The last few weeks I have started to complete larger paintings based off plain air studies, mostly seascapes from Laguna Beach and Malibu. 

With each large studio painting I create my goal is to create and solidify a process of applying paint, so that I am not playing a guessing game each time i start a new work of art. I’ve been taking plenty of photos during the process of each painting so that I can analyze my methods and see what worked and what was less successful. I want to share some thoughts on process that I had while working on my last painting.

I started this painting with lots of planning, I took plenty of video reference of the location in laguna, as well as completing a small plain air study on site so i could have an idea of the actual colors since a photo or video could never capture the true range of colors available.

Overall I spent about 10+ hours on this painting, it was great practice and I am pleased with the results, for now. I found this method of painting very efficient, and I look forward to refining my technique on future paintings!

Talk to you soon!



Day 5 : Demo

Today was a pretty full day of driving, I pulled off to explore the landscape countless times but only had the motivation to paint twice, and one of those paintings turned out to be a dud! 

Heres a small demo from a painting that I worked on during the afternoon. As I was driving, a small river and open field caught my eye so I pulled off ti the side and started painting (in 100° F)! 



My oil painting setup is pretty simple, and I try to keep it as minimal as possible, everything can fit inside of that backpack on the ground.  


I started by looking at the landscape and thinking about the composition possibilities and what I wanted to say with this painting. You can see some sketches in the sketchbook on the right.  

Once I had the sketch worked on and translated into canvas I laid in some very thin paint that would serve as an underpainting and roadmap for where I wanted my darks to be.  


At this point in the painting, I more or less had it all figured out in my head. I had mapped out the process to the best of my ability and now I just needed to stay focused and be open to change.

I start with the darkest shadow shapes, which was the green of the trees and the river. Then I moved into the mountain, which was ill fated because I made it way too dark. I only had my darkest dark of the painting and the white of the canvas to judge it, so I got it wrong! But I fixed it later!  


After the darks I made my way through the painting bit by bit. The sky being the challenging part as I had to take a mental snapshot of the clouds and get it right.  

After the sky was looking better I filled in the grass, but at this point I had been standing in the sun for over an hour and I needed to get back into the car, so I called it a day.  


The next morning I took out the painting and revised areas of it that weren't working, like the mountain colors, the edges on a lot of areas as well as clarified the shadows and trees a bit.  

This painting was a phenomenal learning experience for me and I'm excited to get out and try some of the new things I learned on other paintings!  



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Day 4: Eureka to Crescent City

I had too much fun last night, this morning I woke up with a massive headache, and no desire to do anything but sleep. SO i slept in, and after waking up I went to a local coffee shop and waited 30 minutes for a "gourmet organic" cup of black coffee. Meh.

It's only a two hour drive from Eureka to Crescent City, heading up the coast line, but I took every scenic byway and local road I could find, so it took me about 8 hours. I was perfectly happy to drive throughout the redwood forests, see a herd of elk passing and hike through the forests and beaches.

I found a river and followed it into the ocean, decided that it was a perfect spot for a painting. Im not super happy with how this painting turned out, but it was a nice time.


After driving through the redwoods I stumbled across an unlisted beach that sat on the 101 highway, I was very pleasantly suprised to find this wonderful place and spend a few hours hiking around and painting.


Tomorrow morning I'll be heading to Truckee California, an 8 hour drive from Crescent City! AWWW YEAH



Day 3: Eureka

I was unsure of how to feel about Eureka when I came into town. It turns out that it's one of the best towns I've visited. Both nights I went out to the historic district and met some really interesting people, Thats a story for another day though.

I set a personal goal that I would do 4 paintings that day, so i left my hotel at 6am, after having breakfast, I headed north. I had a few points of interest I wanted to visit but most of my time was spent turning off at random drives and discovering hidden areas of the landscape that I might have easily driven by.  

My first painting of the day was done at the top of a sand dune looking over the salt marshes. I wanted to take the time with this first painting to really think about how I wanted to paint and experiment with brush strokes. It wasn't the most successful painting in the world but I learned a lot from analyzing.

The second painting of the day was done at Patrick's point state park, the Yurok Tribe had lived here once and there were all kinds of cool houses. I could have done two paintings here as I walked down to the beach, but the marine haze was still pretty strong, so I ended up sitting and playing in the sand for a few hours.

Painting two was by far the most successful of the days efforts, I revisited a beach that I had passed in the morning and it was completely transformed as the sun came out in the late afternoon.  

After spending a couple hours there and walking about two miles in the sand, I was beyond exhausted , but I wanted to do four paintings so I took the scenic route and found an unlisted beach with about 3 parking spots. I pulled off and walked down the nearly vertical steps. I wanted to try something new, so I didn't take out my painting medium, left with only raw paint I slapped in on in a mad flurry. 

Tomorrow I'll be heading to Crescent City!


Day 2: SF to Eureka

I love lazy Sunday's, one thing I wanted to make sure of with this trip is that I would not make painting the only thin that I could think about. I've done that before and ended up missing out on fun experiences because I was so singularly focused. I made a conscious decision to just go with the flow during this week long road trip.

I woke up around 7am, despite going to sleep at 2:30. My wonderful host and author of our soon to be extremely successful children's book slept in until around 10 am, as was his right, there had been a lot of drinking the night before. This meant I had some time to relax, I wandered around the neighborhood a bit, played with Quinn (the worlds nicest and best doggo) and ended up watching a couple episodes of Broad City, a show I had never heard of until that morning because it was auto playing in my friends Hulu que. Turns out, that show is wonderful and hilarious! I'm looking forward to watching more when I return home.

I left for Eureka at 1pm and spent about 4 hours on the road. The highlight of my drive was taking the scenic route of the Humboldt redwoods state park, a long winding drive that weaved in and out of unmovable redwood trees that looked as if they could swallow my car whole. I wanted to pull off and paint during my drive. But it was about 104°F! Anytime I opened my windows I was transported into a boiling oven with hot winds whipping across my face.

Anyways, I made it to Eureka and checked into my airbnb – a beautiful old Victorian house. I thought about going out and painting since the sun wouldn't set until 9:30 and I went to drive around aimlessly around town. I found lots of really beautiful buildings and cool places but nothing provoked me to paint. Possible because I actually hadn't eaten for the entire day and I couldn't focus. I know myself and I know that if I can't focus I won't be able to do a good job painting. So I headed into the lost coast brewery and enjoyed my evening with beer and tacos. 

tomorrow will be a full day of painting and I hope to get at least 4 done as I travel up and down the coast, so I'll speak to you then!


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