The Beautiful Mountain

Plein air artwork of Belmont Shores area of Long Beach looking toward the Palos Verdes Peninsula in LA county, California

Artwork Notes:

After spending maybe too much time with the painting in my previous post, this was a reaction against that one’s slow and methodical recording of a very technical shoreline. I had to move fast with the setting sun as I tried to just focus on getting some sense of the crispness of color and light that saturated the scene for about 45 minutes.

The name of these shores translates to Beautiful Mountain. Every evening the sun sets behind that distant hill and on an evening like this it’s easy to see why the name was chosen.

As a steady stream of walkers, joggers, roller skaters and scooters buzzed on the path below, a similarly steady stream of characters passed on the path right behind me, some pushing shopping carts full of who-knows what, others pushing fancy baby strollers, and still others pushing nothing but wild ideas- all of them a reminder that this was indeed one of the more diverse and decidedly urban stretches of our coast that I had stopped to paint in recent memory.

A few conversations ensued as occasionally folks would stop to watch. One stands out in memory, a dread-locked fellow that walked past once, then again, then maybe once or twice more before stopping to chat. He’d seen better days, used to do some art himself before life happened to him. I have to say it was a relief to chat about art while painting with someone who didn’t want to know anything about whether the painting was for sale, how much, was this just a hobby, or a livelihood, what would I do for retirement, how could I be so dumb to pursue a risky life path like art, etc… Nope, none of that. He just enjoyed watching the colors move, reminisced about his past, simpler times, his mom, his grandma… but for now just enjoying the moment, watching a bearded painter at work in the sphere of his own world. I think we both left feeling a little better about humanity that day.

Life is hard, and getting a whole lot harder for a lot of us, but if we can slow down and really listen to one another I think we’ll always find that we’re all in this thing together. Life is a mountain we all must climb. And it is beautiful.

-Matt Beard




Artwork Information:


Artwork Title: "The Beautiful Mountain"
Original Size: 16" x 12"
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Year Painted: 2019

Additional Artwork Information:


Method: Plein Air
Date Painted: 05/13/2019
Region: The California Coast > Southern California > Los Angeles
Road Trip: Maycember 2019

Artwork Logistics:


Access Logitics: Fence or Gate Hopping Required
Anthropological Hazards: Sketchy Human Interactions


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