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I've repainted this iconic scene several times, but think I will stop now! This is a beach near Montana just north of Half Moon Bay in Northern California. I loved the fog in the distance and the ice plant in bloom in the foreground. If you look closely you can see cars snaking around the cliffs on Highway 1.
I've tried painting this rough surf several times over the years. The movement of the water is challenging, but I think I let it sit as it is now.
I finally managed to get up North again and was inspired to try some new ocean scenes, and some new techniques. I have more time to paint now that I've retired.
This is another version of a Northern California scene that appeals to me. This one was created with watercolor and Japanese paper. It is free hanging with the paper edges showing.
I painted several views of Coast Guard Beach during a cold, misty summer day. I liked the tranquility and the muted colors. Occasionally the sun would peek through and create more intense colors.
The simplicity of this scene appealed to me with its clean lines and subtle colors.
We visited our hometown beach during a recent California trip. It was quiet and tranquil, with just a few fishermen casting their lines to the sea. I loved the feel and sound of the waves.
There is a daily tradition in Pacifica to go to the beach and watch the sun set into the ocean. Every sunset is unique—this particular one was a golden orb descending into relatively tranquil waters. I remember that even the surfers were transfixed by the intensity of this sunset. This is a revision of an earlier painting, with more subtle gradations of light.
I liked this perspective of the beach, with the group of friends meeting below and the wild flowers blooming on the bluffs above.
When Zach was small he would spend hours climbing the huge rocks at the ocean. He was completely focused as he tested his footing and found his balance. I enjoyed creating the surf as I remembered the sounds and salt spray.
Provincetown is perched on the tip of Cape Cod and seems to have more intense colors than the mainland. I often wonder if this is because light refracts differently further out to sea. I noticed the same phenomena in Key West. In Provincetown, the vibrant colors of the lobster buoys on the town pier caught my eye. I painted the buoys using thick paint directly from the tube, or with minimal mixing. The water and the sky were painted with glazes to give them a lighter quality.
There are so many hidden inlets on Cape Cod. I really like the diagonal shapes in this scene, with its restful sailboat in the background. I would like to revisit this image and create a larger oil painting.
Pedro Point was the southernmost beach in our small California town. I created this paper collage while remembering its beauty.
I've always loved Point Lobos on the Central California Coast. While sorting old photos, I found this image from a decade ago. The kelp beds were thick and supported so much life, including sea otters. Sadly, I've read that the kelp beds have begun to disappear because of warming waters.
The Outer Banks has many beautiful and secluded beaches during the off season. I was trying to paint the interplay between the clouds and the waves as they were constantly changing.
I painted most of this small oil painting in one session, then came back to add some highlights. I'm trying to loosen up and paint more quickly and fluidly. I may paint this in a large format some day.
I've painted this scene several times. It seems to sum up my fondness for Northern California.
I've been missing northern California since the pandemic, and thinking about the stark beauty of the coast with its intense rock formations, churning water, and singular peacefulness.
I liked the patterns the receding tide created and the gentle waves rolling in to shore.
The receding tide left rivulets of water on the beach with colorful and playful shapes. The lone figure in the background was rested peacefully within the approaching fog.
I loved the perspective of this beach and sky. It was such a silent and tranquil scene. This was painted quickly with thick paint. I like its spontaneity and freshness.
The dunes near Provincetown are wild and beautiful. Artists are chosen by lottery to stay in the few rustic cottages that dot the landscape. I am applying thick paint—and scraping back to reveal the colors below.
We visited the quartz sand beaches on the Florida panhandle. The skies and clouds were amazing. This is a study of the clouds. I added the two boys to emphasize the childlike feeling of joy when one surrounded by so much natural beauty.
Land’s End is the point where the City of San Francisco turns toward Ocean Beach and points south. In the distance one can see the golden hills of Marin. Usually only a few fishermen and children dot the shore—it is often empty. In the lower floor of the iconic Cliff House is an old camera obscura that views this tranquil scene. Not much has changed since it was installed in 1946.
I was experimenting with painting the surf and painted this image several times. I realized that I was caught up in the surf’s movement, so I added some dark lines—and stopped. It has an abstract feel—I may revisit this one day in oil.
Update: I painting over the top of this in 2022. It is now completely different. Titled Rough Surf, repainted in 2022.
Stormy Sea is one of my oldest paintings. I painted it shortly after we moved to Virginia, as I was remembering the stormy surf of the northern California coastline near our Pacifica home.