4th of July, Butterfly Beach

It's been nearly ten years since I painted this painting; my first plein air nocturne of fireworks!!

I wanted to capture the vitality and vibrancy of the life on Butterfly beach in Santa Barbara, so knowing the fireworks would start at 9pm, and where they would be set off, I staked out a place resting above the sand, overlooking the masses of jovial celebrants.

I painted one, then two, small sketches in the afternoon. (Both paintings now in private collections. Then, after sunset, I lined in my composition after toning my board a light shade of green.

Once lined in I awaited the barrage. While people were busy lighting off their own fireworks on the beach, I busily painted in their patterns, silhouetted against the illuminated background of the ocean/waves. Then when the main show began, I sketched in the sky and corona(glow) of main bursts. I had to make a decision on what the colors were I would choose to paint.

During this painting, I had distinct company. I was visited by my new friend and patron, Robert Eringer. He popped out of the bushes holding a glass of wine, and observed me sketching away in the darkness.

Eringer had just purchased a couple of my smaller nocturnes from the Bottoms Art Gallery at the Biltmore Hotel, and I welcomed him to come and watch me paint this evening.

I knew I had only twenty minutes to complete this painting before the grand finale so I couldn't talk during the painting's evolution, but when I had completed the painting, Eringer commented on my ability to paint the night. He mentioned that he'd read about Iceland; that they have the purest of night time skies. He then asked me if I would be interested in going there to paint and capture this purity in paint.

In Seven Months, we would be flying Upper class on Virgin Airlines, in route to Berserkness and what would be the beginning of our seven year Odyssey in search of creativity and madness. The seed for Surreal Bounce had been planted.

4th of July, Butterfly Beach
10x14 oil/board 2001
Collection of Robert Eringer

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