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Surf Pilgrim

I’ve been painting pretty much this week, working on a large (40 by 30 inch) acrylic painting that I started at Four Mile Beach north of Santa Cruz about three weeks ago. That day I trekked down there from the parking lot with my painter friend Vernon and got the canvas covered with a light layer—when I’m en plein air, it’s all about getting the composition blocked out, and finding some of the colors, although often, back home, I’ll dial up the colors to match my memories and my aesthetics, which tend to be brighter and more saturated than reality.



[Click to see a larger version.]

It was kind of a big canvas to carry to the beach. A certain amount of blowing sand got stuck to the paint, which is nice, as it adds physical texture and a you-are-there quality. When my mother painted en plein air, she’d often bring home a little baggie of dirt or sand and mix it in with her paint.

I’m calling this one Surf Pilgrim, because there’s a surfer in the foreground with a determined look about him. As usual, you can find out more about my paintings on my Paintings page.


[This little guy showed up to watch me paint. I think he’s called a stinkbug.]

I think I saw the title phrase “Surf Pilgrims” phrase as a graffito on the sea wall near Ocean Beach in San Francisco about fifteen years ago, maybe it was spelled “Serf Pilgrims” there. And then Marc Laidlaw and I used a variation of the phrase, “Stoke Pilgrims,” as the name of a gang of surfers in an SF surfing story, “Probability Pipeline.”


[Frank’s patio.]

We were in Madison, Wisconsin, recently visiting our daughter Georgia and her family. While we there we toured Taliesin, the farmland estate where Frank Lloyd Wright had a house and a school.


[Bassist at a Madison street festival celebrating the hemp harvest.]

It’s been hard to really get cranking with the writing after the trip—times like that, it’s nice to be able to paint and get away from the computer. I’ve just been chipping away at some little things on Jim and the Flims, like fixes and a nice rewrite of my plot outline. I have a pretty good idea of what happens in the next two chapters. I’m hoping to see the Muse this coming week.


[Frank’s fountain. He had a knack for getting a nice standing wave pattern going, you see the same thing in his “Martian Embassy” building in Marin County. He died broke, having spent a lot of money on Asian art.]

I’m not sure if Surf Pilgrim has anything to do with Jim and the Flims—but you never know. I do have some scenes with surfers in the planned “Surf Zombies” chapter that’s coming up later on. And Jim might possibly encounter some beings like surfers when he sets out across the Helaven Sea. The Buddha on a standing wave…

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