July’s benefit at the Faulkner for Surfrider, “A Brush with the Waves”, is just 2 months around the corner from the Bacara show in May. If you haven’t already been down to our beaches lately, to check-out or to paint the massive swells, you might want to hurry before June gloom and lake-like conditions plague our beach towns.

This year, El Niño has gifted our stretch of SB not only with historically huge waves, but almost
daily high surf advisories. ( Music to a surfer’s ear…and their chiropractor’s )

A couple of you have asked about tides and how do they affect the waves for painting: “Is it best to paint waves at low, mid or high tide?” The official answer is: “Yes!” Just as there are never 2 identical snowflakes, there are no 2 waves that will ever be the same. There are differences in the quality of waves and how they break as the tide changes.

In the most general of terms, as the tide retreats from high back down to low, the waves tend to ‘hollow out” or stand-up more, creating more of a barrel. For me, on a glassy or smooth day, I can see the distinct deep marine blue at the base of a wave, morph into that lovely yellow ochre just before the wave spirals over into white water. Video with a “stop motion” feature helps…However, when the wind has had it’s way the night before or morning of, all bets are off! Those texture-y waves for me look like something painted by Picasso on drugs! Personally, my favorite is painting the wonderful pre-storm clouds that blur the islands and create a moody, “Tim Burton-esque” back drop.

Where was I? When the tide is changing from low to high, the wave will be different.
There is a term called the “tidal push”. The idea is that an incoming tide is pushing more water towards the beach, so this energy should combine with the wave energy to make larger waves.
These waves can tend to be more crumbly as they fold over to break.

Of course the most dramatic wave conditions occur with high winds that create an “Off-Shore” condition. This looks like sheets of spray or feathers flying off the backs of breaking waves. Of course, having to run down the beach, chasing your cartwheeling canvas can be pretty exciting also.

For the Surfrider show in July, we will be painting at Rincon on May 21st, Hammonds Meadow in June, TBA. We will send out an E-blast for up-coming journeys to Devereaux and/or Jalama.
— Myla Kato, S.C.A.P.E. Co-exhibits Chair

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AuthorCyndi Burt