No Van is an Island




No Van is an Island

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.

-Matt Beard




Artwork Information:


Artwork Title: "No Van is an Island"
Original Size: 20" x 16"
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Year Painted: 2021

Additional Artwork Information:


Method: Plein Air
Date Painted: 04/28/2021
Region: The California Coast > Southern California > San Diego

Artwork Logistics:


Vehicular Logistics: Painted from Roof Platform on Van
Biological Hazards: Painted in Public During a Global Pandemic, Food/Drink Delivered and Consumed While Painting
Anthropological Hazards: Sketchy Human Interactions, Surfers Are The Worst, Crowds with Lots of Questions, People Drinking, Other Painters
Weather Logistics: Painted in Full Sun with no Shade
Temperature: Uncomfortably Warm


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