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Feb 11, 2013

Winter Painting on the Oregon Coast.

I went down hard on my back last week with the flu so when I got back up again my wife and I blew out of town to spend the weekend at the beach.

All the way out here here and no further...

But yesterday, I couldn't get to the spot I wanted to paint due to unusually high winter tides. (In the above photo, I am at the far end of a hand cut tunnel that takes you to what is appropriately named, Tunnel Beach. The winter storms have stripped the beach and left a six foot drop onto basalt rock.  And yet the waves still came up to my boots. (This tunnel can completely fill up with water during bad weather.) I didn't feel like clambering down into the crashing waterline and wading out onto a sand bar to paint. Not yesterday, and not after last week. Well okay, I did consider it for about half a second but decided I'd be an idiot to do it on a 40 degree day in February after having just risen from the dead. (What a pansy...!). So instead I chose to paint from the parking lot before driving back home in Portland. Wasn't crazy about the finish in this clip, but still, it was better than not painting at all.

Oceanside, Oregon is a quaint little beach town which clings tenaciously to the south side of a 300 foot cliff. It is perfectly scooped to catch the winter storms like an open baseball mitt. People who live there year round batten themselves down when the winds kick up because they know what is coming. So Oceanside remains a piece of the old Oregon coast, a place which is getting harder and harder to find these days. The coast road ends at the town and there are only two places where you can get something to eat. (A nice egg-crab hollandaise scramble and fine cup of coffee, for example.) Oceanside is not a big tourist destination, which makes it my kind of place to chill out. While there, my wife and I watched a pod of Orcas stalk a couple of sea lion harems along the rocks. We also startled an owl, got glared at by a bald eagle, and annoyed some sleepy seagulls who just wanted to rest up after last week's storm. Oh, and we found a white Japanese fisherman's boot amid the rick rack on the beach. Hopefully the fisherman who wore it made it home safely. And bought a new right boot because this one had barnacles inside it and we won't be returning it.

I did get one little 8 x 10 panel off the night before on Tunnel beach of the pins and needles I drove out for, and I will post the sketch as soon as it has dried enough to lay on the scanner. Very monochromatic – mostly burnt sienna, viridian and white – which is how things look around here during winter. But starkly beautiful none the less. I like the composition I ended up with. Kinda Franz Kline- or Robert Motherwell-like in mood. I should do more.

Me, giving the pins and needles an evil squint after timing the tides correctly. Got a late start but knocked out a quick 30 minute sketch anyway. The secret tunnel I allude to cuts through the distant bluff behind me.

Next week: Maui, a contrast to Oregon. 

Can't wait for the sun...


Oh and there is now only one spot left in my upcoming March indoor Essential Alla Prima Painting Techniques workshop. If you want to join us let me know immediately. Otherwise I will start a waiting list Wednesday.

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