English Bay Beach

English Bay Beach: Acrylic on Paper (12″ x 14″)

Painting outdoors is one of the world’s most delicious pleasures. There is something immediately bohemian about it, and for a moment, at least, it is possible to imagine yourself in the company of one of the great artists, who are often pictured painting outside.

Painting outside in the crowded park adjoining English Bay Beach, though, changes the experience from one of joyous isolation dwarfed by the majesty of boundless nature, into something more akin to burlesque. People, being people, want to see what you’re doing and judge the result. They want to see if what you’re painting bears any resemblance at all to what they are seeing, too, with their own eyes.

That sunny afternoon, standing in the shade of a giant tree that is sadly no longer there, I tried to capture the energy in the light reflecting off of the water and glinting sand, and the energy of the gentle but restless surf as the Pacific Ocean made final landfall, tamed and caressing the sandy shore.

That day I spoke at some length with a policeman who took an embarrassing (to me) interest in this, one of my earlier efforts. To my repeated protestations that painting for me was really just therapy, he emphatically encouraged me and took great interest in the way I tried to capture what we both were looking at. He was more than kind.

I quite like the childish and purposeful lack of perspective in this painting. It is very much me.