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Matt Stanton Beard  Curious about purchasing original artwork? Check the link below. If the painting you're after isn't there, it's probably already sold.


Heading to Redgate Ranch Music Festival just up the road from here to do some live art tomorrow and share a few hundred miles worth of plein air paintings like this one to support my friends @stwcoalition and their ongoing work to preserve wild coastlines worldwide.

They even gave me a fancy water bottle once. Yup. We're friends like that.

When it more or less rains all morning but you're here to paint, not just sit in the car, you find cover where you can.
San Mateo coast yesterday.
Photo by Bri Oliver, who kindly shared it with me after taking it.


Official artwork for the Redgate Ranch Music Festival 2018

Painted this one recently for my friends at Save the Waves Coalition that put on the festival each year.

Wait, they're out there fighting to save pristine waves that are threatened by development, fighting to keep our oceans and beaches clean in general, AND they're hosting this radical all day and all nighter of music and camping in the hills of San Gregorio above Santa Cruz at which (to my recollection) they won't even serve you beer or coffee in a disposable cup? Yup, they keep busy, and they're a little nuts. Good on em.


Get ready - Redgate Ranch Music Festival is back! @stwcoalition 's annual music festival returns Sep.16th for yet another epic afternoon and evening of live music and camping in the beautiful hills of San Gregorio, CA.
Tickets are on sale NOW! Purchase yours at savethewaves.org/redgateranch

Todd Hannigan
Sal's Greenhouse
Dr. Sig's
Bar Fight
The Whiskey Hillbillies

Ok, Tahoe shmashoe, back to the Pacific... NUMBER 9
Plein air

I'd been driving past this little slot canyon for years wondering if I'd ever get out there to paint someday. It looks out over the wetlands that are fed by the tidal inlet at that reef way out in the distance that I've painted from plenty of other angles (beach level, the cliff at the beach, the road behind the inlet, @familyvanman 's roof, etc). Off the top of my head my rough count is about 8 previous times I've painted that reef, which would make this one number 9. Anyway, a friend recently commissioned this one for his wife who goes out walking on these wetland trails regularly. I met up with her one morning to see what she had in mind and she walked me straight back to this canyon. She was open to any view of the area that inspired me, and with a slot canyon and open space like this in the middle of the congestion of the north SD coast, it was not hard to be inspired at all. It was crazy foggy though. Had to go surf for a few hours waiting for it to burn off. An afternoon hike and hopped fence and scramble or two later, and I was at the top of the entire canyon, uninterrupted for the next couple hours.

Plein air from... Nevada? Yes, Nevada. But that is the East Coast of California in the distance... This was the second of two back to back paintings done this day. By the time I was finished with this one, staring even closer into that crystalline water while sweating in the sun, there was no holding back.
I'm going in!

Wow, Tahoe. You're cold. That hurt.

Nevertheless, I'm really happy with this one, perhaps my favorite out of all of them.
And this concludes my Tahoe series for this year, I hope to return before too long.

Plein air from the country across the Sea to our east that they call Nevada

This is the coast just north of an area called Memorial Point. I had a request to possibly paint Memorial Point, but the whole area was temporarily closed to parking and access due to a construction project. You might think that explains the title of this one, and I suppose that would be a sufficient play on words under normal circumstances.

But the clear waters of the Tahoe Sea are not normal. As soon as you jump in on this decidedly colder side of the lake (at least during our visit) you experience a searing pain in your head and have to scour the rocks for several minutes afterwards trying to find the regular heartbeat that must have fallen right out of your chest during your quick dip in the ice, er, water. But then once you warm up, a funny thing happens. It may be due to brain damage from the cold water or just the siren song of that clear water calling you, but whatever the cause, it is undeniable that once you're warm you suddenly can't remember just how cold that water was, and back you go. Rinse, and repeat as necessary.

Short Term Memory Loss.

Plein air from California's East Coast

As I mentioned in yesterday's post
, I'd tried to get to this place, Rubicon point, located in D.L. Bliss State Park for two days in a row only to be denied by a full parking lot. On the first day, I was with my whole family and we looked at a map and decided to walk in on the Rubicon Trail. My six year old is a bundle of energy when she wants to be. When she's walking uphill in the heat of a Tahoe summer day, well, that's just not really her thing. We climbed the trail higher and higher, (odd because we were trying to get down to the water, not up) until we finally reached what seemed to be the peak, and then continued down the trail for a fair bit as well. My wife came around a bend with a view and saw just how far we still had to descend to the water (and hence climb back out later with our youngest melting into a puddle of hot complaints) and she wisely made the call. We would go no further. We would turn back, and I'd have to try again another day.
As for painting this one when I finally made it here, this is the only piece of the trip that had that feeling of ease about it while working. The water and rocks before me were just so perfect and defined that it had that feeling that it was ready to paint itself if I could just get out of the way.

Later when I went to title the piece I was thinking of a variation on the word bliss, but it felt so obvious that I just wasn't ready to roll with it too easily. I figured I'd look up the word Rubicon and see what came of it and learned of the phrase "crossing the Rubicon" to be synonymous with passing a point of no return, named so after Julias Caesar crossing the river Rubicon in Rome with his troops which was an irrevocable declaration of civil war against Rome itself. If he'd had my wife along for counsel, oh how the world as we know it would be a different place today. Ever thankful to her wisdom that we avoided our own civil war that day and chose to live in peace instead.

See it in person tonight at my gallery, 1636 F St inside Eureka Art and Frame Co, 5-9pm

Plein air California's East Coast

The bold get up early and seize the day. They also seize all of the parking spots on the southwest shore of Tahoe by 9 in the morning on hot summer days. Earlier this day I was rather bold myself, rising before 6am and seizing a primo spot just about the falls in the previous painting. I was done by 10am or so, thinking I would have plenty of time to get in to the beach lot at D L Bliss State Park for another painting before connecting with my family later in the afternoon at Meeks Bay.
That may have been bold of me, but it was also very mistaken. The bolder ones had already arrived and for the second day in a row I was denied access to Bliss. Meekly I headed up the coast to our campground and found a spot in the shade to paint this consolation piece, looking back at the shore where I'd spend the next day wallowing in the shallows with a camera hunting for tubes among the boatwakes on my own handmade artificial sandbars. But that's another story... In my defeat, my eyes cast downward and for the only time on this trip my painting's composition contained no sky, instead focused solely on the rocks and water before me. In fact, since the other 9 sold so quickly I decided to hang on to this one for my family. Maybe one of my grandkids will inherit it one day.


See the whole series in person at my gallery in Eureka tomorrow night. Thursday July 13, 5-9pm. 1636 F St, inside Eureka Art and Frame Co.

Plein air from the Eastern Seaboard... (of California)

How's that cryptic title? Don't worry I'm not starting some sort of religious new age cult or anything. I just have a tradition with my coastal paintings of not naming locations in the titles, but often providing obscure wordplay cues to the locations. I do this partly because as a surfer, no matter how much the internet gives all of our secrets to the masses, it is still taboo to name many of the places I paint in public forums such as this. The other reason is that I still need to be able to recall which painting someone is asking about when they inquire about a piece by it's title and if I have dozens of paintings called "Afternoon Light on the Coast" well that won't really help much will it? The wordplay references just serve to jog my memory as to which is what when I need to recall them later.

What's all that got to do with this title?Well, perhaps it was just the overwhelming beauty of the place that gave a feeling of heaven on earth here, or maybe it was the elevation- being over a mile high in the sky. But either way as I named these pieces a somewhat biblical​ theme emerged. This is one of the most iconic bay views in all of Tahoe, sharing its name with the precious stone listed as the fourth stone in the foundation of the New Heaven in the Book of Revelation. Cryptic? Yes, but it serves its purpose all the same.

Sidenote: If I were to die today, I'd far rather go out with this view in my mind than the stone it's named after in my hand. No doubt about that.

It should also be noted if we're going to speak of nearness to heaven that this is the only painting of my trip that had water from the skies fall upon it while painting. The big round dollops fell steadily, but sparsely for only a few minutes, making only the subtlest of splashes and drips in the underpaint stage. But it was dicey for a minute there.

Showing the whole sold-out series in my gallery on Thursday from 5-9pm. I can't sell you a Tahoe painting, but I'll accept high fives and buy you a beer if you cruise by. 1636 F St. Eureka.

Plein air from the East Coast of California

Named for the stretch of coast nearby, King's beach, it's easy to see why a place this beautiful would belong to a King. That said, he's lost some territory this year as the heavier than normal snowfall melting into the lake has the water level several feet higher than normal and this beach, like many others found itself nearly completely underwater. I found the only patch of sand I could to work from and even then I stood in ankle deep water getting a fairly proper chill on an otherwise hot day. The entire session was peppered with confusion of beachgoers arriving to their annual beach day on the northern shore of Tahoe only to find there was no... beach. But the water, oh my, the water. High tide on Tahoe is pretty awesome all the same. I'm sure the King is pretty stoked on his view as well.

Plein air* from recent tour of Tahoe

Just after I had things blocked in on this one with a crisp afternoon light, a thunderhead developed to the south and within minutes the whole sky went gray. Had to make a choice, follow the changing conditions, or just wing it and make stuff up. Sometimes clouds bring out colors that sunlight washes out in the landscape. I wasn't feeling it this time, so this became effectively a studio piece painted on location*, but no longer referencing much of the scene before me other than it's most basic architecture, just operating on memory and instinct.
This is also the only piece from the trip that includes any human figures. It's not that I intentionally avoid figures, I just don't focus on them much. In this case, it was their interaction with the lake that carried the whole story here so there you have it. Humanity introduced in a pristine setting. Eden revisited.

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