Recently, I’ve found a new muse in San Gregorio State Beach (CA). It’s a wonderful, unique stretch of beach on the northern coast of California. It’s a site full of whimsy: high art castles and lowly shacks, all made of driftwood from the sea. A great past time there is to build all kinds of structures from the gnarled, twisted wood spread across the beach. Kids just have a wonderful time building things and exploring “the neighborhood” of structures and arrangements around them. I haven’t painted a full edifice yet, but starting my study of the place with by painting studies of little stretches of beach in different weather, full sun and foggy days, to get to know the place.
I painted the study below Sunday. For me, it was a day of escape. I didn’t sleep much the night before due to a nagging sinus headache that would continue a couple days, including this day. I knew that once I started painting and entered “the zone“–or in physchology, “flow“, which is “the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does” (source: Wikipedia). Someone asked me how long I’d been working, and I truly had the no idea. At first I thought, I don’t know, 10 years (thinking she meant total time painting), and then realized she must have meant the study, so I said an hour. I’m sure it was much longer. The headache did cease while painting! Amazing things can happen when one finds something so absorbing to do. I’m very lucky to have that.
So while I work on concepts for something larger in the studio, here are a couple recent studies to enjoy. The last (below) will be featured in an article I wrote for the June edition of PleinAir Magazine. I’m very excited about that!
Sunday was foggy along the coast, but I was able to find something interesting to paint at San Gregorio State Beach. This beach is known for having plenty of driftwood, and beach-goers build really interesting huts and other structures there. It’s well worth a visit. This painting received a lot of comments on my Facebook page, so appears to be a winner! I think people are reacting to the simplicity of it. I hope you enjoy it.
We’re having kind of an odd Spring storm in San Francisco this Easter week, so I’m posting a study I painted a couple weeks ago at Baker Beach.
By the way, next week will be quite busy, as I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at the 2nd Annual Plein Air Convention & Expo in Monterey, CA.. I’ll be both painting a demo (using Arches’Cobra solvent free oils, which was used to paint the seascape below), and I’ll be giving a talk on Social Media Marketing. I hope to see you there! Say hello!
What I love about being an artist is the opportunity to continually learn and explore. My focus recently is learning to use new and different materials. Royal Talens sent me a set of Cobra solvent-free oil paints to try, and these are my first results. The benefit is I don’t have to use solvents, which even though labeled “odor free” really are not, and it’s nice so nice to clean up with soap and water!
As I explore how to work with this paint, I’m find myself painting with a much thicker impasto technique–and I’m enjoying it! Trying new materials can push artists in new directions and open up new possibilities. I hope you enjoy these studies, all done in San Francisco.
After a great week of painting (although, lots of work and some tough, 100-degree weather), my paintings for the San Luis Obispo Plein Air 2012 show at the SLO Museum of Art are ready to go! I need to choose three of these five for the show. I’ve listed them in order of my favorites first. What do you think?
Avila Cove (Late Afternoon), Oil on Linen, 11×14
[Update 10/5]: you’ve all convinced me, the last painting below (sunset) is in the show! Thanks for your feedback. It’s really difficult to judge my own work.
I’m so lucky to live in a city with so much beauty to paint! I’ve neglected it too long, often looking for inspiration in Carmel, the Central Coast, and elsewhere. I may eventually paint citiscapes again, but for now, enjoying the beauty of the coast. The only work not from San Francisco below is from Alta Lake, a friends home in The Sierras we get to visit a couple times a year. Enjoy!
I will be participating again this year in the San Luis Obispo Plein Air festival at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, October 1-7. I usually choose one area to focus on…not sure what it will be. In year’s past, I’ve focused on Avila Beach (cove) and the Rocky Point area (see below). Any suggestions? Let me know!
Here are works from previous years in this show. The painting below “Glowing Bluffs” will be my featured painting in the museum the week leading up to the show.
Sunset Ragged Point. CA (October 4, 2011, Oil on Linen, 12×9
I think this is the longest period of time I’ve gone without blogging! Feels weird. I’ve a a busy couple months: started a remodel at home; and was hospitalized for kidney stones. No fun! Remember to drink lots of water…apparently, that’s how you can help avoid them.
This is my first painting after being out of commission for a couple weeks. Feels great to get back. I like this enough that I can see painting a larger studio work from it. Hope you enjoy it.
It has been an exhausting but inspiring and productive week preparing for the San Luis Obispo Plein Air show at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. The show opened today and runs throughout Sunday. Here are some of my works in the show. It was a week of dramatic weather, so I focused on that, particularly the clouds.
One more Big Sur painting as I prepare to paint the central California coast for San Luis Obispo Plein Air next month. It was fun in this painting to abstract the distance obscured by fog. Let’s hope it’s not foggy when I’m there (although, hey, I’m getting lots of practice). I’m headed to The Sierras tomorrow, where the temperature is scheduled to range between 85-95! I plan to test out water color a bit more, to prepare for my trip to Sydney in November. Cheers!
The California coast delivers weather that varies from bright sunshine to fog–all in the same spot, the same hour! This foggy day version of Big Sur is the other side–the foggy side–of my last sun-lit coastal painting.