Surfing and art have been linked in my mind ever since Rick Griffin’s “Murphy” cartoon entered my eyes via Surfer Magazine in the early ‘60s. Since then I have collected some fine artwork for our home, and had numerous surfboards colorfully airbrushed. While it can be expensive, original artwork representing the people and places we love is always worth the price.
Oil paintings by local ocean artists Michael Cassidy, Kevin Anderson, Norm Daniels and Wade Koniakowsky can bring your walls to life. I have surfed with each of them and their images often cause me to reflect on the idyllic days of my youth, or rocket me into dreamland where I encounter tropical waves on distant shores. They inspire us to explore the water world that surrounds us.
While I have known the aforementioned artists for decades, I have no idea of how they manage to ignite hot sparks in the brain with nothing more potent than oil and canvas. Maybe I’ll have a better understanding after next week, when I hang out with three of the world’s top ocean artists in various North County surf locations. If you care to join them, bring your board, as they welcome friends joining them for the occasional water break.
Those who don’t surf are invited to sit back and watch plein air masters Norm Daniels, Matt Beard and Wade Koniakowsky as they interpret our home breaks with their own distinctive styles.
You may not realize it, but you have probably seen Wade’s work, which is nearly omnipresent in San Diego, enlivening everything from sandals and T-shirts while his fine art canvases enrich homes and galleries throughout the country.
Norm Daniels is an illustrator and a painter who once traveled with big-wave surfing legend Greg “da Bull” Noll in order to artistically document his prime. On the other end of the scale are Norm’s whimsical Volkswagen bus paintings that make me happy just thinking about them.
Matt Beard decided recently that he would cover the California Coast (not with nonbiodegradable plastic in the way “environmental artist” Christo once did in the ’70s) but by gently tip toing into some of California’s most spectacular and hidden beaches in order to ride waves and capture their essences. Beard’s brilliant new book, “Painting the California Coast, Volume 1” will be available in limited edition soon.
Each from this trio see surfing and art as extensions of each other, and have practiced their bottom turns and their brush strokes from the time they were kids. If you would like to see them paint in person, they will be appearing at various North County beaches from Monday July 23, through Friday, July 27. Drop in on them, not in the water but on the beach while they’re working.
Wade’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/koniakowskygallery/daily will reveal when and where to find them. You are encouraged to bring your kids and anything else that floats along with a sketchpad, and, at Beard’s request, a box of doughnuts.
The finished paintings from Norm, Matt and Wade’s surf and paint week will be available for viewing and for sale on July 28, 4-8 p.m., at Koniakowsky Ocean Art Gallery, 312 South Cedros Ave., Solana Beach. Custom artwork can also be commissioned at that time. While the paint is expected to be completely dry, the artists probably won’t be.