Twentytwenty doesn’t need much introduction. We’ve all been caught in this storm. That’s what this painting is about.
But there is a bit more backstory to it that some of you might not be aware of. This piece was started live on location at the Dunehouse in Manila, CA as a benefit for Friends of the Dunes. Unable to host their annual event on site due to it being 2020 and all, they were still able to manage to have the Spindrifters come belt out some live tunes for an hour and a half last week while I set up outside and painted to their rhythms. After so many months of not hearing live music in person, let alone being able to paint along, it was a heavy experience and another reminder of just how much this thief called 2020 has attempted to steal from us.
I was a bit rusty during the live portion of this painting out there, so I took it home and did quite a bit of work finishing it up in the studio. I had a vision for this one, and really wanted to bring it through. Generally the only large paintings I work on the studio these days are commissions from collectors and are never available for outright purchase, let alone in an auction. This is a truly rare opportunity to score an original painting like this, it just doesn’t happen very often. Someone’s gonna be stoked. But that’s just business, let’s get back to what this painting is all about…
The peninsula in all of its duneful wonder is a beautiful place and its been fun to paint there every year for the last 6 or so years at their annual event, but to be honest there’s always been something a little odd about being out there in a social setting. The glory of the dunes are best experienced in solitude. And ironically, I don’t think I’m alone in this opinion. We don’t have a desert here in Humboldt- out on the peninsula in these dunes is one of the few places with open sky and empty space. It’s our desert. Our place to face the heavens and scream and cry and laugh and pour out our lives to whoever listens up there. We dream up ideas, we’re captured by visions, confronted by the blank slate of our souls. This alone is a beautiful thing.
But there’s another beautiful thing about this coast. Due to the angle it faces, our predominant northwest winds blow howling onshore out here and the lightest breeze can rough up the ocean to a churning frenzy of whitecaps turning quickly great waves into ragged derelict lumps of water marching drunkenly to shore arm in arm like soccer hooligans after a heated match. But once in awhile the pattern is disrupted on those days when a new storm rolls in. The swirling low pressure systems that move in from the North Pacific meet the land first with a blast of wind from the south, grooming the incoming swells into beautiful gems of organized chaos. Standing alone at the water’s edge on a day like this can be thing of frightening beauty. And that, more than anything is what this painting is about. Finding some beauty in the middle of the storm that has been twentytwenty.
Ok, yes it’s about that, and it’s also about trying not to drown.