Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Beach

I love the beach. I grew up in an area called Mar Vista, just east of Venice Beach, California. My mom still lives across the street from Venice High School, where they offered surfing for P.E. and my friend Jenny was the only girl enrolled, smart girl.  Back then Hollywood filmed the movies "Grease" and "Rock and Roll High School" there and the front lawn was graced with the vandalized statue of the beautiful alumnus, Myrna Loy. 

Now I live in San Francisco.  It took me a while to appreciate the beaches here. They are cold and the surf is wild and full of sharks. I have always felt landlocked here because of the freezing water temperatures that make you feel as if your feet will snap right off of your ankles.   For the first few years I lived in S.F. I made summer pilgrimages to L.A. to get my beach fix. I finally bought wetsuits for my daughter and myself and it changed my life! We can go into the ocean at anytime, winter or in the legendary Mark Twain summers. The suit really makes me feel like a superhero, impervious to cold, jellyfish and other watery things from the murky depths. If I had known it was going to be like this I would have done it decades ago.

Luckily there is one thing that Southern and Northern California beaches share, and that is the light just before dusk, my favorite time of day anywhere. So here is another painting with the 45th Avenue sign.  The composition started out based on a collage, but in the end I edited it down to just the essentials, the beach and the light.
The marker sketch with bikes, beach, cigarettes, ashtrays and gamsol washes in blues and sepia tones.
I changed course and decided to concentrate on the feeling of the light and the open sky.  The sky in the painting is really blue.  This picture makes it look almost black and white. 
"Weather Change" 36"x36" oil on canvas.  The finished painting of where the traffic meets the sea.

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