Tuesday, February 10, 2015


I seem to have become obsessed with painting Big Sur...it's been this way for years. I find that even when I'm living somewhere else i am drawn back into painting it from memory. I finally decided the only thing to do was to just settle in here in this place that won't let me go, and fully immerse myself in it. Big Sur is a very long stretch of winding highway perched high above the ocean, and every turn in the road reveals another spectacular vista. It would be easy to just hold my hands out in those little "crop marks" that artists do to frame the composition and then take out my french easel and paint it...and that's what I've done many times...but it hasn't satisfied me.

The view, as magnificent as it is, is only part of the story...only one aspect of the thing that keeps me pretty much mesmerized by the place....and I realized that I don't just want to paint the vista before my eyes....I want to somehow capture the feelings that I get from being here. You can see it in the faces of the tourists who come through for the first time. It's more than just, "Oh what a beautiful view!"....they become transfixed...it's almost a religious experience. Partly it's the scale of the place...it seems that you can see the curvature of the Earth from these cliffs. The ocean seems bigger than anywhere I've ever been and one could spend the day just watching the light show as the sun reflects off the water, lighting up the mist around the base of the cliffs as it climbs and receeds and flows over the hills like a sentient being. It's a very big place, and standing on the edge of the cliffs, looking down at the turquoise and lapis-blue water can give you a feeling of vertigo. It's these feelings that I want to be able to express with paint on canvas. It's more than just painting a picture...it's finding my way into the ebb and flow of all the elements around me. It's an elusive quest and each little success keeps me hungry for more. At times, when I find that flow and it's working, I feel like I'm literally soaring....it's an ecstatic state and it is the thing that keeps me working to improve my skills so that I can share these experiences ever more clearly and powerfully.
RHAPSODY 24"x24" oil on canvas, $1200