emerging from a makeshift log shelter on the Lost Coast of Northern California circa 1996

Stories of California: Memories, Recollections, Truth, Lies, and Points in Between

The following collection of short tales was an early attempt to establish a narrative to accompany my art in a book format. A handful were printed to test the waters, but it never went into actual production and publication. Later on, it was submitted to Surfer Magazine and was awarded runner-up mention in a writing contest they held. I thought that was pretty cool for a painter. Most of these stories are based on memories from my youth- junior high, high school, and college years.  Some of them are truer than others...

Part I: The Land


Deep in the anxious nowhere of Los Angeles,  an old home stands in solemn opposition to the thousands of fleeting glimpses of a rushed humanity that bombard the busy thoroughfare just beyond it’s front steps.  Out on that street there is no longer any memory of the past, it’s been rewritten as a vain attempt at remembering the future. What comes next is all there is, or more accurately, all there will be then, for there is no longer any now. There’s no time for that sort of luxury anymore.  Not out there, anyway. The old home is a different story though.  There’s plenty of now to be had here. There’s shade everywhere, as anything that grows out of the ground has been allowed to just keep on growing.  A huge tree stands in the yard next to the house.  Kids bikes lean against the tree, rusting into permanence at the end of the dirt driveway.  You can stand still here and see time pass.  The joy of now. Stand on the porch and wait for a pause in the traffic, so you don’t inhale the future’s fumes, and take a deep breath.  Oranges.  The past here smells like oranges.  Acres of them.  As far as you could see in any direction.  Grandparents of today were once children here who drank fresh squeezed orange juice because that’s all they had.  They laughed and screamed and rode their bikes in every direction as far as they wanted down the dirt roads between the neighboring orchards. On hot summer days, though, this would get old and they’d complain that they were bored. They would wish that something would happen here, and figuring that it never would, they imagined a different life beyond the orange trees.

Part I: The Road

Roads Worth Travelling.

Most roads worth traveling on started out as dirt roads.  The very best roads probably started out as nothing more than animal trails snaking through the brush.  Ever hike through a remote and untraveled backcountry, far off the trails where folks just don’t go?  Then you know what I’m g…


The Jewel V: Wednesday Afternoon


This was the first time I was given access to this deck on the end of this scientific research pier. I remember being so torn about which view to paint, north or south, that I think I just blew a fuse and split it down the middle with an easterly approach. I figured since it was so unusual to even be there at all, maybe this unusual perspective made the most sense.

Big thanks to my pal @misfitgallerylj for making this one possible as part of my first sold out La Jolla plein air tour.

There’s someone else to thank as well, but names should probably not be mentioned at this point. You know who you are. And you rock. Thank you.

Evolution of Icarus


So… sometimes this happens. When I paint at live events, half the fun is not knowing exactly what I’m going to paint. Even as I’m loading my palette with paint I’m usually still wondering what’s going to happen. At RampArt Skatepark last weekend, this is what happened. Not sure what’s going on here, but one thing led to another and another and another and I guess that’s just how it goes.

The story of Icarus is pretty cool, a warning against pride, but while we mostly seem to focus on that aspect of the tale, we often forget his father’s warning wasn’t just about flying too high, but also too low. Get up off the ground and quit slacking, yeah? Good call. The flying fish has it wired I reckon.

Anyway, I’m sure anyone could read all sorts of other stuff into this, and so could I, but art is more poetry than essay, so I won’t go into all that.

Anyway, hope you dig this little unexpected homage to the master of this genre, Rick Griffin himself. Enjoy!



It may look like a wave, but if you rotate this piece counter-clockwise it represents the real time wind conditions off the Pacific coast at the time the painting was being created. Check out if you want to see what I’m talking about.

Crab Haul

August 20, 2014

I painted this one years ago   
From a weathered photograph  
It was a Christmas gift  
From a daughter  
To her father  
She was a young child  
When the photo was taken  
From the Old Trinidad Pier 
Of her dad and his crew 
On his boat down below 
She said they ate good  
Really, really good that year  
I imagined them eating  
Juicy butter-dripping crab   
For every meal  
She just laughed  
After the lean years  
Of cornbread and beans  
This was the year  
Their ship finally came in  
They didn’t eat crab  
They ate whatever they wanted  
Wherever they wanted  
And you might be thinking  
Of a working-class family  
That just came into extra money  
And you might not be wrong  
But I’ll ask you right now  
To think of this young child  
Enjoying her family’s joy  
And remembering it  
After all these years  
After the photo is faded  
Torn around the edges  
Asking an artist  
To give that sweet memory  
Back to her father  
Tell me again  
When did their ship come in?  

On the Rocks


Painted on site with the rising tide sending large amounts of saltwater all over my back and palette as I worked. There may not be blood, sweat, or tears in this one, but there is certainly a good dose of Pacific Ocean saltwater, and that’s almost the same thing from a salinity perspective…

Insinuation IX: Where Once there was Only Sky

June 1, 2014

Rising up to heights intolerable
Between moments of relief
All too brief
Just when the final surge washes through
Rearranging the ground floor
Soaking the upholstery
With salt driven from the earth’s rotation
Glass breaking
Walls shaking
The record collection scattered like shells on the shore
Just when it’s too much to bear
As violently as it moved
Just as quickly it is over
And there is no sound to be heard
Above the chirping of birds
Except the voice of a helpless infants cry
Where once there was nothing but endless sky

Insinuation VIII: Hope of Expectancy Surrendered

June 1, 2014

As joy turns to sorrow
And victory defeat
The batteries drained
The battering remains
A constant beat
Each pulse an increase of primordial pain
The hope of expectancy surrendered
Like broken water from a cloudburst in a heavy rain
Something gone wrong
The absence of light
This can’t be the way
That all is set right
The giver of life drained of the gift
The spark itself turned inside
The fire within is within another
A universe within this imploding star
Wrought in the worst of collapsing rhapsody
Written in verse of relapsing tragedy

Insinuation VII: The Spin of the Sphere

June 1, 2014

The spin of the sphere
Is the beginning of fear
And where it leads none can follow
It’s tilted gait
Refuses to wait
As yesterday wars with tomorrow
And the lengthening days
The upper hand gains
And the bluebirds await the arrival
Of the victor’s scorn
Trampling the snowmelt
Of their opponent
Who retreats to the high mountains
Blocking lifeblood supply routes
And starving the proud of
Any further harvest celebration
Until the conquerors meakly succomb
To the darkest deprivation
But their season of starvation is also soon to pass
And the reason of the star’s ovation will not last

Insinuation VI: Earth’s Shadow Not Yet Reaping

June 1, 2014

The lunar eclipse breathes its deepest shade of red
As the waters of earth rise up to meet the dying
A global procession
Where every drop offers
An honest confession
Of unending love
And weeps for the loss of their beloved’s white-blue light
These fluid mourning masses
Gather at the funeral parlor door
Awaiting a turn to glimpse
Her pale face once more
Gathered round in silence
Then a wondrous pause
Then thunderous applause
And there’s been no greater joy since
Her shadow only just sleeping
Earth’s shadow not yet reaping

Insinuation V: No Escape Until Exhalation

June 1, 2014

Inhalation of numbers
A suspended matrix of love and tears
Sweat and pain
No solution for this equation
Just a problem of oxygen suspended in blood
Arriving from beyond the sea
To bring life however brief it may be
But with it arises
The conflict inside us
Carried by wind
Born of dust
Made of earth
Fragile and flammable
Unquenched and unbirthed
Ubiquitous by nature
The post-war riot an ethereal vibration
With no escape just escalation
No escape until exhalation

Insinuation IV: Riding Shotgun in the Cardiac

June 1, 2014

As the plot thickens
The pulse quickens
Signals the release of adrenaline
The fight or flight
The might makes right
At heart it’s all just light
Emanating through nervous roots
Planted deep in the sinews
It’s neither sin nor is it news
Riding shotgun in the cardiac
Pumping beats to keep the blood moving
Regulating the pace of exchange
The old for new
The tired air for the thought of life
Some peace of mind for another
With roots of another kind

Insinuation III: Sheet Music of Endless Revolutions

June 1, 2014

Pulsating depths collide with rock in steady rhythm
Rocksteady rhythms
Seafoam drifts that move in procession
Driven by the upwelling of time
Etching on the surface a crooked white line
A visible record of the upheaval
The sheet music of endless revolutions
Each blast is a rebellion
In search of freedom like water
Moving to this inexplicable beat
Dancing with the reckless abandon of oceans unknown
It’s the song we we fought and died for
We were bought and paid for
We were wrought and made for

Insinuation II: Hunting Reverb for Survival

June 1, 2014

Molten harmonics signal the release of tension
The groaning of tectonic riffs
Played with the volume cranked to eleven
The subterranean chords of metal and rock circle their prey
Descending through chasms
Black air dripping with the sweat of earth
Waiting to shake its foundations
And strike
Hunting reverb for survival
And it hides by the deepest frequencies
Amplified by the frequently deepest seas

Insinuation I: Lost in a Sea of Synapses

June 1, 2014

Dancing at will upon the innumerous grains
The finite brains of particulate philosophers
Who cannot through their centrifuges
Do anything other than remain on it’s surface
Grasping at photons
Missing the point
Marching lockstep in lines around the corner
Adrift in a city of relapses
Lost in a sea of synapses
Mentally sequencing the circuitry required
To awaken the silicon mined of earth
The silicon mind of earth

Insinuation: Prologue

June 1, 2014

Rising and falling, the transfer of energy,
the simple wave is itself in nature prominent.
To look too close is to see only the thing
and miss the implications of its movement.
From here on no further mention made
of the object of our salted minds.
Just an attempt with light and with shade
to find it between the lines.

It will be what it will be

Insinuation XI: Like Polished Brass

June 1, 2014

Lengthening shadows signal the cycle
Is nearing its end
Soon to repeat again
And as the fading light races the horizon
The dust is what we’ve laid eyes on
The circuit complete
The awakening of earth’s mind
In a thousand incandescent lights
Streaming forth
To welcome all and then some
To receive the failed and winsome
Her final thought to hold a mass
For that which is hers to keep
The rest of which like polished brass
Not hers will be released
And tomorrows births
Will be described
In terms of shining metal
And tomorrow’s worth
Will be inscribed
On every flower’s petal

Insinuation X: Green Explosions

June 1, 2014

The fragile seed
Takes root and shoots
Green explosions of sunshine
Burst forth from the scattered ashes
Of those laid to rest
From the day when the mad disease
Took aim and shot
Their passing became
The passion behind
The protest of laughing children
Bellies full
The harvest abundant
Ringing from the bell tower
Over field and foe alike
The vanquished appetite
Of the now rusted machine
But a distant memory
Clouded by satisfied times
Grounded by gratified rhymes



Recent Live Art piece from the Save the Waves fundraiser in SF a few weeks back. I’m really stoked how this one turned out. I went with a simple image of a wave about to break into a breakwall, an enigmatic comment on our role in shaping the shoreline, creating and destroying surf breaks along the way. I figured it would be relevant to the cause. Not sure if any of that came across at all, but still I was stoked to be a part of their event and raise a few dollars for them along the way.


May 22, 2014

Load upon load
and weight to bear weight
these beams bear witness to our memories lost in the fire
on the night we crossed the bridge
to the hobo camp
passing driverless cars
and the rising tide
forced us to climb over the rocks in order to round the headland
where lovers loved
and dreamers dreamed
and thieves did their best work
stealing all that we had
and leaving us with nothing
but ashes.