Familiar Signs and New Inspirations

As I’m sure you’ve all noticed it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new here on my blog.  I’ve been working hard for my upcoming show at New Masters Gallery which starts in October.  It seems like a ways off but sure seems to be approaching quickly. While preparing for this show I had a mini creative block.  These never feel good and I always wonder how long it’s going to last.  It’s a bit unnerving to have this with a major show on the horizon. So last week I took off for a couple of days to the northern California coast around Mendocino to get inspired.  It’s an area I haven’t visited for years.

As I made my way up Highway 1 a few familiar, but not welcomed, signs appeared. “Private Property, Keep Out”, Private Property, Do Not Enter”. I can’t tell you how many countless miles of beautiful California coast line have these unwelcoming signs attached to miles of fences sometimes “barbed”, many of which not only block the access to the coast but the view entirely.  Oh how I desire to experience what the early California painters experienced as they searched for locations to paint.  Fences were far and few between.  I’m sure they had the freedom to paint wherever they desired unencumbered by nasty signs and miles of unwelcoming fences. In our overly litigious society these days are far behind us.  It’s unfortunate that these views can only be enjoyed by landowners fortunate enough to own such beautiful property.  I’ve come across a few of these landowners and must say that there’s a few willing to open up there properties to allow others to share in their blessings. But I’ve also met others who want nothing to do with you, they simply want you out and to be left alone, meanwhile those views are wasted on the selfish. I’ve had these experiences not only along the coast but throughout California.  Whenever property owners invite us onto their property we must remember to be thankful for these opportunities and to be respectful.  These opportunities are becoming fewer and fewer.

OK, enough of my rant. After all, I did have a good time.

I arrived in Mendocino in the early evening and decided to continue my drive north towards Fort Bragg.  This was a scouting trip, not a trip be used to paint on location.  My desire was to see as much as I could and to take as many reference photos has I could. To be inspired by many different locations. As I drove north, the skies had those high thin clouds that just kill light.  I was able to get a few good shots north of Fort Bragg but hoped for better weather by dawn.

Dawn did not usher in better weather.  For the most part it was clear, but there was a thin strip of high thin clouds right where the sun was rising, not good.  If the sun rose just a few degrees to the north or to the south it would’ve been great. This cloud seemed to follow the sunrise for the next 2 hours as I drove south. But things would improve, I finally reached a section of coastline that was bathed in light, YES!    I even reached a portion of the coast towards Fort Ross that had some great low fog that created amazing filtered light. I worked my way further south into Bodega Bay and the coastline of the Sonoma County coast.

It turned out to be a very inspiring road trip.  My goal over the coming days and weeks is to create paintings that may be viewed in my upcoming show at New Masters Gallery.  These painting will consist of not only the coastline that I witnessed but the moods and feelings I experienced along the way. Landscapes that may not actually exist, but images that take us all back to memories we’ve all had enjoying the beautiful California coast.

And by the way, my mini creative block seems to be gone.  I know it’ll return someday, it always does.  When it does it’ll be time to hit the road once again.

This is one of studio paintings from this trip.

20 x 16, Oil on Linen

Sonoma County Coast, 20 x 16, Oil on Linen

If you have any stories of fences and the dreaded “Keep Out” signage I would like to hear it, feel free to post it on the comment portion of my blog