Precipice

Plein air painting overlooking Patrick's Point State Park and Agate Beach on the Humboldt coast of northern California



Artwork Notes:

My sister loved this beach⠀
With it’s small rocks worn smooth ⠀
Tumbled in their own strange victory⠀
A full spectrum of color⠀
Joseph’s coat made of earth⠀
No wonder his brothers sold him⠀
Jealousy runs deep in the quest for treasure⠀
What good are these precious stones anyway?⠀
Were they not made to be coveted by thy neighbor?⠀
And yet my sister envied nobody⠀
She saw treasure in the ordinary stones⠀
The ones that are left behind⠀
We didn’t know at the time⠀
She was about to leave us behind⠀
To live our ordinary lives⠀
On the edge of this precipice⠀
It’s a long way down⠀

When the heavens rage⠀
On the deeper waters⠀
Far beyond the horizon⠀
Venting frustrations⠀
About her people on the shore⠀
And their love of treasure⠀
And their spite for truth⠀
The release of her fury⠀
Sends pulses across the sea⠀
Until the Outburst from above ⠀
Meets the Unmoved here below⠀
Determined to pound rock against rock⠀
To chip away at the rough edges⠀
On a single stone⠀
Swirling in the undercurrent⠀
Because heaven knows⠀
That from the edge of her precipice⠀
It’s a long way down⠀

And the stones of earth⠀
Were gathered together⠀
On that day when the two became one⠀
And the winds howled and shrieked⠀
Right into the watery womb⠀
A first breath breathed⠀
And sight was received⠀
By the stones that till now⠀
Had only swirled beneath⠀
Full of rough edges⠀
And yet soon to get smashed⠀
And made smooth again⠀
Even now digging in⠀
Scratching into the storm⠀
The earth against the water⠀
In a race toward the shore⠀
Stones lurching upward and looking down⠀
From this watery precipice⠀
And it’s a long way down⠀

March of twenty-twenty⠀
A sickness is spreading ⠀
Turning our lungs back into stones⠀
We’ve shut the world down⠀
We’ll put it back together later⠀
But nature never falls apart⠀
She lives on her own terms⠀
And she is always open⠀
So here I stand⠀
Painting this beach⠀
That my sister once loved⠀
And all those smooth stones below⠀
Colors blending into one shade of gray⠀
You can see it all from here⠀
Everything that’s coming⠀
And everyone that’s going⠀
I watch my step⠀
On the edge of this precipice⠀
It’s a long way down⠀

-Matt Beard




Artwork Information:


Artwork Title: "Precipice"
Original Size: 20" x 16"
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Year Painted: 2020

Additional Artwork Information:


Method: Plein Air
Date Painted: 03/15/2020
Region: The California Coast > Northern California > Humboldt

Artwork Logistics:


Miles Hiked: 1-2 Miles
Hiking Terrain: Deep Creek or River Crossing, Full-On Bushwhacking
Access Logitics: Sneaky Public Access Easement
Geological Hazards: Steep or Unstable Cliffs
Botanical Hazards: Lots of Poison Oak!, Thorns and Brambles
Biological Hazards: High Grass- Tick Country!, Ticks Observed on Skin or Clothing


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