Thursday, October 27, 2011


I never tire of painting this particular rock formation off the Laguna Beach coast. These rocks are as luscious as a banana split to a painter. There is so much color, value, design, water patterns , reflections, and energy. Well you get the picture.  Fun day at the beach. I often teach classes at this particular spot. It is in Heisler Park, Laguna Beach. There is a roundabout perch directly above this scene.

From this perch is it easy to observe that rocks are all really boxes of one kind or another. They have hard, sharp edges; and should look like they would hurt you if you fell on them. Rock formations close to the shore, as are these;  were once a part of the mother cliff your standing on. Color and texture similar. I also try to remember that rocks have feet that attach them to the ocean bed. That dark water stained value should extend well below the water line, setting up some cool reflections. Shore rocks also seem to have lots of friends that left the mother cliff about the same time.  Patterns and clusters of rocks, well grounded on the ocean floor , read better than smooth single rocks gently bouncing on the waves....think potatoes floating on jello. Better, to have independent , rugged ,little gangs of rock just daring you to paint them. Laguna Split $185.00  SOLD

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fog Bound in Balboa

It was a beautiful sunny day in Laguna when I packed up my painting gear and headed to Balboa to paint boats cavorting on the sparkling bay. However when I arrived the sneaky fog fingers had taken over the harbor. This little sail boat, and many others,were dozing on the shore ,waiting for the fog to clear so they could get back to good sailing. I waited with them; but it was not to be. I could see the sun straining to emerge from the back of the bay; but the fog won. This is  typical weather at this time of the year; so I would have to say that this 8x10 boat study was painted in her natural setting for October in Balboa Bay .


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Golden Gate Bridge 8 x 10

When painting trips include air travel, I pack small 6x8 and 8x10 panels into a cigar box. The panels are linen, mounted on museum board; so thin that I can get 30 in the little cigar box. The best source of these panels is through When I have an abundance of panels, each one doesn't become so precious that I am afraid to let the paint fly. Travel paint is usually Griffin Alkyds by Winsor Newton. This paint drys overnight; and allows the painting to get back into the cigar box pretty quick. I like to get at least 3 to 4 small studies done each day when I travel to a location that is dense with material. Never know when you'll get back. The study included with this post was done in San Francisco. Some of these small paintings are studies for larger studio paintings and some stand on their own, like Golden Gate Bridge. This painting can come to your home for $185.00  SOLD

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bad Decisions, 9 x 12 study

I was at the beach painting with my good painter buddy Terry Raey couple of Sundays ago. Yep, Sunday Painters. The surf had been ho hum all day; so we really weren't watching the surfers for painting starts. Then the waves changed to Killer in the flash of an eye. I looked up just in time to see this poor guy ponder his bad decision (not paying attention to the waves while sitting in the break). He was there for only a few seconds; but enough of an impression to get the painting started. The waves just kept coming after that. Surfer popped up and went to the beach to ponder his choices in life. While waves and surf are moving models; they are usually consistent and predictable. Not always.always. This study sells thru this blog for $185.00
unframed. SOLD

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Evening Tide 28x30

We have had wonderful evening tides here in the last few weeks. When the strong receding tide pull starts before the incoming waves are through with their show it sets up some dramatic confrontations. When this battle can be found slightly back lit by the setting sun; it is truly a gift to the shore painters. I noticed this dynamic over several days ; and recorded what I could in some pencil drawings....followed by a few six by eight oil studies. Put it all together in the studio.
Happily for me, the studio is a block from the waves; so I could go back frequently to check up on my memory. I've found that when I try to wrestle a large canvas and all my gear to the scene; that I spend more time wrangling the set up than painting. Drawings and little studies work better. This painting is for sale thru the artists studio. Contact at 949-395-2139.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Frames Matter

I posted this painting, Rockpile Break, in my last post. However, I wanted all to see the proof in the old saw "that every painting can be made to look better with the right frame". This is a custom made , closed corner frame, made by Mountains Edge Frames in TX. More on these great frames can be found at These frames are lovingly handcrafted by Steve Whalen, an amazing woodworker. Most importantly, the price is right.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rockpile Break 12 x 24

I am very fortunate to live a block from the beach. I can hear the waves in the morning when I wake up. Big sound...Big waves. Quick check of the tide table; gather my gear; and off to the sand. The sea has been particularly generous with beautiful big waves this spring. It gives up two or three studies on any given morning. From the studies I can attempt larger studio paintings. I've tried to paint ocean scenes from photos; but I've found that lacking. Nothing compares to actually looking at the ocean and watching how the waves break. Shore breaks are greatly influenced by the bottom/floor of the ocean. In my area, the floor is made up of rock formations that are pretty solid. If the floor stays the can pretty much count on the wave breaks remaining the same general formation for your painting session..thus eliminating the panic to get the wave completed on the first go. The same general image will repeat and repeat. Really..go watch and enjoy. The painting above is a 12 x 24 painted in the studio from three studies. This painting is for sale thru the artists Gallery. Contact number is 949-395-2139.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May 5, 2011

I'm back from my sabbatical; and scrambling to get my painting chops back. Trust me, it's not like riding a bicycle. The rust is everywhere. It will take miles and miles of canvas to hit my stride again; but what a challenging journey. I had an old teacher long ago that preached "practice; but practice perfect." Basics again. Yep, color charts and all. It's a slog for sure; but I'm oh so happy to be slinging paint again. . Boats always seemed kind of bravely uncertain to me.....I get that now. This little boat, in for the night; and breathing a sigh of relief to have made it through another day..... This study is 8 x 10 and sells for $185.oo unframed.