Economy of Scale

Plein air artwork showing the view of Morro Bay and Morro Rock from Black mountain on the central California coast

Artwork Notes:

Geology trips me out. They always say that the large rock formation at the mouth of this bay is some sort of plug in a volcano. Okay… well I guess that’s pretty convenient. Maybe that’s why they are so strict about not letting climbers set foot on the thing- don’t want to risk any climbers setting bolts on a weak spot and causing the whole thing to blow. No good when that happens.

But yeah, I wanted to get a good view of this landmark so I scouted a nice short trail up a nearby peak and made my way to the top. Upon arrival, I spun two things. First was a full 360 or two, taking in the panoramic view from the top. Pretty epic, but lacking foreground interest up there. So the second thing I spun was a 180 back down the trail to a large granite boulder I’d passed on the way up.

I thought there was a certain visual poetry in painting this boulder in the foreground, with a distant view of a downright massive rock formation that would make this boulder appear but a pebble if they were to sit side by side. An interesting economy of scale, to misuse a phrase.

If that one is some sort of volcano plug, maybe this one is plugging up an epic hot tub. I’ll have to file a complaint with the geology department. Hiking around with a studio on one’s back, one needs all the hot tubs one can find. Preferably without giant rocks on them. 

-Matt Beard




Artwork Information:


Artwork Title: "Economy of Scale"
Original Size: 20" x 16"
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Year Painted: 2017

Additional Artwork Information:


Method: Plein Air
Date Painted: 08/22/2017
Region: The California Coast > Central California > San Luis Obispo
Road Trip: Southern Central California 2017

Artwork Logistics:


Miles Hiked: 2-4 Miles
Geological Hazards: Awkward Footing on Uneven Terrain
Biological Hazards: Mysterious Insect Bites/Stings
Anthropological Hazards: Other Painters, Crowds with Lots of Questions
Weather Logistics: Painted in Full Sun with no Shade
Temperature: Uncomfortably Warm


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