More Than Wind

Plein air artwork overlooking Pacifica Beach on the San Mateo County coast of California

I had just finished a piece from the other side of this hill looking up the coast to the north. As I painted that one, what started as a windless day quickly changed. The whitecaps had enveloped every piece of water in sight, inside the kelp, around the headlands, pretty much game over for painting outdoors. But before leaving I wanted to see the view from the other parts of the hill and when I looked out over this side, I saw this painting. Right then, right there. The warm iceplant in the foreground, the cool windcapped sea, the distant fog bank, all of it.
I knew I wanted to paint it, but fighting a stubborn cold, and after wrestling the last one to completion in the wind, I was rather beat. What to do? Come back another day? But there was plenty of daylight still left. The surf wouldn’t be good anywhere. But still, nothing in me wanted to push on at the moment. I headed back down the hill to the van to consider my options.

Now I’m not too good at religion, but still I often talk to God and believe God speaks to us as well. Call me nuts. It’s all good. You may be right. I asked God what I should do, unsure if it was a good idea to push myself back up the hill and keep working. Don’t worry, the answer wasn’t an audible voice, but distinct all the same, it was a thought not my own. “You are man, you are made of mountain.” Okay…

Now whatever you make of that, it had the effect of getting me all fired up and back up the hill I went with a fresh canvas. 3 times it blew off the easel. Once, it hit me in the face (a first). It never held still. The glare on the water was painted by holding the brush a half inch from the canvas and moving it slowly while the wind smacked the canvas repeatedly into the brush as it bounced. I had to hold the easel with one hand while painting with the other. I yelled, fought, and wrestled. It takes more than wind to level a mountain.

Artwork Information:

Artwork Title: "More Than Wind"
Original Size: 20" x 16"
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Year Painted: 2017

Additional Artwork Information:

Method: Plein Air
Date Painted: 09/12/2017
Region: The California Coast > San Mateo > Central California
Road Trip: SF/San Mateo 2017

Artwork Logistics:

Miles Hiked: 1-2 Miles
Geological Hazards: Steep or Unstable Cliffs
Botanical Hazards: Some Poison Oak Observed
Biological Hazards: High Grass- Tick Country!
Weather Logistics: Painted in Heavy Winds, Painted in Stupid Strong Wind that I had No Business Trying to Paint In, Painted in Full Sun with no Shade

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