Breaking Surf: Point Lobos

images_paintings_COSTAL-images_breakingsurfpointlobos24x36

24″ x 36″

Oil on Canvas

This piece was a featured work at the 2011 Quest for the West Show and Sale at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indiana.

I will never forget my first costal painting trip to Point Lobos in 1972. As a young painter I struggled to understand the rhythms and nuances of the ocean and interpret them in paint. Point Lobos is on the Monterey Peninsula and is considered a crown jewel in the California state park system. The reserve of almost 400 acres is beloved by artists for its outstanding picturesque scenery of rock and surf in combination with unique vegetation and trees.

On my last trip to Point Lobos, I painted near Weston Beach. Offshore wind conditions and storms can make plunging waves more likely, as were the conditions of this day. Plunging waves break with more energy than spilling waves, releasing most of their energy all at once in a relatively violent impact. The Point Lobos area is geologically unique for its extremely deep undersea Monterey Canyon. Plunging waves occur when the ocean floor is very steep, and the swells from the sudden depth changes meet shore. As these large waves would crash against the cliffs and rocks I could feel the impact on shore and in the air. The “crashing” sound comes from the compressed air under the lip of the wave as it starts to crest, catching the rocks. Mist from the waves would remain suspended for several seconds. The waves’ activity created a tonal “Whistler-esque” palate of misty colors dispersed in the light of the afternoon sun of the western sky.