Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Lonely Oregon Coast

"Gleneden Morning"

Since growing up in California, I've always had a love of the beach -- specifically the southern California beach where you can actually play in the water without hypothermia or being crushed by a rogue tree log. The central Oregon coast however, is a special place with unique attributes all it's own. Somehow (and I'm sure the climate has mostly to do with it) things are slower up here; you can drive for miles along undeveloped coastline and still get a sense of what Lewis & Clark must have experienced when they first arrived. That, and the fact that I have some roots up here where my mother and her sisters grew up and once owned a beach shack together in Seaside, Oregon helps to create a fondness of it's solitude for me...

"Small Town Beach Road"

There is a 'loneliness' here, especially after school starts that I truly enjoy -- where the weather is still nice, but the vacationers are gone. In many of the coastal towns you can see remnants of the businesses of years gone by that catered to the summer beach goers; an old A-frame structure that once was a kite shop now empty and grown over with wild blackberry, or a one time family seafood restaurant turned auto parts store that still has it's old signage, cracked and peeling. Many older shacks and buildings still painted the pastel colours of the fifties & sixties; mint & pink, peach & aqua blue hold a nostalgic attraction... Perhaps it's middle age, but my own nostalgia really kicks in when I'm here, and coming to paint makes it all the more enjoyable.

For about 15 years before my mother passed away, she had a beach house north of Neskowin, a little bit hidden away where you had to drive through a forest to get there... the beauty of which was best appreciated in doses of seasonal extended weekend trips. Rain or shine, there was always something to do; beach comb for sand dollars or read a book, barbecue on the deck or watch the stormy surf by a warm fireplace...

In many areas with only service road access and fir tree forests all the way down to the shore, there are hidden spots yet to be discovered and I hope to get out here next month and tap that experience again. Like generations of families before us, I'll spend memory making time with my own family combing the beach for shells and agates, sandcastle building & flying kites and with permission, sneak off to discover another spot to paint and create new memories of this place I've come to love, the lonely Oregon coast...


  1. Beautiful pieces Eric! I especially like "Gleneden Morning." The light hitting the tree trunks at the top right is tasty.

  2. Lots of great emotions, here. I admire your art.