It wants to be a long day, so I make a big breakfast of eggs with peppers and onions, potatoes like my dad used to make camping as a kid, sliced quarter-sized and pan-fried with onions, and hot tea. I set out for Henry Miller country: Big Sur. I was going to save it as Diann and I have talked about hiking and camping in Big Sur one day, but people are recommending strongly to see it and paint it. I am a mere fifteen minutes into the drive south on Hwy 1, and there is the first amazing vista. I want to paint. Trying for two or three paintings today, assuming two to two and a half hours for each.
I work fast, 11 x 14” and done, and on my way. Another fifteen minutes and, wow, the view at Bixby Creek Bridge. The turnout there is fairly populated, people pulling off to take photos. I backed in so as to allow easier access getting back onto Hwy 1 insofar as cars flying around the curves there; and my Kia happens to be parked in an ideal spot to unload gear – I paint right there near my car.
A good two and a half hours and fairly pleased with the painting, trying to keep it loose and gestural, as impressionistic as possible; however, I am relying, I think, on white too much as it seems to chalk up the painting. So, record it in my brain, find another way, less mixing with white. Keep the chroma as rich as possible.
Also, in the photo, notice that I have taken to wearing gloves; more and more artists are wearing latex gloves, pressumably to keep safe from toxins (also makes clean-up easier). Too, I am wearing a white cotton shirt that was used in bygones days in the Fox Valley Shakespeare Festival which I founded in 1990, and shuttered in 2005, as well as a period vest and designer black pants I found at a Chicago re-sale for $20. With the addition of the hat, the look is a pithy nod to artists of the turn of the nineteenth century, if not specific to Modigliani. Even with the apron, I have managed to get paint on all three articles of attire. My wardrobe. I have clothes that have paint on them, and clothes that do not have paint on them. Yet.
Brought a couple of apples, they're gone, and I am hungry for lunch, so I continue only for maybe another ten minutes, another vista turnout, it is truly spectacular, take photos, and I head back to make lunch, something simple. It gives me enough time to actually venture out again, maybe two hours of light left. I run down the hill couple of miles to Earthbound Organic Farm, want to do a painting of the rustic tractor they have at the entrance. But after securing permission – “thank you for asking, please, help yourself” – I opt instead for a 20 x 16” of a flower bed in the foreground, the valley in the mid-ground and, of course, the sprawling mountains in the distance.
I get fairly mucked up fairly quickly and the light is going, but I figure maybe tomorrow, late afternoon, I can have at it again, remember to get the abstract shapes in first, all the relative big shapes, then specifics. Build the foundation of the house, don’t begin by painting the window dressing. I like all the pretty flowers and the painting suffers for it.
Off to Safeway and dinner will be kabobs on the grill, the inevitable potatoes in foil, and baked beans. Figure if there are beans and potatoes left, they will accompany my remaining three eggs and we have a London breakfast. Cheers