Off in the Distance

We had some good sunny weather a few days ago, and I got it in my head to go up the coast and hike to the top of our local headland there and paint the view looking north. I had the exact vantage point in my mind with vertical rock faces framing one side of the painting but deep atmospheric distance plummeting away up the coast on the other. It would take some scrambling to get all my gear to the little zone with the view I wanted, but nothing too problematic. Well… except for the wind. I was just so excited to see a clear sky forecast after all the rain, that I ran out without thinking of that pesky wind factor. Needless to say, it was a no go. Howling north winds were slamming full force into the promontory I wanted to perch upon. I figured since I live around here, I can always come back on a calmer day and kept going around the leeward side of the head to see what views were on offer on this winter afternoon.

I’d thought of doing a studio piece from this perspective years ago, I even have a file full of images taken with a zoom lens to get this unusual angle of a very familiar zone. I never considered painting it in plein air as the entire frame of the composition is only about two finger widths at arms length due to the distance across Trinidad bay. Not a lot of visual information to work with, a rather flat atmosphere (again due to everything in the painting being a long distance away), and a really awkward compositional problem with no real foreground to work with made this one a bigger challenge than I had expected. I could have included some plants from the side of the trail I was on and peering over, but thought it would distract from this near aerial perspective, so instead I just hammed up the swell lines and foam trails in the water down there to give the eye a bit of enjoyment down there.

While I did have higher hopes for this one (I think I always do for all of them), I am pretty stoked to have come away with a different perspective of a familiar spot.

Artwork Information:

Artwork Title: "Off in the Distance"
Original Size: 20" x 16"
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Year Painted: 2017

Additional Artwork Information:

Method: Plein Air
Date Painted: 03/01/2017
Region: The California Coast > Northern California > Humboldt

Artwork Logistics:

Miles Hiked: 1-2 Miles
Weather Logistics: Painted in Heavy Winds

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