We Must Keep Our Eyes Open

Plein air artwork of view of Skunk Point and Santa Cruz island from Santa Rosa Island off the coast of California

Artwork Notes:

We must keep our eyes open. First two syllables: We-muh. Wordplay for the name of the tribe that lived here for thousands of years before they were scooped up and sent away to make room for sheep and cattle and now a national park.

The opportunity to come visit this place was part of a program through CSUCI that brings students here to study this unique natural environment. This trip was designed with an emphasis on “seeing the landscape”. Being that’s my bread and butter, I reckon that’s the reason my friend Dr. Reineman invited me to tag along.

The fact that I was here with a bunch of science students really hit home when there was audible excitement and giddy applause for the announcement of an “ethnobotany” hike. I was pretty fascinated too, but I must confess I only lasted about 20 minutes on the educational hike and then my need to see a broader view of the landscape won out and they sent me on my way.

What a joy to set up an easel and paint on this hill, where not too many feet travel, and even fewer easels get dragged up and put to use.

Life is hard to predict, so keeping my eyes open, I know this opportunity may not come again. How thankful I am to be here today. 

-Matt Beard




Artwork Information:


Artwork Title: "We Must Keep Our Eyes Open"
Original Size: 20" x 16"
Medium: Acrylic on Birch Panel
Year Painted: 2018

Additional Artwork Information:


Method: Plein Air
Date Painted: 09/22/2018
Region: The California Coast > The Channel Islands > Santa Barbara > Southern California
Road Trip: A Bit Farther Out (Mostly) 2018

Artwork Logistics:


Miles Hiked: 2-4 Miles
Vehicular Logistics: Extra Vehicular Assistance Needed
Extra-Vehicular Requirements: Boat Required for Access
Botanical Hazards: Some Poison Oak Observed
Biological Hazards: High Grass- Tick Country!
Anthropological Hazards: Roaming Scientists
Weather Logistics: Painted in Heavy Winds
Temperature: Uncomfortably Warm


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