Just completed some new paintings and a drawing from trips to Todos Santos this winter and to Oregon a few years ago. I keep looking over old photos, as well as sorting out new photos to get my ideas. The energy and the compositions must work together, so I often combine photos to get the right image.
I just returned from a week on the beaches near Todos Santos, in lower Baja California. The weather was quite varied so I captured the surf with my camera under clouds and sun, and also during the different times of day.
Todos Santos is a lovely town on the Pacific side of the Baja peninsula, at the edge of the desert. The beaches are steep and the ocean usually rough, but the waves were small enough for a swim or two.
I delivered several new drawings and a painting to the Jill Logan Gallery and then finished a drawing titled "Wild One" in the gallery patio, below...
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I've been starved for color during these recent winter weeks, so I've been working in acrylic and watercolor. I started the larger painting above just before the New Year; and did the 6" by 8" watercolors below in mid-December. I love that summer surf!
See new paintings drawings, watercolors and work-in-progress. I'll be there finishing some drawings (above) and will be starting on a large portrait commission - all on Friday Nov. 24th and Sat Nov 25th from 10 am to 3 pm...Oceans and Dreams studio-gallery, 127 West Wisconsin Ave, Kaukauna, WI 54130.
Older pieces like the watercolor above will also be on display, at great prices.
AND, original New Island artwork, maps, book illustrations, and various artifacts, such as the sand from New Island, are now on display in my gallery, same place, 127 West Wisconsin Ave, Kaukauna, WI 54130. Hope you can make it!
I left Arcata, California, exactly a month ago. Now I'm back in Wisconsin, and have just completed two drawings from my many beach walks on the Humboldt Coast.
In the afternoons, the sun usually came out from behind the morning "marine layer" clouds, and the light became more enchanting as the sun moved over the ocean. This is when I took my best photos, especially when the waves had the energy I'm always looking for. The two drawings here are the first results of my trip.
In the foggy-gray mornings, I usually worked on my "room project", a part-time studio space that I'm fixing up and will be able to use during future trips to that part of the coast. By the end of July, the room was usable as a work-and-sleep space. On my next visit, I'll add some plumbing for a sink and a shower, and install a composting toilet, perhaps after a bit more research...
Backstory: My grand-dad Jesse and I built the room in 1964 as a bedroom that I stayed in during my junior year in high school. I learned a lot about building that year! The current owners are letting me remodel it to use part time, in trade for my labor. Wonderful people!
After being on the Northern California coast for about two months, I've realized that places I have once lived in (Like Arcata in 1964-5) are at once familiar and strange. I've met some great people here in Humboldt County, and will come back again. The ocean energy is intense here, and I have begun to learn to see the workings of waves on sand, and how they break offshore, and how they catch the light.
I have a long way to go, yet the process is deeply rewarding.
In two days I'll begin my drive back to Wisconsin, my home for the last 30 years. There is no ocean there, but it has been the place where my family has supported my artwork for all that time. I deeply appreciate it!
I'll bring this ocean energy with me, and I'll need it - I have two shows coming up in September (announcement soon) and I need to start some new work!
This is the reason for my trip to California - to see Pacific Ocean surf in this afternoon light. This energy seems to fill my soul, and it gives me a sense of purpose when I express it in my work. Besides doing watercolor sketches, I'm taking photos of whatever the ocean presents to me while I'm here.
I've had good luck with the weather here in far-northern California. It's often foggy on summer mornings, but then it usually burns off to reveal the bright sun in the afternoons. In the painting above, the morning fog was just lifting as I started painting, so I left the background foggy - I like the mystery of it!
The sun was out all day when I took a day hike on the Lost Coast. This is a rugged stretch of the southern Humboldt Coast where there are no roads; one must hike to the beaches. This sketch is only a rude approximation of the rough, windblown and gorgeous surf in that bright light. I couldn't stop watching that energy!
I'm in Long Beach, California, for a few days, and on Saturday, May 27th from 2-5 pm, my work will be on display at 393 Haines Ave. Long Beach, 90814. (Apologies for the short notice!)
It's time to head out to the coast once again...
On May 22, I'll have the Elantra packed and ready for my road trip to California. My destination is Long Beach, near Los Angeles, to show my artwork for an afternoon on Saturday, May 27th. Here are the details:
ART SHOW ON THE COLORADO LAGOON IN LONG BEACH
On Saturday afternoon, May 27, from 2-5 pm, Lagoon House Press is hosting a reception for artist Lee Mothes. The event will take place at the Lagoon House, 393 Haines Ave., Long Beach 90814. There will be an exhibit of Lee’s paintings, which will be for sale.
Lee Mothes is an artist who grew up in Sunset Beach/Seal Beach and attended Cal State Long Beach. His passion is painting coastal scenes, beaches and waves.
Lee’s painting of the Los Angeles River watershed was the basis for the Aquarium of the Pacific’s watershed exhibit and the cover of the novel, “When Water Was Everywhere.”
Lee is traveling from Wisconsin to spend the months of June and July fixing up a studio near the ocean in Northern California, funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign. He is stopping in Long Beach to see his brother and the beaches where he grew up.
If you think you’ll be able to drop by for wine, snacks, conversation and art, please let me know. I’ll send a reminder on my Facebook page closer to the date.
I hope we’ll see you on May 27, or later in Northern California.
Also, see my Facebook Page for frequent updates!
Through April, I'll have several new paintings, drawings and three new prints at the Mud and Print Gallery, Appleton, WI. A meet-and-greet reception will be from 6 to 8 pm Friday April 7th.
Also, two large drawings have been accepted into the Neville Public Museum's Art Annual in Green Bay, WI. The opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 pm on Tuesday, April 11, and the show runs until early June.
Beginning in May, I will have several pieces at the Arts of Daycholah Gallery in Green Lake, Wisconsin. The exhibition will run through this coming summer.
I'm very grateful that my 100 Waves Kickstarter campaign was successful - more so than I could have predicted. Thanks to all of you who helped!
Meanwhile, I've been working on new paintings...Here is one just finished, a 14" by 18" acrylic on panel titled "Whip Tide". This one is a study of a wave hitting another coming at it from the left - partly from reality, and partly from imagination.
This is another wild winter wave breaking on the beach at Big Lagoon in northern California. The surging tumbling craziness is fascinating to observe and to try to capture.
I have the opportunity to fix up a one-time bedroom into a studio base-camp this coming summer on the coast of northern California. The owners, in trade for my remodeling labor, have invited me to use the room a few weeks every year. With a place to stay, future visits out there for more painting ideas will be be much more affordable! I plan to start working on it in June.
See the whole story here on Kickstarter/100 Waves.
Several new prints and these new watercolors are now available on my Kickstarter campaign...
This new drawing is about one-third completed. The way that waves break is fascinating, especially when all the apparent confusion starts to make sense!
Jill Logan, in Todos Santos, Baja California, asked for more work to show in her gallery! I shipped these two last Monday...
The one above I call "Sand Grinder", a shorebreak wave convulsing into the sand at Big Lagoon Beach, Northern California last winter. The day was windy and cloudy, but the sun came out briefly to brighten the wave. Acrylic on canvas, 24" by 36".
Below...the wind was rough at Cape Kiwanda on the Oregon, coast where this wave was breaking. The surging foreground was challenging, especially getting that movement. Title: "Windblown", 24 " by 36" acrylic on canvas.
In November I'll give a free watercolor painting demonstration at the upcoming "Take Me to the River" art exhibition in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. I'll also display some of my work when I do the demo - Wednesday Evening November 9th, from 5 to 8 pm. The show runs from November 4 to December 2, 2016 at the venerable Grand Kakalin building, the old Thilmany Mill.
Here is the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1817974458483649/
Hope to see you there!
Last week I began another 22" by 30" drawing, this time of an evening sky just after some rainy weather. The surf is low and will be lit up by a late patch of sunlight. I'm working from four photos I took on the Oregon Coast last winter to create the composition. The magic, to me, is in the subtle grays within the cloud layers, contrasted by the brilliant brightness of the sun-scorched edges. I'll post another update on this one soon!
After returning from the coast, I drew these two 11 by 15 - inch wave closeups. They are framed in maple and I'm asking $900. each for them. A print version of the same size on rag paper will be available soon for $195. each, unframed.
I had an opportunity to visit the California north of Eureka, and did some serious wave-watching.
Of the many pictures I took over a three-day period last week, here are some favorites...
I'll work from the juiciest parts of these photos for a painting or a drawing. We'll see what will happen...