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Matt Beard Art  Plein Air Documentation                                              

Artwork Title: Soaring with Griffin     

Size: 20” x 16”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas  

Date Painted: 7-28-17


Base Price: $1 per sq. in.

Field Notes:

7th day on the road, 21st painting completed

Painting the California coast is something that rose out of my admiration for the California Impressionists of the early 1900’s. Before that I was painting skulls and bones and waves, which rose out of my admiration for Rick Griffin (1944-1991) and his artwork. I learned of his art when he passed away and the Surfer Magazine ran a tribute to his life and art featuring his mindblowing works from the psychedelic era. If I hadn’t started surfing after my big brother did 7 years earlier when I was 11 or so I wouldn’t have been reading Surfer at age 16 and likely not encountered Rick’s art in the same life-altering way. In a similar vein, if my brother and I hadn’t been so keen to explore and surf the California coast from junior high onward, I wouldn’t have appreciated the California Impressionist’s work nearly as much when I encountered later, as it was my connection to the coast that was triggered by those paintings and made me want to explore that direction in my art as well. So here I am today painting up and down the California coast, exploring, still hunting for waves I haven’t seen yet. Whispers here and there, accidental discoveries, pure curiosity, whatever leads around the next bend, it’s all fair game.  I’d heard of this wave for years, but only recently learned it was one of Rick’s favorite waves to surf when he lived in the Bay area. Standing over the cove, watching the windblown lines clean up around the rocky headland, it was a full circle moment thinking of the maker of so much influential art hooting and hollering on the waves below. A hawk soared past as I painted, circling the cove repeatedly, at times hovering just to my right or left on the updraft before diving and riding the wind tunnels down and around the cliff faces below. I don’t normally add flying birds into paintings as they are so ephemeral to the landscape. This one was different.



Distance from Humboldt: $15 per county


Overnight Travel Required: $75


Sleeping in Van Required: $50

Tricky Urban Van Camping Required: $25


Paid Parking: Cost of Parking

Illegal or Questionable Parking Required: $50

Parking Ticket Incurred: Cost of Ticket

Private Land: $50

Posted No Trespassing: $100

Harassed by Authorities and/or Told to Leave: $150

Citation Incurred:  Cost of Citation

Fence/Gate Hopping: $50

Barbed Wire: $50

Blood: $50

Hauling Gear on Foot: $25 per mile

Off Trail Wilderness Tromping Required: $15

Climbing or Vertical Scrambling Requiring Use of Hands: $25

Full On Bushwhacking: $75

Poison Oak Observed: $15

Ticks Observed on Skin or Clothing: $25 each

Tick Bites: $150 each

Bee/Wasp/Insect Stings: $25


Wind Speed: $10 per mile per hour over 10mph


Lack of Shade: $50


Heat/Cold: $5 per degree over 70/ under 50


Excessive Public Conversations/Distractions: ranges from $25-$150


Other: Grumpy state park camp host tried to not let me go through the camp to get to the day use parking area, requiring a several minute back and forth conversation about my state park pass’s validity. Nutty!


Able to Paint View from Back of Van: Subtract $100

Private Land With Permission (Your Land):  Subtract $250

Cold Beer and/or Snacks Delivered During or After Paint Session: Subtract $50

Fun Surf at Location Before or After Painting: Subtract $50

Room and Board for 1 week during a paint tour of your area: Subtract Everything!




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