I thought I may have met my “end” yesterday, ironically while painting at Lands End beach in San Francisco.

Like many of you, I often hike to remote places to paint the perfect spot and find myself in the middle of nowhere. There are Mountain Lions to think about, snakes, made-up sadistic hatchet-yielding crazies–and then, there’re ourselves. My emergency was stupidly self-inflicted: While rocking out to Arctic Monkeys, and being completely in the zone (my painting was going well), I drank a big gulp of Turpentine (correction: I drank mineral spirits) thinking it was my water! Yikes! (Note to self: stop storing extra turps spirits in Calistoga bottles).

I called 911…”we need to send an ambulance, where are you?”. I could only describe vaguely where I was since I’d hiked 25 minutes from some unknown parking lot along the coast and I’d never been to this spot before. No one was around, so I couldn’t ask. All I could manage was, I can see the Golden Gate bridge! I was definitely in panic. I need an ambulance?

To make a long (embarrassing) story short…after hiking and getting disconnected/connected from 911 a couple of times, I eventually got connected to the Poison Control Center: “Gee, why did you drink that?” was the first question…then my age, am I breathing normally, etc. Luckily, the solution was to drink milk/juice (not water, and don’t vomit). I’m fine now.

Well, you’ve learned another lesson on my blog, don’t drink Turpentine or mineral spirits (just in case you were unsure on the matter).

Lands End (San Francisco) – Oil on Linen – 9×12

Back to the Art: I liked the painting I was working on during this fiasco, so after resting a bit, I finished the remaining 10% at home. This ended up being a good study in grays, which are so important to achieving effective color.This isn’t the best photograph (I’ll get a scan when it dries), but the most intense colors needed to be the light-struck waves and the shadowed water. For the lightest crest of the white water, I used Titanium White with a little Hansa Yellow, a beautiful cool yellow on my palette. You’d think that a warm yellow like Cad Yellow would make for a better sun-light white, but I’ve found the cool yellows more convincing. The shadow side of the water is a combination of several colors, as frankly, I had a hard time arriving at the right color. I would say the end color is a combination of Magnesium Blue, Ultramarine Blue and Titanium White.

For the shadow side of the rocks, I used a thin wash of Alizarin Crimson, killed back a bit with Sap Green, and probably a touch of Ultramarine Blue. The light-struck rock color was made from some grays on the side of my palette, adjusted here and there with warm and cool variations. Do you save your grays? After every painting, I scrape my left over paint into piles of analogous colors, usually one general warm, one violet, one green. These neutral colors provide a means of harmonizing color in subsequent paintings.


25 thoughts on “Seascape 911

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