Laguna Rooftops...

Laguna rooftops 16x20sm

 

Sometimes the challenge of a painting is how to simplify a busy scene into simple brushstrokes. When I saw this view, I was very interested in painting it, but wasn’t quite sure I could pull it off. I liked the staggered buildings going back into the hillside, but tried to just simplify them into pieces of color. I wanted to suggest the buildings without painting in every window and piece of trim. This painting is 16×20″.

Crashing Wave...

Crashing Wave 11x14sm

 

It’s really fun to paint crashing waves and the rocky shore. The contrasts between hard and soft, dark and light, warm and cool… they all add up to a fun subject. The crashing surf can be hard to freeze in place, but I try to find the big shapes in the breaking wave to give the feeling of movement.

Last sketches in Laguna...

Cristal Cove slope 11x14sm

 

My last day in California I spent doing some quick paintings just for fun. The plein air event was over, so I just painted some of my favorite scenes on my way to the airport for a late flight. This spot, Crystal Cove, was one of my favorite new spots. It’s a really interesting group of buildings perched on the side of a cliff looking out over the ocean. I painted this in the early morning while there was still a bit of fog and overcast so I had to work with the flat light. If I get back to Laguna to paint, this is definitely one of the places I would go back to.

 

Eucalyptus Grove...

backlit eucalyptus 16x20sm

 

This is another painting from my trip to Laguna Beach last month. I was painting with several friends in a beautiful grove of eucalyptus trees. About an hour into our paintings the landowner asked us all to move our easels outside of the fenced area where we were. We ended up painting from about a hundred feet back, peering over a fence, wishing we had binoculars to finish our paintings. The trees had a lot of character, and looked great on top of the brilliant, sunlit green grass. The mountain behind the trees was in shadow all morning, a deep blue that made the greens look all the more vibrant. Even though I ended up working from a distance I was happy with how this one came out. This painting is 16×20″ and is on display at the Debra Huse Gallery on Balboa Island, CA.

Octopus Attack!!!...

Sparkling wave 9x12sm

 

Sometimes when I get together with other painters we’ll talk about the craziest thing someone said to us, or a weird thing that happened while we were working on location. Well, I definitely had my strangest painting experience while painting in Laguna Beach a few weeks ago.

I went out painting with my friend, Jacobus Bass, and we found a spot on some rocks at the edge of the water. I chose to stand on a flat rock just inches above the waterline. Occasionally a wave would splash my legs and feet, but it didn’t seem like anything to worry about. At least until I felt something on my foot. I looked down to see an octopus crawling onto my foot. The octopus was about a foot and a half long, and was apparently very curious about the human foot. Of course it scared the hell out of me, so I jumped away from it and ran to the other side of my easel. After a minute or so it slid back down into the ocean, never to be seen again.

Thankfully Jacobus was there to witness this insanity and my freak out. I settled down and got back to work on the painting, but every splash of a wave behind me shot my adrenaline back through the roof. My jumpiness was a great source of amusement for Jacobus. The only explanation I heard was from Ray Roberts, who told me it was Octopus mating season. Maybe it had a foot fetish?

 

 

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