Month: February 2024

The Third Layer is the Charm

This painting began life as a plein air piece I did for the 2019 Carmel Art Festival. It was quite a rainy week, and I painted it from the Marina State Beach parking lot between rain squalls. Painting out of the back of my SUV, I was in and out of the car as the rain kept coming and going throughout the morning. Here’s a few pictures (click to see entire picture)–

The painting didn’t sell at the festival, in fact it was a bad year for sales as the setup was different with not much light on my pieces, and it was raining off and on the entire time.

I never was entirely satisfied with the piece, as I didn’t like the clouds. Some time later, I tried touching the clouds up in the studio, but still wasn’t satisfied with the result.

The last few weeks has seen some dramatic skies in our area, just like what was happening 5 years prior during the Carmel Art Festival. A few days ago, some clouds were drifting by just like what I wanted to see in the painting. So, I repainted the clouds from my back yard. I guess you could call this a plein air painting layered on a studio painting layered on a plein air painting!

Below are the two paintings, the original on the left, and the just completed refurbishing on the right.

Monterey Bay Squall, 24×12, oil on canvas

Now, the big question is, should I put a seagull or two back in the new version??

BTW, at the time, we had thought about moving to the area, but didn’t realize in six months we would be in a new home just a few miles away from this location!

Elkhorn Morning

Elkhorn Slough, nestled along the central coast of California, is a short drive from our home in Marina. Its tranquil waters wind through marshes, mudflats, and tidal creeks, offering refuge to a rich array of wildlife, including otters, seals, numerous bird species, and vibrant marine life.

I had been wanting to get out and paint some of the wondrous skies between a series of storms which have been hitting the central California coast, so went out this morning to Elkhorn.

It was wonderful just sitting and enjoying the peaceful sounds of the estuary residents. Not many homo sapiens were around. The wide variety of waterfowl were constantly coming and going, diving for food, and playing in the water. Sea otters swam and dove for their morning meal.

I took some artistic liberty in the skies, painting the sky as it looked closer to sunrise before I got there. I plan on adding a few details and touchup in the studio, and when done will publish an official photo. Below are a few photos of the morning.


Here is the final piece after just a little touchup in the studio. I added just a bit to the clouds, and detailed some of the fence lines

Elkhorn Morning, 12×16, oil on board, plein air

Dunes Sunset

We have had a number of weather fronts coming in the last few months along with great sunsets over Monterey Bay. We walk along the dunes near our home in Marina, CA quite frequently, usually in the late afternoon, and enjoy the low or setting sun, particularly in the winter months when sunset is earlier. I recently did a painting of one of the sunsets, and I just have to keep painting them!!

This painting is a bit of a composite of the landscape components, but all the elements were within about a hundred yards of each other. The sky is pretty much was I saw it. It’s interesting, and I don’t know what causes it, but the yellow sky near the horizon is not reflected in the whiter highlights in the upper clouds. I saw this same phenomenon in my last painting of the sunset.

“Dunes Sunset”, 20×16, oil on canvas. Available
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