The Watery Cave 24" x 24" Oil on Canvas Board $1950

On the third morning of our Channel Islands Plein Air Painting excursion, we attempted to anchor at Santa Rosa island. Captain Jerry said that the winds and swells were not going to allow for a good safe harbor, so after a brief bit of motoring around the island, we were off to Santa Cruz Island. First stop, Painted Cave. Dave Gallup was inspired to do a rendering of Painted Cave which won him California Art Club’s prestigious Gold Medal earlier this year. His painting was also featured in the current issue of American Artist Magazine. Knowing all of this, I was very much looking forward to seeing this wonder. And, a wonder it is! It is the WORLD’s largest sea cave. The Captain turned into the small nook that was hard to see if you were simply cruising past the cliffs of the island. Then we slowed down and the walls were closing in on us. He slowed down further and actually took us into the cave. All aboard were floored by his wonderful management of this vessel in some pretty tight quarters. WOW! it was beautiful. The rock walls were so many colors. We all could see why they called it “painted cave”. He went even further forward until the boat was nearly all under the outer lip of the cave. We paused there before slowly backing away. We all snapped away at the scene with our cameras, but nothing compares with actually being in front of this.

The Watery Cave Study 10" x 10" Oil on Canvas Board $550

Once we left Painted cave, we went into a few more spots where we could see more beautiful spots. Then to Pelican Harbor, where we came to the spot where I did a 10″ study for The Watery Cave (see left). It was a great day, and I decided at that time that I would be working this study into a larger studio painting.

Well, here it is above, The Watery Cave.

My friend Christine asked me this morning; “Rich, what is the significance of this painting?”
I paused at that.
I told her that I had not actually thought of it except that I felt compelled to paint it, but then I said,
“First, it is a painted memory of a wonderful morning I spent learning about myself, simply enjoying the moment…
… secondly it is a watery cave, which is not unlike a watery grave. But not a place of death, but a place of birth for me.  Although I could not see into the cave, I was drawn to its opening. I wanted to enter and explore the possibilities of it. It might be 10 feet deep, or it might be 1,000 feet deep…
dangerous and yet compelling. Being somewhat of a risk taker, I wanted to get on a kayak, enter it and look around, but I first had to paint it, which I did… then anchors away, and before I could get into a kayak, we were off to the next spot… Potato Cove and some extreme kayak plein air painting…