The Way it Was

Plein air artwork of El Moro headland at Crystal Cove State Park on the orange county coast of southern California



Artwork Notes:

I was asked to paint this iconic Southern California cove the way it was before the highway and houses came along, without any signs of human presence. It would require some careful editing of the devoloped landscape.

Speaking of careful handling of the landscape, it would also require some careful stepping through a plant rehabilitation zone well off the main trails. I would ordinarily
avoid such questionable practices, but when the state park folks decide inexplicably to lace the entire hillside with trails and NONE of them lead to the rim of the bluffs that
overlook this whitesand beach and scenic headland I can only scratch my head in wonder.  Give the people a trail and they may well stay on it if you ask them too, but take away the trail and you’ll fight a losing battle with the masses intent on finding their own path to the view.

I try to be good, really, I do. It was quite a tip toe, avoiding stepping on any sign of life as I picked my way through the scrub and out onto the rim, finding a nice clearing between some high shrubs that would conceal me nicely from the eyes of all, especially the eyes of the rangers, and double especially the eyes of the ranger that I had just asked about which trails would lead to a good view of the headland.

She gave no good answer so I did what I had to do… not to make anything more or less of it, it’s just the way it was that day.

-Entry on May 4, 2018

-Matt Beard




Artwork Information:


Artwork Title: "The Way it Was"
Original Size: 20" x 16"
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Year Painted: 2018

Additional Artwork Information:


Method: Plein Air
Date Painted: 05/03/2018
Region: The California Coast > Southern California > Orange County
Road Trip: Southern California- May 2018

Artwork Logistics:


Parking Logistics: Paid Park Entrance Required
Miles Hiked: 1-2 Miles
Hiking Terrain: Off Trail Wilderness Tromping
Access Logitics: Prohibited Area (on Public Land)
Geological Hazards: Steep or Unstable Cliffs
Weather Logistics: Painted in Full Sun with no Shade
Temperature: Cooking Hot


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